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Citi ThankYou Premier: How Does this Card Compare to the Best?

The Citi ThankYou Premier card is one of Citibank’s top credit card offers. It comes with a substantial introductory offer, has good earning potential, and it’s points are very redeemable. With all these great features, how does it stand up next to it’s biggest competitor? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is known as the best first travel credit card for people to get. It boasts many of the same benefits as the Citi ThankYou Premier and is going after the same market of customers. We’ll dive more into the details of the Citi Premier card and also compare it to the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

 

Citi ThankYou Premier: What it Offers

50,000 ThankYou Points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months

Citi ThankYou Premier Card

  • Introductory Offer: You’ll earn 50,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.
  • Bonus Earning: You’ll earn 3X points on travel (including some gas stations). 2X points on dining & entertainment.
  • Point Redemption: Points are redeemable for airfare on any airline, booked through the ThankYou Travel Center, on gift cards at thankyou.com or by transferring points to participating airlines.
  • Fees: No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Annual Fee: $95 Annual fee (waived in year 1)

Credit Score Needed for Approval: Excellent

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Citi ThankYou Premier Review

What We Like:

At 50,000 points, the introductory offer for the Citi ThankYou Premier card is very good. Those points are worth at least $500, but by redeeming them for travel using the ThankYou Travel Center you’ll guarantee a value of $625. With available airline transfer partners, you can also convert your ThankYou points into airline miles to get even better redemption rates.

 

The earning potential is also very good on this credit card. You’ll earn extra points on some common expenses like gas stations, dining, and entertainment. Instead of earning 1 point per dollar, you’ll get two or three points.

 

What We Dislike:

The Citi ThankYou Premier does come with an annual fee of $95. For most people, the card will not warrant paying this fee every year. Fortunately, the annual fee is waived in the first year. Also, you can potentially downgrade to the Citi ThankYou Preferred which has no annual fee.

 

Earning Citi ThankYou Points with the Premier Card

What Counts Towards Travel Spending: (3X)

If you travel frequently, this is a great credit card for you to earn points on. Here are some travel purchases that will earn you the 3X points per dollar:

  • Airlines
  • Hotels
  • Gas Stations (except at warehouse clubs, discount stores, department stores, and convenience stores)
  • Car Rentals
  • Travel Agencies
  • Tour Operators
  • Commuter Transportation
  • Buses
  • Taxis/Limos/Car Services
  • Cruises
  • Bridge/Road Tolls

 

There are a few travel-related expenses that are excluded including auto clubs, fuel used for non-automobile purposes, recreational camps, and insurances.

 

What Counts for Dining Spending: (2X)

Dining is another spending category bonus. Dining purchases will earn 2X points per dollar spent including these:

  • Restaurants
  • Fast Food
  • Cafe’s
  • Bars
  • Lounges

 

Excluded from the dining spend bonus are bakeries and restaurants and cafes that reside within department stores, grocery stores, or warehouse stores.

citi thankyou premier bonus

 

What Counts for Entertainment Spending: (2X)

Entertainment as a category is kind of a broad term. It’s nice to know what will actually earn bonus points when purchased. Here are the types of entertainment that will earn 2X points per dollar spent:

  • Movie Theaters
  • Sporting Events
  • Concerts
  • On-demand Streaming Media
  • Amusement Parks
  • Tourist Attractions
  • Live Entertainment
  • Theatrical Productions
  • Record/Video Rental Stores (do these still exist somewhere?!?)

 

As with the other two categories above, there are a few entertainment purchases that are excluded from earning the bonus points, including sporting camps, sports complexes, golf courses, country clubs, bowling alleys, musical instrument stores, video game stores/arcades, bookstores, and charitable organizations.

 

Redeeming Citi ThankYou Points

There are three main ways to redeem your Citi ThankYou Premier points. Depending on how you decide to redeem your points, you’ll get a point value from one cent up to many cents per point. ThankYou points can be redeemed for travel, merchandise, gift cards, Amazon purchases or by transferring them to partner airlines.

 

Book Travel through ThankYou Travel Center (1.25 cents per point)

One of the best options for redeeming ThankYou points is through Citi’s Travel Center on ThankYou.com. When you book travel using your points you will get an increased rate of redemption at 1.25 cents per point. The 25% increase in value makes it well worth redeeming your points for travel. Through the travel center, you’re able to book flights, hotels, cars, activities, and cruises.

