Citi ThankYou® Premier Credit Card
The ThankYou Premier card is a solid offering in Citi’s credit card portfolio that can be leveraged for high-value rewards if you play your points right. The card provides high earning potential, plus it offers members the option to redeem points either through the Citi ThankYou Rewards travel portal or by transferring them to a travel partner. While that flexibility is great, the travel portal can be limiting, and the program’s airline transfer partners are not the best in the business.
Still, there is great value in redeeming directly through the ThankYou Rewards. For starters, Premier cardholders get a 25 percent savings, meaning your points are worth slightly more than a penny each. When using the card overseas, there are no foreign transaction fees, and the annual fee on the card is a reasonable $95 (waived for the first year).
With the Citibank ThankYou Premier card, there are earning bonuses on certain categories of spending, which can multiply points more quickly. Since the card is not affiliated directly with an airline, there are no perks like free checked bags, priority boarding, or companion passes. The tradeoff is that these points can be redeemed for more than a penny each, which is better than many frequent flier miles issued by airlines.
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® Premier Card offers and the value of the Citi ThankYou® points you earn.
While this is a relatively low threshold for most people that make frequent purchases, the bonus offer is also rather unexciting. With the discount for redeeming through the credit card’s travel portal, this is equivalent to $375.
Cardholders earn one point per dollar spent, but can earn double points on dining and entertainment categories. The card awards three points per dollar on travel and gas station expenses.
There are few other perks: no anniversary bonus, no authorized user bonus, no airline travel credits and no reimbursements for programs like TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. But that is to be expected for the low annual fee.
As mentioned before, there is some flexibility in using the points for outsized value. For example, if you transfer points to airline programs, you can redeem for premium cabin mileage awards and get more than a penny from each point. Participating programs include Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Etihad Guest and Hilton Honors. These transfers require no fee and can also be beneficial if you need to top up your account with as few as 1,000 miles.
What You Get
- Earn 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
- 25% discount on redemptions made through the ThankYou travel center.
- 3 points per dollar spent travel, including gas
- 2 points per dollar for dining out and entertainment
There is no expiration date to the points you earn with the card, and no limit to the number of points that can be earned. As long as the card’s annual membership fee is paid, the points remain active making this a great option for those who don’t travel that often.
What is the value of the ThankYou® Points?
Redemptions are simple. Either transfer points to your preferred airline or hotel program from the list of redemption partners or redeem through the travel portal. Both options provide good Citi ThankYou points value if done properly. In generally, it’s wise to transfer points to a partner program for more expensive tickets or hotel nights. A 25 percent rebate is applied when redeeming points on travel through the ThankYou portal.
What is CPM and How Is It Calculated?
Cents Per Mile (CPM) is a way to measure the value of miles. It tells you how many cents you get for each mile you redeem by dividing the cash price of the airline ticket (minus taxes and fees charged for an award ticket) by the number of miles the award flight costs. This is a somewhat subjective calculation because the price of the flight in both cash and miles fluctuates by season and availability.
How we calculate CPM:
The Best Ways to Redeem Citi ThankYou Points
The best way to use Citi ThankYou points is to transfer them to a partner program with a fixed award chart, such as Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, and redeeming for business class. The same could go for moving points to Hilton Honors to redeem for an expensive resort or room. If the value you’ll get for the points you transfer to a program is greater than you’ll get by redeeming for the same travel via the ThankYou portal, then be sure to transfer.
It is important to make sure the award ticket in your partner program is available before transferring points because exchanges are permanent. Of course, if your preferred redemption is on Aeromexico, for example, then it is better to redeem points through the ThankYou portal since there are no convenient methods to transfer points to Aeromexico.
If you can find a cheap ticket with an airline partner, be sure to also calculate how many ThankYou points it will cost to redeem through the portal. It could make more sense to redeem through the portal for the exact flight you want rather than hoping for availability via a frequent flyer program. And don’t forget the 25 percent discount you’ll get through the ThankYou portal!
Plain and simple: if you can achieve more than 1.25 cents per point in value, then transfer points. Otherwise, stick with using the ThankYou travel center to book travel.
