February 28, 2018
Review: Citi ThankYou Premier Credit Card
There’s three main credit cards which earn Citi ThankYou points. ThankYou points are one of four major transferrable reward currencies that are so valuable for booking Business and First Class award flights. The Citi ThankYou Premier is Citi’s mid-tier credit card and offers a healthy sign-up bonus, a rewarding points earning structure, and great redemption opportunities. Here’s the breakdown:
The ThankYou Premier is currently offering 50,000 ThanYou points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. Note that the bonus points are not available if you have opened or closed a ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier, or ThankYou Prestige card in the past 24 months.
The Premier earns 3x ThankYou points per $1 on travel purchases, 2x points per $1 on dining and entertainment, and 1x point per $1 on everything else. Citi’s definition of travel includes gas stations, airfare, hotels, cruises, rental cars, travel agencies, railways, public transportation, tolls, taxis, parking, etc.
There’s two main ways to redeem ThankYou points. First, you can redeem points for airfare purchased through Citi’s Travel Center at a rate of 1.25 cents per point. The 50,000-point sign-up bonus would get you $625 in airfare if you did that.
A more lucrative option is to transfer the points at a 1:1 ratio to one of Citi’s 14 airline frequent flyer program partners. This includes partners like Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Singapore KrisFlyer, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, JetBlue Trueblue, and more. Every frequent flyer program has its own perks and opportunities to extract great value.
I often write articles about how to book various award flights with frequent flyer miles. Here’s one simple example. You can transfer 62,500 points from Citi to Flying Blue and book a one-way Business Class flight between North America-Europe at the ‘Classic Award’ rate. Those Business flights to Europe typically cost around $2,000 each way (based on a roundtrip ticket). Doing some simple math, that redemption would get you 3.2 cents per point in value.
You’re getting 3.2 cents per point instead of 1.25 cents per point by transferring to an airline partner and redeeming through them instead of directly through Citi. There’s even ways to get 10 cents+ per point through airline partners if you find lucrative First Class redemptions. My point being, it’s almost always better to transfer ThankYou points to a partner than to book a flight directly through Citi.
The Premier offers standard travel benefits like Lost Baggage Protection, Trip Delay Protection, Baggage Delay Protection, Trip Cancellation Protection, and Trip Interruption Protection. See the terms & conditions for requirements and details.
The ThankYou Premier has a $0 introductory annual fee the first year. After that it’s $95 a year. There are no foreign transaction fees.
Should You Get It?
The Citi ThankYou Premier can be a great way to earn 3x transferable points per $1 on travel. Similar card cards carry a much higher annual fee. Earning 2x on dining and entertainment is a solid return as well. Especially when you consider the annual fee is waived the first year and then only $95 in subsequent years. The 50,000 point sign-up bonus is another great incentive on its own. Those points are worth a minimum of $625 towards airfare. I’d give the Citi Premier two thumbs up. It has a solid points earning structure and offers a good sign-up bonus. The only downside is the lack of many meaningful perks.
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