Should You Apply For A Citi ThankYou Credit Card?

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Update: This offer for the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card is expired. Learn more about the current offer here.

Update: This offer for Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is expired, but there’s currently an opportunity to earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 within first 90 days of having the card. Learn more about the special offer here.

Update: This offer is expired. You can find the current offer details here.


Link: Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

On Monday I wrote about how Citi ThankYou points are now transferable to more than a handful of airline mileage programs, depending on which version of the card you have. This adds quite a bit of value to the program, in my opinion.

ThankYou points are typically a fixed value points currency, and you can specifically redeem them towards the cost of an airline ticket, among other things. By instead being able to convert ThankYou points into miles, you can potentially get quite a bit more value. I’ve certainly redeemed miles at well over 10 cents per mile for premium cabin redemptions compared to the retail costs, something you could never do with a fixed value points currency.

My favorite new transfer partner of ThankYou points is Singapore KrisFlyer, which is one of my all around favorite frequent flyer programs. That’s because Singapore makes a lot of their first and business class award space available exclusively to members of their own KrisFlyer program, so it’s a great way to lock in first and business class redemptions on Singapore Airlines.

Singapore-First-Class
Singapore Airlines 777 First Class

Anyway, I’ve received a few questions as to whether there’s any super lucrative card that accrues Citi ThankYou points that’s worth considering, either in terms of everyday spend or the sign-up bonus.

As a refresher, the three cards that offer “transferable” ThankYou points are the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, the Citi Prestige® Card, and the Citi Chairman® American Express® Card.

The latter two really aren’t even worth considering, in my opinion.

The Citi Chairman® American Express® Card isn’t accepting applications as best I can tell, and is designed to be more of a “lifestyle” card like the The Platinum Card® from American Express, but with less comprehensive benefits. The card has a high annual fee and only offers 1x point per dollar, so isn’t really worthwhile.

The Citi Prestige® Card also has a high annual fee at $450, but does offer complimentary access to American Airlines Admirals Club® lounges, a $250 annual airline fee credit, along with a $100 Global Entry application fee credit. The card also offers 2x points on dining and 30,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. If the sign-up bonus were more compelling I might consider this card, but as is it doesn’t do much for me.

However, one of these cards does offer an interesting combination of bonus categories and a decent sign-up bonus, and is worth considering for some people:

The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card offers:

  • 20,000 points after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • 30,000 points after another $3000 in purchases within the first 3 months of your second year of being a cardmember
  • Through 4/18/2015, earn 3 ThankYou Points per $1 spent on Dining Out and Entertainment, 2 ThankYou Points per $1 spent on Airfare, Hotels and Travel Agencies, and 1 Point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Starting 4/19/2015, earn 3 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on Travel including Gas, 2 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on Dining Out and Entertainment, and 1 Point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • The annual fee is waived the first year, and $125 per year thereafter. On 4/19/2015, this fee will be reduced to $95 on all accounts.

The sign-up bonus on the card is good

If you’re new to miles & points, there are definitely more lucrative sign-up bonuses out there. Get the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Ink Plus® Business Card, and/or Ink Bold® Business Card before considering this card, in my opinion.

That being said, if you’re like me and have applied for just about every lucrative card out there, this isn’t a bad option. At the end of the day it’s potentially 50,000 KrisFlyer miles after spending $5,000, along with a $125 annual fee. The catch is that you have to wait a year for the full bonus.

Again, I’m not claiming it’s an amazing bonus, and prior to being able to transfer ThankYou points it’s not even one I would have considered, but if you’ve applied for most cards, this definitely isn’t a bad one to pick up.

This card can be rewarding for everyday spend

With 3x points on dining and entertainment, this may become my “go to” card for those categories. Three KrisFlyer miles per dollar spent on dining is pretty tough to beat, in my opinion, and certainly one ups my current favorite in that category, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

With the 2x points per dollar spent on airfare and hotels, it has a similar return to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, assuming you’re after transfers to Singapore KrisFlyer (though keep in mind the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers double points on more travel categories than just airfare and hotels).

Having this card increases the value of your other ThankYou points

Many people have ThankYou points from another Citi product, either the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card which had a nice bonus a few years back, or from downgrading other cards to a no-fee product that earns ThankYou points.

Points can be combined across all your ThankYou accounts, which means that if you have a “premium” card like the Citi ThankYou® Premier you can effectively pool and then transfer all your ThankYou points to airline partners.

Bottom line

This card — and the new transfer partners — aren’t game changers.

But I’ve gotten just about all of the “mainstream” travel credit cards out there, and I certainly won’t say no to 50,000 Singapore KrisFlyer miles, even if it requires a bit of patience.