New York–Los AngelesEconomy classMiles price25,000points+$11 feeDollars price$379
Honolulu–Los AngelesEconomy classMiles price30,000points+$11 feeDollars price$557
Los Angeles–AustinEconomy classMiles price20,400points+$0 feeDollars price$255
Los Angeles–HavanaEconomy classMiles price30,000points+$11 feeDollars price$548
Los Angeles–LondonEconomy classMiles price41,250points+$314 feeDollars price$870
Miami–FrankfurtEconomy classMiles price50,000points+$76 feeDollars price$1,329
Orlando–Las VegasBusiness classMiles price62,500points+$29 feeDollars price$896
Miami–HoustonBusiness classMiles price44,640points+$0 feeDollars price$558
Denver–HoustonBusiness classMiles price34,000points+$27 feeDollars price$521
New York–MadridBusiness classMiles price84,000points+$23 feeDollars price$2,543
New York–Tel AvivBusiness classMiles price178,750points+$529 feeDollars price$3,349
Houston–Punta CanaBusiness classMiles price46,000points+$47 feeDollars price$1,068
Other ways you can redeem points
If you’re looking for other ways to redeem Citi ThankYou points, there are a few transfer options to keep in mind.
Hotel Stays1 partners1 part.
Since the airline transfer programs are international, most American travelers may find that Hilton Honors is a preferred transfer partner. Unfortunately, it costs 1.5 ThankYou points for just 1 Hilton Honors point, which is not the best in terms of value.
While not the best option, gift cards do give a solid value of 1 cent per point. There are over 100 merchants to choose from, including Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Sephora and many more.
Car Rental3 partners3 part.
The ThankYou program partners with Avis, Budget and Alamo, giving you options at most major U.S. airports.
Cash Back and Statement Credits
This offers terrible value and is best to be used only by those with no travel plans. And if you’re not getting this card for travel, it is better to stick with a dedicated cashback card.
If you opt to forego gift cards, you can use ThankYou points to shop at stores like Amazon for slightly less than one cent each.
Everyday Earnings with Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
The Citi Premier card earns one point per dollar spent, but can earn double points on dining and entertainment categories and an impressive triple points for travel and gas. Any bonus-earning category that includes a regular, ongoing expense, like gas, has the potential to earn a lot of points fast. This is one of the card’s best attributes.
- Car Rental
- All Other Purchases
Citi includes a wide variety of things in the entertainment category, such as amusement parks, concert/theater tickets and movie rentals. The travel category includes gas stations, airfare, hotels, cruises, parking garages and rental cars, among others.
This card is not affiliated with an airline or hotel program directly, and it is particularly weak in travel benefits.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
Never pay an extra fee to use this card outside the U.S.
Citi Concierge provides help with travel, shopping and dining.
Earn Elite Status Fast
There is no option to earn elite status with any loyalty program through this card.
Fees: the cost of Having Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
Is the Citi ThankYou Premier card free? It is at first because the annual fee is waived for a year. After that, it costs $95 . To cover that fee, you would need to spend about $3,000 in travel which earns 3 points per dollar spent. The 9,000 points you’d earn would be worth at least $100 in travel. Or you could make about $9,000 in everyday purchases that earn just 1 point per dollar. That would be less than a $1,000 a month if you spread it out over a year.
- Annual Fee
$0 first year, then $95
- Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
- Foreign Transaction Fee
- Late Payment Fee
Up to $35
See What It Takes to Cover an Annual Fee:
We strongly recommend to spend not less than $2,070 per months to cover the annual fee in three months.
We’ve broken out our estimates for the first- and second-year net earnings you’ll get with the Citi ThankYou® Premier card. Is the card worth getting, and should you keep it after you get the sign-up bonus? Let’s find out.
These estimates are based on an annual monthly spend of $2,000
Top 5 Benefits of the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
This is an excellent card for those that know how to leverage foreign frequent flier programs to find excellent value. Points can rack up quickly if you spend a lot on travel and entertainment. International travelers will also appreciate that there are no foreign transaction fees.
- Good Sign-Up Bonus: Earn 50,000 Citi ThankYou points worth at least $375 in travel, all without paying an annual fee for the first year.
- Great Earning Potental: Generous double and triple point-earning categories, including all travel and gas purchases.
- Discount on ThankYou Travel Purchases: Get a 25 percent rebate when redeeming for travel through the ThankYou Rewards travel portal.
