Citi Forward has a 30K ThankYou Point Bonus
(I don’t have credit card referral links, this card is just one that I have experience with and thought I’d share)
The Citi Forward was (somewhat) my first credit card. It was actually a Citi MtvU card that I applied for in college the day I turned 18. And it was only my first credit card where I was the primary cardholder. I got some interesting bonuses, like 2000 points for a 4.0 GPA (which I achieved once, the semester I tried) or 750 points for a GPA above 3.5 (which was decent enough motivation to study). I also got 100 points for paying on time (always pay in full!). I’ve kept the card open ever since because it has no annual fee and certainly helps my credit score.
Years later, the Citi MtvU card was discontinued and turned into the Citi Forward, but the same general bonus categories remained. The signup bonus was only 10K points, so I didn’t think it was worth signing up for again before they changed my card.
- First 10,000 points for spending $500 in the first 3 months (months 1-3)
- Second 10,000 points for spending $1000 in the second 3 months (months 4-6)
- Third 10,000 points for spending $1500 in the third 3 months (months 7-9)
In effect, it’s a $3000 spending requirement but drawn out over 9 months with specific targets in each trimester.
This isn’t the best signup bonus, I’ll admit, but I love the Citi Forward for multiple reasons:
- 5x ThankYou Points at restaurants
- 5x ThankYou Points at bookstores, including Amazon.com
- No annual fee
At 10,000 points, you can redeem for $100 gift cards, so a ThankYou Point is worth about 1¢, so this is a 5% return. If you have a card like the Citi ThankYou Premier, which increases the value of a ThankYou Point to 1.33¢ each, then it’s a 6.65% return for things like airfare. That beats the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which offers 2.14x on dining. I still value 5x UR from the Chase Freedom over 5x ThankYou Points when restaurants are that quarter’s bonus, but I use my Forward the rest of the year for restaurants and Amazon. ThankYou Points aren’t worth much, but when you’re earning them at a rate 3x faster than UR points, it helps your overall return.
Last month, I put a company luncheon on my Citi Forward and paid it off with Bluebird funded by Vanilla Reloads with the company Ink Bold. By doing so, I was able to get 5x ThankYou Points and close to 5x Ultimate Rewards points for one transaction, totaling >10% back (this was before Office Depot stopped selling vanillas, but the idea still applies if you can fund your Bluebird through other means).
The landing page says that you only earn 2 ThankYou Points for restuarants and bookstores, but the Terms & Conditions on the bottom say:
Unless you are participating in a limited-time offer, you will earn five ThankYou Points for every dollar you spend on purchases at (1) book stores, (2) record stores, (3) restaurants, including fast food restaurants, (4) motion picture theaters, and (5) video entertainment rental stores (“qualifying merchants”).
Citi is known for having old offers still available somewhere on the internets, so I would take a screenshot of the landing page if you apply, especially the 5x part on the bottom. They could also change the Amazon.com 5x deal anytime, but I still get 5x as of last month.
I would definitely apply for 2 Citi AAdvantage cards over this, possibly 2 Citi Hilton Reserve cards if hotel nights are your thing. But if you’re looking for a card that you want to keep forever and earn decent rewards on dining/Amazon spend when you’re not churning cards, the Citi Forward is tough to beat.