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TPG reader Gavi wrote in to me about a letter he received from Citibank announcing changes to the terms of his ThankYou Preferred card that will go into effect July 28, 2013.
As a reminder, here are the current terms of the card:
- Earn up to 30,000 bonus ThankYou Points after qualifying purchases – redeem for $300 in gift cards or other great rewards
- Earn 20,000 bonus points after $1500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening, plus another 10,000 points after $1500 in purchases within the next 3 months
- 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 7 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99%-22.99% based upon your creditworthiness*
- There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.*
- New: 2x Points on purchases for dining and entertainment
- 1 ThankYou Point on other purchases
- Points do not expire and earn unlimited Thank You Points
- Redeem ThankYou Points for merchandise, travel rewards, gift cards, cash and more
- Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with Chip Technology
- No annual fee*
According to the letter, which I’ve included below, the following features of the card will be changing.
Earning: Instead of earning 1 ThankYou points per $1 on all purchase, the card will now earn 2 ThankYou points per $1 spent on dining purchases and entertainment including movies, museums, amusement parks and sporting events and 1 point per $1 on everything else.
Anniversary Bonus: The other major change is that the Preferred’s 1-3% anniversary bonus (the percentage depends on how long you have had the card) on all the points you accrue during your cardmember year (the percentage is based on how many years you’ve had each card) will be discontinued after your next anniversary. One thing to note is that the Anniversary Bonus is not available to new card members
Other Bonuses: Finally, the 100-point bonuses for enrolling in Account Online and Paperless Statements will be discontinued after July 27 (so enroll now if you haven’t already!).
Let’s start with the positive. Until now, the ThankYou Preferred hasn’t offered any category spending bonuses – it was a 1 point per $1 earning rate across the board – so I’m glad to see Citi upping its game by giving cardholders 2X points on popular categories like dining and entertainment.
That brings the card into competition with some important no-fee rivals like the Sapphire card from Chase, which earns 2X points per $1 on dining, and the no-fee Arrival card from Barclaycard, which earns 2X points on travel and dining. I’d love to see Citi add travel as another bonus earning category to really set the ThankYou Preferred card apart.
Although I like cards that carry anniversary bonuses like the Sapphire Preferred’s 7% annual points dividend, I actually don’t think that taking this feature away from the Citi ThankYou Preferred really detracts much from the card – especially because the 1-3% you can possibly earn is such a small amount anyway. Every point counts, but considering this card has no annual fee and thus doesn’t cost you anything to continue carrying, this wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me.
Citi Thank You cards just aren’t that attractive to me- especially now. I’d love to see some solid transfer options, but I’m not holding my breath. What are your thoughts?