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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Citi ThankYou Premier
Citi’s Thank You points program isn’t the most lucrative points program on the market (my main gripe is that you cannot transfer those points to any airlines or hotels), but the points are still valuable because they can be used to buy any airfare and hotel and they earn miles and elite status. You can also use points for gift cards at 1 points = 1 cent. Signing for for the Premier credit card and CitiGold checking account can net you up to 90,000 ThankYou points – enough for $1,197 in airfare/hotels!
The Citi Thank You Premier card offers 50,000 points when you spend $2,500 within 3 months and the $125 annual fee is waived the first year.
Earning: 1.2 ThankYou Points for every dollar you spend on purchases at supermarkets, gas stations, drugstores and commuter transportation/parking merchants.
1 ThankYou Point for every dollar you spend on all other purchases.
Redeeming: 1 point = 1.33 cents towards travel, 1 cent towards gift cards
Anniversary bonus: 1-3% of the points you’ve earned that year
No foreign Transaction fees
Card: You can choose either Visa or Mastercard
So basically, those 50,000 points points can be used to get $500 in gift cards (including Sunoco) or $665 towards airfare – plus you earn miles and elite status on any flights/hotels booked with ThankYou Points.
To get an additional 40,000 ThankYou points without getting another inquiry on your credit or worrying about doing the “two browser” trick, you can open up a CitiGold Checking Account by 12/31/2011 and then enroll it in Citi ThankYou Rewards. Within 45 days after account opening, complete one direct deposit AND one electronic bill payment for two consecutive months. The minimum opening deposit is $500 and there is a $30 monthly fee unless you have either 1) $50,000 in all linked deposits/retirement accounts 2) $100,000 in all linked accounts including investment accounts 3) $250,000 or more including Citi mortgages.
You can continue earning ThankYou points by keeping your account open, but like most other checking accounts these days it’s not very lucrative. Starting December 9, 2011 Citi is instituting new rules towards earning points on checking accounts:
The max points earned a month from a CitiGold checking account is 1,350 (or $13.50 towards gift cards). Not great, but the 40,000 sign-up points can totally make this deal worthwhile!
While the 40,000 points aren’t as easy and quick as just getting a credit card, this is probably the most lucrative checking account bonus on the market and getting an account does not require a good credit score (they just run a soft inquiry to verify your identity).