- Flexible Redemption Options: You’ll always find a use for your points with 15 airline transfer partners.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees: This card is great for earning rewards while traveling abroad.
Should You Get the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card?
You can get excellent value out of ThankYou points, particularly if you transfer them to airlines and redeem for expensive premium cabin tickets. If you are a traveler that often books the cheapest economy class ticket, then there can also be strong value in redeeming points through the ThankYou program’s travel portal thanks to the 25 percent discount offered by this card.
If you are interested in domestic award travel or simple award redemptions, this card may prove to be too complex. Instead, consider cards with more domestic transfer partners. You may not get quite the same value for your points, but there will be more availability and easier redemptions.
A novice traveler might be better off searching for an award ticket on United.com and transferring points from Chase Ultimate Rewards, for example, rather than trying to navigate ThankYou’s foreign airline partners and booking through an overseas call center, which you have to do with programs like Etihad Guest and Singapore KrisFlyer.
Still, with a low annual fee that’s waived the first year, the ThankYou Premier card is a solid choice. You can quickly rack up ThankYou points with the card’s generous 3X category for all travel, including gas, airfare, hotels, taxis and more. You’ll also get double points at restaurants and for entertainment
Need more info? Check out our frequently asked questions. If you have other questions, please click on “Ask Now” below.
- Yes, it is accepted widely overseas and comes with EMV smart chip technology. This means that it is much easier and safer to use, working at grocery stores, automated ticket machines and public transportation venues that often only work with MV smart chip cards.
- It is not recommended as the card issuer says that the account names must match. However, if the other person has a Citi ThankYou account, you can transfer points between each other’s credit card accounts for free. This option is available for the Citi Prestige® Card and Citi ThankYou Premier cards.
- If I don’t have enough ThankYou points can I combine them with cash?
Yes, this is an extremely valuable perk because it means you never have to wait until you accrue enough points to complete air travel redemptions. You can constantly apply the balance of points in your account to any ticket booked through the travel portal for you or anyone else.
- Unlike the Chase Freedom® Card, this card comes with only a set category bonus on travel, dining and entertainment. If you typically spend quite a bit at grocery stores, drugstores or office supply stores, you may want to consider a card like the no-fee Chase Freedom which offers a wider variety of bonus categories.
- When the ThankYou Premier card does not currently come with a sign-up bonus, it doesn't prevent you from earning a bonus with another Citi card. If it has a bonus, you have to wait for 24 months from account opening (or closure) to apply for another card, like Citi Prestige® Card, and receive its sign-up bonus. Applications for any Citi cards are limited to one card every eight days or two cards every 65 days. This rule applies whether you are approved or not.
Compare Citi ThankYou cards
Compare Citi ThankYou cards
Citi offers several cards in the ThankYou Rewards program. With all of these cards, you can book travel directly through Citi’s online portal or transfer points directly to ThankYou’s airline and hotel partners. The main differences between these cards lie in the annual fees and benefits.
There is a clear difference between the ThankYou Premier and the ThankYou Prestige cards. Frequent travelers will find greater value in the Prestige, which comes with $250 in annual airline credits, lounge access and waivers for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. Citi Prestige has a higher cost for those hefty perks ($450 annual fee with no waiver), but frequent travelers will squeeze more than enough benefit from the card.
ThankYou Premier is better for infrequent travelers or those that are not able to take advantage of the travel perks that come with the higher annual fee of Citi Prestige.
Other important differences are that the Preferred card has no annual fee, but it also does not provide the 25 percent rebate on redemptions made through the ThankYou travel portal. In addition, it only offers double points on dining and entertainment. All other purchases receive one point per dollar spent (including travel). If you spend more on dining and not much on travel, the Preferred card might make more sense for you
Since the ThankYou Premier is best for adults with heavy spending on travel, dining and entertainment, it is not great for younger cardholders. The College Student version of the card comes with a small sign-up bonus of 2,500 points after spending just $500. There is no annual fee, and the only bonus categories are for dining and entertainment, which sounds about right for a college student!
