In the quest to offer consumers higher incentives to use their credit cards, many major credit card issuers are constantly trying to top competitors. And while most card holders are looking for cash back or points from major travel brands, sometimes the bank’s own loyalty programs can offer the best rewards.
The Citi ThankYou Premier card is one such offer that lets cardholders earn points in a proprietary rewards system. But what makes this current offer unique is that instead of a sign-up bonus, new cardholders are given the chance to earn double points for two full years.
How The Citi ThankYou Premier Card Words
New applicants will receive the benefit of two separate promotions. First, all purchases will be subject to double rewards for 24 months after opening an account. That means two ThankYou points will be earned for each dollar spent. In addition, Citi will also waive the annual fee of $125 for the first year. This means that instead of receiving a fixed amount of points as a sign-up bonus, cardholder will be able to earn an unlimited amount of bonus points based on their spending in their first two years of card membership.
After those two years end, cardholders will earn one point per dollar on most purchases, and 1.2 points per dollar, a 20% bonus, from transactions at gas stations, supermarkets, drugstores, commuter transportation, and parking merchants. In addition, cardmembers also receive bonus points in proportion to the number of years they have been a cardholder. Card members receive a 1% point bonus after their first year, 2% after their second year, continuing to a maximum of a 5% anniversary bonus each year after four years of card membership.
When it comes time to redeem ThankYou points, Citi offers a variety of cash back, gift card, and travel rewards options. Although cash back and statement redemption options only offer .62 and .71 cents per point respectively, there are gift card, student loan, and mortgage payment options that return a full one cent per point in value. Premier cardholders are even able to redeem points for airfare purchases at a rate of 1.33 cents per point, which is by far the best value. Furthermore, these reward flights have even more value than frequent flier mile redemptions as these tickets earn points for the miles flown and are eligible for upgrades using miles earned in frequent flyer programs, an option that is not available when airline points are redeemed directly for reward flights.
Additionally, the ThankYou Premier card also offers some other valuable travel savings offers. Cardholders receive an annual complimentary domestic companion ticket valid within the lower 48 states as well as a 15% discount when booking air travel through Citi’s travel benefits provider, Spirit Incentives. Finally, there are no foreign transaction fees on purchases processed outside the United States. The standard interest rate on purchases is equal to the Prime Rate plus 10.74%, 14.74%, or 19.74%, depending on the applicant’s credit history.
Benefits and Drawbacks
Over the first two years of card membership, when earning double points for all purchases and considering an average of a 1.5% anniversary bonus, cardholders will earn 2.015 points per dollar spent. If those points are redeemed for airfare, it equates to a value of 2.68 cents per dollar spent. And unlike frequent flier mile rewards, this value is not diminished by limited award ticket availability, the necessity to forgo mileage accrual and status earning segments, or the prospect of being upgraded. It is also great to see another card that does not charge unnecessary foreign transaction fees.
There is no promotional financing offer with this card, so as with most reward cards, this offer is best for those who do not carry a balance. Consumers who have debt or think they will be taking on new debt are best off with a 0% APR credit card that offers rewards.
Who this card is for
The Citi ThankYou Premier card is a great option for travelers who have lost the desire to earn frequent flier miles that are difficult or impossible to redeem. By offering well over two cents per dollar spent in reward value over two years, and by waiving the first year’s annual fee, Citi is giving credit card users every incentive to try out their ThankYou Premier card.