Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, a partner card, is a rewards card from Citibank which is powered by the ThankYou rewards program and could work well for you if earning rewards while paying no annual fee is what you're looking for. It comes with solid credit card benefits that will appeal to most credit card users. What exactly are those benefits, and how does the fine print compare to that of similar rewards cards out there?
Here I'll do a detailed review of the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card to help you understand whether this is the best card for you, or if you can get more mileage out of a different card.
Things We Like About Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card
This card has no annual fee. You won't have to pay an annual fee for having this Citi card, so as long as you don't carry a balance you won't really have to pay to use this card at all. And you still enjoy many cardholder privileges.
You earn 2 ThankYou Points for every $1 that you spend on entertainment and dining. If you love eating out and entertainment then this is the card for you. You might be wordering what they mean by "entertainment", so we've put together a basic list of what merchants are included:
- Movie theaters. This is pretty self-explanatory, but basically includes establishments that sell tickets, as well as refreshments, for movie productions.
- Theatrical promoters, including concert promoters and ticketing agencies.
- Sports promoters, meaning merchants that operate and promote live sporting events (professional or semi–professional). In some cases this may also include sports stadiums.
- Amusement parks. If you love amusement parks then this card could fit well into your wallet. Other locations which count as amusement parks include circuses, zoos, and aquariums.
- Tourist attractions meaning locations that operate attractions and exhibits for tourists.
- Museums including art galleries. If you like visiting museums in your leisure time, then this card can help you earn rewards as you educate yourself.
- Record stores includes merchants that sell CDs and even online stores selling music downloads.
- Video rental stores means basically any merchants that rent out DVDs, games or the equipment you need to play them. This even includes online video rentals.
As you can see, you can earn ThankYou Points at a lot of merchants.
Earn 1 ThankYou Point for every $1 spent. You will receive 1 point for every $1 you spend on all your purchases on this card. So using this card for a lot of your spending is a good idea if you want to collect a lot of ThankYou Points.
Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. After this introductory period you will have a 13.24% - 23.24% variable APR depending on your creditworthiness. A balance transfer fee (3% of the amount transferred or $5 minimum) applies to each balance transfer.
You can accumulate unlimited ThankYou Points. This means you can keep on earning as many points as you like, without the pressure of having to use them right away because you've reached the limit of points you can earn.
Your points do not expire. Some rewards programs stamp an expiry date on the points you earn because that way you will redeem points for junk since you can't save up enough points to redeem for something worthwhile. But when you use this card, you can collect all the ThankYou Points you want without worrying about your points expiring.
You can redeem your points in many different ways. The ThankYou rewards program is one of our favorite rewards programs at GET.com because Citi has a lot of partners and gives you many different options. For example, you can redeem your points for gift cards from popular merchants like Apple iTunes, Starbucks, Macy's, Landry's, The Home Depot and dozens more. You can also redeem your points for flights, hotel stays, travel certificates and merchandise like baby products, health products, sporting goods and books. You can even apply your points towards your student loans or mortgage! If you want cold hard cash, 10,000 points will get you a $50 check. Within 1 to 3 weeks of redemption, you will receive a Cash Rewards fulfillment/confirmation letter and check to your mailing address. Amazon.com shoppers will appreciate the fact that the ThankYou Points you collect with this card can be redeemed towards purchases at the checkout.
You get a concierge service! In case you don't know exactly what that means, a concierge service can help you find the cheapest available deals on things you want to buy, search for travel or rental deals, find restaurants that serve the kind of food you feel like (and make reservations), book hotels, locate stores selling difficult-to-find items, and much more. If you take advantage of this service, it can save you serious amounts of time, and time is money. Citi's Personal Concierge Service is a great perk and you won't get anything like this on most cards with no annual fee.
Retail Purchase Protection. When you buy things using your Citi Card, most of the items are eligible for protection against theft, fire or accidental breakage of up to $1,000 for up to 90 days from the date of purchase. So you don't have to worry if the store merchant refuses an item exchange!
Extended Warranty. For most merchandise purchased on your Citi card, the original manufacturers' U.S. warranties (of one year or less) may be extended up to one more year. This is especially useful for electronic products.
