Author: Anisha Sekar
Verdict: There are bigger and better cards out there. Even with the decent signup bonus, other credit cards provide far more value, particularly when you consider that Citi ThankYou Points kind of suck.
Thanks but no ThankYou
The ThankYou Preferred has a lackluster rewards program, giving just 1 ThankYou Point per $1 spent and no bonus categories. That puts the ThankYou Preferred at pretty much the bottom of the rewards barrel. Plus, Citi ThankYou Points can be redeemed for gift cards, statement credits, mortgage/student loan payments, or merchandise. Typically, only gift cards will give you the full one-cent-per-point value, and you have to save up a lot of points to redeem for anything good. ThankYou Points are among our least favorite point programs - as a Citi Forward cardholder, I can attest to the frustratingly limited redemption options.
Alternatives to the Citi ThankYou Preferred
In both signup bonus and ongoing rewards, you can do better than the ThankYou card. Here are a few options:
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
starts off strong: Earn 40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. You can redeem your points as a statement credit at full value, but if you redeem for travel booked through Chase, your points are worth 25% more. As for ongoing rewards, you get 2 points per $1 on travel and dining, and 1 per $1 elsewhere. Your rewards rate can be 2.50% on travel and dining and 1.25% elsewhere when you redeem for travel. It has an Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95.
Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
gives a strong signup bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 or more on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. Past that, it earns 2 miles on every dollar spent. You can redeem your miles as a statement credit at full value, but if you redeem as a statement credit against travel expenses specifically, you get 10% of the miles redeemed back. This raises your rewards rate to 2.2% on every dollar spent. Its annual fee is $89 - Waived first year.
Both of these options have annual fees, but given that the fees are waived the first year and the rewards are so much better, you're better off getting one of those cards, taking advantage of the bonus, and downgrading to a no-fee version of the card before the fee kicks in.