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Citi ThankYou Preferred Review: The Dinner-and-a-Movie Date Night Card

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Citi ThankYou Preferred Editorial Review

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The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card is designed to appeal to daters, diners and folks looking for thrills out on the town. It earns rewards on restaurants and entertainment, and the definition of entertainment is broad, including concerts, sporting events, theater, zoos and much more. So if you’re single in the city or you’re settled but seeking to get out of the house more, the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card might be worth a look. However, if you’re in the mood for a sign-up bonus or cash back, you should take a pass.

Let’s take a look at the card’s upsides and downsides to see whether it fits into your lifestyle.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card: Benefits and basics

The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card earns an unlimited 2 Citi ThankYou Points per $1 spent on restaurants and entertainment and 1 point on everything else. Points never expire. See our review of Citi ThankYou Points for details on redeeming points, including the highest- and lowest-value redemption options.

BROAD BONUS CATEGORIES

The “restaurants” category on the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card includes both full-service restaurants and fast-food places, as well as bars, lounges and cafes. And the “entertainment” category covers more than you might think. Purchases that qualify for 2X points include:

  • Live entertainment (including theatrical productions, sporting events and concerts).
  • Movie theaters.
  • Amusement parks, circuses and carnivals.
  • Zoos and aquariums.
  • Tourist attractions (including museums and art galleries).
  • Record stores.
  • Video rental stores.
  • On-demand internet streaming media (such as Netflix or Spotify).

So when you go to rent “Murder, She Wrote” on VHS tape, be sure to use your Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card. Oh, and use it for all that other stuff, too.

SOLID 0% APR PROMOTION

The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card’s APR promo isn’t the longest available on Citi cards, but it’s very good for a rewards credit card.

New cardholders will get 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.49% - 24.49% Variable APR. That’s enough time to finance a larger purchase or just forgo paying interest on your regular expenses for a decent length of time. Transferring a balance that’s accruing a high interest rate can save you a fair sum of money, too. If you’re going to transfer a balance, though, be sure to consider the transfer fee: $5 or 3% of the balance, whichever is greater.

$0 ANNUAL FEE

Most rewards cards come at a cost. The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card does not; its annual fee is $0. No annual fee means you won’t have to stress about using your card enough to cover the fixed yearly payment. But you still should do your best to use your Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card when you spend on the bonus categories, or else you’re just leaving rewards on the table.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card: Pitfalls and other possibilities

The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card works for spending out on the town, but what about your daily expenses? How good is it really for transferring a balance? Here are a few areas where the card falls short.

NO REWARDS ON COMMON EXPENSES

For those in the social elite, spending on restaurants and entertainment may be an everyday occurrence. But what about the proletariat? The working-class everyperson who drives to work every day? The mother and father who need to feed five hungry mouths?

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express earns rewards on spending you’re more likely to see in your day-to-day life: 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases), 2% at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% on everything else. Cash back means cash you can use however you please. And with such common bonus categories, earning significant rewards will be a breeze for most families. This card will even start you off with a nice sign-up bonus: $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

Like the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express comes with a promotional APR offer: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 13.99% - 24.99% Variable APR. Its annual fee is $0.

BALANCE TRANSFER FEE

If a 0% APR on balance transfers is what you seek, you may want to look beyond the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card. Though this card’s 0% APR period is on par with many competitors’, there are better options. The Chase Slate® comes with an introductory APR of 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.99% - 24.74% Variable APR. But what really makes it stand out: Save with a $0 introductory balance transfer fee and get 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and $0 annual fee. Plus, receive your monthly FICO® Score for free. So if you’re transferring a sizable amount of debt, you won’t have to grow your debt in the process.

NO SIGN-UP BONUS

Rewards credit card users have become accustomed to sign-up bonuses with their cards, many times in the range of $300 to $500. If you’re looking for one in the terms and conditions of the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, you can stop your search early; there’s none to be found. There are plenty of other cards that do come with sign-up bonuses, though, if that’s your thing.

Is the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card right for you?

The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card will fit perfectly into the arsenal of credit card spenders who are looking to start earning rewards on dining and gallivanting about the town. It’s not necessarily the best rewards card out there, but it definitely has its place for certain spenders.


Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card

Annual fee $0
Balance transfer fee 3% of amount transferred, or $5, whichever is greater
APR 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.49% - 24.49% Variable APR
Rewards 2 ThankYou points per $1 spent on restaurants and entertainment; 1 point per $1 spent elsewhere. None.

Updated December 20, 2016.

Kevin Cash is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: kcash@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @kevin_cash.