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A Credit Card Offer Like No Other

the Citi ThankYou Premiere CardThe Citi ThankYou Premier Card has a generous new sign-up bonus of 50,000 ThankYou points, identical to the reward we wrote about in 2011. (Unfortunately, the points are worth less today than they were back then.)

This time around, however, the offer comes with a huge catch that makes this bonus far less attractive.

Read the fine print, because it requires you to stick around for more than a year to earn the full bonus. Indeed, we’ve never before seen an offer like this.

You’ll get 20,000 points after making $2,000 in purchases within three months of opening your account.

But Citi won’t award the other 30,000 points unless you spend another $3,000 within three months of your second year of being a card member.

That’s correct. You might not collect the full bonus for 15 months, during which time you’ll have paid an annual fee of $125. (It’s waived the first year but not thereafter.)

With most sign-up bonuses, you don’t have to keep your account open any longer than it takes to meet the spending requirement, receive the reward and redeem it.

Perhaps credit card companies are tired of us ditching their cards at the first opportunity.

Still, there’s no reason why you have to keep this card long enough to earn the full offer.

You could earn the first part of the bonus, redeem your points, then ditch the card, even if the $2,000 spending requirement is a bit high for a reward worth $200 to $220.

Aside from avoiding the annual fee and the hassle, another reason why you might not want to hang on to the card long enough to earn the full bonus is because we don’t know whether ThankYou points will be worth as much in 15 months as they are today. Citi can change the ThankYou program’s terms and conditions at any time.

9 tips to earn your credit card bonus

9 Tips to Earn Your Credit Card Bonus: Often that great credit card sign-up bonus comes with strings attached. Follow these tips to ensure that you don’t miss out.

If you do stick around long enough to grab the whole bonus, the offer’s 50,000 ThankYou points are worth up to $500 in gift cards or $625 in airfare.

Many gift cards require you to redeem 6,000 points for $50, so your true gift card value may be closer to $400, depending on where you like to shop.

You’re better off redeeming for airfare, which is not only more valuable but comes with tons of flexibility. You can redeem points for any available seat on any airline, and you can use points to pay for just part of a ticket. That means that unlike frequent flyer miles, you can use your points even on expensive tickets, and you won’t end up with leftover points sitting around, either.

You’ll also earn miles when you fly on your free plane ticket, since the air carrier won’t see you as traveling on a frequent flyer ticket.

The card’s biggest ongoing perk is 3 points per dollar on dining and entertainment purchases. Entertainment includes sporting events, theatrical productions, event tickets, amusement parks, movie theaters, tourist and cultural attractions, museums, record stores and video rental stores. You’ll also earn 2 points per dollar on airfare and hotels and 1 point per dollar on everything else.

If you’re not going to redeem the points for travel, or if you want to get lots of miles to use on a particular airline, there are better deals out there, ones that you can earn faster and/or with a lower spending requirement.

The Barclay Arrival card will give you 40,000 miles for spending $1,000 within 90 days of account opening, with no annual fee for the first year.

The American Express Gold Delta SkyMiles card will give you 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 within three months of account opening. It also has no annual fee for the first year.

Citi hasn’t provided an expiration date for this deal, so if you’re interested, apply now at creditcards.citicards.com.

Compare this offer with the airline miles credit cards in our database.

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