You get solid travel insurance when you use this card to pay for trips. If you travel at all, the complimentary insurance you get with this card can save you money. Firstly, you won't have to buy extra travel insurance. Secondly, If disaster strikes, the coverage you get may save the day. We at GET.com were amazed to see this kind of travel insurance coverage offered by a credit card with no annual fee:
- Worldwide auto rental insurance. If you rent a car with this Citi card and damage the car in an accident, you don't have to worry about the cost of repair since this card also includes auto rental insurance. This coverage applies both in the U.S. and abroad.
- Trip cancellation and interruption protection. You can be reimbursed up to $1,500 for non-refundable trip expenses (change fees, for example) per rolling year, if unforeseen circumstances force you to miss out on a trip which you've already paid for using your Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card. This is a benefit which normally only comes with expensive credit cards.
- Worldwide travel accident insuranceIf you are killed or permanently maimed in an accident when traveling with an airline or other common carrier, your loved ones may be compensated with up to $250,000. This coverage also applies to your immediately family when the cost of the trip is charged to this card.
This card has a number of security features. To make you feel more secure and protected, this card offers excellent security benefits such as $0 fraud liability protection on unauthorized purchases, identity theft solutions, personal photo on card option, fraud and security protection services, lost or stolen card reporting, emergency cash or card replacement, various internet account services, and many more. It also has EMV chip technology, which is useful if you travel outside of the U.S. and also improves card security.
Our Least Favorite Things About Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card
You pay a foreign transaction fee. On a card with such useful travel benefits, it's disappointing to see a 3% foreign transaction fee. When you use this card to pay in a foreign currency, you will pay a fee equal to 3% of the transaction amount.
The late payment penalties are tough. This card will work well if you always make your payments on time. If you pay late, your APR will be bumped up to as much as 29.99% variable penalty APR, based on your creditworthiness. That penalty APR may apply indefinitely.
You pay a lot to get cash. Every time you use this card to get cash advances, you pay 5% of each cash advance or $10 minimum, whichever is greater. Plus, you get a 25.49% variable cash advance APR. In other words, this is a good card to use to pay for things directly, but don't go drawing cash out of ATMs or it will cost you. If you live in an area where cash is king and you need to get cash advances often, consider a credit card like Barclaycard® Ring MasterCard® which charges you a much lower $3 per cash advance and has exactly the same APR for cash advances as for purchases and balance transfers (8.25% variable APR).
How Other Cards Compare With Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card
Citi Prestige® Card is the most exclusive ThankYou Points credit card on offer. This card has a $450 annual fee (compare that with no annual fee on Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card), but has benefits that make every penny of that annual fee worth it if you travel often and enjoy convenience and comfort. You get a $250 Air Travel Credit automatically each year, which you can apply towards airfare and incidental airline charges (checked luggage, food and beverages in-flight, and more). You also get a complimentary 4th night with any hotel stay of 4 nights or more. You also enjoy complimentary access to hundreds of VIP lounges through Priority Pass™ Select, plus American Airlines Admirals Club® lounges. You also get a $100 Global Entry application fee credit. The insurance benefits you get with this card include exceptional coverages like medical evacuation coverage, missed event ticket protection, trip delay protection, lost baggage protection and baggage delay protection. Of course you also get worldwide travel accident insurance and trip cancellation and interruption protection. This card has a bonus offer (unlike Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card) with which you earn 40,000 bonus points after making $4,000 of purchases using your new card in the first 3 months that your account is open. When you use this card to pay, you earn 3x points per $1 on air travel and hotels, 2x points per dollar on dining at restaurants and entertainment, and 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases. This card is more about saving through exclusive benefits than just earning rewards. But if you don't really travel then most of the benefits won't hold much appeal for you, and you could earn similar rewards using Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card.
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card gives you a lot for no annual fee, both in the way of rewards and though its many benefits.
We consider this card to be quite remarkable because it is a no annual fee card with a good rewards system through the Citi ThankYou network. As a cardmember, you can also earn double points when going to concerts, restaurants, sporting events and more. So if you are someone who likes entertainment and dining out, this is something you could appreciate having.
But its the benefits you get with this card that make it stand out from other rewards credit cards in its price category. Coverage like trip cancellation/interruption insurance and a concierge service are not perks which you normally find on a card with no annual fee. If you love dining out, going to the movies, or attending concerts and sports events, this card will reward you well. With a solid rewards program and above average benefits, Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card is a good all-round credit card for most people, in our opinion.
Ivan Daniel is a writer at GET.com a lifestyle and personal finance website. Email: email@example.com.Editorial Disclosure: Any personal views and opinions expressed by the author in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of GET.com. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the companies mentioned, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
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