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Citi has been pretty quiet this year when it comes to lucrative sign-up bonuses on their own ThankYou rewards cards. Earlier this year they launched new category spend bonuses and decreased the value of points when redeemed for travel (from 1.33 cents a point down to 1.25 cents).
However, the sign-up bonus on the Citi ThankYou Premier card – the premium Citi card earning ThankYou points – has been at 30,000 points for a while now, but now you can earn up to 50,000 points worth $625 when redeemed for airfare. But there are some strings attached.
The bonus works a little differently than most, however. You earn 20,000 points when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months of cardmembership, and then an additional 30,000 points within the first 3 months of your second cardmember year. So in effect, Citi is making you keep the card for at least a year and though the $125 annual fee is waived the first year, it is not waived the second year, so you will have to pay it to get the full bonus. Subtracting the annual fee from value of the entire bonus, this is about a $500 value proposition not including the points you earn from the spending requirements and whatever other purchases you make during the year.
Signup Bonus Details:
Earn 20,000 points after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening and an additional 30,000 points after $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of your second year of being a cardmember.
$125, waived for the first year. No foreign transaction fees.
Category Spend Bonuses:
3X Points on Dining out and Entertainment and 2X Points on Airfare and Hotels. 1 point per dollar on other purchases.
Point Redemption Options:
ThankYou points are not as valuable as Chase Ultimate Rewards points or American Express Membership Rewards because their only transfer partner is Hilton, which are worth less than 1 cent each in my opinion.
When you use the points to book travel through thankyou.com you get 1.25 cents per point, so 50,000 points = $625 in travel, minus the $125 annual fee in the second year brings the total value to $500 for $5,000 in spend.
You can also redeem for gift cards at 1 cent per point, so 50,000 points = $500 in gift cards.
This card could be a good way to cover the costs of paid flights, because you earn miles and elite qualifying miles on flights redeemed through Thankyou.com. Earning 3x on Dining and Entertainment is like earning 3.75% back when redeemed for travel. Plus, the entertainment category is pretty broad: Sports Promoters, Theatrical promoters are classified as merchants that operate live theatrical productions or concerts and include ticketing agencies, Movie theaters, Amusement parks (including zoos, circuses and aquariums) are classified as establishments that operate parks or carnivals and offer mechanical rides and games and/or live animal shows. Tourist attractions and museums (including art galleries) are classified as establishments that operate attractions and exhibits for tourists. Record stores and Video rental stores.
I’d still rather have 2.14 Chase points per dollar for spending on my Sapphire Preferred for travel and dining, because I value those points conservatively at 2 cents apiece (due to their valuable transfer partners like United, Hyatt and Southwest), so that is a 4.28% back on dining and travel, though I’d only be getting ~2.7% back if I redeemed for flights and travel through he Ultimate Rewards travel portal (the equivalent of thankyou.com).
The other card I would compare this one to is the Barclaycard Arrival, which currently comes with a sign-up bonus of 40,000 miles when you spend $1,000 in 3 months. Those miles are worth 1 cent apiece when redeemed for travel and you get a 10% miles refund on travel redemptions, so it’s worth about $440 in travel redemptions. While that’s less than this Citi ThankYou Premier offer, you do get the entire bonus all at once in when you meet the minimum spending requirement without having to wait another year and to meet another spending requirement, and the first year’s $89 annual fee is waived on this card. The Arrival also earns 2X miles per $1 on all purchases meaning it’s potentially a bigger earner than the ThankYou Premier depending on where your purchases are. So if you’re in the market for a new card with minimum cash outlay, this might be the offer for you.
So it all depends on what you want out of your points and which categories you spend a lot of money on, though I still think the Sapphire Preferred and Arrival are better overall earners and I wish the full 50,000 point sign-up bonus was available within a single year upon hitting the spending requirement.
Also check out these related posts:
Top Current Credit Card Offers With First Year Annual Fee Waived
Maximize Monday: Fixed-Value Credit Card Points Programs
Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard Bonus Hits 40,000 Miles
Details on the Barclaycard Arrival Bonus Travel Category and Redemption Options