On Applying for Citi Thank You Premier (X 2), and How It Compares to Chase Sapphire Preferred

Reposting this information since the offer was recently increased to 60k points. If you’ve applied for Citi Thank You Premier card when the bonus was 50k points, make sure to contact Citi and ask for match. 

As I’ve mentioned many times, flexible points are my favorite type of currency in the miles and points hobby. That’s why I recently chose to forego the increased bonus on Delta cards in favor of Amex Everyday. I’ve just met minimum spending requirements on that card, so it was time to apply for another offer. It’s a perpetual cycle with me.

Anyway, this time the decision was relatively simple. I went ahead and applied for Citi Thank You Premier card  in both mine and my husband’s names. We canceled our Citi Prestige cards 24 months ago, which meant we were finally eligible for the bonus (see related post). Both applications were instantly approved. Yes, that’s right, we will have to spend $8k in three months in order to collect the sign-up bonuses. Don’t worry, I’m a big gal and know what I’m doing.

I anticipate more then the usual amount in spending during upcoming summer months. For one, my home and car insurance policies renew in June ($2,500 total). I usually make the payment in full in order to lock in a discount. Also, as of now, you can still use Visa cards for car payments on Plastiq ( my referral link ), which will knock off another $1,350 in spending. Of course, there is the usual spending on groceries, gas, braces etc. Last, but not least, we are planning on going to South Pacific in a couple of months, and that ain’t cheap.

Sure, Plastiq might fold tomorrow and my trip may fall through. In that case, I will prepay the power bill, buy Walmart gift cards and resort to other tricks outlined in this post. One thing I don’t plan on doing is manufactured spending, but that’s my personal choice.

Either way, I felt confident enough to pull the trigger on both cards at the same time. The reason? In this environment you just never know when the bank may institute new restrictions which will preclude someone like me from getting approved. We had an advance warning on Chase cards and 5/24 rule, but there is no guarantee it will happen again. Plus, with Citi all bets are off, always.

If I feel somewhat confident that I can meet the minimum spending on the card, I go for it. In no way am I saying that you should do the same thing. Every family is different, and $8k requirement is nothing to sneeze at. But I’m pretty excited, and if all goes well, we’ll be going on a Bahamas cruise with kids next year, courtesy of Citi. See my post Increased Citi Thank You Premier Offer: and Excellent Option to Cover your Family’s First Cruise (and More)

Our Carnival cruise in 2013

The beauty of flexible points is that you are not locked into just one option. So if I don’t end up using the points on a cruise, I will probably transfer them to Avianca in order to redeem the miles on my parents’ tickets from Belarus to USA. Those costs 60k miles roundtrip in economy, with no fuel surcharges. This would allow me to preserve much more valuable Ultimate Rewards points.

I would never buy Avianca miles speculatively, but there is no question that the program is an excellent option (for now) when it comes to Star Alliance redemptions. Just take a chill pill before you start redeeming miles online and get a shot of tranquilizer if you have to call their support center in Colombia.

Citi Thank You Premier card (see more details on the offer here) does pay us commission if you apply through this site. Obviously, I must think it’s a good deal since I applied for it myself. I can’t think of a better endorsement, can you? That said, there may be better options for your situation, especially if you are NOT subject to 5/24 restriction. 

Citi Thank You Premier vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

There is no question that Ultimate Rewards program is much stronger than Citi Thank You program. The former partners with United, Southwest and Hyatt. In addition, you can combine the points earned from Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited.

Citi Thank You  is IMO the weakest  flexible program out there. But not for everyone! In fact, I think Citi Thank You Premier card is a decent “keeper” card for some people. Let me describe that imaginary person:

1) You like to keep things relatively simple and use only one card for all spending. You don’t care about maximizing 5% categories, pulling points etc.

2) You spend a good bit on entertainment, dining, travel and gas. Citi Thank You Premier earns 3 points per dollar on travel and gas stations, and 2 points on entertainment and dining. Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 2 points on travel and dining, and 1 point on everything else.

3) You like to fly Jet Blue and United (domestically). UR program doesn’t partner with Jet Blue. While it does partner with United, you will pay 10,000 miles one-way at the lowest level on short routes. This is where we circle back to Avianca, which partners with Citi. Avianca recently changed its award chart, and now certain routes within USA cost only 7,500 miles one-way. 

The logic for the pricing is a bit weird at times, and not all award seats show up, but the routes that cost 7,500 miles do exist. And with some patience, you can get some great deals.

A huge plus is the fact that there are no close-in booking fees.  See this experience on Frequent Miler blog. Bottom line: Avianca may be your best bet if you frequently redeem points on domestic United award flights.

4) You like to occasionally book revenue flights. You get the same uplift on your Citi Thank You points as you do on your UR points with Chase Sapphire Preferred (25%). So, each point will give you 1.25 cents towards airfare.

