If you’ve seen the recent commercial where a father agrees to buy his little girl and her friends Katy Perry tickets without a second thought, you may be wondering what that was all about. Well, his logic was, he’d just use his Citi ThankYou card and it would all be worth it. Ah, marketing.
Today, I’ll be reviewing the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card, which earns its very own “ThankYou Points”. Let’s check out the benefits below!
- Sign-up Bonus
For this credit card, you’ll earn 20,000 bonus ThankYou points when you spend $1,000 in three months. This is roughly equivalent to $200.
- ThankYou Points
For each dollar that you spend on the Citi ThankYou Preferred Credit Card, you will receive one point. This is not a lot in the grand scheme of the rewards credit card world, as there are some cards that offer up to five points per dollar on special categories (ie- Chase Ink Bold at Office Supply stores). However, each point can be redeemed for gifts, travel, gift cards, and other items in the ThankYou store. A cursory look in the store saw digital cameras going for 9,800 points. So, you would have to spend $9,800 for a digital camera that may cost $200, about 2% return on spending.
- Bonus Categories
For this card, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar on dining and entertainment expenses that you charge to the credit card. These can be any restaurant, movie tickets, Broadway shows, whatever you choose!
- Annual Fee
One major benefit is the annual fee, which is absolutely zero dollars. Compared to the $89 fee of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, this is a great benefit, but you get what you pay (or don’t pay) for. The benefits for the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card vastly expand upon the ThankYou cards, but for some that don’t need all the bells and whistles, the ThankYou card is sufficient.
- O Percent APR on Balance Transfers/Purchases (15 Months)
For a 15 month introductory period, all balance transfers and purchases are not subject to an APR. This means, you won’t have to pay an interest payment for 15 months. However, I always recommend to pay off your credit card bill each month, and to spend within your means. No one wants to wake up one day with a bill they cannot pay, and every dollar of interest you pay will deduct from the next dollar benefit of the “free” travel you earn from being a responsible credit card spender. After the fifteen month period is over, though, an APR of between 12.99 percent and 22.99 percent exists, depending on your credit score.
I was traveling in Europe last year, and had a lot of trouble with my Chase Sapphire Preferred card there because many scanners use “chip” technology, which is similar to the security of a debit card. A user of a credit card has a PIN number and enters it when paying a bill. No signature is required, hence the similarities to debit transactions. Since, Chase Sapphire Preferred has come out with the technology, and so has the ThankYou credit card. However, the ThankYou card does charge a 3% fee for foreign transactions, washing away any rewards you may earn for using the credit card and negating this benefit.
- Anniversary Bonus
An added bonus for loyal cardmembers is an “anniversary bonus” for those that stay on as cardmembers year over year. For the first year, you’ll earn one percentage bonus on all the points you earned that year (so every 100 points, you’ll receive 1 point). After year two, you’ll receive a 2% bonus on ThankYou points earned, and after the third year, and every year after that, you’ll receive a three percent bonus. These aren’t huge bonuses, but something is better than nothing!
The Citi ThankYou Card is a great beginner card for those looking to earn bonuses for use on gifts. Its annual fee of zero is also an attractive benefit for those looking to keep costs for card ownership as low as possible. Finally, its anniversary bonuses and no-APR for fifteen months enables the card to be a good bet for those who wish to have a “low maintenance” way to reap rewards while building credit.
However, for serious points earners, the card isn’t going to make you a million points over night. The percentage cardholders get back (barely above 1 percent for long-term cardholders) isn’t good enough for me to put it in my wallet. I understand that there are those out there for whom this card may be a good “starter card,” though, and for those reasons, I can recommend it to new consumers in the credit card market.