Citi ThankYou Premier — Rebirth of an Excellent Travel Credit Card

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According to Doctor of Credit and Flyertalk, the terms for the Citi ThankYou Premier credit card will change on April 19, 2015. When someone revises their T&C nowadays, it rarely means improvements, but this time, the changes are mostly positive. Here is a little Before (04/19) and After:

Before:

  • Earn 3 Points per dollar spent on Dining and Entertainment from your favorite drink at a local coffee shop to a fine dining restaurant or a movie.
  • Earn 2 Points per dollar spent on Airfare, Hotels and Travel Agencies, from a weekend getaway to a vacation abroad.
  • Earn 1 Point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • $125 annual fee after the first year.

After:

  • 3X points on travel, including gas, as well as airfare, hotels, cruises, car rental agencies, travel agencies, railways, public transportation, parking and much more
  • 2X points on dining out and entertainment
  • 1X points on other purchases
  • $95 annual fee after the first year.

There is no confirmation of lowering the annual fee in their newsletter, but a Flyertalker was informed about the changes by a CSR. If that pans out, then we have a very nice contender to pretty much every other travel credit card out there.

I have never held a Citi ThankYou Premier card. A few years back, they had a nice and uncompicated bonus (unlike now), but no airline transfers. Now they have transfer partners, but this improvement is coupled with really sneaky bonus terms. But later about that.

Does the new 3X category and reduction of the Annual Fee make it a contender to Barclaycard Arrival?

I would be very surprised if they didn’t have the Arrival card in mind when they were redesigning this one. Look what their travel category includes.

Citi Premier Travel new

They pretty much duplicate the same things that the Arrival considers travel, but they throw in a few terrific items like gas, tolls, parking–and, I’m really curious what “and more” means. The new changes will make this card a no-brainer for anything even remotely connected to travel, it seems.

And I wonder about Vacation Rentals. Is it going to work with AirBnB only, like the Arrival, or with other vacation rental companies, as well?

A lot of folks hate that they are moving the restaurants and entertainment into the 2X territory, but, well, I’m not a party animal. Don’t care one bit. 🙂

Is it a good card in general?

Yes, but with qualifications. For one thing, they have an eclectic mix of transfer partners. Not everyone likes it, but I do.

CITI THANKYOU PREMIER PARTNERS:

  • Air France & KLM Flying Blue
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Etihad Guest
  • EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
  • Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus

Like I said, I love this weird mix. Some folks are upset that US airlines haven’t made it there, but who cares when some of the best airlines in the world are in this list? Etihad is there. Cathay Pacific is there. Qatar and Singapore are there. What’s not to like?

Well, to answer my own question, what’s not to like is fuel surcharges, of course, but at least Cathay and Singapore are not too bad in that regard.

However, what’s annoying about the Citi ThankYou Premier credit card is how they make you jump through the hoops to get these 50,000 points.

Citi Premier Bonus

Yep, you will have to pay your annual fee to get the full bonus; and not only that, but the second part of your bonus is getting delayed for a year. That sucks!

On the other hand, paying $95 instead of $125 makes me strangely in peace with this offer. I have no idea why–it’s only $30 difference. But this is why shrinks make big bucks, I suppose.  However, I’ll remind you once again that there is no official confirmation of the annual fee reduction yet (to the best of my knowledge).

Which is perfectly understandable, though, since they are still selling the card for $125 AF.

What else is good?

A unique quality of the ThankYou program is that you can exchange share your points with anybody! It’s a perfect pipe dream currency in this regard. Compare this freedom to the American Express Membership Rewards or especially to Chase Ultimate Rewards new draconian rules.

What is the Points Sharing feature?

Points Sharing is a ThankYou Rewards feature that allows you to give your qualifying ThankYou points to another ThankYou Member by sharing points from your ThankYou Member Account to the recipient’s ThankYou Member Account. Points Sharing provides a flexible way to use your points. Shared points received are valid 90 days from the date received.

Can I share my ThankYou Points with someone else?

You may share eligible points in your ThankYou Member Account with another ThankYou Member.

Is there a fee to share points with another ThankYou Member?

Currently there is no fee to use the Points Sharing feature.

A thing of beauty, is it not?

Other ways to earn ThankYou points

Open a banking account with Citi, but watch for the monthly fees. Citi Gold gives you more options to earn ThankYou points, but here in NY, it comes with a whopping $30 monthly fee unless you have at least $50,000 in eligible accounts with them. The basic account doesn’t look like much earning-wise, but the $12 monthly fee is easily avoidable. Things add up, you know.

Citibank

Also remember that Citibank sends you the 1099 for points earned with their banking products. I wonder, however, how the Citi valuates points transferred to airline programs.

What do you think about the new rules? Share in the comments below.

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3 Responses to Citi ThankYou Premier — Rebirth of an Excellent Travel Credit Card

  1. […] Sharing feature and getting more ThankYou points with the Citi banking options in my other post: Citi ThankYou Premier — Rebirth of an Excellent Travel Credit […]

  2. […] Sharing feature and getting more ThankYou points with the Citi banking options in my other post: Citi ThankYou Premier — Rebirth of an Excellent Travel Credit […]

  3. […] Even so, I believed the card was valuable as reflected in this post: Citi ThankYou Premier — Rebirth of an Excellent Travel Credit Card. […]

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