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The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card changed its category bonuses today and lowered its annual fee. The new category bonuses are:

  • 3 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on Travel including Gas
  • 2 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on Dining Out and Entertainment.

The new annual fee is $0 for the first 12 months, then $95 thereafter.

These are in addition to the 40,000 point sign up bonus on the card.

As with all category bonuses, the question is: what exactly qualifies?

The 3x Category: “Travel and Gas”

The terms and conditions say that you earn 3 ThankYou Points for every dollar you spend on purchases at the following establishments:

(everything through the end of the parentheses on each line is a quotation, the rest in my analysis)

  • airlines (merchants that provide air travel): anything that the airline processes should count including award taxes and fees; gift cards; onboard food purchases; and, with some airlines but not all, miles purchases
  • hotels (merchants that provide sleeping or meeting room accommodations, and may include goods and services that are on a bill for these accommodations by a hotel, motel or inn): anything charged to your room like food, spa, or golf should earn 3x
  • car rental agencies (merchants that provide short-term or long-term rentals of cars)
  • travel agencies (merchants that provide travel information and booking services, and include travel aggregators and tour operators): this should include online travel agencies like Expedia
  • gas stations (merchants that sell fuel for consumer use and may or may not be attended… you will earn additional ThankYou Points on gas purchases made at warehouse clubs and convenience stores)
  • commuter transportation (merchants that provide suburban and local mass passenger transportation over regular routes and on regular schedules, including ferries, commuter railways and subways)
  • taxi/limousines (merchants that provide passenger transportation services for hire and includes horse-drawn cabs and carriages, bicycle taxis, aerial tramways, airport shuttles or cable cars): hopefully Uber falls in this category
  • passenger railways (merchants that primarily provide long-distance transportation and may include overnight accommodations on the train)
  • cruise lines (merchants that provide passenger transportation on the open sea or inland waters for the purpose of vacation or pleasure and operate predefined and advertised routes)
  • bridge and road tolls (merchants who collect fees associated with toll roads, highways and bridges)
  • parking lots/garages (merchants that provide temporary parking services for automobiles, usually on an hourly, daily or monthly contract or fee basis)
  • campgrounds and trailer parks (merchants that provide overnight or short-term campsites for recreational vehicles, trailers, campers, or tents)
  • time shares (retailers that sell, lease, and rent timeshare real estate and arrange timeshare condominium exchanges)
  • bus lines (passenger bus transportation services that operate on a regular schedule over predetermined routes)
  • motor home/RV Rental and boat rentals (merchants that rent motor homes, RVs, pop-up campers, tent trailers, and other recreational vehicles on a daily, short-term, or extended-term basis ormerchants that primarily provide boat rental and leasing services, including fishing boats, non-crew houseboats, sail boats, powerboats, jet skis, and yachts)

This 3x list includes everything that I think of as a travel expense from flights, hotels, and car rentals to tolls and renting a yacht, so the only hiccup could come from this sentence, which is standard in pretty much every credit card offer:

“We do not determine how merchants or establishments are classified; however, they are generally classified based upon the merchant’s primary line of business. We reserve the right to determine which purchases qualify for this offer.”

As long as the merchant is coded correctly as one of these travel or gas categories, you’ll get 3x points. If the merchant is not correctly classified, you can call Citi and ask for your 3x. After all, “[Citi] reserve[s] the right to determine which purchases qualify.”

The 2x Category: “Dining Out and Entertainment”

The terms and conditions say that you earn 2 ThankYou Points for every dollar you spend on purchases at (everything through the end of the parentheses on each line is a quotation, the rest in my analysis)

  • restaurants (dining establishments that primarily prepare food and drinks for immediate consumption by consumers, either on the merchant’s premises or packaged for takeout, and include bars, cocktail lounges, discotheques, nightclubs, taverns and fast food restaurants)
  • sports promoters (merchants that operate and promote live sporting events (professional or semi-professional), and may also include sports stadiums)
  • theatrical promoters (merchants that operate live theatrical productions or concerts, and include ticketing agencies)
  • movie theaters (establishments that sell tickets and refreshments for movie productions)
  • amusement parks, zoos, circuses and aquariums (establishments that operate parks or carnivals and offer mechanical rides and games and/or live animal shows)
  • tourist attractions, museums, and art galleries (establishments that operate attractions and exhibits for tourists)
  • record stores
  • video rental stores

“Restaurants” is a broad category that covers fine dining all the way down to takeout and fast food. Plus it covers places that aren’t really restaurants at all like bars and night clubs. Restaurants are where I’d get the most bonus points in the 2x category, though I occasionally patronize establishments in the other 2x categories.

How to Use ThankYou Points

There are two reasonable ways to redeem ThankYou Points:

  1. Use them like cash to purchase any flight on any airline with no blackouts. Used this way, points are worth 1.25 to 1.6 cents each.
  2. Transfer them to miles with 12 airlines or to Hilton points. Then they are whatever miles you chose, subject to those rules. Used this way, the value of the points depends on your redemption, but 2 cents each is very possible.

For more details, see the basics of how to use Citi ThankYou Points.

Bottom Line

The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card now offers the best return on travel and gas at 3x and also offers 2x on dining and entertainment. These very broad categories make the 40,000 point sign up bonus all the more attractive.

The card has even dropped its annual fee to $0 for the first year and $95 thereafter.

Application Link: Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Just getting started in the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for you to start with.

With a bonus of 75,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months, 5x points on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal and 3x points on restaurants, streaming services, and online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs), this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!

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