New Citi ThankYou Premier Card Review

The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card has re-launched with a new sign-up bonus and purchase rewards structure. Get 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points as follows:

  • Earn 20,000 bonus points after you make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Earn an additional 30,000 ThankYou points after you make another $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of your second year of being a cardmember.
  • First year annual fee waived, $125 after that.

50,000 ThankYou points is enough to redeem for $500 in gift cards or $625 in airfare when you redeem through their ThankYou Travel Center (25% travel bonus only works if you have the Premier card). Details below. You can also redeem 50,000 TY points for a $500 check towards your student loans and/or mortgage.

The new rewards structure lets you earn:

  • 3 ThankYou Points for every $1 spent on purchases for dining at restaurants and entertainment.
  • 2 ThankYou Points for every $1 spent on purchases for airfare and hotels.
  • 1 ThankYou Point per $1 spent on other purchases.

$625 in Airfare (ThankYou Travel Center)

With the new Citi Premier card, you get a 20% discount on the standard travel redemption that a “regular” Citi card offers. The reverse math means 1 TY point = 1.25 cents towards travel. For example, with my non-Premier card, I found that a flight that cost $360 including taxes and fees on Expedia would cost 36,000 TY points from Citi Travel. But with the Citi Premier, it would only cost 28,800 TY points.

ThankYou Travel Center screenshot:

Expedia.com screenshot:

So 50,000 TY points will get you $625 in airfare. The Citi Travel pricing seems fair, with no inflated prices as compared to Expedia, Orbitz, etc. Since you can book any flight that can be found on Expedia, there are “no blackout dates”.


Partial payments allowed. Let’s say you found a ticket that want for $200 = 16,000 points, but only have 10,000 points available. Citi now lets you pay the difference, so in this case you can get your $200 ticket for 10,000 points and $75. This makes it much easier to use up all of your points at a 25% premium.

$500 in Gift Cards, $500 Check Towards Student Loan / Mortgage

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 is 8,000 points for $50 (1 points = 0.625 cent). The best deal is a check mailed towards your mortgage payment or student loan (made out to your lender), which is 7,500 points for $75 (1 points = 1 cent).

3X Points on Restaurants, 2X on Airfare and Hotels

Triple (3X) points on restaurants (includes bars and fast food) and entertainment (includes live performances, movie theaters, video rentals, amusement parks), when combined with the 25% travel premium, makes that equivalent to a 3.75% reward towards travel booked through Citi Travel Center. Double (2X) on airfare and hotels makes that 2.5% towards travel booked through Citi Travel Center.

Many of these changes seem to be in response to the success of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which keeps the primary advantage of being able to transfer directly to airline miles for those that prefer that. (I combine my Sapphire Preferred points with my Chase Freedom points for the United miles.) But with triple points instead of double, the Citi Premier now pays out better on dining and entertainment if you want the flexibility of redeeming for any plane ticket sold by Expedia, Travelocity, etc. That 3.75% back on dining and the big sign-up bonus are the most attractive features.

In addition, I believe the competition led to Citi dropping more complicated features from the “old” Premier card like the companion pass (various restrictions, had to be redeemed by calling a 3rd-party vendor Spirit Incentives) and the points-for-flying option (only valid if matched with purchase points). These features which were nice if you figured out to use them, but most people didn’t. I think this new card will be more popular than the old one.

Other Highlights

  • No foreign transaction fee on purchases.
  • Chip Technology included for improved acceptance while traveling.
  • No limits on earning points or expiration dates.

Citi ThankYou® Premier Card Application Link

Comments

  1. Do you happen to know when does this offer expires?

  2. 30,000 points of the 50k bonus doesn’t come until after a year, so they get that annual fee from you right? Guess the companies are learning, huh?

  3. Darn, looks like credit card companies closing the loophole, 30K points after 2nd yr spending $3K. Was about to open credit card with Citi again, but saw the 2nd yr requirement.

  4. josefismael says:

    Sounds like a great move by Citi to improve their rewards program.

