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