Compare the Citi ThankYou Premier Card to Other Cards
If you want to transfer points to other loyalty programs for high-value, premium cabin redemptions, then Citi ThankYou Premier offers less value than either the American Express Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards programs. That’s true for one simple reason: those programs have better airline transfer partners. On the other hand, the ThankYou program offers more value if you book travel directly through its travel portal.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has a plethora of benefits and plenty of fans thanks to the Ultimate Rewards Program offering so many good transfer partners for both domestic and international travel. You can also use points to redeem for travel on any airline through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal. The tradeoff between Ultimate Rewards and ThankYou is that there is no 25 percent rebate on points booked through Chase’s travel portal.
Another tough comparison is between the ThankYou Premier card and the Amex Premier Gold Rewards card. That’s because ThankYou points earned with the Premier card are worth more if redeemed directly through the travel portal, but Membership Rewards points are more valuable if transferred to partner airlines. Also, Membership Rewards is known for holding numerous bonus promotions where extra miles are awarded when transferring to certain partners.
The Premier Rewards Gold card carries no annual fee in the first year (it’s $195 each year thereafter) and a small sign-up bonus of 25,000 points after spending $2,000 within the first three months. For those that value premium cabin redemptions, that extra annual fee amount might be worth it.
The Ink Plus Business card from Chase is designed for business owners, but it has one of the best category bonuses in the industry: five Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent at office supply stores and on mobile phone and cable services. Do you know how many things you can buy at office supply stores? They have everything from stamps and gift cards to toilet paper and electronics. These points can add up quickly, and like Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards is a highly regarded program that has many great transfer partners.
This means that Ink Plus is a better card for those that want to transfer points to airlines and hotels for high-value, premium redemptions. But, Ultimate Rewards are only worth one cent per point if you use them to book through the program’s travel portal. If you travel on cheap economy fares, then stick with the Citi ThankYou Premier card for its redemption rebate.
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.
Card Terms and Conditions
- Intro APR:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Intro APR for balance transfers:
- See Terms and Conditions
- Ongoing APR:
- 15.74% to 24.74% Variable±
- Minimum Grace Period:
- 23 days
- Extended Warranty Protection:
- This is a great way to add on a few more months of coverage to important items like electronics or home appliances.
- Purchase Protection:
- It’s disappointing when something gets stolen or damaged. But it is nice to know that the ThankYou Premier card has a backup plan to reimburse you within 120 days of the purchase.
- Citi Price Rewind:
- You can get the difference between the price you paid and a lower price offered by a different vendor if you use the Premier card. Must be claimed within 60 days of initial purchase.
Cash Advance Features
- Ongoing APR:
- 26.49% Variable±
- Cash Advance Fee:
- Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
Security and Protections
EMV smart chip technology allows you to use the ThankYou Premier card anywhere in the world. Having a smart chip card means that you can use it in grocery stores or public transportation kiosks in many foreign countries, particularly in Europe. This feature adds an extra layer of security.
Other features include:
- Fraud Protection:
- If fraudulent charges are posted to your card, Citi will investigate on your behalf and reimburse you.
- Card Replacement:
- If your card is lost or stolen, Citi will rush a new card to you.
- Credit Score Assistance:
- Citi provides access to monitor your credit history for unusual activity, including recently opened accounts and requests to access your score.
Modern-day travelers need access to their banking and account information on the go. Cardholders can access their accounts via the web or mobile app at any hour.
Additional Cardholder Benefits
As a MasterCard, Citi ThankYou Premier offers some standard trip protection benefits that many cards have. For the low annual fee, these are nice perks if cardholders know to take advantage of them.
Master Card Travel Benefits
- Worldwide Car Rental Insurance:
- When you use your card to pay for a rental car and decline the company’s collision loss and damage insurance, you are covered for theft and collision. Coverage is secondary to your personal insurance.
- Trip Cancellation and Insurance Protection:
- Nonrefundable fees and change fees can be refunded for eligible medical issues that cause a trip delay or cancellation.
- Lost Baggage Protection:
- Get reimbursed for damaged or lost bags. You’ll be refunded for the purchase price or the cost of repair of the contents of your luggage.
- Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance:
- In an emergency situation overseas, this benefit covers some costs for any air, bus, train or cruise ship transportation paid for with your card.
- Travel and Emergency Assistance:
- Legal and medical referrals, and other travel and emergency assistance is available any time of day if travel was paid for with the card. Additional fees may apply.