Citi currently has a few credit cards that offer access to the incredibly valuable ThankYou rewards program. Interestingly enough these cards are rarely discussed on the various travel/travel rewards blogs that many of us read. ThankYou points aren’t as well known as Membership Rewards Points from American Express or Chase Ultimate Rewards, but can be just as valuable and it easier to earn with the current line up of cards offered by Citi.
Citi’s ThankYou Preferred Card has no annual fee, but earns 2x ThankYou points on Dining and Entertainment as well as 1x on all other purchases. This is a good card to use on everyday spending, but if you’re willing to stomach an annual fee, I recommend checking out the other two cards offered from Citi.
For a $95 annual fee, waived for the first 12 months, the Citi ThankYou Premier Card might be my favorite mid-level credit card on the market right now. It has one of the most lucrative bonus point opportunities of any credit card out there. The card earns 3x points on ALL travel, including gas! This is much more than just airfare booked directly with an airline. This card’s travel category includes almost any type of travel expense you could think of. The card also offers 2x points on Dining and Entertainment, and 1x points on all other purchases. The card has long offered a 50,000 points signup bonus, but at the time of this article there is not currently a bonus offered. If you are considering opening this card, I would wait until Citi reintroduces a bonus offer.
Citi also offers the Citi Prestige card as a way to earn ThankYou points. The prestige card carries a $450 annual fee, but offers a $250 airline credit, Global Entry / TSA Precheck reimbursement, Priority Pass Membership, and 3 free rounds of golf annually. The Prestige Card also offers American Airline Admirals Club access when traveling on American. Also, due to the relationship between Citi and American Airlines, Prestige cardholders can use ThankYou points to pay for flights on American Airlines at 1.6 points per dollar. This redemption offer is unique to the Citi Prestige card. When points are redeemed to pay for a flight this way, the flight counts as a revenue earning flight so unlike redeeming points directly for a flight you will earn American Airlines Elite Qualifying Miles for flying.
I find the Citi Prestige card significantly more valuable than the American Express Platinum card for the price. Anyone that typically flies with American Airlines will find huge value in the Prestige card, but I find the 3x bonus category offered quite limiting. Several months ago, I opened the Citi ThankYou Premier card to speed up my earning of ThankYou points. I keep the prestige card in my wallet and use it for booking airlines directly, but I use my Premier card for almost all everyday spending. Since I still have the Citi Prestige card, I am allowed to pay for flights with points at the same 1.6 point rate regardless of which card I used to earn the ThankYou points. It is a great strategy for racking up points quickly when frequently traveling by both air and car.
ThankYou points can be used in many ways, but as I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I like to credit miles/points directly to airlines in order to redeem for Business Class flights to international destinations. ThankYou points can be credited directly to EVA Air, Etihad Guest, Flying Blue, Quantas, Singapore Air Kris Flyer, Thai Airways, Virgin America, and Virgin Atlantic.
The Citi ThankYou program does not get a lot of attention on various travel websites/blogs, but is definitely a program worth considering when trying to earn valuable redemptions. It is unfortunate that Citi is no longer offering a Sign-Up bonus on the Citi Premier card, but I’m assuming an offer will reappear in a few months.