Review of The Citi ThankYou Preferred Credit Card
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The Citi ThankYou Preferred Credit Card is simple, not offering very much in terms of rewards and benefits.
Cardholders earn 2X ThankYou reward points for dining, entertainment, cable, and streaming service purchases — but that’s about it. There is no intro bonus offer.
There’s a 0% intro APR for 15 months both purchases and balance transfers, giving you quite a while to pay off any large purchases or transfers.
The benefits are not bad for a no annual fee card. You can also check your FICO Bankcard Score 8 for free whenever you’d like, based on your Equifax credit report.
There’s no annual fee for this card, although foreign transactions will cost 3%.
There are four cards in Citi’s ThankYou lineup.
|Citi Rewards+® Card (Review)||$0|
|Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card||$0|
|Citi Premier® Card (Review)||$95|
|Citi Prestige® Card (Review)||$495|
Our Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
We give the Citi ThankYou Preferred 3 out of 5 Stars because it’s a very basic card, with minimal rewards and no welcome bonus. But there’s also no annual fee to pay.
Why we like this card
- Earn 2X points for dining, entertainment, cable, and streaming services
- 0% intro APR for 15 months purchases and balance transfers
- Citi Concierge and other benefits
- No annual fee
Why this card could be better
- Not very rewarding
- No introductory bonus
- Limited point transfer options
The ThankYou Preferred card is not very exciting, with just a couple of bonus categories and no intro offer. Check out some alternatives to this card below.
Insider Advice: Using This Card as Part of Your Credit Card Strategy
- For dining and entertainment: Pay with the ThankYou Preferred card when eating out at restaurants or having fun, like at the movies or sporting events.
- Pay off a balance: You’ll get 15 months at 0% APR for both balance transfers and purchases.
- Redeem for statement credits: Redeem your points for statement credits to reduce your account balance.
- Call your concierge: You can call your Citi Concierge whenever you’d like for help making reservations, finding gifts, and anything else.
- Use your benefits: This card comes with perks like the Citi Entertainment, and Extended Warranty, among others.
The ThankYou Preferred normally provides 1 cent per ThankYou point in the bonus categories with the simplest redemption method, for an equivalent of up to 2% cash back. There’s also a way to get up to 2.4% cash back in total.
This card earns ThankYou points, which can be redeemed in a variety of ways.
The spending rewards are very basic, and there is currently no welcome bonus.
The types of merchants in Citi’s dining and entertainment categories are given below, along with the excluded types.
Excluded from the dining category:
- Certain restaurants/cafes inside department, grocery or warehouse stores
|Movie Theaters||Sporting Events||Concerts|
|On-demand Internet Streaming Media||Amusement Parks||Tourist Attractions|
|Live Entertainment||Theatrical Productions||Record/Video Rental Stores|
Excluded from the entertainment category:
- Sporting camps
- Sports complexes where you participate in the sport
- Public and private golf courses
- Country clubs
- Bowling alleys
- Musical instrument stores
- Video game stores/arcades
- Charitable organizations that provide live entertainment
There are several ways to redeem ThankYou points, including:
- ThankYou Select and Credit
- Statement credits
- Cash rewards
- Point transfers
- Gift cards
- Shop with Points at select merchants like Amazon
We recommend redeeming with the ThankYou Select and Credit option, because you’ll get the full value of 1 cent per point. This would give you a 2% cash back equivalent in the dining and entertainment categories, with 1% cash back elsewhere.
Take note that this is different than the “statement credits” and “cash rewards” methods, which only provide .5 cents per point. This could be a bit confusing, as most credit cards just have one basic statement credit option.
ThankYou Select and Credit requires you to choose specific purchases to which you can apply your rewards. Only certain types of purchases made during the current billing cycle are eligible. Those types are:
|Eligible Purchase Types for ThankYou Select and Credit|
|Clothing and Department Stores||Dining||Drugstores||Entertainment|
Some of the other methods may provide 1 cent per point, in some situations, but they’re more tedious and will often provide less value. ThankYou Select and Credit should be quick and easy, as long as you have eligible purchases.
It is possible to get more than 1 cent per point with the ThankYou Preferred card. But in the best case you can still only get 1.2 cents per point, you’d have to do some work to get it, and it would limit your options. We discuss that in the Point Transfers section up next.
