Reviews Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students review

Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students review

Published: June 20, 2017
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Students Rating:
2.4 rating
2.4 rating
2.4 / 5
Introductory Offer 2.6
Interest and Fees 0.9
Rewards Program 3.4
Features 5.0

In a nutshell:

Citi’s student card lavishes cardholders with some great rewards and travel perks, but watch out for the high costs in the fine print.

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APR
14.99-24.99%* (variable)

Annual Fee
None

Penalty APR
Up to 29.99% (variable)

Introductory Offer
0% APR on new purchases for 7 months

Estimated Yearly Rewards Value ($300 monthly spend)
$54

Rewards Program

  • 2 points/dollar on restaurants and entertainment
  • 1 point/dollar on general purchases
  • 2,500 bonus points if you spend $500 in first 3 months
  • Redeem points for travel, gift cards, merchandise and cash

Other Notable Features: EMV chip, car rental insurance, trip cancellation insurance, price rewind

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You’ve probably spent a small fortune on textbooks and school supplies this semester, and we bet you wouldn’t mind getting something out of it in addition to wisdom and college credits. With the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students, you can accumulate points on all of your spending and apply them toward merchandise, such as iPads and Bluetooth speakers, as well as travel, gift cards and more. Citibank’s student card is one of the few on the market to offer a wide array of rewards along with a long list of travel perks.

Valuable rewards program
In terms of value, Citibank offers a good rewards program for students. The rewards rate is higher than average: one point per dollar spent on general purchases, with a bonus of two points per dollar for restaurants and entertainment. We like that Citi provides extra points for categories where students are likely to allocate a large part of their budget.  There is also a nice sign-up bonus of 2,500 points when you spend $500 in the first three months.

Wide variety of rewards
The fact that you earn rewards points rather than cash means the rewards are less valuable than a straight-up cash back card. However, if you prefer a rewards program with a large variety of rewards categories, including merchandise and travel, Citibank can’t be beat. Redemption options are also very flexible – there are no blackout dates, expiration dates or limits on your points.

A lot of extra perks
The card is teeming with additional features that are rarely seen on student cards. It contains new EMV chip technology, which adds an extra layer of security and makes it easier to use your card overseas.  It also has some very valuable travel perks, including car rental insurance and travel insurance, along with some useful purchase features such as price rewind and extended warranty. You also get a membership to the Citi Private Pass program, which gives you special access to concerts and events.

Carrying a balance could cost you
The downside is that all the rewards and features come with a cost. The regular APR for this card, which ranges up to 24.99 percent, is high. Even more troubling is the penalty APR. If you get behind and miss a payment, Citibank could raise your APR to 29.99 percent. If you are not disciplined with spending, this could put you in some serious hot water.

For this reason, we recommend this card strictly to cardholders who are prepared to manage their credit wisely. If you prefer a variety of rewards over a simple cash-back program, you will enjoy spending points on the Citi ThankYou portal. But make sure all those rewards don’t tempt you into spending money you don’t have.

Reasons to sign up for it:

  • You want a valuable rewards program.
  • You prefer a variety of rewards over plain cash back.
  • You want a card with a lot of valuable travel perks and purchase features.
  • You spend most of your budget on restaurants and entertainment.

How to use it:

  • Redeem rewards points for gift cards or travel if you can – they have the highest value.
  • Be diligent about paying your bills. You can get a penalty APR of 29.99 percent if you miss a payment.
  • Don’t let the zero-percent introductory APR tempt you into carrying a balance. The regular APR – once it kicks in – is high.

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