Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students
The Citi ThankYou Preferred card for College Students is a solid no-fee rewards credit card targeted toward students with little or no credit history. It offers two ThankYou points per dollar for dining out and entertainment, and one point per dollar for all other purchases. Citi ThankYou points transfer to a number of airline partners and are extremely valuable when redeemed for travel experiences.
The card also offers 0% APR on purchases for the first seven months after opening the account, which can be helpful for unusually large expenses, like textbooks at the beginning of the term. Overall, this is a great card for someone looking to build their credit while earning valuable rewards.
Bonuses and Benefits
Knowing what benefits come with a credit card can help you decide if it’s a good fit for you. Here we cover the bonuses and perks that the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students offers and the value of the Citi ThankYou® points you earn.
The Citi ThankYou Preferred for Students offers a 2,500 points sign-up bonus after spending $500 within your first three months as a card member. This is a low sign-up bonus, but it’s also a low spending requirement that is likely to be within a college student’s budget. Additionally, new cardholders get 0% APR on purchases for the first seven months.
What You Get
- 2,500 points after you spend $500 within the first 3 months
- 0% APR for seven months on new purchases
- 2 points per dollar for dining out and entertainment
Your Citi ThankYou points won’t expire as long as your credit card account is open. If you decide to close your ThankYou Preferred card, your points will expire in 60 days. Before expiration, you will be able to redeem your points or transfer them to partners.
What is the value of the ThankYou® Points?
Citi ThankYou points are generally quite valuable. Citi has quite a few transfer partners and the ability to redeem for travel directly through the ThankYou program. At the very least, you should be able to get 1.5 cents per point in value, but that can easily reach 4.5 cents per point or higher when used for international premium cabin redemptions.
What is CPM and How Is It Calculated?
Cents Per Mile (CPM) is a way to measure the value of miles or points. It tells you how many cents you get for each mile or point you redeem by dividing the cash price of the airline ticket by the number of miles or points the award flight costs. That amount is multiplied by the number of miles or points earned per dollar spent on everyday purchases to account for cards that earn more than one mile per dollar spent.
How we calculate CPM:
The final result:1.00cpm
The Best Ways to Redeem Citi ThankYou Points
There are many great ways that you can redeem Citi ThankYou points for flights. Some of the most valuable options are: redeeming for Suites Class on Singapore Airlines for as few as 76,000 miles from NYC to Frankfurt; redeeming for Air France KLM Flying Blue Promo Awards to fly between the U.S. and Europe for as few as 25,000 miles roundtrip in economy; and using Virgin Atlantic miles to fly Delta One business class between the U.S. and Europe for as few as 90,000 miles roundtrip.
San Francisco–WashingtonEconomy class
Los Angeles–HonoluluEconomy class
New York–RejkjavikEconomy class
Orlando–Las VegasBusiness class
San Francisco–DublinBusiness class
Newark–Tel AvivBusiness class
Las Vegas–OttawaBusiness class
Other ways you can redeem points
Hotel Stays1 partner1 partner
You can transfer to Hilton, but this isn’t typically the best use of your points.
Car Rental3 partners3 part.
You can redeem your Citi ThankYou points for car rentals with Avis Budget, and Alamo.
Gift Cards101 partners101 part.
It’s possible to redeem ThankYou points for gift cards, but this isn’t a high value redemption.
You can redeem your Citi ThankYou points for cash back at a rate of 0.5 cents per point. This is a terrible value and not a recommended use of your points.
The Citi ThankYou Preferred card for Students offers bonus categories that many students will find useful. You’ll earn two ThankYou points per dollar spent on dining and entertainment purchases, as well as one point per dollar for all other purchases.
Your Monthly Charges
Rewards You Will Earn Annually24,000points$240in dollar value
- All Other Purchases
The Citi ThankYou Preferred for Students doesn’t really offer travel benefits, and you probably don’t want to use this card while traveling abroad.
Foreign Transaction Fee
You’ll be charged a 3% fee for all foreign transactions.
Fees: the cost of Having the Card
The Citi ThankYou Preferred for Students doesn’t have an annual fee. This means that all the points you earn will be a bonus. And since there’s a sign-up bonus, you’re definitely coming ahead for the first year!
- Annual Fee:
- Balance Transfer Fee:
Either $5 or 4% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
- Foreign Transaction Fee:
- 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
- Late Payment Fee:
- Up to $35
The Citi ThankYou Preferred card for College Students is a no-fee card. You do not have to earn a certain amount of rewards in order to cover the cost since it’s free. It’s still good to know roughly how much you’ll be earning, though. We’ve broken out our estimates for the first- and second-year net earnings.
