Citi ThankYou Preferred Sign-Up Bonus Increased 50% to 30,000 ThankYou Points
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
The Citi ThankYou Preferred card just increased their bonus offer to 30,000 bonus ThankYou Points. You'll earn 10,000 bonus points after $1,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening, plus another 20,000 points after an additional $3,000 in purchases within the next 6 months - so your total spending is $4,500 in 9 months. Previously this bonus was 20,000 points when you spent $1,500 within 3 months, so with this offer, you can earn an additional 50% bonus of 10,000 points if you can manage the extra $3,000 in 6 months.
30,000 ThankYou points is the equivalent of $300 in value towards travel and these points can cover travel expenses that you normally may not be able to cover with traditional airline miles and hotel points (like stays at small bed and breakfast hotels or rental cars). Not bad for a card with no annual fee.
The bonus on this card has historically gone as high as 40,000 points - most recently back in December - though to score the entire bonus you had to spend $6,000 within 6 months, and there were some application links floating around back in early 2011 that people reported getting 50,000 points on for spending $10,000 in 6 months, but this bonus seems to be a happy medium between moderate spending and a decent-sized bonus.
Other perks of the card include:
Bonus Spending Categories: Previously, you only earned 1 ThankYou points per $1 on all purchases, however they recently changed that, and you now earn 2 ThankYou points per $1 spent on dining purchases and entertainment including movies, museums, amusement parks, sporting events, even iTunes and Netflix downloads with no limits on the bonus you can earn – and 1 point per $1 on everything else. In my opinion, this is a positive.
Travel Redemptions: This card offers 1 cent per point when redeemed for travel - hence the $300 back in value. But if you have both the Citi ThankYou Preferred and the ThankYou Premier (which has a $125 annual fee), you can redeem your points for airfare at 1.25 cents apiece, meaning this bonus could be worth as much as $375. However, remember that if you are spending mostly on restaurants and travel, you’re actually getting 2% back since you’re earning double points with this card. Plus, when you use ThankYou points for flights, it's basically like purchasing the ticket with cash, so you still earn miles and elite credit on most fares.
Non-Travel Redemptions: The ThankYou Preferred also offers 1 cent per point on many non-travel redemptions including most gift cards and other expenses like mortgage or student loan payments, while straight cash back gets you 0.5 cents per point in value
Other Benefits: While it might be easier to use this card abroad thanks to its SmartChip technology, it will cost you about 3% to do so because of foreign transaction fees, so just keep that in mind.
The other card I would compare this one to is the no-annual-fee Barclaycard Arrival, which currently comes with a sign-up bonus of 20,000 miles when you spend $1,000 in 3 months. While the minimum spending requirement is lower on the Arrival and you get a 10% miles refund on travel redemptions, the extra $100 in redemption value on the current Citi ThankYou Preferred more than makes up for that if you can meet the minimum spending requirement. Not only that, but the 30,000-point, $300-value sign-up bonus also outdoes many of the other no-annual-fee travel credit cards out there, so if you're in the market for a new card with minimum cash outlay, this might be the offer for you.
Some of my other favorite no annual fee cards include:
Chase Freedom (No longer open to new applicants)
Current Sign-up Bonus: $150 bonus after you spend $500 in the first 3 months
Annual Fee: $0
Other Benefits: Offers 5x points on quarterly rotating bonus spend categories and 1% cash bank on all other purchases
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
Current Sign-up Bonus: 20,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
Annual Fee: $0
Other Benefits: You'll earn earn 1.25 points for every dollar you spend which can then be redeemed for travel at a fixed rate of 1 cent per point. Also this card has no foreign transaction fees.
Also check out these related posts:
Top Current Credit Card Offers With First Year Annual Fee Waived
Travel Tuesday Top 10: No Annual Fee Credit Cards for Travelers
New Citi ThankYou Preferred Versus The No Annual Fee Barclaycard Arrival
Changes To Citi ThankYou Preferred – 2X Earning on Dining and Entertainment, No More Anniversary Bonus
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