The Bank of America Cash Rewards™ Credit Card vs The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Versus

Jul 11, 2016 | Updated Jan 17, 2019

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Update: The Citi ThankYou Preferred Card has been discontinued for new applicants. It was replaced by the Citi Rewards+ Card.

The Bank of America Cash Rewards™ and the Citi ThankYou® Preferred are both popular rewards credit cards, and for good reason.

Neither one has an annual fee, they feature 0% introductory APR’s, and they offer nice points and bonuses for typical purchases. But those points are awarded for completely different kinds of purchases.

Should you be using one or both of these cards? Keep reading to find out!

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Apply Now

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 16.24%–26.24% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • No annual fee
  • $150 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • New Offer: Maximize your cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement /furnishings
  • Now earn 3% cash back in your choice category and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases), and unlimited 1% on all other purchases
  • You can update your choice category for future purchases once each calendar month using the Mobile banking app or Online banking, or do nothing and it stays the same.
  • No expiration on rewards
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then, 16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR. 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards client, you can get a 25% - 75% rewards bonus on every purchase
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 15.24%–25.24% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • 2X ThankYou Points per dollar spent on dining at restaurants and entertainment
  • 1X ThankYou Point on other purchases
  • 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 15 months. After that, a variable APR of 15.24%–25.24%
  • You can earn unlimited ThankYou points, and they don't expire
  • Citi Concierge to call for non-emergency help
  • No annual fee

The Rewards

Bank of America Cash Rewards

This card provides:

  • 3% cash back in one category of your choice:
    • Gas
    • Online Shopping
    • Dining
    • Travel
    • Drugstores
    • Home Improvement/Furnishings Stores
  • 2% cash back at:
    • Grocery Stores
    • Wholesale Clubs
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • $150 signup bonus for spending $500 in the first 90 days
  • 10% cash back bonus if you redeem your rewards into a Bank of America checking or savings account (up to 75% bonus for accounts with very large balances)

Your 3% and 2% rewards are limited to the first $2,500 in purchases every quarter. After that, you’ll earn 1% cash back on gas and groceries.

These rewards are pretty straightforward, and excellent for online shopping. If you use this card, it’s easy to remember that this could be your go-to option for gas and groceries, if you choose gas for your 3% category. You’ll also get 2% back at wholesale clubs, a recent addition to this card, making it more useful at these valuable retailers.

Citi ThankYou Preferred

With this card, you’ll get:

  • 2X points per dollar on dining and on entertainment
  • 1X point per dollar for all other purchases
  • 20,000-point signup bonus for spending $1,500 in the first 3 months

The dining category includes fast food, bars, lounges, and generally anywhere that prepares food and drink for immediate consumption (as opposed to grocery stores).

The “entertainment” category is quite broad, and includes movie theaters, video rental stores, amusement parks, live shows, sports, record stores, and more.

The Verdict

For the average person, who buys gas and groceries frequently, the BofA card would seem to offer the better rewards system. However, the ThankYou Preferred card’s points for dining and entertainment will go a long way if you go out to eat often and attend a lot of activities. The Cash Rewards card is more flexible, however, giving you the option to pick your 3% category.

If both of these descriptions fit you, this might be a situation where having both cards could be ideal.

The Cash Reward’s bonus deal is a bit more valuable than the ThankYou Preferred’s, in a sense. The first offers $100 for spending $500, while the second offers $200 for spending $1,500. When you compare these numbers, you can see that the BofA card gives back 50% more than the ThankYou Preferred card, and the bonus is easier to get. But, if you’re going to be spending $1,500 anyway, the $200 back will obviously be better for you.

Don’t forget: you’ll also get a 10% bonus when you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America account, making this a great deal if you have one. The $100 cash back bonus also receives this 10% boost.

The Benefits

Bank of America Cash Rewards

Account Management

  • Account Alerts

    Get alerts about account information on your phone.

  • Mobile Banking

    Pay your credit card bill online, transfer funds, check available credit and more.

  • Text Banking

    Send a text and get important account information.

  • Overdraft Protection

    Link a Bank of America account with your card to prevent declined purchases and returned checks.

Visa Benefits

Citi ThankYou Preferred

Perks

  • Personal Concierge Service

    Access to a personal assistant whenever you’d like, for help in a variety of non-emergency situations.

  • Citi® PrivatePass®

    Access to exclusive events and experiences.

