Citi ThankYou Premier Card Review – 50,000 Bonus Points

Citi Premier CardThe Citi ThankYou® Premier Card has re-launched from our partner Citi, with an improved sign-up bonus and purchase rewards structure. You can now earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.  The highlights:

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months the account of account opening.*
  • 50,000 ThankYou® Points are redeemable for $625 in airfare on any airline, anytime with no blackout dates when booked through the ThankYou travel center or $500 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • Earn 3X Points on Travel, Including Gas Stations
  • Earn 2X Points on Dining Out and Entertainment
  • Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • Points Transfer allows you to transfer points to participating airline and hotel loyalty programs.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases*
  • Annual fee is waived for the first year. $95 annual fee afterward. $0 fee for additional users.

Triple points include both air/hotel/car rental and daily commute items. The triple (3X) points on on travel includes hotels, airfare, taxis, car rental, public transportation, parking, cruises, and even gas. When combined with the 25% travel premium, makes that equivalent to a 3.75% reward towards gas and travel booked through Citi Travel Center. The double (2X) on restaurants (includes bars and fast food) and entertainment (sporting events) makes that 2.5% towards travel booked through Citi Travel Center.

Bonus details. The initial sign-up bonus was formerly 30,000 ThankYou points, and while we have seen 50,000 and 60,000 for short periods before, it is a historically high number. Note the following fine print:

Bonus ThankYou Points are not available if you have had a ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige card opened or closed in the past 24 months.

Note there is talk that the Citi Prestige card will change their sign-up bonus soon to 75,000 ThankYou points, but there will also be a $450 annual fee that is not waived (and a $250 airfare fee credit).

What can you do with 50,000 ThankYou Points? Citi has been trying to improve the value and flexibility of ThankYou points, so here is a rundown of what you can do with 50,000 of them. Bonus ThankYou Points not available if you have had a Citi ThankYou Premier card opened or closed in the past 18 months.

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$625 towards flexible airfare, hotel nights, car rentals, and cruises. With the new Citi Premier card, you get a 20% discount on the standard number of points needed for a travel redemption. The reverse math means 1 ThankYou point = 1.25 cents towards travel. Note that this 25% bonus applies all of your points from all Citi cards linked to the same ThankYou account, thus boosting the value of all your other points.

That means 50,000 ThankYou points will get you $625 in airfare, hotel nights, car rentals, and cruises book through the Citi Travel Center, which in my experience had the same total price with taxes as compared to Expedia, Orbitz, etc. Since you can book any flight that can be otherwise purchased with cash, there are “no blackout dates”.

This can be even more flexible because you can use it across multiple flights, multiple passengers, and you can even do partial redemptions. 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, $500 check towards student loan or mortgage. You can view your redemption options at ThankYou.com. I took a quick look and 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 30,000 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).

Hotel points and airline miles transfer options. Citi ThankYou points are also now available to transfer to certain airline mileage programs on a 1:1 basis including JetBlue, Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, Etihad, Flying Blue by Air France and KLM, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways. For example, 50,000 TY points can get you 50,000 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles. If you know how to redeem this points wisely, you can get a lot of value for international flights.

Bottom line. The increased 50,000 point sign-up bonus with the annual fee waived for the first year is historically high. I choose to focus on the flexible value where 50,000 points = $625 in airfare on any airline, anytime with no blackout dates when booked through the ThankYou travel center. The airline points transfer partners are may get you better value for international flights (or JetBlue for domestic). I like the new rewards structure but a cardholder would need a fair amount of spending in the bonus categories (gas, airfare, hotels, dining out) in order to offset the $95 annual after the first year where they waive it.

“Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. This site may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program.”

Comments

  1. Can you cancel before incurring the 2nd year annual fee? Also how do you receive the point bonus?

  2. Correction: How long does it take to receive the point bonus .

    • Brian, of course you can cancel when you see the annual fee post to your account. You just call them and say you want to cancel because you don’t feel like paying $95. It can go two ways from there. They can credit it back to you to keep you as a customer for another year or they can credit it back to you and close the account. You will receive the bonus points on your monthly statement if you meet the $3000 spend requirement. For example, if you spend $3000 in the first month, you will get 50000 on your first statement.

      • Thanks Nick, I’m still kind of new to “churning.” I think I’ll just cancel well before the annual fee get’s charged but after I collect the bonus points.

  3. Daniel H. says:

    Related to booking travel, you may be able to save a bit more money if you are able to find cheaper airfare on the airline site. I don’t remember the exact numbers but I was booking flight on United and Travel Center showed airfare that about $10-$20 higher than on United website. When I called them about it they checked it out and price matched it for me.

    Actually, I didn’t call them about this specifically. There system was going through some update and Travel Center didn’t show the 20% discount. You had to call them and book by phone to get the discount. I just mentioned it in passing during that call. I was a pleasant surprise.

    • That was the exact thing that happened to me. I’ve called them because the discount but I’ve also mentioned the price difference in the airline site and they’ve price matched. Very smooth transaction. Pleasant surprise for me as well.

  4. Ah, the memories. Thanks you, ThankYou points. Did our first churn back in 2008 and spent three weeks in Thailand with a pile of Thank You points. Was very impressed at the range of accommodations that were available through the program in cool beach towns such as Kata.

    Signed up again today and was approved along with my wife. To maximize these, be sure to sign up for a card under your name and complete another application under your spouses name so you can double the reward points. We now churn a number of cards a year and are just amazed at the free travel credits and great travel perks that continue to be handed out.

  5. David Rosenberg says:

    Well I opened that card pretty easily.

  6. Can you get all five $100 gift cards for the same store like WalMart? I didn’t see a phone number to call Citi to ask questions about this card or to apply via phone.

  7. Love your blog. I’ve been reading it for years. Question about redeeming ThankYou points. Have you tried recently to have a check made out to your bank for your mortgage payment and then deposited the money into a personal account?

  8. Thanks Jonathan! Appreciate you passing on these credit card deals.

  9. Does anyone have a Citi checking account to earn additional TY points and extend the expiration past closing the premier card?

  10. Just got approved for the card, however I could not find the redemption option for the $500 mortgage credit in the list of benefits.
    Where do you find this?

    • To see the mortgage redemption option, go to ThankYou.com, log in with account, and use their search box with the term “mortgage”. It should come up. Run a search for “student” to find the student loan option under Cash & Charity.

      “ThankYou® Rewards offers members the opportunity to use their ThankYou® Points towards their monthly mortgage payment with financial lending institutions. ThankYou Members who redeem will receive a letter with a check issued on behalf of ThankYou Rewards made out to the financial lending institution to be used towards their monthly mortgage payment. To redeem, members must contact our ThankYou Service Center (1-800-THANKYOU) and must provide the Agent with the name and correct spelling of your mortgage financial lending institution.”

      • Dan White says:

        Thanks Johnathan,
        Called Citi customer service and they were very confused. I will search this when I get my card.
        You are the best and I refer people to your site often.

  11. I already had a citi thank you preimier card that i opened back in july of 15, and cancelled a week ago. Can i reapply now or do i have to wait?

  12. Hale Relic says:

    Id like to know more about the history behind that logo or seal. It is very similar to the Seal of the City of New York. Who was the artist and what do the symbols mean?

  13. Does anyone know if you can still use Citi Thank You points at Amazon? If so, what is the value of a point at Amazon?

    • Yes you can, but the value is only 0.8 cents per ThankYou point when redeemed at Amazon. Useful in a pinch, but I’d much rather wait and get 1.25 cents per point on airfare/hotel/car rental.

  14. What are the rules for someone getting the card again? is there some 2 year requirement to get a new bonus?

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