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

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, including American Express, see our disclosure page.

Image of ThankYou® Preferred Credit Card
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"A good card for earning ThankYou® points from your spending on dining and entertainment. It also has a decent bonus worth approximately $150."

Contents

The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card provides a decent 2% rewards rate on dining and entertainment purchases. Consumers who frequent movie theaters, bars and restaurants (both take-out and sit-in) can find value in keeping this card in their wallets. One of the only gripes we have with the Citi ThankYou® Preferred 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). Your rewards will have to take the form of gift cards or travel booked through Citi’s ThankYou® Travel Center.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Strong ThankYou® Points bonus, worth roughly $150

Cons

  • Limited value and flexibility of ThankYou® Points versus comparable rewards programs

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

The Citi ThankYou® Preferred card is a decent rewards credit card for individuals with good credit scores (around the 720 mark). 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 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.

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 only ones which will get users the competitive 2% rewards rate we mention above. If you exchange your ThankYou® points for cash back, for example, you will earn between 0.5% and 1% cash back.

One of the better aspects of the card is its 15,000 point welcome bonus, worth approximately $150. As far as ‘no annual fee’ credit cards are concerned this is a fairly decent reward. 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 blow the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card out of the water – the best ones we see are worth upwards of $600, and generally have higher rewards that make up for the annual fee.

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 good welcome bonus, and 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 with the ThankYou® Travel Center or exchange them for various gift cards.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card Benefits & Features

Image of ThankYou® Preferred Credit Card
Annual Fee $0*
Purchase APR 14.49% - 24.49%* (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 14.49% - 24.49% 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*

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 has a broad definition of what a restaurant is. Fast food, fine dining establishments, bars, cocktail lounges, and nightclubs all count towards the 2x point category. Note 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. It includes live performances, sports stadiums, movie theaters, amusement parks, tourist attractions and museums, record stores, and video rental stores.

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 at 1-800-842-6596. You can explain the purchase to the representative you speak with, and it is possible they will reward you the appropriate points. You can do the same thing pre-emptively, by calling that number ahead of time and inquiring about a particular vendor.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Rewards Rate

Given the above rewards distribution, we calculated 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 and Citi ThankYou® Prestige, we have constructed the graph below. The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card is bested by all cards in this regard. While the Citi ThankYou® Premier and Citi ThankYou® Prestige provide better rewards rates, they also come with annual fees - $95 and $450 respectively.

This graph compares how the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card stacks up against the Citi ThankYou Premier and the Citi Prestige

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card Bonus

Currently, the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card signup bonus is 15,000 ThankYou® Points. Our analysis has shown that ThankYou® Points, earned through the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, can be worth up to $0.01 per point. Therefore, we value the welcome bonus at 15,000 x $0.01 = $150.

In order to qualify for the bonus, cardholders must spend $1,500 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Things such as balance transfers and cash advances will not count towards this requirement. Also, you must not have had a Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card account within the past 18 months.

What Can I Redeem ThankYou® Points On?

The points earned through the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card can be redeemed on gift cards, flights, and more. Unlike some other Citi credit cards, using the Citi ThankYou® Preferred can only earn you a value of $0.01 at best. You can view the total list of available redemptions in the table below, along with the point value of each option.

Usage Example Value Per Point
Cash Back $50 Cash Back: 10,000 points .5 cents
Gift Cards $25 Best Buy Gift Card: 2,500 points 1 cent
Redeem For Flights $450 fare: 45,000 points 1 cent
Shopping $829 Apple iPad Mini: 100,000 points .83 cents
Statement Credit $10 Statement Credit: 2,000 points .5 cents
Select And Credit $150 Credit: 20,000 points  .75 cents
Amazon $80 purchase: 10,000 points  0.8 cents

Booking flights and hotels can be done though the ThankYou® Travel Center. We have found this to be somewhat limited, as it will generally not have as many bookings available at the same low prices, that you could find through other travel sites. To redeem ThankYou® on travel or the above mentioned methods, you must login to your account by going to the Citi ThankYou® website, or by calling 1-800-842-6596.

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

In order to see whether the Citi ThankYou® Preferred 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 vs Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer

The Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer 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 - 18 month BT offer is superior to the Citi ThankYou® Prefered Card, which only earns users a 2% rewards rate only with dining and entertainment purchases. One downside of the Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer is the absence of a welcome bonus. Over time, however, getting the extra 1% rewards rate on your purchases will more than make up for this. 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 vs Citi ThankYou® Premier

The Citi ThankYou® Premier is a travel rewards credit card, which comes with a $95 annual fee (waived the first year). We recommend this card to individuals who travel frequently, at least once a year, and spend at least $10,000 annually. Using the Citi ThankYou® Premier card also increases the value of the ThankYou® points earned. Whenever you redeem points through the ThankYou® Travel Center, you will receive a 25% increase in ThankYou® point value. Like the Citi ThankYou® Preferred, the Citi ThankYou® Premier 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 is the better choice.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred vs Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is yet another travel rewards credit card. Unless you are a frequent traveler, the Citi ThankYou® Preferred can be more rewarding than the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to. If you do, however, 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. In addition, it earns you a 2.5% rewards rate on travel purchases.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred vs Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

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. If you are diligent in your credit card payments, and never carry a balance, the Citi ThankYou® Preferred is the favorite. There is simply no beating the ability to earn rewards with each purchase.

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.

Edit Monthly Spend: $1,430
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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.

Bonus Value

The bonus field shows our estimate for the value of the card’s sign-up 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.

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 sign-up 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.

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
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95 2.86%
$625
50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
$1,028
Graph Card Read Review More Details
Annual Fee Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
APR 16.99% - 23.99% 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®
  • 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 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

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
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
$95, waived for first 12 months* 2.38%
$360
Earn 30,000 bonus points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
$858
Graph Card Read Review More Details
Annual Fee $95, waived for first 12 months*
APR 15.49% - 24.49% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
  • 50,000 ThankYou® Points are redeemable for $625 in airfare on any airline, anytime with no blackout dates when booked through the ThankYou Travel Center or $500 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • Earn 3X Points on Travel, Including Gas Stations
  • Earn 2X Points on Dining Out & Entertainment
  • Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • Points Transfer allows you to transfer points to participating airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases*

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 49,440 x $0.012 = $593
Bonuses
30,000 x $0.012 = $360
Less Annual Fees -$95
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 858
ThankYou® Preferred Credit Card
$0* 1.52%
$150
Earn 15,000 bonus ThankYou points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
$548
Graph Card Read Review More Details
Annual Fee $0*
APR 14.49% - 24.49%* (Variable)
*Rates and Fees

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 14.49% - 24.49% 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*

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 39,840 x $0.01 = $398
Bonuses
15,000 x $0.01 = $150
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 548
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
$0* 0.00%
$0
$0
Graph Card Read Review More Details
Annual Fee $0*
APR 13.99% - 23.99%* (Variable)
*Rates and Fees

Card Details

  • Get 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 21 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% - 23.99% based upon your creditworthiness*
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer
  • Citi® Price Rewind searches for lower prices online for 60 days for your registered purchases: you can get back up to $500 per item and $2,500 a year*
  • $0 liability on unauthorized purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions
  • No annual fee*
  • Free access to FICO® Scores*

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 0 - $0
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 0

Comments and Questions

* 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.

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.