There are two point transfer options:
- JetBlue TrueBlue points: At a ratio of 5:4 (1,000 ThankYou points for 800 TrueBlue points)
- Shop Your Way points: At a ratio of 1:12 (1,000 ThankYou points for 12,000 Shop Your Way points)
Although Citi itself has a number of transfer partners, ThankYou Preferred cardholders will only get these two options.
We recommend avoiding transferring to TrueBlue points because you get a pretty unfavorable transfer rate.
Shop Your Way points, however, can actually provide a better overall redemption value than the ThankYou Select and Credit option above. Each Shop Your Way point is worth .1 cents, which means you’re getting a value of 1.2 cents per ThankYou point.
That would give you a cash back equivalent of 2.4% for dining, entertainment, cable, and streaming, with 1.2% back for other purchases.
Shop Your Way points can only be used with a few retailers, shown below.
|Shop Your Way Participating Retailers|
For most people this redemption option probably won’t be worthwhile, and you should generally stick with ThankYou Select and Credit. But if you know that you’ll be making some purchases from these retailers, you can plan ahead to squeeze a bit of extra value out of your ThankYou points.
You can get in touch with your personal concierge by calling the number above or on the back of your card, or by sending an email.
The concierge is available for help in a variety of non-emergency tasks, such as:
- Restaurant reservations and recommendations
- Travel arrangements and advice, like looking for hotels with available rooms
- Finding special gifts
- Searching for good ticket prices
- Help finding lost items, like baggage at the airport
- Event planning and meeting room reservations
The concierge probably won’t be too useful for most people, most of the time, but occasionally it could come in very handy. You might want it if you’re traveling in a new city and looking for a hotel, for example, or you need to find a close nice restaurant with an open table.
Many cards today offer a concierge feature, although it’s a bit rare to see on a no annual fee card like this. Citi also provides it for the Double Cash, another no- fee card. It’s more common on travel credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
The Citi Entertainment service provides presale and preferred access tickets to select events and experiences in big cities. There are four basic categories:
- Theater & More
Visit the Citi Entertainment website to see the current offers. Most of the deals are about music or sports, such as:
- Preferred tickets for Carrie Underwood concerts in various cities
- Preferred tickets for The Velvet Underground Experience on Broadway
- Presale tickets for Katy Perry at The Theater at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles
- Preferred tickets for a tennis clinic with pro player Chris Evert
There are many cards offering some type of “experiences” perk, although these are usually limited to big cities. The Sapphire Preferred, for example, provides the Chase Preferred Experiences benefit, which is pretty similar to Citi Entertainment.
Complimentary ShopRunner Membership
Cardholders can register with ShopRunner at no cost, to get free two-day shipping and returns at select online retailers.
The list of participating retailers isn’t huge, but it has been getting bigger and includes:
|ShopRunner Retailers (Partial List)|
|American Eagle||ContactsDirect||Giorgio Armani||Kay Jewelers||Lord & Taylor|
|NBA Store||Neiman Marcus||Sak’s Fifth Avenue||Staples||Under Armour|
Free FICO Credit Score
ThankYou Preferred cardholders can see their FICO Bankcard Score 8 for free, based on their Equifax credit reports. The key factors affecting your credit scores will be shown as well, providing some advice on improving your scores.
You can also see how your score has changed over time:
Many credit cards today offer some type of credit monitoring service. Some provide a FICO score, while others provide a VantageScore.
Capital One, Chase, and Discover all have tools that are free and open to the public, regardless of whether you’re a cardholder or not. In other cases you need to be an actual cardholder to access the issuer’s service.
- Damage & Theft Purchase Protection: Eligible purchases are covered for 90 days against damage and theft.
- Extended Warranty: Get an extra 24 months added to eligible manufacturer’s warranties.
- $0 Liability for Unauthorized Charges: You won’t be held liable for fraudulent charges (contact customer support immediately if you suspect fraud).
- Virtual Account Numbers: Get a virtual credit card number to use for safer online shopping.
- Account Alerts: Get notified of account details, like statement availability and payment reminders.
- Fraud Early Warning: Proactive fraud monitoring to detect unauthorized activity as soon as possible.
- Quick Lock: Instantly block new purchases and cash advances, while letting other activity continue.