These estimates are based on an annual monthly spend of $2,000
Foreign Transaction Fees-$0
Rewards Earned First Year$265
Foreign Transaction Fees-$0
Rewards Earned Second Year$240
Top 5 Benefits of the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students
The Citi ThankYou Preferred for College Students doesn’t have as many benefits as some other cards out there, but it is a great option for students because of its bonus categories for purchases, as well as the ability to get approved with little or no credit history. Here are the top five benefits of the card.
- Great Earning Potential: The bonus categories are targeted toward areas where college students are likely to spend money. You’ll earn 2 points per dollar for dining and entertainment and one point per dollar on all other purchases.
- Flexible and Valuable Redemptions: Citi ThankYou Points are incredibly valuable and can be transferred to a large number of airline partners. Imagine being able to pay for your spring break flights with the points you earned from buying textbooks — amazing!
- Sign-Up Bonus with Low Minimum Spend: This card comes with a 2,500 points sign-up bonus after spending only $500 within the first three months as a cardholder.
- No Annual Fee: You’ll never have to pay anything for this card. That means all the rewards you earn are essentially free. How can you beat that?
- 0% APR for 7 Months: If you know you’re going to have some expenses that you won’t be able to cover, this 0% APR offer is a great way to avoid interest on those purchases.
Should You Get the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students?
The Citi ThankYou Preferred for College Students is a solid credit card option for someone with relatively little or no credit history who wants build their credit while earning valuable travel rewards. The card earns two points per dollar spent on dining and entertainment purchases, so it’s good for racking up rewards on purchases students are likely to make. In addition, the low minimum spending requirement for the sign-up bonus will be easy to reach for most college students.
The ThankYou Preferred for Students doesn’t have an annual fee, so students don’t have to worry about ongoing expenses. And the 0% APR offer for the first seven months really helps cash-strapped college students during heavy expense times, like the beginning of the semester.
Need more info? Check out our frequently asked questions. If you have other questions, please click on “Ask Now” below.
- What’s the difference between the Citi ThankYou Preferred and the Citi ThankYou Preferred for College Students?There is very little difference between these cards. They both offer no annual fee and the same bonus spending categories. The main difference is the sign-up bonus. The ThankYou Preferred for Students offers a smaller sign-up bonus with a lower minimum spending requirement that is more attainable for most college students.
- What kind of credit score do I need to be approved for the Citi ThankYou Preferred for College Students?Most applicants who are approved report having a credit score of 690 or higher. Since this card is targeted toward college students, it is easier to get with little credit history.
- If I have another card that earns Citi ThankYou points, can I combine them with the ThankYou Preferred for Students?
If you have multiple cards that earn Citi ThankYou points, you will be able to use them together. Simply transfer points from one card account to another. It’s easy and free.
- You can transfer ThankYou points to other members, but there are a few restrictions. You can transfer a maximum of 100,000 points per calendar year, you can receive a maximum of 100,000 points per year, and shared points are only valid for 90 days before they expire.If you do want to transfer ThankYou points, or someone else is planning to transfer ThankYou points to you, you should make sure that you have an immediate use for them so you don’t risk having your points expire.
- Yes, your ThankYou points can be used to book a ticket for another person. Simply enter their name, birthday and other relevant information into the booking form when you redeem for travel.
Compare Citi ThankYou cards
Other Citi ThankYou cards
Before you apply for the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students, you should consider other cards that Citi issues, like the Premier card, the AT&T Access card and the regular version of the Preferred card. All of these cards earn Citi ThankYou points and offer transfers to airline partners.
|Citi ThankYou® Premier Card||Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card|
|30,000 points||2,500 points||10,000 points||0 points|
|$0 first year, then $95||$0||$0||$0|
APR On Purchases
|15.49% to 24.49% Variable±||14.99% to 24.99% Variable±||14.99% to 23.99% Variable±||14.49% to 24.49% Variable±|
Second Year Value
The main differences between these cards are the sign-up bonuses and the bonus categories for purchases. The Citi ThankYou Premier has a $95 annual fee, the only card in the group that charges a fee, but it also offers a relatively big 30,000 points sign-up bonus. It earns three points per dollar for travel (including gas), two points per dollar for dining and entertainment and one point per dollar for all other purchases.
The AT&T Access card has a 10,000 points sign-up bonus and earns two points per dollar for purchases made online with travel retailers and on travel websites. The ThankYou Preferred has the same bonus spending categories as the ThankYou Preferred for College Students, but it offers a higher sign-up bonus of 15,000 points after spending $1,000 within the first three months.
