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

ThankYou® Preferred Credit 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 ThankYou® Preferred Credit 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 ThankYou® Preferred Credit 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 ThankYou® Preferred Credit Card Worth It?

The ThankYou® Preferred Credit Card is a decent rewards credit card for individuals with good credit scores. The highest rewards rate you can achieve with the ThankYou® Preferred Credit 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 ThankYou® Preferred Credit 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 ThankYou® Preferred Credit 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 you exchange your ThankYou® points for cash back, for example, you will earn a rewards rate of 0.5%.

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, and generally have higher rewards that make up for the annual fee.

The bottom line is that the ThankYou® Preferred Credit 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.

ThankYou® Preferred Credit Card Benefits & Features

The ThankYou® Preferred Credit 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.

ThankYou® Preferred Credit Card
ThankYou® Preferred Credit Card
Annual Fee
No Annual Fee
Purchase APR
12.99%, 17.99% or 22.99% Variable
Credit Needed Excellent
Details
  • Points don't expire
  • $0 liability if your card is stolen
  • Citi Private Pass
  • Chip technology makes global travel easy
  • Rental insurance
  • Lost luggage coverage
  • Travel insurance

Citi has a broad definition of what a restaurant is. Fast food, bars, lounges, and cafes 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 theatrical productions, sporting events, 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.

ThankYou® Preferred Credit Card 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. While the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card and Citi Prestige® Card provide better rewards rates, they also come with annual fees - $95 and $450 respectively.

Credit CardMinimum Rewards RateMaximum Rewards Rate
ThankYou® Preferred Credit Card1.00%2.00%
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card1.25%3.75%
Citi Prestige® Card1.25%3.75%

What Can I Redeem ThankYou® Points On?

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

Usage

ExampleValue Per Point
Cash Back$50 Cash Back: 10,000 points.5 cents
Gift Cards$25 Best Buy Gift Card: 2,500 points1 cent
Redeem For Flights$450 fare: 45,000 points1 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 points0.8 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 ThankYou® Preferred Credit Card Compare to other Credit Cards?

In order to see whether the ThankYou® Preferred Credit 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.

ThankYou® Preferred Credit Card vs Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.

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 ThankYou® Preferred Credit 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.

ThankYou® Preferred Credit Card vs Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

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. 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 ThankYou® Preferred Credit 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.

ThankYou® Preferred Credit 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. In addition, it earns you a 2.5% rewards rate on travel purchases.

ThankYou® Preferred Credit Card 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 ThankYou® Preferred Credit Card 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.

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 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 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.
  • 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
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
$0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $95 2.50%
$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 and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 49,440 x $0.012 = $593
Bonuses
0 x $0.012 = $0
30,000 x $0.012 = $360
Less Annual Fees -$95
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 858

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

Annual Fee $0 Intro Annual Fee for the first year then $95
APR 14.24%, 17.99% - 23.24% Variable

Card Details

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 liability if your card is stolen
  • Citi Private Pass
  • Chip technology makes global travel easy
  • Rental insurance
  • Lost luggage coverage
  • Travel insurance
ThankYou® Preferred Credit Card
No Annual Fee 1.60%
$150
Earn 15,000 bonus ThankYou points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
$548
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
Bonuses
15,000 x $0.01 = $150
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 548

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

Annual Fee No Annual Fee
APR 12.99%, 17.99% or 22.99% Variable

Card Details

  • Points don't expire
  • $0 liability if your card is stolen
  • Citi Private Pass
  • Chip technology makes global travel easy
  • Rental insurance
  • Lost luggage coverage
  • Travel insurance
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
No Annual Fee 0.00%
$0
$0
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

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

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

Annual Fee No Annual Fee
APR 14.74% to 24.74% Variable

Card Details

  • $0 fraud liability if card is stolen
  • Special cardholder access to a variety of ticket presales
  • Rental car insurance
  • Travel insurance and purchase protection
  • Free access to your FICO score

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: American Express® Gold Card, Delta Reserve® 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 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.