Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

Bankrate Score
Learn about the Bankrate score

There's strong rewards-earning potential, but wait for a sign-up bonus to apply.

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 provides 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.

Citi then killed the bonus in September 2017, brought it back in January 2018 but at a lower rate than the original offer and then as of August 2018, after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening you can earn 60,000 points which can be redeemed for $750 in airfare on any airline, anytime with no blackout dates when booked through the ThankYou® Travel Center, or $600 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com.

When it’s not offering a sign-up bonus, this card may 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. 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 has a smaller sign-up than other premium rewards cards. 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.
  • Smaller sign-up bonus than other premium rewards cards.
  • 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 16.24% – 25.24%.
  • 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®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 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 travel 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/Good

Regular APR

17.74% - 24.74% Variable

Annual Fee

$0 Intro for 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 60,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days and paying the annual fee
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase
  • Book travel your way—no airline, seat or hotel restrictions—and redeem your miles for travel statement credits
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • International Chip and PIN for use at self-service chip terminals around the world
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
Credit Needed

Good/Excellent

Regular APR

17.74%, 21.74% or 24.74% variable based on your creditworthiness

Annual Fee

$89

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfers Intro APR

0% intro for first 12 billing cycles following each BT that posts 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.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Credit Needed

Excellent, Good

Regular APR

14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)

Annual Fee

$0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfers Intro APR

N/A

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card’s unlimited 2X miles per $1 spent on all purchases makes it less cumbersome to track than cards with different bonus categories. Depending on your spending habits this could work out better or worse for you in terms of mileage earning potential. One of the best attributes of this card is you can book your travel any way you like, on any site, and then redeem your miles as a statement credit towards that purchase. This makes it a more flexible choice than other cards that require you to use their travel portals for maximum value.

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.