Editorial Review

Citi ThankYou Preferred Review: Not a Great Catch for Date Night

You get 2 points per dollar on dining and entertainment and 1 point per dollar on everything else. There's no annual fee, but no sign-up bonus either.

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Our Take

3.0

NerdWallet rating

The Bottom Line: The 0% intro APR period is worth a look. But you can get richer rewards — including on dining and entertainment — from other no-fee options.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card

Citi ThankYou<sup>&reg;</sup> Preferred Card

on Citibank's secure application

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
15.49% - 25.49% Variable APR
Intro APR
0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months

Quick Facts

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
15.49% - 25.49% Variable APR
Intro APR
0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • No annual fee
  • Intro APR period on Purchases and Balance Transfers
Cons
  • Needs excellent credit

recommended credit score

Alternate Pick: Cash, not points

Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card

Get higher rewards and true cash back

This card pays an unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% on grocery stores and 1% on everything else. You get a sign-up bonus and a 0% intro APR period, too, with an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95. It's simply a superior card to the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card.

Read our review

Full Review

The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card is designed to appeal to daters, diners and folks looking for thrills out on the town. But frankly, it’s a bit of a party pooper.

The card earns double rewards on restaurants and entertainment, and its definition of entertainment is broad, including concerts, sporting events, theater, zoos and 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 is hoping you’ll bring it along.

But dining and entertainment have become intensely competitive categories in recent years, so even if those are your biggest spending areas, you can find many cards that offer higher rewards rates in those categories.

Plus, if you’re looking for the benefits of a sign-up bonus or cash back, you’ll want to research other options.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card: Basics

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Rewards:
    • 2 Citi ThankYou Points per $1 spent on restaurants and entertainment.
    • 1 point per dollar on everything else.
    • There’s no limit to the points you can earn, and points never expire. See our review of Citi ThankYou Points for details on redeeming points, including the highest- and lowest-value redemption options.
  • Sign-up bonus: None.
  • Introductory APR: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.49% - 25.49% Variable APR.
  • Balance transfer fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3%.

» MORE: Citi credit cards mobile app review

Highlights of the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card card

  • $0 annual fee. Many rewards credit cards come with a yearly cost. The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card does not. This means you won’t have to stress about using your card enough to cover a fixed yearly payment.
  • Solid 0% intro APR period: New cardholders get an introductory APR of 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.49% - 25.49% Variable APR. That’s not the longest 0% period you can find, but it’s a decent runway if you’re looking to finance a large purchase or transfer a balance. With the latter, though, be sure to consider the balance transfer fee: $5 or 3% of the amount transferred, whichever is greater.
  • Broad dining and entertainment 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.

Drawbacks to consider

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 sign-up bonus. Rewards credit card users have grown accustomed to sign-up bonuses, sometimes worth hundreds of dollars, even on cards with no annual fee. The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card has none. Plenty of other cards do come with sign-up bonuses, many of them quite lucrative.
  • Limited redemption options. If you’re looking for flexible rewards points or cash back, the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card may not be for you. The card’s ThankYou Points are redeemable for gift cards to popular retailers and restaurants. You can redeem 2,500 ThankYou Points for a $25 gift card at thankyou.com. A Citi representative confirms that you can also redeem for cash back. But be aware that it’s a poor redemption value.
  • Poor rewards rate on common expenses. Though dining and entertainment are fun spending categories, you’ll get just 1 point per dollar on everything else. Cardholders may get more use out of a card that offers elevated rewards for more everyday purchases.
  • Poor choice for international travel. With a 3% fee tacked onto purchases abroad, the card isn’t ideal if you’re headed abroad.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best no foreign transaction fee credit cards

Possible alternatives

Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card is superior to the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card in nearly every way. For starters, it’s a true cash-back credit card, and it earns an unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. The card’s definition of entertainment is similarly broad. Plus, unlike the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, it offers a sign-up bonus: Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

The Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card is also a decent choice for financing a purchase or transferring a balance: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.74% - 24.74% Variable APR. And you’ll get all of this for an annual fee of $0.

For even higher rewards on dining and entertainment, you could opt for this card’s big brother, the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card — although it does charge an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

If your definition of entertainment is “Netflix and chill,” consider the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card. It hits a sweet spot for both foodies and folks who enjoy online streaming services, offering 3 points per dollar spent on restaurant dining as well as on services like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify Premium, Apple Music and Pandora. And the high ongoing rewards rate doesn’t stop there: You’ll also earn 3 points per dollar spent on gas stations, rideshares, flights, hotels, homestays, car rentals and more, all for an annual fee of $0 — making the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card a much more rewarding option for everyday spending than the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card.

Plus, you’ll be eligible for a rich welcome offer: Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that’s a $300 cash redemption value. You can redeem points for many things, including travel or cash back, and points are worth a penny each no matter how you redeem (though, for cash back, you’ll need to have accrued at least 2,000 points first).

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Dining and partying are all well and good, but maybe you’re a homebody or a parent with hungry mouths to feed. If so, elevated rewards for grocery spending may be more your speed. The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express earns 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%); 2% at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores; and 1% on everything else. Terms apply. The cash back comes in the form of a statement credit. Like the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express comes with an introductory APR: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.99% - 25.99% Variable APR. Its annual fee is also $0.

You can also visit NerdWallet’s roundup of top credit cards to see how these cards compare with the competition.

Is the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card right for you?

The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card will earn you rewards on dining and hitting the town. But it’s neither the best rewards card for entertainment and dining, nor is it a great value for everyday spending. If you need a good 0% intro APR period, it’s certainly an option. But for everyday use, you’ll be better off comparing other cards that can reward you more handsomely no matter what you spend most of your money on.