The Terms & Fees
|Intro APR for Purchases and Balance Transfers||Purchase APR||Balance Transfer APR||Cash Advance APR|
|0% for 15 months||15.24%–25.24% Variable||15.24%–25.24% Variable||26.99% Variable|
|Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee||Balance Transfer Fee||Cash Advance Fee|
|$0||3%||3%, $5 minimum||5%, $10 minimum|
|Penalty APR||Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|Up to 29.99% Variable||Up to $35||Up to $35|
The Citi ThankYou Preferred card has no annual fee to pay.
The only other notable feature is the 0% intro APR for 15 months, on both purchases and balance transfers. That offer is on the longer side for an intro APR period, giving you over a year to pay off large purchases or balances at no interest.
After those 15 months you’ll switch to the regular interest rate. But you can still avoid being charged interest on purchases by paying off your statement balance in full each billing period.
Foreign transactions will be charged a 3% fee, so this isn’t the best card to bring traveling abroad. Check out some no foreign transaction fee cards if you plan to make purchases in foreign currency.
You can take a look at the ThankYou Preferred’s official card terms and conditions here.
What is the Credit Limit of the ThankYou Preferred Card?
The minimum credit limit of the ThankYou Preferred is $1,000.
You can request a credit limit increase from Citibank at any time, although we recommend requesting an increase about once every six or 12 months if you want higher limits.
|Apply for a Credit Card||
Citi isn’t known for having great customer support, but they are improving. Every year, J.D. Power conducts its Credit Card Satisfaction Survey, ranking the top credit card companies on a number of factors, including customer support.
So it looks like Citi has been making efforts to improve its customer service. When we’ve called Citi, we’ve usually spoken with friendly reps who were eager to help. Sometimes they left us a bit confused, or took a while to provide a satisfying answer. But in general our experiences have been on the positive side (compared to most other credit card issuers).
|Twitter Customer Support||@AskCiti|
Citi cardholders can get ahold of customer support through the live web chat, which you’ll find on the right side of the screen after logging in. The reps you can speak to on live chat can see your account information and will provide some level of assistance, but you may be asked to call in some cases.
If you’re not a cardholder (or even if you are), you can send a message to Citi’s customer support Twitter account, @AskCiti. Be sure to never reveal personal or account information on Twitter or any other social network.
The Bottom Line
The 2X points rewards aren’t very valuable, given all the other credit card options available. There’s no enticing introductory bonus to provide a lot of upfront value, which is a big reason why many people may choose one card over another.
The benefits are decent, particularly the Citi Concierge. But they aren’t anything truly special, and you’ll find similar services on other cards.
The 15-month 0% intro APR is probably this card’s best feature. 15 months is about as long as these offers usually come, with a few exceptions, and that gives you quite a while to make payments at no interest.
The ThankYou Preferred isn’t necessarily bad, because it has no annual fee and therefore doesn’t have to cost you a dime to use. But there are a lot of rewards cards out there which can provide more value, and one of them would almost certainly be better for you. Check out some of those alternatives below.
How to Apply for the ThankYou Preferred Card
Click the “Apply Now” button below to apply for the ThankYou Preferred card. You’ll be taken to Citi’s website to apply, and it will check one (or more) of your credit reports from one of the major bureaus.
Citi will often provide an instant decision, but in some cases it may request more information to process the application.
Qualifications and Requirements
- Must be 18 to apply
- Personal identifying information, including SSN, email address, and phone number
- Total annual income, and source of income
- Monthly mortgage/rent payment
Alternatives to the ThankYou Preferred Card
- Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card (Review): No annual fee; 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, streaming services, and groceries; $200 cash bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months
- Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer (Review): No annual fee; up to 2% cash back for every purchase (must pay at least the minimum due on time); 0% intro APR for 18 months on Balance Transfers, and then 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Review): $95 annual fee; 5X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft rides and travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3X points per dollar on dining, select streaming, and online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs); 2X points per dollar on other travel; 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
The SavorOne provides 1% more cash back for dining and entertainment than the ThankYou Preferred. And it also offers 3% back for groceries, with a welcome bonus on top of that.
It’s easy to see that in just about every aspect of the rewards program, the SavorOne is superior to the ThankYou Preferred.
- Premium Access with OpenTable: Get exclusive OpenTable reservations to hot restaurants, in a limited selection of cities.
