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Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card: A Good ‘No Annual Fee’ Rewards Card

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card: A Good ‘No Annual Fee’ Rewards Card

A good card for earning ThankYou® points from your spending on dining and entertainment.
Editor's Rating: 4.0/5.0

Editor's Rating

4.0/5.0

The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card provides a decent 2% rewards rate on dining and entertainment purchases. Consumers who frequent movie theaters, bars and restaurants can find value in keeping this card in their wallets. One of the only gripes we have with the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card is the fact that it earns users ThankYou® Points, which are somewhat limited in the things they can be exchanged for (relative to other similar programs).

Review: Is the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card Worth It?

The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card is a decent rewards credit card for individuals with excellent credit. The highest rewards rate you can achieve with the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card is 2% (which is competitive) - to get this rate you must spend exclusively on dining and entertainment categories. Whenever you spend outside the two categories mentioned, the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card earns you a rewards rate of just 1%. Some of the best flat rate cash back cards can get you that 2% rate on all the purchases you make. For example, the Fidelity Investment Rewards will provide you with better overall results on every dollar of your spending.

Good For…

Bad For…
No annual feeLimited value and flexibility of ThankYou® Points versus comparable rewards programs

The biggest crutch we see with the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card is its dependence on the ThankYou® rewards program, which we generally find to have limited good redemption options for most consumers. The only two worthwhile options really are just: redeeming for travel through Citi’s travel portal, and gift cards. While other redemptions exist, those are the ones which will generally get the highest rewards rates. If your average annual spending is high enough - say, past the $10,000 mark - we suggest looking at some fee credit card options, especially if you care about earning bonus points or miles. Some of the best bonus offers are worth upwards of $600.

The bottom line is that the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card is an okay choice, especially for individuals who cannot qualify for the top-tier cash back credit cards. The card has a decent rewards rate when paying for movie and concert tickets, drinks at a bar, or the #2 combo at your favorite fast food joint. While the accompanying rewards program leaves a lot to be desired, you can still use your points to pay for an upcoming trip or exchange them for various gift cards.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card Benefits & Features

The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card is all about earning ThankYou® Points. When the card is used to pay for dining at restaurants, and entertainment you will earn 2 ThankYou® Points for every $1 spent. Every other purchase, which doesn’t fall into those two categories awards just 1 point per $1.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card
Annual Fee
$0*
Purchase APR
15.49% - 25.49%* (Variable)
Credit Needed Excellent Credit
Details
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR on purchases for 15 months from date of account opening and 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months from date of first transfer; after that, the variable APR will be 15.49% - 25.49% based upon your creditworthiness*
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater*
  • Earn 2X Points on Dining Out & Entertainment
  • Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases
  • Points are redeemable for gift cards to popular retailers, restaurants, and department and home stores. 2,500 ThankYou® Points can be redeemed for a $25 gift card at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No annual fee*

Citi has a broad definition of what a restaurant is. However, not that not all purchases of food will earn you 2 ThankYou® Points. For example, cafeterias in department stores, which are not part of another food chain, will likely earn you just 1 point per $1 – this is because your purchase will be categorized as being made at a department store, and not a restaurant. Entertainment is even more general of a category than dining.

If you made a purchase that you think should be classified under either dining at restaurants or entertainment, but only received 1 point per $1, you have the option to call ThankYou® customer service and can explain the purchase to the representative you speak with, and it is possible they will reward you the appropriate points.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card Rewards Rate

We calculate the rewards rate of the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card to be between 1% and 2%. To those wondering how that compares with some of the other ThankYou® point credit cards, such as the the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, we have constructed the graph below.

Credit CardMinimum Rewards RateMaximum Rewards Rate
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card1.00%2.00%
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card1.00%3.00%

How does the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card Compare to other Credit Cards?

In order to see whether the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card is good for you, or even good in general, it is important to see it against the backdrop of other available credit cards. Below we see how this card fares against some of its leading competitors.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card vs Citi® Double Cash Card

The Citi® Double Cash Card is one of our favorite cash back credit cards. It rewards users with 1% cash back on all purchases, then another 1% when you pay off a purchase. Therefore, we think the Citi® Double Cash Card is superior to the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, which only earns users a 2% rewards rate only with dining and entertainment purchases. If you are concerned about maximizing short term value, there is no reason why you can’t get both cards – since there is no annual fee on either card, this is a viable option.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card vs Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.

