Citi ThankYou Preferred Credit Card Review

3.8 stars out of 5

The Smart Investor has collected card information independently. Issuers did not provide the details, nor are they responsible for their accuracy. The review is not a recommendation, the actual rates/fees may be different.

The Citi ThankYou Preferred Card is an easy attraction for anyone who frequently enjoys a night out on the town. It offers generous rewards on a broad range of bar, restaurant, and entertainment purchases with an introductory APR of 0%.

The card markets itself toward young singles with elite credit scores (above 700) who spend most of their income on dining, concerts, sporting events, and other social activities. Its biggest draw is it earns you 2 Citi ThankYou points for every dollar spent on restaurants and entertainment, with every point worth between 0.5 cents and 1 cent depending on how you redeem them. You can redeem them in several forms, including cash back, gift cards, or Amazon credit. For example, every 10,000 points get you an $80 purchase on Amazon, valuing each point at 0.8 cents.

While all of that may sound tempting to even the most casual of socialites, the varied value of the Citi ThankYou points can be off-putting to some customers. It’s also worth considering the card’s lack of sign-up bonus, which the majority of credit cards offer in some form.

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card – and whether or not it’s the right fit for your lifestyle…

Citi ThankYou Preferred Card

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Here’s a summary of the main pros & cons (click to see explanation or scroll down):



Citi ThankYou Preferred Card – Benefits

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card – and whether or not it’s right for your wallet…

The card’s rewards system applies to a broad range of dining and entertainment options. For instance, the “restaurants” category encompasses full-service “sit-down” restaurants, as well as fast-food restaurants.

The “entertainment” category is even broader. While it covers live entertainment like concerts and sporting events, it also covers movie theaters, amusement parks, carnivals, zoos, aquariums, museums, art galleries, and even streaming services like Netflix and Spotify. 

Think about it: if you’re already one of Netflix’s 137 million subscribers, you can easily earn 264 points a year just by paying for your $11/month plan with your Citi ThankYou Preferred Card.

Card customers can use their redeemed Citi ThankYou points to purchase products from more than 300 different brands. Brands and companies that accept the points for shopping rewards include Apple, Hewlett Packard, Samsung, Under Armour, Samsonite, Fitbit, Disney, and hundreds more.

One of the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card’s biggest perks is its strong introductory 0% APR. This policy lets new cardholders pay no interest on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. 

After that period, customers take on a variable APR between 15.49% and 25.49%, which is fair considering the average credit card rate near 15.96% is above the low end of the range.

Arguably the card’s most enticing benefit is the $0 annual fee, meaning you don’t have to worry about swiping your card enough to cover a fixed yearly payment. This is an enormous and unique benefit, as the average annual credit card fee sits near $147. It’s particularly unique among Citi credit cards since their average annual fee is $190, the highest of all major U.S.-based issuers.

However, the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card’s rare $0 annual fee is counterbalanced by an even rarer drawback not seen in many credit cards…

Citi ThankYou Preferred Card – Drawbacks

The Citi ThankYou points have poor redemption value, with cash back being the worst deal per points as noted in the Benefits section above. This means the card urges you to redeem your points in the form of less useful options like retail gift cards.

For example, let’s say you’re looking to redeem 20,000 Citi ThankYou points. Cash can be used anywhere, so most customers may opt to redeem their points for cash back. However, since the redemption value per point is only 0.5 cents when selecting the cash-back option, you’d only receive $100 in cash instead of $200 in gift cards to a retailer of your choice. This difference significantly reduces the value of your Citi ThankYou points and therefore diminishes the purpose of swiping your card when selecting the cash-back option.

The card offers no sign-up bonus, something customers often expect when signing up for a new credit card.

Even cards generous enough to offer no annual fee still typically offer some kind of sign-up bonus, big or small. For example, the Capital One Savor Card, which also offers rewards on dining and entertainment purchases, gives you a sign-up bonus of $500 once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months.

When it comes to attracting new customers, the sign-up bonus usually does the heavy lifting. Unfortunately, the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card doesn’t have a shiny bonus to offer.

The card poorly rewards other common expenses outside of dining and entertainment. It only offers 1 Citi ThankYou point per dollar on daily necessities like groceries and clothes. 

Anyone who spends more at the supermarket than at your trendy neighborhood bar may want to consider a different credit card.

Alternatives to Citi ThankYou Preferred Card

Several other cards offer similar rewards to the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card while also providing sign-up bonuses and superior rewards in other spending categories.

The savor card offers 4 points for each dollar spent on dining and entertainment, compared to the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card’s 2 points per dollar. It additionally offers 2 points per dollar spent at grocery stores, as well as the previously mentioned $500 sign-up bonus.

The Wells Fargo propel card offers 3 points for every dollar spent not just on dining and entertainment purchases but also on flights, hotels, car rentals, gas station purchases, and more. 

Plus, it boasts one of the best sign-up bonuses out there: you can earn 30,000 bonus points (or $300 in cash back) when you spend $3,000 in the first three months

If you find yourself not going out as much as you used to, the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express offers 3 points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets and grocery stores. It also offers 2 points per dollar on purchases from gas stations and department stores.

Is the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card Right for You?

The absence of a sign-up bonus may easily scare off young customers only looking for a card with massive perks. But if you enjoy going out with friends most weekends and prefer a variety of redemption options, the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card is a solid choice for a social-spending credit card.