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Update: The offer mentioned below for the Citi ThankYou Preferred card has expired. View the current offer here.
It’s no secret that competition is heating up in the credit card space with Chase and American Express duking it out for the most credit worthy cardholders. Citi has somewhat competed with their ThankYou Preferred card, but that program pales in comparison to the numerous valuable transfer partners that Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards tour.
However, Dan’s Deals blog wrote yesterday that Citi plans to add British Airways and Singapore Airlines as transfer partners. I have not been able to verify that information from official sources and I haven’t seen any details, so I’ll leave it in the rumor category for the time being.
However, if this is the case, this is a huge boost to the ThankYou program, which in it’s current state is a fixed value program that gives roughly 1.3 cents per point towards travel rewards. Not really amazing, since the Capital One Venture card is essentially a 2% cash back program and has a lower annual fee ($59 vs. $125 on Citi Thank You Premier).
The addition of British Airways opens up Oneworld awards (including American Airlines) and Singapore opens up Star Alliance (including United, US Airways and Air Canada) elevates the ThankYou program from fixed point to transferable, which is my favorite type of credit card program. However, neither programs are perfect- I’ve written in the past about British Airways and Singapore (but plan to have more in depth posts in the near future for both programs).
I spoke to reps from Citi recently and encouraged them to add American Airlines as a transfer partner, since they already have a tight relationship with American through their other co-brand cards. The feeling I got was that American is very hesitant to dilute the value of their points- however, I could see that changing as they restructure to become more profitable.
The current “official” offer for the ThankYou Premier card is 30,000 points. However, if you Google “Thankyou premier 50,000″ you can find an active application for 50,000 points, thought it’s from September 2011. I just got a notice that Citi will be offering a new bonus for the ThankYou Premier next week, so I’d hold off until then to see if it’s a more competitive offer. If you do apply via that page, I’d take screenshots just in case you don’t get the 50,000 bonus.
I’ll update more if/when more details are released!