Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students
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We’re tempted to grade the Citi ThankYou Preferred for College Students card twice: Once as a rewards credit card for college students, and once as a student card for those new to credit.
This is a terrific credit card for students who don’t carry a balance and pay on time every time. It offers some top-notch rewards without the quarterly caps we see on many of the other reward cards for students.
But if you’re new to credit and you carry a balance or make a mistake by paying late — even once — this credit card can prove punishing.
Ultimately, that’s why we couldn’t offer a higher grade here.
The no-fee card aims to reward college students for having fun. It pays 2 points per $1 spent on dining at restaurants and on entertainment purchases. All other spending earns 1 point per $1.
Unlike most other student cards, you can also earn a welcome bonus. This one is relatively easy to grab. You’ll earn 2,500 points – worth $25 – if you spend $500 within the first three months of account opening.
And there’s also a nice 7 month 0% APR offer on purchases, which could come in handy for start-of-the-semester expenses. After that, the variable APR will be 16.24% to 26.24% based on your creditworthiness.
Keep in mind you won’t qualify for this card without some kind of income. And if studying or traveling abroad is in your near future, this is not the card to use as it comes with a 3% foreign transaction fee.
Who should get this card
Students who have a part-time job, a full-time job or some other source of income besides the bank of Mom and Dad could do well with the Citi ThankYou Preferred for College Students card. Its unlimited rewards on dining and entertainment may be attractive to young adults.
Fees and APR
- Enjoy a 0% APR introductory on purchases for 7 months after account opening.
- Regular APR is a variable 16.24% to 26.24%, which is high.
- You’ll pay no annual fee.
- A 3% foreign transaction fee will be added to all purchases made outside the U.S.
Extras, perks and using points
The card comes with several Citi perks including extended warranty protection, which can extend an original manufacturer’s warranty for an additional year; price protection, which can refund you the difference in price if an eligible item you purchased is found for less within 60 days; and some coverage protections against damage or theft, up to $1,000 per item and up to a maximum of $50,000 a year.
The card also comes with Citi Private Pass, which lets you buy tickets to events even if they’re sold out to the general public (and might make you the most popular person on campus.)
To use ThankYou Points, log into Citi’s rewards site at thankyou.com and choose what you’d like to redeem your points for.
How this card compares
The Discover it® Student Cash Back is a card designed for young adults, but one that has had its training wheels removed. Unlike many student cards, this one comes with few fees, a low annual percentage rate for qualified cardholders and generous rewards. This is one of the very best credit cards for college students.
The Discover it® Student chrome has the same rates and perks as the Discover it® Student Cash Back but instead of rotating bonus categories, it pays 2% cash back on gas and restaurants, up to $1,000 per quarter, and an unlimited 1% on everything else. Although this might make it attractive to some, the rewards potential is greater with the Discover it® Student Cash Back card.
The Journey Student Rewards from Capital One card is decent for those just starting to build up their credit score or anyone with average credit who may not qualify for other cards. But there are other cards aimed at those with less-than-stellar credit that offer better cash back rewards and you’re likely to get a better rate on the APR too.