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Middle Age Miles

Mini App-O-Rama Success – Approved for the Citi Thank You Premier Card!

Citi ThankYou Premier MasterCard

Executive Summary

I was same-day approved for the Citi ThankYou Premier MasterCard today, on my first attempt.  Sign-up bonus is 50,000 Citi Thank You Points (TYPs), worth $625 when redeemed for airfare (1.25 cents per point), for $4,000 minimum spend within 3 months.  Earning includes 3x TYPs for travel and gas stations and 2x TYPs for dining out and entertainment.  Annual fee is waived for the first year and $95 thereafter.  This approval successfully completed my early June mini-app-o-rama for the US Bank Altitude Reserve and the ThankYou Premier.

Basics of the Citi ThankYou Premier Card

The Citi ThankYou Premier MasterCard is a mid-tier card in Citi’s family of “Thank You” point-earning cards, consisting of the Citi Prestige ($450 annual fee), the Premier ($95 annual fee), and the Preferred (no annual fee).  Basics of the card and key benefits include:

  • Annual fee:  $95 (waived first year)
  • Current sign-up bonus:  50,000 Thank You Points (for $4,000 minimum spend within 3 months)
  • Bonus categories:  3x TYPs on travel and gas stations; 2x TYPs on dining out and entertainment
  • Point redemption value:  1.25 cents per TYP when redeemed for airfare through the Citi Thank You Travel Center portal; 1 cent per TYP gift card redemption; eligible for transfer to Citi’s airline transfer partner programs; also, TYP points can be combined among Thank You cards
  • No foreign transaction fees

Citi ThankYou Premier card – sign-up offer

Citi ThankYou Premier card – key benefits

Citi ThankYou Premier card – TYP earning

Citi ThankYou Premier card – the fine print

My Rationale and Timing for Applying for the ThankYou Premier Card

In late February 2018, Citi increased the sign-up bonus for the ThankYou Premier card to 50k TYPs.  The bonus had been 30k TYPs for about a month before this increase, and before that, there had been a stretch of several months with no sign-up bonus at all on the ThankYou Premier.  Also, the current 50k bonus was very near what I understand is the all-time high of 60k TYPs, which we haven’t seen since 2015 and may never see again – so I considered this as essentially an all-time high bonus.

I have also had good success using TYPs in the past, primarily to purchase airfare on American.  In my experience, the Citi Travel Center portal had the same availability and same pricing that I was seeing on AA.com.

[In addition, in my previous experience there was a particular nuance to TYP redemptions on American in that tickets purchased using TYPs earned EQMs and EQDs under AA’s “Special Fares” chart, which can provide some benefits in helping to qualify for elite status under certain tickets (generally, this can provide higher EQM and EQD earning on high-mileage, low-fare routes).  I have not booked an AA ticket using TYPs in several months, so I can’t confirm that this still works, but when I make another booking, I’ll report the data point on Middle Age Miles.]

Even though the ThankYou Premier sign-up offer wasn’t showing a hard end date, I was concerned about how long it would last.  As I noted above, for the majority of the last 2-3 years, the bonus has been lower or non-existent.  Thus, I wanted to sign up as soon as I could.  My challenge there was that I had some other priorities.  Back in March, I had expiring Citi AA Platinum mailers with no 24-month language, that I hoped to be able to use to get 75,000 AAdvantage miles.  And once US Bank introduced Real-Time Mobile Rewards on the Altitude Reserve card in late February, that card rocketed to the top of my priority list.  I successfully applied for a Citi AA Platinum card in early March.  Then in late March, I applied for the Altitude Reserve but was denied.  My conversations with US Bank led me to choose a strategy to wait for June 1 for a mini-app-o-rama.  I would apply for the Altitude Reserve, then apply for the ThankYou Prestige card (keeping my fingers crossed that the 50k sign-up offer would stick around that long).

And last of all (or maybe first of all!), I was eligible for the sign-up bonus on the ThankYou Premier card.  The terms of the offer are clear that the 50k “Bonus Points are not available if you have had a ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige card opened or closed in the past 24 months.”  My Citi Prestige was opened in February 2016 (28 months) and remained open, and I’d never had the other cards, so I was good to go.  [Note that my Citi AT&T Access More card, which earns TYPs, was not on the list of exclusions and thus did not disqualify me from getting the bonus.]

My Application and Approval for the Citi ThankYou Premier Card

Today (June 5, 2018), I submitted my application for the Citi ThankYou Premier card.  Hoping to help out a blogger who I very much respect, I clicked through Frequent Miler’s link to creditcards.com to access the application.  The application was short, and filling it out was straightforward.

My status at the time of the application was:

  • 11/24 (+1 AU card = 12/24?)
  • 4/12 (+1 AU card = 5/12?)
  • 3/6
  • Credit Score: 808 TransUnion / 821 Equifax / 788 Experian
  • Most Recent Approval/Account: June 4, 2018 (US Bank Altitude Reserve) (1 day)
  • Next Most Recent Approval/Account (as the Altitude Reserve hadn’t yet hit my credit report), and Most Recent Citi Card: March 7, 2018 (Citi AA Platinum) (87 days)
  • Number of open Citi cards (all personal): 4 as primary cardholder + 1 as AU

On my approval for a Citi AA Platinum card in early March, I’d had to move some credit around in order to be approved.  I was expecting the same here.

A few seconds after I submitted the application, the Citi website informed me that my application was pending and that I could call them at 1-866-606-2787 to receive an immediate decision:

Citi ThankYou Premier application – pending

Approximately 5 minutes later, I called the number Citi had provided.  The initial customer service rep had to connect me with a “senior underwriter” for review.  After confirming my ID and putting me on hold for a few minutes to review my application, the underwriter advised me that I had been approved.  She also advised me of my credit limit, told me that I should receive the card within 7-10 business days, and, importantly, confirmed that I had the sign-up offer of 50k bonus TYPs with $4,000 minimum spend within 3 months.  This call lasted about 10 minutes total.

My approval email was already in my mailbox by the time I looked after I completed the call:

Citi ThankYou Premier – approval email!

Thank you, Citi, for a good sign-up offer and a relatively easy approval process!

This approval successfully completed my early June 2-card mini-app-o-rama.  I got 2 good cards with valuable sign-up bonuses.  Now, I’ll cool it on applications for a while (unless I can pull a great sign-up bonus for the Amex personal platinum card!), and I’ll go about meeting the minimum spends to collect the bonuses.  I’ll also start figuring out how I can use the points for some fun travel!

 

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