Shopping

  • Extended Warranty Protection

    Eligible warranties of 5 years or less can be extended by up to an additional year; up to $10,000 per year.

  • Price Protection

    If you made a purchase in the U.S. that you find advertised at a cheaper price within 60 days, you can get reimbursed the difference; up to $300 per item, $1200 per year.

  • Purchase Protection

    Purchases are covered for 120 days against theft or damage, up to $1,000 per item; up to $50,000 per year.

Travel

  • Travel and Emergency Assistance

    Provides help with emergencies, including legal and medical referrals.

  • Travel Accident Insurance

    Get reimbursed up to $250,000 if you or a family member gets in an accident while traveling.

  • Trip Cancellation / Trip Interruption Insurance

    If a trip is disrupted for an eligible reason, provides reimbursement up to $1,500 per year for non-refundable costs.

  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver

    Provides coverage against theft and collision, as long as the car rental company’s own insurance is declined; up to $50,000.

The Verdict

The ThankYou Preferred card has a number of useful shopping and traveling benefits, while the BofA card may come with none (check your Guide to Benefits to find out).

Here, the picture is clear: the ThankYou Preferred comes with a wider variety of extra benefits, making it more useful in the kinds of situations described above. If you’re planning on traveling with one of these cards the ThankYou Preferred would be a good choice, thanks to the travel protections, the Private Pass benefit, and rewards for dining and entertainment.

The Personal Concierge service can also be a great asset, helping with travel reservations and providing info about the places you go, like where to eat and find fun things to do.

Insider Tip: Learn more about the benefits offered by both cards:

Here’s an overview of the benefits offered by each card:

Bank of America Cash Rewards ThankYou Preferred

Perks

  • Personal Concierge Service
  • Citi Private Pass

Account

  • Account alerts
  • Mobile banking
  • Text banking
  • Choose Your Due Date

Security

  • $0 Fraud Protection
  • Overdraft Protection
  • ShopSafe® online shopping protection
  • $0 Liability Fraud Protection
  • Identity Theft Solutions

Shopping

  • Potential Visa Benefits
  • Extended Warranty
  • Price Protection
  • Purchase Protection

Travel

  • Potential Visa Benefits
  • Travel & Emergency Assistance
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver

The Costs & Fees

Card Annual Fee Intro APR for Purchases and Balance Transfers Regular APR for Purchases and Balance Transfers Cash Advance APR Foreign Transaction Fee
Bank of America Cash Rewards $0 0% for 12 months  16.24%–26.24% Variable  19.24%–27.24% Variable 3%
ThankYou Preferred Card $0 0% for 15 months  15.24%–25.24% Variable  26.99% Variable 3%
Card Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
Bank of America Cash Rewards Up to 29.99% Variable Up to $38 Up to $27
ThankYou Preferred Card Up to 29.99% Variable Up to $35 Up to $35

The Verdict

As you can see, these cards are almost the exact same when it comes to their costs and fees. The main features are no annual fees, and long introductory APR’s. This makes it easier to pick between them, because you don’t need to worry about comparing them in this important category.

The only real difference to note is that the ThankYou Preferred offers a slightly longer intro APR period, 15 months compared to 12 for the BofA card. This isn’t a very big difference, however, and shouldn’t have a big effect on your decision.

The Bottom Line

The Bank of America Cash Rewards and the Citi ThankYou Preferred are both popular rewards credit cards, and the right one for you will depend on your shopping habits.

Do you buy a lot of typical purchases like gas and groceries, or do you go out to eat and see shows all the time? Do you do a lot of online shopping? The interest rates are the same between the cards, so the decision will come down to the rewards and benefits. If you can’t decide between the two, you can consider applying for both cards (it won’t hurt your credit to have multiple credit cards, and can actually be a good thing).

I’m currently a Bank of America Cash Rewards cardmember, so I’ll relate a quick story about my experience with it. Shortly after being accepted for the card, I received a call from their customer service. They wanted to know if I had any questions about my new card, or about the way credit cards work in general. I did have a few questions I had been wondering about, in fact, and they answered me patiently and with more expertise than other credit card customer service representatives I’ve spoken to. I was very happy with the call. (I also have a bank account with Bank of America).

Do you use one of these cards? How do you like it? Click here to leave your own review of the Bank of America Cash Rewards, or click here to leave a review for the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card.

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