In the meantime, earning 3x points per dollar spent on dining isn’t half bad either!

Link: Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

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Comments

  1. You miss the boat on the Prestige. Flight points make it a no-brainer.

    But it doesn’t pay you commission…

  2. @Greg – Flight Points are actually going away as of this October. As is the 15% discount/companion ticket…

    There *is* one TYP-earning card that all the bloggers are ignoring, however, that doesn’t have a particularly great signup bonus but has 2% gas/grocery/drugstore. Great for MSing.

  3. I don’t travel to Asia so would not be flying on Singapore, but I do travel to Europe from the US. If I get the 50,000 point bonus on this card and convert it to Singapore KrisFlyer miles, can I use them on one of Singapore’s Star Alliance travel partners?

  4. The Premier Card seems straightforward enough even though its historical selling points, as AR points out above, are soon vaporizing. The world of TYPs generally, however, is truly Byzantine (as Lucky indirectly points out to Anon above) and reminds me most of the non-convertible East-block currencies I used to pick up on my wanderings behind the Iron Curtain years ago.

  5. Ben, just a heads-up — I’ve got a Prestige/Premier/Forward, and all of my points can be transferred over. I think only points earned from checking accounts cannot be transferred. Don’t have a banking relationship with Citi, though, so I don’t claim this as fact; someone who does should confirm/refute this.

    Also, the card I was referring to with 2x gas/grocery/drugstore seems to be missing from Citi’s website. Guess it was quietly pulled? Glad I grabbed it in March…

  6. Effective October 19, 2014, the Prestige card earns 3x points on airfare/hotels/travel agencies and 2x points on entertainment/dining. Also, in branch there are some better offers.

    @AR – Which card were you referring to?

  7. Lucky, from the Prestige T&Cs on the Citi website: “Effective October 19th, 2014, unless you are participating in a limited-time offer, you will earn 3 ThankYou Points for every dollar you spend on purchases at airlines, hotels and travel agencies’ and you will earn 2 ThankYou Points for every dollar you spend on purchases at restaurants and select entertainment merchants, including sports promoters, theatrical promoters, movie theaters, amusement parks, tourist attractions, record stores and video rental stores;. You will earn 1 ThankYou Point for every dollar you spend on all other purchases.”

    It looks like the Prestige will have 3X travel and 2X dining and entertainment.

  8. Hey Ben,

    Thanks for the write-up. Do you know if the Prestige points are transferrable between spouses?

  9. Think you can do a post explaining some of the lesser known programs and award charts this opens up access to? Seems like everyone who is discussing this card only talks about Singapore Airlines as a partner and while I understand they may be the best partner, I have to believe the other 6 partners carry some value. I hear rumors of some great Garuda routings that might now be within easier reach. Thanks!

  10. Lucky, does your advice for redeeming SQ miles on *A partners hold for redeeming SQ miles on VS, or is there anything different? Also, how is availability (for both *A and VS)? Thanks.

  11. 1. You can transfer thankyou points to anyone you wish. The only thing is it expires 90 days after the transfer takes place or it expires within 30 days (I think, have no experience with this) if the original transferer closes his ThankYou account.
    2. Checking account thankyou points combine with other points as long as all of them pool to same ThankYou account (you could do this pooling together, but remember if you have multiple credit cards pooling on same ThankYou account, you will have to be careful when you cancel that credit card, as the points of that credit card expire within 30 days)

  12. @Miles: The Citi PremierPass Expedia Card – Elite Level. Has $75 AF (but $100 statement credit for Expedia purchase within 2 months of card opening, so AF essentially waived first year), but is 2x on gas/groceries/drugstores/Expedia and 1x everywhere else. I was pairing it with my Prestige to effectively get 3.2% back when redeeming for travel on AA/US. Now with SQ etc in the mix, the math changes but the value goes up. Citi’s and Expedia’s sites seem to be scrubbed clean of references to this card, though, unless I’m missing something.

  13. Sorry but you must have no knowledge about Citi Prestige… With that card all thankyou points worth 1.6 cent when being redeemed on AA or US; free companion flight ticket valid both domestic and international; flight points earned with your flight; discounted flight tickets; and as you mentioned, AA and US lounge and $200 credit. Although it is said some benefits are being eliminated, still no one especially for a frequent flyer can tell this card bad…

  14. Can you get the point bonus for the citi thankyou premier card if you’ve had it in the past?

  15. @AR – I think the Expedia card is now gone for new applicants. I haven’t found a working application link recently, and yesterday when downgrading a card, the CSR found it as an option but the system could not get it to process, unlike that several other 7 other card options. Too bad. I missed that and earlier, Forward.

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