Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students

Robin Saks Frankel  in  Student How we rate our cards  | 

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Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

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Annual Fee:
Purchase Intro APR:
Regular APR:
16.49% - 26.49%* (Variable)
Terms and Restrictions Apply

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Editor’s note: This offer is no longer available. For other student cards check out our list of the Best Student Credit Cards.

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 16.49% to 26.49% 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.


  • You’ll pay no annual fee with this card.
  • The entertainment category is broad and includes things like concerts, tourist attractions, video game stores and sporting events.
  • It has a sign-up bonus, which most other student credit cards do not.


  • If you just want straight cash-back you may be better off with a different card.
  • The rewards take on the most value when you redeem them for gift cards or travel on Citi’s ThankYou site.
  • You have to show a source of income to qualify for the card.
  • You may be hit variable penalty APR of up to 29.99% and may be applied if you make a late payment or make a payment that is returned.

Fees and APR

  • Enjoy a 0% APR introductory on purchases for 7 months after account opening.
  • Regular APR is a variable 16.49% to 26.49%, 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 $10,000 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 and choose what you’d like to redeem your points for.