Citi ThankYou Premier Card

Bankrate Score
Learn about the Bankrate score

Even without a sign-up bonus, there's strong rewards-earning potential.

Advertiser Disclosure: This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertising partners.

If you’re OK with redeeming rewards for airfare through the card’s travel portal, the Citi ThankYou Premier Card gives you excellent value. With wide definitions for what qualifies as travel and entertainment, faithful users of the card should be able to score free flights fast.

But if you value maximum flexibility over rewards-earning potential, this may not be the best card for you.

Review

The Citi ThankYou Premier Card suffers from mood swings. This card’s appeal improved greatly when Citi boosted the sign-up bonus earlier in 2017. That move alone pushed this card into the top tier of travel rewards credit cards, especially considering its modest (in comparison) annual fee.

But then Citi killed the bonus in September 2017. Losing the once lucrative sign-up bonus may make this card seem less appealing than one that offers an initial bonus, but anyone who spends a decent amount of time in their car will likely get more value over the long term from a card that pays big rewards on gas, parking and tolls. (We strongly weight sign-up bonuses when considering our score for travel credit cards. That’s why this card’s score is now so low.) It’s worth noting that at 3x the rewards, this card pays as much on gas spending as some of the best gas credit cards on the market.

If your primary objective is to earn rewards toward air travel and you don’t mind booking your flights through the Citi ThankYou portal, you can benefit from owning the Citi ThankYou Premier Card. Earn 3 ThankYou Points for every $1 spent under Citi’s broad definition of what counts as travel. Gas stations, parking garages, tolls and even travel agencies will all net you triple rewards. And, downloading music, going to a sporting event, or a movie all count in the entertainment and restaurant categories, which earn 2 ThankYou Points for every $1 spent. All other purchases earn 1 point.

We are disappointed this card doesn’t come with an introductory 0% APR offer on purchases or balance transfers and now no longer has a sign-up bonus. Other travel rewards cards offer this perk.

Who should get this card

Frequent air travelers who aren’t loyal to a particular airline stand to gain the most from owning this card.

Advantages
  • The Citi ThankYou Premier has a generous rewards structure, especially on gas travel purchases.
  • Points gain 25% in value when used to book airline tickets through the Citi travel portal.
  • The card comes with Citi Price Rewind and some travel insurances and benefits.
Disadvantages
  • You can only transfer points to a select number of airline partners and only one hotel chain.
  • The best value comes from booking through the Citi site, where points are worth 25% more, but this can be limiting as not every airline or hotel are listed in the portal.
  • No sign-up bonus which most other cards have.
  • There’s no introductory APR offer on purchases or balance transfers.

Fees and APR

  • The annual fee of $95 is waived the first year.
  • The APR on purchases and balance transfers is a variable 15.49% to 24.49%.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside of the U.S.
  • There’s a penalty APR of up to 29.99% variable that may apply indefinitely after one late or returned payment. Plus, a late payment fee of up to $35 may apply.

Extras, perks and using rewards

Cards for authorized users are free.

This card has Citi Price Rewind price protection, which may help you get a refund on the price difference if an item you purchased is found at a lower price within 60 days of the initial purchase.

Cardholders also can get pre-sale access to purchase select event tickets. The card also comes with trip and luggage insurances as well as access to emergency and auto protections and concierge services.

Citi ThankYou points are worth 25% more when redeemed for airfare through the ThankYou website. You can also redeem points for gift cards and merchandise, but you’ll forgo the points bonus afforded travel redemptions.

You can transfer your points to participating airline partners and there’s no fee to redeem them.

How this card compares

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Credit Needed

Excellent

Regular APR

16.99% - 23.99% Variable

Annual Fee

Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfers Intro APR

N/A

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card’s hefty sign-up bonus, boosted redemption value when using the Chase portal, and a generous rewards program make this card a stand-out among travel rewards cards offering big value for minimal cost. Since Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be used for everything from flights to lodging to cruises, this also makes it one of the most flexible redemption programs among travel cards.

It pays 2x points on travel and dining and it also offers more travel partners then the Citi ThankYou Premier Card, making it the more flexible option between the two cards. The Citi ThankYou Premier Card pulls ahead when it comes to rewards potential, paying 3 points per dollar on travel — including gas, which might make it a better choice for some.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
  • Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days - that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • No foreign transaction fees on purchases made while traveling abroad
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • There is a fee for balance transfers.
Credit Needed

Excellent

Regular APR

16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99% Variable

Annual Fee

$89 - Waived first year

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfers Intro APR

0% for 12 months (on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening)

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard will likely appeal to those who want the most flexible redemption options for their miles. You can use your earnings to book travel, get a statement credit for travel purchases, or for gift cards and select merchandise. The Arrival Plus pays a 5% redemption bonus every time you cash in your miles. This may be of greater value to you depending on your spending habits.

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.