Citibank has emerged as one of the largest retail banks in the United States, and is a major player in the credit card market. Although they offer travel rewards credit cards co-branded with airline and hotel partners, they also offer several cards that earn rewards in their proprietary ThankYou point system. ThankYou points are accrued by using a Citi credit card, banking with Citibank, and shopping with participating retailers. The points can be used on a variety of items that run the gamut from electronics to entertainment.
One such card that earns these unique points is the Citi ThankYou Premier Card.
- Earn Points From Spending. Cardholders earn two points per dollar spent for 24 months after account opening. After that, it’s one point per dollar spent on most purchases, with 1.2 points earned for charges at gas stations, supermarkets, drugstores, commuter transportation, and parking merchants.
- Earn Points From Miles. Additionally, you earn points for the miles you fly when you purchase a airfare ticket with this card.
- Anniversary Bonus. Each year upon renewal, cardholders earn a bonus based on all the points they earned that year. The bonus is 1% the first year and increases by another 1% each year until it reaches a maximum of 4%.
- Redeeming Points. Points can be redeemed for cash, gift cards, merchandise, and travel rewards, or as payments to a loan held by Citi.
- Balance Transfers. This card does not offer a promotional balance transfer rate, so the standard APR applies, plus a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
- Included Services. Account holders enjoy a range of standard services, including purchase protection and travel insurance policies.
- Foreign Transaction Fees. There are no foreign transaction fees for this card.
- Annual Fee. There is a $125 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year.
- Earn ThankYou Points. These points are worth as much as $0.01 each toward gift card redemption. In other instances, points are only worth $0.0062 to $0.0071 toward cash back or statement credits.
- Points Go Further for Airfare. Unlike most other Citi cards that earn ThankYou points, Premier cardholders receive an extra 33% bonus on the value of their ThankYou points. All you have to do is book the flight through Citi’s online travel service, which charges the same price as the airlines.
- Earn Annual Bonus Points. Although the first year’s bonus points only equal 1% of spending, it is nice to receive something back in return for paying the annual fee.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees. While most cards still charge a fee of 3% on all charges made outside the United States, this card has joined the growing number of credit cards that do not charge foreign transaction fees.
- Meager Bonus Points. Earning an extra 2/10 of a point per dollar on spending at some merchants is a nice perk, but it is rather trivial. By comparison, many competing products grant cardholders double or even triple points for various categories of spending.
- High Annual Fee. The $125 annual fee is high for a card of this type. Renewing this card may be difficult for those who do not receive a large amount of bonus points.
- No Airline Transfer Options. While cardholders can purchase airfare directly with their points, there is no option to convert points to miles as seen in other banks’ programs, such as American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards.
- Lower Rates of Return for Cash Back and Statement Credits. To receive at least $0.01 in value for your ThankYou points, you must choose certain gift cards or airfare redemption options. Other choices, such as cash back and statement credits, return far less value.
- High Interest Rates. Like most reward cards, this product has higher interest rates than many other products on the market. Therefore, it is only worthwhile if you use credit cards and rewards wisely – avoiding interest by paying your balance in full and on time.
This is an ideal card for frequent travelers who are fed up with the difficulty of redeeming airline miles. By offering flexible points that can be used for airfare, gift cards, or cash back, customers will never be faced with the disappointment of earning miles that can’t be redeemed for the award flight of their choice. Citi’s ThankYou Premier Card is an expensive option, but the rewards can be worth it in the hands of the right cardholder.
What are your thoughts on the Citi ThankYou Premier Card?