For heavier spenders, the ThankYou Premier or the AT&T Access card are probably the best choices. For those that can hit the $1,000 minimum spending requirement for the regular version of the Preferred card, they will be rewarded with the higher sign-up bonus. The ThankYou Preferred for College Students is best for those with minimal credit history and lower levels of spending that’s primarily focused on dining and entertainment.
Compare the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students to Other Cards
In addition to comparing the ThankYou Preferred for College Students to Citi cards, we’ll also take a look at cards from other issuers that are targeted toward students, including the Discover it for Students, Discover it Chrome for Students and the BankAmericard Travel Rewards for Students. Of these four cards, the only one that offers the ability to transfer to airline partners is the ThankYou Preferred.
- Discover it® for Students
Up to 5% cash back offer
- Discover it® Chrome for Students
Up to 2% cash back offer
- Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card for Students
20,000 points offer
None of these cards have annual fees, and other than the ThankYou Preferred for Students, only the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card offers a sign-up bonus. However, depending on where you spend money, one of the cards could be a better choice. The sign-up bonus for the ThankYou Preferred card is relatively low.
The standard Discover it for Students card offers 5 percent cashback categories that rotate every quarter. You won’t know what the categories are ahead of time, but they usually include gas, dining, entertainment and Amazon at various points throughout the year.
The Discover it Chrome offers 2 percent back on gas and restaurants, 1 percent back on other purchases and $20 cash back each school year that your grades are above a 3.0. The BankAmericard Travel Rewards card earns 1.5 points per dollar on all purchases and offers a 20,000-point sign-up bonus.
In order to determine which card is the best option, you should consider what categories you generally spend money in. From there, you can calculate how many points you’ll earn per year from each card and choose the best card for you.
Whenever you apply for a credit card make sure you read the terms and conditions of the card and the rewards program to find out about minimum spend requirements and any restrictions to ensure you can successfully obtain the card and earn the rewards it offers.
Excellent credit score
Pay with pointsYes
Flights TypeDomestic and International
AllianceStar Alliance, SkyTeam, OneWorld
Card Terms and Conditions
While it's easy to focus on the rewards offered by the Citi ThankYou Preferred card for College Students, it's worth taking a closer look at the terms and conditions. There's a lot to consider as you think about how you're going to use the card. Will you carry a balance, get a cash advance or maybe make a big purchase? Below is a rundown of the various interest rates, purchase protections, security features and mobile banking options that come with this MasterCard.
- Intro APR:
- 0% introductory APR for 7 months from date of account opening
- Intro APR for balance transfers:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Ongoing APR:
- 14.99% to 24.99% Variable±
- Minimum Grace Period:
- 23 days
- Extended Warranty Protection:
- Extends the manufacturer’s warranty so you can feel more confident when you make purchases with your Citi card.
- Purchase Protection:
- This may cover repairs or a refund if purchases made with your Citi card are damaged or stolen within 120 days of purchase.
- Price Protection:
- Citi offers Price Rewind which will automatically monitor the price of your purchases and reimburse you if a lower price is found within 60 days.
- Return Protection:
- You’ll get 90 day return protection on purchases made with your card.
Cash Advance Features
- Ongoing APR:
- 26.24% Variable±
- Cash Advance Fee:
- Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
Security and Protections
The Citi ThankYou Preferred for Students offers standard security features, including Chip + Signature technology, a mobile app and zero liability for unauthorized charges
- Account alerts:
- Set up alerts to be notified when large transactions occur, if there’s an unauthorized withdrawal and when your bill’s due. You can also set up automatic payments.
- Mobile App:
- Track your account with the mobile app while you’re on the go.
- EMV Chip + Signature Technology:
- Get global acceptance and enhanced security at merchants that use chip enabled terminals.
- Fico Score:
- Your FICO score will be updated every month and you can check it at no cost.
Citi offers a mobile app so you can monitor your account while you’re on the go. The Citi ThankYou Preferred is also compatible with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay.
Additional Cardholder Benefits
Master Card Travel Benefits
- Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver:
- Coverage for theft and collision for most rentals in the U.S. and abroad. Coverage is secondary to your personal insurance.
- Trip Cancellation and Interruption:
- If your trip is cancelled or interrupted for covered reasons, you can get up to $1,500 reimbursed for air, bus or rail tickets for each covered traveler.
- Lost Luggage Reimbursement:
- Get up to $3,000 per passenger for damaged or lost bags. Coverage includes cardholder and immediate family members on the same travel itinerary.
- Travel Accident Insurance:
- Receive accidental death or dismemberment coverage for any air, bus, train or cruise ship transportation paid for with your card.