5X ThankYou offer returns… sort of

There used to be a wonderful sign up offer for the no fee Citi ThankYou Preferred card: earn 5 points per dollar at grocery stores, drug stores, and gas stations for 12 months.  At that time, Vanilla Reload cards were still purchasable via credit card at CVS; PayPal had not yet closed my accounts for loading My Cash cards; and Vanilla Visa gift cards were still readily usable at Walmart.  In other words, it was incredibly easy to spend almost any amount of money one cared to at drug stores. 


My 12 months at 5X have long since expired, but I’m still enjoying using the hundreds of thousands of points I earned.  Thanks to my Citi Prestige card, each point can be used towards airfare on AA or US Airways at 1.6 cents per point, or on other airlines for 1.33 cents per point.  Or, points can be transferred to loyalty program partners such as Singapore Airlines, Air France, and more.

The return of 5X

Thanks to a tip from Julian, who writes the “Bet You Didn’t Know” series for this blog, I called Citibank and asked to cancel my ThankYou Preferred account.  I didn’t really want to cancel the card, but these are the magic words to get transferred to a retention specialist.  The retention specialist’s job is to convince you to keep your card.  To help with that, they are armed with a list of offers that you qualify for.

I asked the specialist to describe each of my qualified offers.  Here were my options:

3X to 4X for 6 months

Offer terms: Earn two extra points per dollar for 6 months, 35K point limit

Since the Preferred card always earns 2X for dining and entertainment, and 1X everywhere else, this offer changes the card into one that earns 4X for dining & entertainment, and 3X everywhere else for 6 months.  That’s pretty good!  Since you can only earn 35,000 points with this promotion, you would max out the promotion at $17,500 spend

5X at drugstores, grocery stores, and more for 3 months

Offer terms: Earn four extra points per dollar at drugstores, grocery stores, gas stations, commuter transportation, and parking for 3 months, 35K point limit

This offer increases the card’s total earnings to 5 points per dollar within the listed categories.

Similar to the previous offer, this one is capped at 35K bonus points, so you would max out this promotion with just $8,750 spend.

Spend $3,000 in 6 months, get 10,000 bonus points

This one is self explanatory.

I chose door #2: 5X at drugstores, grocery stores, etc.

This option will be easy to max out quickly.  With my four REDbird cards (mine, my wife’s, my sister’s, and my niece’s), I can theoretically max out this promotion in a single day by visiting a Target that’s coded as a grocery store.  By spending $8,750 I’ll earn the base 8,750 ThankYou points plus the 35,000 bonus points for a grand total of 43,750 points.  That’s worth $700 towards American Airlines and US Airways flights!

YMMV (Your mileage may vary)

If you have a ThankYou Preferred card its worth calling to see if you qualify for any retention offers like those I listed above.  I can’t guarantee that you’ll get the same offers, but there’s a good chance that there will be at least one offer worth accepting.

See also: Doctor of Credit: Retention Bonus Rules & Tips For Each Card Issuer – Get More Than One Bonus Each Year

Sign-Up Bonuses

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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  1. […] Back in January I wrote about my wife’s amazing retention offer for her ThankYou Preferred card. For keeping the card, Citi offered her 2 extra points per dollar on all spend with the card for the next 6 months with no cap. (Many others received valuable offers as well. You can see some good examples in the comments of this Frequent Miler post.) […]


  1. When I read Julian’s post last week (where he shared a hint about what you can get from retention department for Preferred card), I called them. I got the same offer for my Preferred card – extra 4 pts at supermarkets/drugstores/gas/transportation with cap of 35K TYP. My wife got different offer – extra 2pts on EVERYTHING for 6 months, NO CAP. I also decided to explore my 6-month old Prestige card – I got the same offer as for my Preferred card (extra 4pts), but the cap is 50K TYP.

