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.