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

(NO LONGER AVAILABLE) 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.

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Citibank ThankYou Preferred Credit Card
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
15.49%-25.49% Variable APR
Intro APR
0% intro APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months
Rec. credit score
720-850 (Excellent)

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No annual fee

  • Intro APR period on Purchases and Balance Transfers

Cons

  • Needs excellent credit

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$95

Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$250

Regular APR

18.99%-25.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

15.74%-26.74% Variable APR

Regular APR

19.74%-26.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
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Full Review

» This card is no longer available

The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card is no longer accepting applications. Citi's entry-level points-earning card is the Citi Rewards+® Card. Read our review of that card.


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% intro APR 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%.

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% intro APR 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.

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, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target), plus 8% back on Capital One Entertainment purchases 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 $200 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% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 17.99%-27.99% Variable APR; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months. 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 $95.

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 earns 3% cash back on up to $6,000 a year in spending in each of three categories: U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and U.S. online retail purchases. Other purchases earn 1%. Terms apply (see rates and fees). 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. Its annual fee is also $0.

You can also visit NerdWallet's roundup of the best 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.

To view rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, see this page.

Methodology

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