Citi ThankYou® Premier Card is a travel rewards credit card, which comes with a $95 annual fee (waived the first 12 months). We recommend this card to individuals who travel frequently, at least once a year, and spend at least $10,000 annually. Like the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card offers 2 points on dining and entertainment purchases - making the two cards equal in that regard. Generally, if your annual spending is high enough to justify paying the $95 annual fee, the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card is the better choice.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card vs Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is yet another travel rewards credit card. If you find yourself flying or booking hotel stays at least once per year, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the best cards you can have at your disposal. It offers a fantastic welcome bonus, worth $625, provided you spend $4,000 on the card within the first 3 months. In addition, it earns you a 2.5% rewards rate on travel purchases.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card vs Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card is meant for individuals who want to get their credit card balance under control. It doesn’t offer any rewards from spending at all. Instead, it allows you to transfer a credit card balance from another card(s), and allows you to pay it down with no interest over 21 months. This is ideal for consumers who cannot pay off their credit card bill and are stuck paying interest month-to-month. After the intro period your APR will be 14.99% - 24.99%* (Variable), based on your creditworthiness.

Comparison Tool

Because the choice of a credit card is a highly personalized process, we have built a tool which lets you see the rewards you can expect given your own spending habits. Enter your estimated monthly spending into the categories below, and we will calculate for you the rewards rate you can expect from each of the cards listed below.

Assumptions Based On Monthly Spend of: $1,430 Edit
General:
U.S. Gas Stations:
U.S. Supermarkets:
Airlines:
Hotel:
U.S. Restaurants:
Office:
Utilities:
Computing:
Card Annual Fee 2-yr Net Rewards Rate

The Net Rewards Rate is equal to the Rewards Value over two years divided by the total spending. The total spending is equal to the values entered into the tool and multiplied by 24 months. See the rewards Value note to see details on how it is calculated.

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

Bonus Value

The bonus field shows our estimate for the value of the card’s welcome bonus. If the bonus is point or mile based, we multiply the total bonus points/miles by our estimate for their value to arrive at a dollar equivalent. We display $0 if there is no bonus or if the user doesn’t qualify for the bonus based on the current spending entered into the tool. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

2-yr Rewards Value

The Rewards value is calculated by adding together the rewards earned from charging purchases to the card over two years and any welcome bonuses (if applicable). They are then multiplied by our estimated point/mile value, with any annual fees (if applicable) subtracted. All values are based on our own estimates for the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using a card and on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95 3.00%
$625
50,000 Ultimate Rewards when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
$1,028
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 39,840 x $0.013 = $498
Bonuses
50,000 x $0.013 = $625
Less Annual Fees -$95
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 1,028

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
APR 17.74% - 24.74% Variable

Card Details

  • 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.
  • 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
Citi® Double Cash Card
$0* 2.00%
$0
$686
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 686 x $1 = $686
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 686

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0*
APR 15.49% - 25.49%* (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.49% - 25.49% based on your creditworthiness*
  • Click 'Apply Now' to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases
  • No categories to track, no caps on cash back, no annual fee*
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card
$0* 1.16%
$0
$398
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 39,840 x $0.01 = $398
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 398

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0*
APR 15.49% - 25.49%* (Variable)

Card Details

  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR on purchases for 15 months from date of account opening and 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months from date of first transfer; after that, the variable APR will be 15.49% - 25.49% based upon your creditworthiness*
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater*
  • Earn 2X Points on Dining Out & Entertainment
  • Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases
  • Points are redeemable for gift cards to popular retailers, restaurants, and department and home stores. 2,500 ThankYou® Points can be redeemed for a $25 gift card at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No annual fee*

Comments and Questions

Opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the issuer. We may be compensated through the issuer's Affiliate Program. For a full list of our advertisers see our disclosure page

* See the online credit card application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button, you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the issuer's website.

Info about the following cards: Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, Hilton Honors Surpass® Credit Card, American Express® Blue Sky, American Express® Green Card, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, The Plenti® Credit Card from Amex, Blue from American Express®, Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz, Bluebird, Centurion® Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, and Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card has been collected independently by ValuePenguin. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the offers that appear on this website are from companies which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products. For more information please see our Advertiser Disclosure.