Citi ThankYou Preferred Card Review

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The Citi ThankYou Preferred Card is a rewards card that makes tremendous use of Citi’s unique rewards program, the ThankYou program. While the program can seem a little buzzwordy at times (TrueBlue points, anyone?), the rewards themselves are fairly robust, and their cards make good use of them.

Citi ThankYou Preferred review

On Chase's home portal

750 - 850
Best for excellent credit

Highlight: Relatively low variable APR, good dining fees
  • 2x points on dining and entertainment

  • 1x points on all other purchases

  • 0% introductory APR for 15 months

  • 14.99-24.99% variable APR

  • No annual fee

  • 3% balance transfer fee

  • No limit to ThankYou points

Intro APR

0%

Variable APR

14.99% - 24.99%

Annual Fee

$0

Main Perk

Dining

This is where the ThankYou Preferred comes in; you earn unlimited 1-for-1 ThankYou points for every purchase you make on the card, with double points earned for their Dining and Entertainment category. This means that whenever you spend at a coffee shop, go out to a concert, go to the movies, and so on, you get 2x the points.

When you redeem these rewards points through the ThankYou program, you can get a lot out of it, from the aforementioned TrueBlue points (which give you airfare through JetBlue) to gift cards, travel rewards and more.

As a straightforward card, the Citi ThankYou Preferred also offers no annual fee, a lengthy 15-month introductory APR of 0%, and a reasonable 3% balance transfer fee. Altogether, through this Citi ThankYou Preferred review you’re likely to find a card that – provided you buy into the relatively gimmicky rewards program – should give you a lot for your money. 

Our Overall Rating

For the most part, the Citi ThankYou Preferred is a pretty admirable rewards card, especially for those who want extra points for dining and entertainment. It’s helpful that the category in question is so wide-ranging, and the card will pay for things like concerts, movie rentals and the like. Not many cards give bonus rewards for those, so concert and film buffs will be pleased.

What’s more, it’s really nice to get an introductory APR period that’s longer than usual; 15 months easily outshines the 12 most cards give you. Along with no annual fee and a modest balance transfer fee, the Citi ThankYou Preferred card becomes a surprisingly effective balance transfer card.

There are a few drawbacks to the card, to be sure. For one, once the honeymoon period of no interest is over, you may find yourself stuck with a larger than normal 25% interest rate (depending on your existing credit). Also, it’s a bit disappointing to see no signup bonus for this card, especially since it’s such a regular draw for most other cards.

If you can ignore those minor quibbles, the Citi ThankYou Preferred is a thoroughly solid, dependable rewards card that will pay out extra for you to go out and have a good time. Its maintenance costs (for the first 15 months at least) are virtually nothing, and the ThankYou Rewards program seems pretty great once you can wrap your brain around all the lingo.

Where it Wins

A wide-ranging higher rewards tier. Unlimited points rewards is always nice, but especially so when you can use them on a wide range of activities. The Dining and Entertainment rewards tier casts a wide net over the things you can get double points for – whether you’re at the theater or a concert, renting movies or eating out, you can get 2x points on all of that.

Low maintenance costs and decent rewards. With no annual fee, and 0% APR for 15 whole months, new users of the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card will benefit greatly from only having to worry about the money they’re spending, and not keeping up with other maintenance costs.

Rewards & Benefits

2x points on dining and entertainment. Like we mentioned earlier, the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card allows you to earn extra points in their Dining & Entertainment category, ranging from restaurants of all kinds, to entertainment like live concerts, movies and streaming media.

1x points on all other purchases. For any other purchase you make on the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card, you still get 1 ThankYou Point for each dollar spent. That’s pretty par for the course for most rewards cards of this type, but it’s a welcome feature nonetheless.

No limit to ThankYou points. The unlimited nature of both ThankYou rewards tiers means you’re always earning no matter where you use the card. They don’t expire, either, so you can pool them as much as you like to make the most of the ThankYou rewards redemption program.

Additional amenities and perks. Not only does the Citi ThankYou Preferred card give you a robust rewards program, it also pays off in little things like price protection, interruption protection, insurance for travel accidents and extended warranties. They may not be the most alluring benefits in the world, but you’ll be glad you have them in a pinch.

Costs & Fees

0% introductory APR for 15 months. This is a particularly lengthy introductory APR period, which is really advantageous for those who plan on holding a balance on this card and want some time to pay it off.

14.99-24.99% variable APR. It’s a good thing that the card gives you so much leeway when you first start, however, since the higher end of this APR range is a bit unforgiving. Try not to hold onto this card for too long unless you have good enough credit that you can rest assured you’ll get closer to the lower end of the APR range mentioned here.

No annual fee. Leavening those worries about the APR, however, is the fact that the Citi ThankYou Preferred card has no annual fee. That’s a pretty standard feature for most high-end cards, but it’s always nice to see, and guarantees you won’t be paying on this card even after you stop using it.

3% balance transfer fee. Along with the long 0% APR period, this low balance transfer fee is another reason the Citi ThankYou Preferred card might be a good option for balance transfers. Just move your pesky high-interest balance from one card to this one, and you’ve bought yourself a year and change to pay it off.

5% cash advance fee. This is also pretty standard for most cards of this type; however, if you do need to get some cash out of the balance of this card, you could do far worse than this.

Who is this card best for?

To be honest, this card is best for those who already have some Citi cards of their own, and are fully invested in the ThankYou rewards program. As rewards programs go, it can feel a little unwieldy to outsiders. However, if you’re already acclimated to that kind of program, the Citi ThankYou Preferred card rewards you handsomely for going out and seeing shows.

Also, the Citi ThankYou Preferred card seems to be a great option for those with high balances on other cards, and who want to transfer them to a more forgiving card. The 15-month no interest introductory period is a welcome respite for big balances, and the 3% balance transfer fee means you don’t have to pay that much more for peace of mind.

Whether you like to get rewards back for your active night life, or just want a reasonable balance transfer card, both of these are pretty solid reasons for investing in a Citi ThankYou Preferred card.

How to Apply

To apply for the Citi ThankYou Preferred card, all you have to do is head over to their application portal and fill out the requested information. It mostly amounts to your personal information (name, date of birth, social security number, citizenship, etc.), as well as your address and contact information.

In addition to that, you’ll set up your security word and its associated hint, then your financial information (annual income, rent payment, what kind of bank accounts you have, and so on). You can even add authorized users to your account at this point.

Citi ThankYou Preferred Card Alternatives

Chase Sapphire Preferred. Like the Citi ThankYou Preferred, you also get 2x points on dining expenses. However, you also get double points on travel, plus a huge 60,000 point signup bonus. Plus, the Chase Ultimate Rewards program works similarly to the ThankYou program in that you can pool rewards and get more for your points.

Citi ThankYou Premier. If you want to stick with Citi’s ThankYou program, the Citi ThankYou Premier offers an introductory 50,000 signup bonus, as well as 3x points for travel rewards, including gas. However, there’s no introductory APR like with the Preferred.

Chase Freedom. If you like your rewards in the form of cash back, the Chase Freedom card works similarly to the ThankYou Preferred in that it offers unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases, but gives you a 5% cash back bonus on selected rotating categories. This is a great option for those who don’t just want to stick to dining and entertainment for extra rewards.

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