UPDATE: The Citi ThankYou Premier Card $500 bonus is now expired.
The Citi ThankYou Premier Card is now offering 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $2,500 in purchases within 3 months of account opening. That is enough to redeem for $500 in gift cards or $665 in airfare when you redeem through their ThankYou Travel Center. There is no annual fee for the first year, $125 after that. Let’s take a closer look at how this breaks down.
$500 in Gift Cards
You can view your redemption options at ThankYou.com. In general, it takes 10,000 ThankYou (TY) points to redeem for a $100 gift card to retailers like Gap, Banana Republic, Barnes & Noble, Bath and Body Works, Bed Bath & Beyond, Cabelas, CVS Pharmacy, Kohl’s, Land’s End, LL Bean, Sears, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Staples, and Walmart. So with 50,000 TY points, you could get five $100 gift cards from different stores.
Want something closer to cash? For a check mailed to you, it costs 8,000 points for $50. For a statement credit, it’s 7,500 points for $75. A check mailed towards your mortgage payment or student loan (made out to your lender) costs 7,500 points for $75. You could also redeem your points for a Walmart gift card and then sell it for cash at a site like PlasticJungle.com that offers you 91 cents on the dollar. 50k points would net you $455 in cash.
$655 in Airfare (ThankYou Travel Center)
Now let’s look at the advertised airplane ticket option. A good question is whether a flight booked through the ThankYou Travel Center costs the same as through any other travel site like Expedia, Orbitz, etc. I have some old ThankYou points laying around, so I went to the redemption site and found that the prices are very closely aligned to what is offered at sites like Expedia.com. I did a few quick searches for random flights, and the cost of the flight matched up with the cost in points in a 100:1 ratio. For example, the exact same flight below that cost $360 including taxes and fees on Expedia would cost 36,000 TY points.
ThankYou Travel Center screenshot:
So the pricing seems fair, no inflated prices or hidden fees. However, with this specific Premier card with the annual fee, you also get 33% more value when redeemed for airfare. Thus, 50,000 points can be redeemed for $665 in airfare, which would typically require 66,500 points. Since you can book any flight that can be found on Expedia, there are “no blackout dates”.
Update October 2011: Let’s say you found a ticket for $200 = 15,000 points, but only have 10,000 points in your account. Citi now lets you pay the difference, so in this case you can get your $200 ticket for 10,000 points and $67. This makes it much easier to use up all of your points at a 33% premium.
Some other highlights of the card:
- No foreign transaction fee on purchases.
- Earn 1.2 ThankYou Points per $1 spent at gas stations, supermarkets, drugstores, commuter transportation and parking merchants. Earn 1 ThankYou Point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
- No limits on earning points or expiration dates.
- Earn points for the miles you fly as well when you purchase a ticket with your Citi ThankYou Premier Card.
- Other smaller perks, like 200 bonus points for signing up for online account access, 200 points for paperless statements, and a 1-5% bonus on your existing point balance on your annual card anniversary.
- Annual complimentary domestic companion ticket. (Fees and taxes not included. Full details not available on application.)
By Jonathan Ping | Credit Cards | 12/21/11, 4:35pm