    One word of caution with Target – even Target is coded as “grocery” by Citi, Target (and Walmart) excluded from this bonus category – at least it was during 5pts “time” 2 years ago. So, you may earn only 1pts there.

  2. Wonder if you could do the same for your TY Premier card? Last time I asked I was only offered statement credit ($125) for $500 purchases in 2 months.

  3. If you use Citi Prestige to buy AA tickets with TYPs at 1.6 cents per point, does it count as paid tickets with American so you earn AA miles on those flights? If so that would effectively give you more value than 1.6 cpp.

    • Yes it counts as paid tickets so that you earn AA miles. No, that doesn’t give you more value than 1.6 cents per point: cash would give you the same benefit. It does give you more value than an award flight where you use the same number of points though, which is what I think you meant.

  4. I’m going to call Citi later to see if my Pref card will have any good retention bonuses. If I get the same options FM got, I’ll probably take the 10K bonus points for 3K spend. I already have the AMEX Old Blue for 5% on those categories, which I don’t think is that inferior to 5x TY pts. Also, I also remember that Targets didn’t get 5x a couple years ago when I had the TY Pref.

  5. I so wanted door number 2, but was only offered 1 and 3. Similar to Sergey above, I was told there was no limit on the amount I could spend (i.e. unlimited 2 extra points for the next 6 months).

  6. I got the 5x card when you were working on million mile madness and listed that card as part of your initial strategy. I earned a ton of points with that card thanks to you! This is a great tip – I just called Citi and got it for my card. The same rep checked for my wife and it only had the 2x points offer so I didn’t take it or close the card hoping it will be there next month. it today. I also have the Premier card so i’ll check that one as well. I have several redcards but Sergey has me concerned. The Freedom 5x category excludes the 5x and it indeed doesn’t work at Target even though its Visa coded as a grocery.Any data points on that would be appreciated. I will check it and let you know results if you haven’t heard yet.

  7. I love the comparisons of retention offers. I don’t have the card myself, but this makes it more compelling to look at for next round. Can anyone answer if much spending was done recently, or if these offers were just for Citi not to lose a customer?

  8. I know my question may be irrelevant there but would really appreciate it if anyone can share your input. Can you load redbird with UFB Direct debit card?

  9. thanks a lot ! I was able to get this offer added to my prestige card for max of 50K bonus points. I have plenty of flights points still on my prestige and if those gets matched up with bonus then this will turn out to be great offer

  10. FrequentMiler – Re: Red Bird. How can you load someone else’s Red Card at Target? They have asked me on occasion to show ID, specifically, my license. Even without the added ID check, you are not the same gender of some of the cards you are using. How have you been able to just breeze through this process?

    • They only want ID to match your credit card. The card you are loading can be for anyone, a family member or whatever. If you are using a credit card with a different name thats another story. Now sometimes I lose track of which card i’m holding and swipe a different card than the one i’ve showed the cashier – but that’s by mistake of course.

  11. This was great! I got all 3 offers and, like you, chose the extra 4x on gas drugs and groceries. The question now is, how often do these offers appear? 😀

  12. I wish they had these offers for the premier card. As someone who spends 20-30k per month on entertainment on my premier card, I called to have the annual fee waived a couple of days ago and they agreed to waive it once I spent $4500 within 3 months. I called back again once I found out about the changes coming in April. I was thinking about upgrading the card to the prestige card but I wanted the annual fee waived and they didn’t want to budge. They offered to lower my interest rate but that’s pretty useless to me since I pay off the card every month.

    I also have the preferred card. I guess I’ll see what I can get out of them today.

  13. Hi Greg.

    I called in and got an extra 2X on everything for 6 months.

    Would you say this is better than 5X on drugstores groceries etc?. I don’t think so right? I feel like I should wait it out and call again

  14. I wonder what those 43,750 TY points might be worth if transferred to Air France. Perhaps there are even better uses via Flying Blue than by going through the TY-affiliated travel agency. Any ideas?

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