The New Citi ThankYou Premier Card

Last month, I wrote about all the new changes in the Citi ThankYou Preferred and now I’m writing about the new Premier card. Sadly, the new card will undergo a complete facelift and all the benefits and perks of the card that I actually am willing to PAY an annual fee for are gone. And all this right after I just mention I used one of my perks on the card!

Citi ThankYou Premier Card

Citi ThankYou Premier Card

It’s not announced on the Citibank website yet, but I’ve received through paper mail a package regarding all the changes to the Citi ThankYou Premier card that I have. The new card benefits will take effect starting Oct 20, 2013 for all existing cardholders.

Just a quick recap, the existing card benefits with $125 annual fee are:

  1. Earn Flight Points for each mile you fly on all airline tickets you buy.
  2. Points are worth 33% more when redeemed for airfare through Citibank
  3. Earn 1.2 ThankYou points for every $1 spent at gas stations, supermarkets, and drugstores (equivalent to 1.2% cashback)
  4. Annual complimentary domestic companion ticket AND 15% off all flights offered through their thankyoucompanion partner with Spirit Airlines.
  5. Anniversary bonus points, basically 1-5% of all the points you earn every year
  6. No foreign transaction fees

Here are the new card benefits beginning Oct 20, 2013 with the same $125 annual fee:

  1. Earn 3 ThankYou points for dining & entertainment (equivalent to 3% cashback)
  2. Earn 2 ThankYou points on Airfare & hotel (equivalent to 2% cashback)
  3. Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for airfare through Citibank (compared to 33% before)
  4. No additional authorized user fees (it is $50 for each additional user on the card on the old card)
  5. No foreign transaction fees.

At a quick glance, the biggest benefit loss is the complimentary companion ticket on the card. If you’ve read my last post, you know how I saved $260 by taking advantage of this perk, which surpasses the $125 annual fee that I paid. The 2-3% cashback on the special categories are nice, but when compared to my 1st Financial Bank credit card that gives me a consistent 2% cashback, this isn’t very enticing. Especially true with rotating category credit cards that give a 5% cashback! Check out some recent categories here and here.

The new Citi ThankYou Premier card looks like it’s downgraded itself to offer very similar benefits to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which I’ve also compared here. But with Chase Sapphire Preffered at an annual fee of $95, that post will probably be changing.

So Citibank, you just lost a Citi ThankYou Premier card holder. I think the biggest bummer is to lose the Flight Points and value of my points from 33% to 25% on claiming airfare, making the Citi ThankYou Premier an ordinary card and less a travel card. My heart sunk a little knowing that I didn’t take full advantage of those Flight Points! Especially when I got the Premier card after an evolution of an older program!

Now I have another decision to make, for those that have a card member anniversary date after Oct 20, 2013, they will still honor the companion ticket and the anniversary bonus points until your anniversary date. Since my anniversary date is in September, I have a choice of continuing with the new card program and still keeping part of the old program benefits for the rest of Sept 2013 to Sept 2014. If it was a complete cutover to the new program, it’ll be a no-brainer for me to say no to the new Citi ThankYou Premier, but as it is going to carry over some additional perks, I can decide now whether I want to keep it for another year or not.

Oh well, on to the quest of looking for a new card! I know CapitalOne had a Venture One card that had a similar Flight Point concept before, but it looks like that has also been discontinued. Anybody know of another unique credit card? What do you look for in your credit cards?

 

 

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