    If this card is competing against Chase’s ultimate rewards program, it brings up an interesting question: Will I be able to use or transfer my existing “non-premier” ThankYou points and redeem with the 25% discount? Or will that discounted rate only be valid for points earned with the Premier card? This is one of the better perks of having the Sapphire Preferred, and is a decision point for me on this card.

  5. Wow, this is all getting too complicated. I know I have “miles”, “thank you points” and “cash back” for the various cards I use, but there is no way to consolidate them.

    I linked my Amazon account to pay with some sort of points (Citi?) so at least I’m able to use those although probably not to their max value.

    There needs to be some sort of credit card point aggregation site like TRAXO does for frequent flyer miles. (Although, I’ve found Traxo to not be all that perfect.)

  6. When does this offer expire?

  7. @Jana – Sorry, I don’t know when it expires. Citi tends to tinker with their promos. It might be smaller but less spend, or the same with more spend, etc. 50k total bonus is about as big as they’ve gone.

    @Kevin, bruce – Well, yes and no. Everything tends to go in cycles, back in 2004-2006 a $100 bonus was a great deal. I think we’ve all been getting a bit spoiled with these $500 value bonuses that have been here a while. Yes, you’ll have to pay the $125 annual fee the 2nd year to get the 30,000 TY points. But at least you’ll have a reason to keep it in your wallet with 3X dining points.

    @josefismael – Yes, if you have the Premier linked to your ThankYou account, *all* ThankYou points will be eligible for redemption at 25% bonus (20% discount). I’ve done this in the past with TY points from Forward and CitiBusiness.

    @Maury – Agreed. It’s definitely more work to maximize the value. I’ve gotten TY points for mortgage check just to cash everything out for the periods when I have no ThankYou-point earning cards. Otherwise, I like to hoard things like my Ultimate Rewards since they can be used so many different ways. Which reminds me, I just want to spend the “miles” from my Barclayscard soon so I can track one less currency.

  8. josefismael says:

    @Jonathan – Fantastic. I knew I’d been banking all those TY points for a reason :) Just applied and got approved. And if the rumor is true about the Forward 5x rewards going away for existing customers, then I’ll have a nice alternative with this card.

  9. I had this card and then converted to Preferred in the second year. Can I apply again or is there a restriction for churning between similar cards?

  10. Slightly unrelated, but can someone confirm if the Citi Thankyou Preferred card (not Premier) is considered a “premium” Thnankyou card that gives you the standard 1% cash redemption options (check or statement credit) at 1 pt = 1 cent (as opposed to the devalued 1 pt = 0.625 cent) without having to go through the gift card/student loan/mortgage refund check rigamarole??

    I had the Citi Forward card since college for years, noticed they devalued my points sometime in the last 12 months and then just applied and activated the Citi Thankyou Preferred card about a month ago and added it to my ThankYou account, but haven’t seen any change in the redemption options.

  11. basically its a 37500 points card after the first year. They get the 125.00 fee, but 375.00 in Sunoco gas cards is pretty good. (I don’t fly)

  12. Preferred has never had 1 pt = 1 cent on statement credit or check. Neither does Premier.

    It does have 1 pt = 1 cent on gift cards though.

  13. @Cody – What TJ said. 1 pt = 1 cent statement credit straight up, I don’t know if that has ever been available on any card.

  14. I’ve been a long time user of the ThankYou Premier[Pass] card. I loved the companion pass and the extra points based on flight mileage, both of which are now gone. I also don’t like the higher annual fee.

    Question, though — I’ve used my points to buy airline tickets exclusively. I like the ability to go on expedia and pick whatever flight is available, and with the TYP discount. I’ve moved away from collecting airline miles, as they are almost impossible to use for saver awards anymore, which means a short trip generally costs 50k miles instead of 25k. Given that I travel a few times a year to see my family, I’m inclined to continue with this card for the ease of being able to shop for a competitive ticket. It may not be the best overall “deal”, but I also factor in the probability that I’ll actually use the rewards for something that I want/need.

    Any thoughts on whether I should be looking at another card?

    Thanks,

    blg

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