- Mastercard Concierge (Mastercard World Elite only): Call any time to talk to a personal assistant, who can help you in all sorts of non-emergency tasks.
- Shopping and travel protections: Cell Phone Protection, Extended Warranty, Price Protection, MasterRental Coverage, Master RoadAssist Service
- Purchase APR: 0% for 15 months, then 14.99% - 24.99% Variable
- Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months, then 14.99% - 24.99% Variable
- Balance Transfer fee: 3%
- No foreign transaction fee
- Annual fee: $0
Read more in our Review of the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
You’ll be earning 2% cash back for every purchase you make, rather than being limited to just dining and entertainment like the ThankYou Preferred.
That makes this card much more versatile, and it makes the ThankYou Preferred’s bonus categories look basically useless. Why use the ThankYou Preferred when you could just earn 2% back everywhere with the Double Cash?
There’s no welcome bonus for the Double Cash, unfortunately, just like the ThankYou Preferred.
The Double Cash card offers almost the same exact benefits as the ThankYou Preferred (because both cards are issued by Citi).
There’s just one extra perk that comes with the Double Cash:
- Quick Customer Service: Say “representative” when you call customer support to be connected with a live human rep more quickly than usual.
Terms & Fees
You’ll pay no annual fee for the Double Cash. It comes with a 0% intro APR for 18 months on Balance Transfers, followed by a rate of 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable).
Compare that to the ThankYou Preferred, which offers 15 months at 0% interest for both purchases and balance transfers. The Double Cash gives you a bit longer, but only for balance transfers.
Foreign transactions cost 3% with the Double Cash, just like the ThankYou Preferred.
Read more in our Review of the Citi Double Cash Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Review) is a favorite among travel rewards cards. It offers points for dining along with travel, and has some excellent point transfer opportunities. It’s more expensive than the ThankYou Preferred, at $95 per year.
As you can see, the Sapphire Preferred offers Ultimate Rewards points. These points are usually worth 1 cent each, but when redeeming for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards you’ll get 1.25 cents each.
Or you can transfer those rewards to an airline or hotel partner, where you may get 2 cents or more per point.
That would give you a cash back equivalent of at least 6% for dining, streaming services, and online grocery stores, 4% for travel, and at least 2% back for other purchases.
You’ll also be able to earn upwards of $1,000 in introductory bonuses, depending on how you redeem your points. Those are great offers to find on a card like this, which has a relatively small annual fee.
The Sapphire Preferred has several benefits that travelers may find useful. It doesn’t have the major cost-saving travel credits and airport lounge access of a premium travel card, but you can still find quite a bit of value here.
- 1:1 Point Transfer: Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred at a 1:1 rate with popular airline and hotel loyalty partners, like Marriott Bonvoy and United MileagePlus.
- Visa Signature Concierge: 24/7 help with non-emergency tasks, like dining reservations or making travel plans.
- Direct Access to a Customer Support Specialist: You’ll be immediately connected with a real human when you call customer support.
- Shop Through Chase: A shopping portal where you’ll find offers to earn more points, from retailers like the Microsoft Store, Staples, and Walmart.com (current offers at the time of publication).
- Chase Preferred Experiences: Invites to exclusive experiences from Chase, often for music or sports events.
- Invite friends for bonus points: Get 15,000 bonus points for every friend you successfully refer, up to 75,000 points per year.
- Shopping and travel protections: Including Trip Delay Reimbursement, Baggage Delay Insurance, and more.
Terms & Fees
The Sapphire Preferred has an annual fee of $95 per year. It has no foreign transaction fees.
Read more in our Review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Chase offers a premium version of the Sapphire card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review). For a $550 annual fee it provides 10X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft rides, 3X points for travel and dining, a 50% point bonus, a $300 travel credit, and Priority Pass Select airport lounge access, among other perks.
Looking for other credit cards to earn rewards on everyday purchases? See our picks for the Best Cash Back Credit Cards!
Do you have the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card? How do you like using it? Let us know by leaving your own review of the ThankYou Preferred Card, we’d love to hear from you!
Brendan has been writing about personal finance for over eight years, and is now taking on the challenge of bringing high-quality credit education to the masses. He makes sure that Credit Card Insider is covering the most important credit topics transparently and precisely, and that we have up-to-date reviews of credit cards so you can find cards that are right for you.
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