Using a rewards credit card once meant committing yourself to a single type of award. Credit cards affiliated with airlines offered free flights, hotel cards offered free night stays, and so forth. Yet in recent years, we have seen the rise of reward programs run by the card issuers themselves: American Express has Membership Rewards, Chase has Ultimate Rewards, and Citi has its ThankYou rewards program.
Citi offers its CitiBusiness ThankYouSM Card to allow small businesses and sole proprietors a way to earn bonus ThankYou points on many of their purchases.
- Sign-Up Bonus. New applicants receive 15,000 bonus ThankYou points after spending $3,000 in the first three months of card membership. This is worth up to $150 in gift cards.
- ThankYou Points for Spending. One point per dollar is earned from most purchases.
- Bonus ThankYou Points. Each quarter, cardholders receive three points per dollar on purchases from various types of merchants. For example, from July through September, the 5% discount is valid for purchases from airlines, hotels, and car rental companies.
- Rewards. Once earned, ThankYou points can be redeemed for a variety of awards including gift cards, travel, and cash back. Points are worth a maximum of one cent each toward many different gift cards. Points are worth slightly less towards cash back or statement credits.
- Interest Rates. There is a 0% introductory APR on new purchases for the first six months. After that, an interest rate of 13.24% variable applies.
- Fees. There are no annual fees for this card, but there is a 3% foreign transaction fee on all charges processed outside of the United States.
- Many Opportunities to Earn ThankYou Points. The bonus point categories rotate and include airlines, rental cars, office supply stores, and restaurants. So there are lots of opportunities to earn bonus points throughout the year.
- Unlimited Points. There is no limit to the number of points that you can earn each year, and the points never expire.
- No Annual Fee. Most of the best rewards cards tend to come with an annual fee. It is nice to see a competitive product without one.
- Decent Sign-Up Bonus. $150 worth of gift cards is not the greatest sign-up bonus, but it is still significant.
- Promotional Financing. Six months of interest-free financing on new purchases is not an industry-leading offer, but it is valuable.
- You Have to Keep Track of the Bonus Categories. The various merchant categories that are eligible for the 3x bonus change each quarter. In order to take advantage of bonus points, you need to track them.
- Foreign Transaction Fees. Most banks are eliminating these unnecessary fees. However, it’s unfortunate that Citi isn’t doing this yet.
- Less Rewards for Cash Back. It would be nice if all ThankYou points could be redeemed for one cent each as cash back, but only certain gift cards offer that value.
- No Airline or Hotel Transfer Options. American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards allow cardholders to transfer points to other hotel and airline programs. Citi has no such option at this time. Points can be redeemed for one cent each towards any airline or hotel booked through their respective travel agency.
Citi is trying to compete with other reward cards by offering a business product that earns bonus points for flexible rewards. While these rewards can be very valuable, cardholders should compare this offer with some of the other competing small business credit cards from different issuers.
Do you have the CitiBusiness ThankYouSM Card? What has your experiences been like?