Get $750 In Airfare (With The First Year’s Annual Fee Waived)!

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Yesterday I wrote about how the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card has its best-ever welcome bonus at the moment. The card is offering 60,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 within three months.

This card has a $95 annual fee that’s waived for the first year, and beyond that, it’s an all around very compelling card. It offers triple points on travel and gas, and double points on dining and entertainment, which are some very well rounded bonus categories.

Nowadays there are three major transferable points currencies — Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou. Generally I do consider Amex and Chase points to be marginally more valuable due to their transfer partners, but the differences really are minimal.

Some readers have said something along the lines of “well that bonus sounds great, but I wouldn’t even know how to redeem those points.”

Personally I think their airline partners are incredibly useful (in particular Air France-KLM Flying Blue, Etihad Guest, and Singapore KrisFlyer), though I think it’s worth remembering that at a minimum, ThankYou points can be redeemed for 1.25 cents each towards the cost of airfare through Citi’s travel portal. You can book virtually any flight with no blackout dates. When you book through Citi’s website your ticket is still typically eligible for mileage accrual, upgrades, etc.

You also have so much flexibility in the ways in which you can redeem points as cash towards the cost of airfare. You could cover the entire cost of a ticket with ThankYou points, if you wanted to.

Or if you prefer, you could just pay for a portion of the ticket cost with ThankYou points, and pay cash for the rest (and since you’d be charging it to your Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, you’d earn 3x points for the amount you’re spending, since this is categorized as travel).

Put another way, the 60,000 point welcome bonus on the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card is worth a minimum of $750 of airfare, which is exceptional.

Even if you’re not someone who wants to learn the ins and outs of maximizing miles, this bonus is still so worthwhile. I can’t think of another mid-range card that offers a welcome bonus that gives you cash towards travel at that good of a rate. For example, to look at some of the other excellent mid-range cards out there:

  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card ($95 annual fee, waived the first year) offers 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within three months; points can be redeemed for 1.25 cents each, meaning that gets you $625 worth of travel
  • The Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® ($89 annual fee, see terms) offers 60,000 miles after spending $5,000 within the first 90 days; miles can be redeemed for one cent each towards airfare, meaning that gets you $600 worth of travel, and then you have to subtract the $89 annual fee
  • The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card ($95 annual fee, waived the first year) offers 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 within the first three months; miles can be redeemed for one cent each towards airfare, meaning that gets you $500 worth of travel

Don’t get me wrong, those are all excellent bonuses as well, but earning $750 worth of travel with the first year’s annual fee waived on the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card is especially exceptional.

I’ll have a separate post with what I consider to be the best uses of Citi ThankYou points, but I feel like it’s worth establishing this as a baseline redemption option.

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