Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students

Why People Love It
  • Your points will never expire
  • Decent rewards program
  • Higher initial credit limits than many other cards offer
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  • You can earn unlimited points
  • Offers a sign-up bonus, which is rare for student credit cards
  • No annual fee
  • Requires good credit to get approved
  • The APR range is wide with a very high maximum
  • Charges a foreign transaction fee, making it a poor choice for studying abroad
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Want to establish a stable credit history before you receive your college degree? The American Banking Association reports that 43% of students 18 to 20 years old have a credit card, and that figure jumps to 71% for students 23 to 24 years old.

Unfortunately, some credit card companies don’t treat students well during their credit-building journeys. That’s why we’re providing a detailed description of the Citi ThankYou Preferred card for college students below so you can make an informed decision. You can also visit our reviews for other student-friendly cards, including the BankAmericard Cash Rewards for Students and the Capital One Journey Student Rewards.


The Citi ThankYou Preferred credit card for college students is a good card, not a great card. It offers many of the standard features associated with other student credit cards, but it lacks something important: free credit monitoring.

The Discover it Chrome for Students and the Capital One Journey Student Rewards cards offer free FICO score updates and credit-building tips, as do numerous other cards geared toward students as well as graduates. If you’re new to the credit world, it’s essential that you understand how your payment history and credit utilization affect your FICO score.

Aside from that, the Citi ThankYou Preferred card for college students has some decent perks. You earn cash back for qualifying purchases, and there’s a sign-up bonus available for new cardholders. We also like that the card doesn’t charge an annual fee or a monthly maintenance fee, and the interest rate is average compared to other cards.  


If you’re new to credit cards, you might be surprised to learn that most card companies reward frequent spenders. The Citi ThankYou preferred card for college students is no exception.

From day one, you get 2 ThankYou Points for every $1 you spend on restaurants and entertainment, as well as 1 ThankYou Point for every $1 spent on other purchases. Points never expire, and you can earn an unlimited amount of them.

There’s a sign-up bonus that gives you 2,500 bonus points if you spend at least $500 during your first 3 months as a cardholder. We like that this bonus is easily attainable; numerous other cards require you to spend at least $1,000 during promotional periods.

Rewards are redeemable by calling the easy-to-remember redemption line at 1–800–THANKYOU. You can also redeem points through an online portal for gift cards, electronics, travel rewards, and other perks. Expedia and are two other well-known retailers that accept Citi ThankYou Points.

In addition to offering points, the Citi ThankYou Preferred credit card for college students participates in an entertainment access program called Citi Private Pass. Use Citi Private Pass to score discounts on concert tickets, movie screenings, and sporting events.


The Citi ThankYou Preferred card for students doesn’t have an extensive list of benefits, but it offers enough perks to keep most cardholders happy. As we mentioned earlier, we wish the card provided free credit monitoring. It’s important for college students to understand how their financial decisions affect their credit scores.

Here are some benefits the card offers:

  • Fraud protection - you aren’t liable for unauthorized charges
  • Citi Concierge - experts help you choose restaurants, hotels, and more
  • Trip cancellation insurance - up to $1,500 per year
  • Extended warranties - if the original product warranty is less than 5 years
  • Damage and theft protection - up to $1000 per item if issues arise within the first 120 days

These are fairly standard benefits for a credit card, but they’re still nice to have.


Students often live on tight budgets, so they appreciate that this Citi ThankYou Preferred card has no annual fee. There’s not a monthly maintenance fee either, but you will pay a fee for foreign transactions and cash advances. Here’s a breakdown of what fees you can expect with this card:

  • Up to $35 for late payments
  • Up to $35 for returned payments
  • Cash advances are $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is more
  • Foreign transactions cost 3% of each purchase transaction in U.S. dollars
  • Balance transfers are $5 or 4% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is more

There’s an introductory APR for purchases made during your first 7 months as a cardholder. After that, the variable APR increases depending on your credit. Balances from other cards must be transferred during your first 60 days as a cardholder, and they have a variable APR similar to the purchase APR.

There’s a cash advance APR in addition to the fees we referenced above. A penalty APR apply if you pay late or have a payment returned.


Yes, if you are a student with good or excellent credit. Average credit generally results in a denial, but there are some exceptions.

This card is ideal for students who want rewards for regular purchases, like pizza delivery, groceries, and gasoline. This is not the card for you if you’re expecting brag-worthy travel perks or a huge credit line, though it is possible to get your limit increased over time.

If you have excellent credit, you might not want to waste your time on student cards. Cards that aren’t geared toward students often offer better rewards and larger credit lines. If you don’t qualify for those cards yet, consider upgrading after you establish a documented pattern of paying bills on time.


Application Process: Apply online and get a response within 60 seconds.

Rewards: Earn 2X points on dining out and entertainment, and 1X points on all other purchases.

Bonus Offers: Earn 2,500 points after you spend $500 in the first three months — that's worth $25 in gift cards, electronics, and other great rewards.

Annual Fee: None.

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  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 7 months on purchases from date of account opening; after that the variable APR will be 16.24% - 26.24% based upon your creditworthiness*
  • Earn 2,500 bonus points after spending $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • 2,500 ThankYou® Points are redeemable for $25 in gift cards, electronics and other great rewards when redeemed at
  • Earn 2X Points on Dining Out & Entertainment
  • Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No annual fee*