5) You don’t want to pay more than $95 in annual fees for your premium card. You like to have travel insurance built-in, but don’t care about primary car rental insurance (offered by Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve).

As always, it comes down to what features and transfer partners matter to you most. While most folks will pick CSP when given a choice, I do think they should at least look into Citi Thank You Premier.

Not surpsingly, I won’t be renewing our two cards next year. Then again, I wouldn’t renew Chase Sapphire Preferred either. Neither one is the right fit for my particular situation. And I’m convinced that most low-spenders will come out ahead by sticking to no-fee credit cards in their everyday spending

But I can say with absolute certainty that getting 60,000 Citi Thank You points in exchange for spending $4,000 (without going into debt) is a very good deal. Anyone who tells you otherwise must have stumbled across some amazing money-making scheme that comes with no risks and lets you earn 1,000% return on your investment. If so, I want in!

Click here to view various credit cards and available sign-up bonuses




Author: Leana

Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.

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20 thoughts on “On Applying for Citi Thank You Premier (X 2), and How It Compares to Chase Sapphire Preferred

  1. So many choices, so little time! We do the same thing with car insurance. It’s time for me to churn too. We are 5/24 with Chase. How do you feel about a targeted offer of 75,000 on Venture Capital One? To me that seems like a great offer. Am I missing something as it’s not usually on the list of cards to get? I believe it pulls from all three credit agencies! Or, should I consider Citi Thank you?

    • @Michelle I don’t usually mention targeted offers unless there is a solid way to get targeted. This is actually the first time I’ve heard about 75k offer on Capital One Venture Card. That bank does pull from all three agencies, yes. Plus, it’s very strict when it comes to approvals. That said, it definitely won’t hurt to try. I would prioritize that offer over Premier Card. If you get denied for Venture, you can always try applying for Premier next. Based on the fact that me and my husband had no trouble with getting approved, I would say you should have an excellent shot also. Well, assuming you have a decent credit score.

      • Hi, I thought it was a great offer with an annual fee waived for the first year. It came in the mail.

    • My wife got a 60k offer, and there were reports of 100k offers being sent out as well. We decided to wait and see if something better came up. The offer we received is only $100 more than the 50k offer that’s easy to find. Now 75k? That might have been enough to pull the trigger.

      • Both 75k and 100k targeted offers on Venture sound great! Frankly, I would love to get approved for 50k offer. Unfortunately, no “soup” for me. Capital One hates us.

  2. Can one use the sign up bonus of 50k in Thank You points for a $500 credit against charges or get $500 in gift cards?

    • @Harv You can redeem points on gift cards and get $500 in value, though selection isn’t the best. No Walmart or Target as far as I know. The statement credit Im not sure on. They added this option to Prestige, but it’s not an option that’s mentioned on Premier. Of course, you can always transfer points to someone who has Prestige and cash them out that way. Well, as long as you trust the person. As soon as I get my Premier Card, I will be able to poke around and let you know.

    • @Harv Following up as promised. So, I was pleasantly surprised, because you can indeed redeem points on a statement credit at a penny each. So, the bonus is worth $500 at the very least. Not too shabby!

      • Leana,

        I’m quite late to this discussion, but could you clarify if you might be getting a penny each for statement credits because you have a combined ThankYou account which also has a Prestige card attached, in addition to your Premier? Or is this a relatively recent change where the Premier by itself offers the penny a point cash back? Thanks!

      • @Jig OK, here is the crazy thing. I was prepared to answer your question with “no, you don’t need Citi Prestige to cash out the points at a penny each.” This was indeed the case when I checked a few months ago. But! I decided to double check because well, it’s Citi we are talking about. So, it appears that you now need 2,000 points to get $10. This was not the case when I looked before. Citi is weird about not always advertising their perks, so I figured it’s just one of those things. To be honest, I never planned to cash out the points, as travel redemption will give you 1.25 cents per point. But I can see why this may be appealing for some. I really wish I saved the screenshot because you could absolutely redeem 1,000 points towards $10 credit. Not anymore! How bizarre.

  3. Do you know how Citi calculates the 24 month rule? Is it 24 months to the day, or is it the start of the month following the 24 month anniversary? I’d hate to miss the bonus by jumping the gun a few days.

    • @Senor Frog I actually had the same concern, and it’s a valid question. I looked for data points and didn’t find any indicating that they start the clock the following month. I also checked with other bloggers on Twitter, who confirmed that Citi uses the exact date as a cut-off: https://twitter.com/dannydealguru/status/987395048760332290
      I have applied only two days after I became eligible. Fingers crosses we don’t get burned. There is a slight risk, I suppose, but I plan to contest it and quote their own rule. I feel fairly confident that we should get the bonus X2. I wanted to apply for another card, and didn’t feel like waiting. But I totally understand if you want to be on the safe side.

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