The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Rewards Card is Citi's new card is appears to e replacing the old Diamond Preferred Rewards Card. It also comes with a swanky new design. So let's explore this card in greater detail. Right now, this card is offering 15,000 bonus points for new card applicants.
Rewards - The Citi ThankYou(SM) Preferred Card allows you to earn one point for every dollar that you spend on the card. These points can be redeemed for products on Citi's ThankYou Rewards.
Bonuses - At present, new cardholders can get 15,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within the first three months. .
Fees - There is no annual fee for this card.
ThankYou Rewards - For those of you who are not familiar, the Citi ThankYou Network is Citi's Reward program that allows you to redeem points for rewards like merchandises, gift cards and travel rewards. The way the travel rewards work is that you book your travel through their online portal. You can then choose to pay with reward points, your credit card or a combination of points and cash.
Citi ThankYou Versus Other Rewards Card
Let us now compare the Citi ThanYou Preferred Card against it's peers and we'll start with looking at other CitiCards like the Citi Forward Card and the Citi ThankYou Premier Card.
Versus the Citi Forward Card - The Citi Forward Card is also based on the same reward program. So the rewards are the same. But the way you earn points are slightly different. With the Forward Card, you earn 5 points for every $1 spent on restaurants and entertainment and 1 point for other regular purchases. Hence, the way that you earn reward points are slightly different. In terms of earning reward points for the long term, the Citi Forward Card might be more appealing because you can earn more points with restaurant and entertainment spending.
Against the Citi ThankYou Premier Card - The "Premier Version" of this card is an upgrade and the comparison really isn't apples to apples because it has a $150 annual fee. But you earn 1.2 points on things like gasoline, supermarkets, drugstore purchases etc. You also earn Citi Flight Points for every miles that you fly in addition to the miles that you earn with your airline ticket. They do not charge any foreign transaction fee. And every year, you get a free companion ticket (domestic). If you book your flights with Spirit (their travel agent), you get a 15% discount. If you are a real frequent traveler, then you should consider the Premier over the Preferred version.
Versus the Chase Sapphire - Another card worth comparing with is the Chase Sapphire. It is Chase's no annual fee reward card. Like the Citi ThankYou Preferred card, you earn one point for every dollar that you spend on the card. But you also get to earn double points when you make a travel purchase through Chase Ultimate Reward program. Chase also allows you to book directly with the airlines or use any online travel agents and use your points to cover those travel expenses. Other than that, the reward programs between both cards are really quite similar.
Versus Amex Blue - The Amex Blue is American Express's general reward card. Like most reward cards, you can earn one point for every dollar you spend. On the travel front, you can use your Membership Rewards points to book airlines and hotels with Amex online travel portal. I also think that the Amex Membership Rewards has a greater variety of rewards and in the gift card section, it provides more bang for the buck. For example, 1,000 MR points gets you a $10 gift card whereas with the Citi ThankYou Network, you need 12,500 for a $10 gift card. From this perspective, Amex comes out slightly ahead though many folks will have legitimate concerns that Amex is not as accepted widely as a Visa or MasterCard.
ThankYou Preferred vs Discover Miles and Blue Sky - For those looking to reward cards for travel, another genre of cards exist whereby you are allowed to book your travel with any online agents rather than through a reward program travel portal. The advantages of such cards is that you are free to get the best deals. You can also use points for SouthWest bookings (since SouthWest is not on any travel portals and you have to book directly with them). Both the Discover Miles Card and the Blue Sky from American Express work this way and they are better than the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card if you fly SouthWest.
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Rewards Card - Our Opinion
Verdict - The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Rewards Card is a rewards card that I think will be suited for those who would like to earn reward points for travel. The flexibility to book whatever flight you want on their travel portal means you have flexibility over how you book your travel. Earning reward points this way is also the better way to go if your airline tickets that you would like to redeem for cost less than $300. Most frequent flier programs now require at least 35,000 to 50,000 just for a domestic airline ticket redemption and earning frequent flier miles ain't what it used to be.
Aside from their travel rewards, Citi also has a good program for other rewards like gift cards etc. With no annual fee, and incentives like being able to earn double points for the first year and a pretty good balance transfer deal, this card will appeal to those looking for a rewards card.