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Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students: Get Rewarded for Going Out

Credit Cards, Student Credit Cards
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Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students Editor's Rating: 4.4 / 5

If you’re a student looking for a first credit card, the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students is a good place to start. It offers rewards on dining (yes, takeout counts) and entertainment, has a $0 annual fee, and offers some great perks along with it. We’ll break down the benefits of the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students, compare it to other college student cards, and help you decide if it’s right for you.

At a glance
Annual fee $0
Bonus Rewards 2 ThankYou Points per $1 on dining and entertainment, 1 per $1 elsewhere
Rewards program ThankYou Points
Signup bonus Earn 2,500 bonus points after spending $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
Foreign transaction fee 3% of amount spent overseas
Verdict: It’s a great card for students who eat out or go out often.
Good for:
  • College or grad students who go to restaurants or get takeout.
  • Students who enjoy concerts, movies, etc.
  • Getting a signup bonus, rare for student credit cards.
Bad for:
  • Someone who prefers cash to a points program.
  • Students who plan to study abroad.

The basics

The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students offers 2 ThankYou® Points for every $1 spent on dining (this can include fast food, takeout, sit-down, bars and cocktail lounges) and entertainment (think concerts, movie theaters, amusement parks, zoos and museums). It offers 1 ThankYou® Point for every $1 spent elsewhere. It’s one of few student credit cards to offer a signup bonus: Earn 2,500 bonus points after spending $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students

Apply Now on Citibank's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    719
    Good
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No annual fee

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 14.99% - 24.99% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99%, Variable
    • Cash Advance APR: 26.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 2,500 bonus points after spending $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*

    Intro APR

    • 0% on Purchases for 7 months
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 2,500 bonus points after spending $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*
    • 2,500 ThankYou® Points are redeemable for $25 in gift cards, electronics and other great rewards
    • Earn 2X Points on Dining Out & Entertainment
    • Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases
    • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
    • Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with Chip Technology
    • No annual fee*

The card also comes with an EMV chip, which can be useful in traveling abroad. A heads-up, though: it comes with a 3% foreign transaction fee, so you may be better off with a no foreign transaction fee student credit card.

It pays out its rewards in Citi ThankYou® Points, which can be used at full value for gift cards, charitable donations, mortgage or student loan payments, and travel certificates. To get full value on gift cards, you sometimes have to rack up 10,000 points, but your points never expire.

The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students vs. other student credit cards

We’ll compare the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students to two student heavyweights, the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® and Discover it® for Students.

While the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students card offers bonus rewards on dining and entertainment, the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® gives a flat 1% cash back on every purchase with an extra 0.25% cash back when you make your monthly payment on time, for a total of 1.25%. Like the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students, it has a $0 annual fee, but the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® also has no foreign transaction fee.

Get the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students if:

  • You spend more than 25% of your money on dining and entertainment.
  • You’re eager for that signup bonus.

Get the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® if:

  • You prefer cash back or a flat rewards rate.
  • You plan to study abroad.

The Discover it® for Students also offers bonus rewards, but rather than paying out in set areas, it gives 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories up to a quarterly limit and 1% cash back elsewhere. It’s got the simplicity of cash back, and its bonus categories are pretty extensive and can include gas, restaurants and movies. Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. The Discover it® for Students is notable for what it doesn’t have: It has a $0 annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, no penalty interest rate, and waives the first late payment fee. The waived foreign transaction fee is useful if you study abroad, but keep in mind that Discover is only accepted in certain countries.

Get the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students if:

  • You spend a good chunk of your money on dining and entertainment, and you don’t see that changing.
  • You’ll get good value out of the signup bonus.

Get the Discover it® for Students if:

  • You prefer cash back.
  • You’ve checked out its bonus categories and think they’ll fit your spending.
  • You’re traveling abroad in a country that accepts Discover.

What does it take to get a student credit card?

In order to apply for the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students, you must be 18 or over, have a valid Social Security number, and be a college or grad student. You must also either have a full-time income or, if you’re over 21, have “reasonable access” to salary and wages that can be used to pay the bills. Check out this article on prepping your finances for college to learn more.


Image via iStock.