Citi Simplicity vs ThankYou Preferred
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Citi is making a big push to capture a larger portion of the credit card market, and this is actually great news for consumers. As a result, credit card users are being offered more products with longer promotional financing periods, better rewards, and no annual fees. The Citi Simplicity card offers low fees and amazing interest-free financing terms, while the Citi ThankYou Preferred card has an impressive rewards program. Let’s take a look at these two credit cards, and then see which one is right for you.
Citi Simplicity offers 21 months of interest-free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee. This is the longest 0% APR financing offer available from a major bank, and it is extremely valuable to anyone who is carrying a balance on their credit cards. Simplicity also features no late fees or penalty interest rates, ever.
Yet Simplicity is not just a striped down product with great terms; it also offers a wide variety of travel insurance and purchase protection policies. For example, it features worldwide car rental insurance against theft or damage up to $50,000, as well as a travel and emergency assistance hotline. Purchase protection policies include extended warranty coverage that adds a year to your manufacturer’s warranty and protects you for up to $10,000 per year. Citi’s Price Rewind service will also automatically refund the difference in price when a covered item experiences a price drop within 60 days of purchase, with a limit of $300 per item and up to $1,200 per year. In addition, the card is compatible with the new Apple Pay smartphone payment system. The standard interest rate is 12.99% – 22.99%, based on your creditworthiness, and there is no annual fee for this card.
The Citi ThankYou Preferred card is a rewards credit card, and customers earn points in Citi’s ThankYou Rewards program with each purchase. New cardholders receive 20,000 bonus ThankYou points after spending $1,500 within three months of opening an account. These points are worth $200 in gift cards, travel reservations, merchandise, or loan repayments.
In addition, cardholders receive double points on all dining and entertainment expenses, and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. There is no limit to the number of points you can earn, and points never expire. New cardholders also receive 12 months of interest-free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee. Then, the standard interest rate will be 12.99% – 22.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
ThankYou Preferred cardholders receive all of the same benefits as Simplicity cardholders, plus a few additional services. This card comes with access to Citi’s Private Pass program which allows you to purchase VIP and presale tickets to concerts, theatrical performances, sporting events, and dining experiences. It also includes a personal concierge service to assist you with shopping, dining, and travel reservations. With the ThankYou Preferred card, your purchases are covered by a damage and theft protection policy for up to $1,000 per item and $50,000 per year. And when traveling, you have a trip cancellation and interruption protection policy that covers you against non–refundable trip expenses, like change fees, up to $1,500 per year, when you pay for the trip with your Citi card. There is no annual fee for this card.
Which Card Should You Get?
Both cards are extremely competitive, but they are designed for two entirely different types of credit card user. The Simplicity card is for those who are struggling to pay off a balance, as it offers some of the best terms available for balance transfers. Simplicity is also a great choice for those who are tired of being punished by their credit card issuers for making an occasional mistake. It is one of the rare credit cards that has no late fees or penalty interest rate, so if your check arrives just a little late, you won’t have to worry about incurring costly late fees and interest hikes.
On the other hand, Citi’s ThankYou Preferred is one of the leading reward credit cards offered with no annual fee. By offering double points on both dining and entertainment charges, this is a great card for those who go out frequently. In addition, ThankYou Reward points are very valuable, as they can be redeemed in numerous ways. Citi also loads this card with many of the features and benefits normally found on premium reward credit cards, which tend to have pricey annual fees as well.
But as with any reward credit card, it is best used by those who pay each month’s statement balance in full and on-time. Otherwise, the interest charges you incur will be more than the value of any rewards you receive. So for those who never carry a balance, the ThankYou Preferred is the clear choice, while those who occasionally need to extend payments should strongly consider the Simplicity card.
About Jason Steele
Jason Steele is freelance journalist and an expert on the credit card industry. He contributes to several of the top personal finance sites, and his work is syndicated to mainstream outlets such as MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, and Business Insider.