 

Buy Merchandise or Gift Cards at ThankYou.com (1 cent per point)

While buying merchandise or gift cards is not usually the most valuable redemption, it can make sense for some people. Each point will be worth one cent when redeemed in this fashion. If you’re unable to travel or simply don’t like traveling, it might make sense to use your points to buy things you’ve been wanting or needing. Maybe a new big screen TV gets you a little more excited than a trip across the world. This redemption method is for you.

 

Use ThankYou Points for Amazon Purchases

The merchandise and gift cards over at ThankYou.com might be a bit obsolete when you can just use your points on Amazon. Points will again be worth just one cent per point, but if you’re looking to buy products instead of travel Amazon is probably the place. It’s easy to link your accounts within Amazon to start using points.

 

Also, occasionally Amazon will give heavy discounts on certain products when you use at least one ThankYou point toward your purchase. Recently, I bought some Amazon Fire HD’s to give away because I received $40 off each tablet simply by using 1 ThankYou point on my purchase. I guess that means I got $40 per point on that redemption! Too bad we can’t always get a value like that…

 

Transfer Points to Airlines (variable point values)

Transferring Citi ThankYou Premier points to airline partners can often be the most valuable redemption. If you transfer your points into an airline and use those points for a free flight that would have been very expensive, you will have saved a lot of money. Therefore, you can get redemption rates well above 2 cents per point. For instance, if you use 30,000 points to book a flight that would otherwise cost $600 out of pocket, you have redeemed your points for 2 cents per point.

 

ThankYou Points Airline Partners

All of the following airlines are transfer partners of Citi ThankYou points at a 1:1 ratio except JetBlue which has a 10:8 transfer ratio. Sometimes, certain airlines will have a promotion that will give you a better redemption rate such as 25% extra miles.

  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Etihad Guest
  • EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
  • Garuda Indonesia Miles
  • Jet Airways JetPrivilege
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Royal Orchid Plus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

 

Other Useful Benefits of the Citi ThankYou Premier Card

Besides earning points, the Citi ThankYou Premier credit card has some other beneficial perks. The non-points benefits of the Citi ThankYou Premier are that it has no foreign transaction fees and it comes with valuable travel and purchase protections.

 

Purchase Protections Include:

  • Price Rewind – get a refund if the item you purchased has a lower price within 60 days.
  • Extended Warranty Protection – adds 24 months onto manufacturers warranties.
  • Damage and Theft Protection – repairs or replaces items that are damaged or stolen within 90 days.
  • Return Protection – refunds purchase price if the merchant won’t accept a return within 90 days.

 

Travel Protections Include:

  • Trip Delay Protection – If your trip is delayed at least 12 hours you may be reimbursed for expenses incurred.
  • Lost Baggage Protection – If baggage is lost, stolen or damaged you may be reimbursed for repair or replacement.
  • Baggage Delay Protection – If baggage is delayed more than 6 hours you may be reimbursed for necessary purchases.
  • Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection – you may be reimbursed up to $5,000 for non-refundable trip expenses.
  • Auto Rental Insurance – covering up to $50,000 on most vehicle types. You receive secondary insurance in the US and primary abroad.

citi thankyou premier benefits

 

Citi ThankYou Premier vs Chase Sapphire Preferred

Now we’ll compare the Citi ThankYou Premier to its competitors. Is the ThankYou Premier as good as the Chase Sapphire Preferred card? Let’s find out.

 

 CITI THANKYOU PREMIERCHASE SAPPHIRE PREFERRED
WINNER
Introductory Offer:50,000 points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months60,000 points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months
Earning Points:3X on Travel
2X on Dining & Entertainment
2X on Travel & Dining
Redeeming Points:1.25 cents per point on Travel

Airline Transfer Partners
1.25 cents per point on Travel

Airline & Hotel Transfer Partners
Other Benefits:Purchase Protection

Travel Protection

Secondary Rental Car Insurance
Purchase Protection

Travel Protection

Primary Rental Car Insurance

 

Although these two credit cards are very similar in their features, the Chase Sapphire Preferred comes out victorious from this comparison. The Citi ThankYou Premier does have a better earning potential but falls short to the Chase Sapphire Preferred in point redemption value and extra benefits. The Sapphire Preferred has more and better transfer partners, including a few hotels. It also comes with primary car rental insurance, while the Citi ThankYou Premier only comes with secondary insurance.

 

Overall, the Citi ThankYou Premier is a very good travel credit card and comes with a significant introductory offer. To even be able to compete with the Chase Sapphire Preferred means that it can hold it’s own. If I had to choose between the two cards, I would choose the Chase Sapphire Preferred. But, if you’ve already applied for the Sapphire Preferred or are over the 5/24 Chase rule, the Citi ThankYou Premier card is a great alternative.

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