Credit, Personal Finance 

I Don’t Know If I Like The Citi mtvU Card

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The Citi mtvU Platinum Select Visa Card I applied for about a week ago came in today and along with it a directory of services. The card itself is part of the ThankYou Network program that Citi runs where you get points, instead of straight cash back, and it comes with a few perks you don’t usually see with a student card but I don’t know if I really like it…

PS. While this was a student card, I had to provide no verification that I actually was a student at Johns Hopkins though I don’t know if they called the registrar (I highly doubt it).

I mentioned last week that you get points for doing well in school, the official breakdown is:
GPA 2.5 – 2.99 = 250 points/semester
GPA 3.0 – 3.49 = 500 points/semester
GPA 3.5 – 3.99 = 750 points/semester
GPA 4.0 = 1,000 points/semester

Let’s say you’re a consistent 3.5 student, you would earn 1,500 points plus 300 on-time payment points automatically each year. That’s worth a $10 gift card each year to almost anywhere in the ThankYou Network just for using that card.

Now, you can get 5% points at a lot of various places (notably, movie theaters and bookstores) but you have to trade them in on a rate of 1,500 points to basically a $10 gift card. That means you conversion from dollars spent to actual gift card dollars is $150 to $1, or 0.66% “cashback.” So it’s a terrible card for anything you can get 1% back on a regular cashback card. At 5% cashback, you’re looking at a 3.3% rebate rate in the form of a gift card which is only 0.3% better than my American Express True Earnings Costco card.

Did you sign up because you’d get 5% back from Amazon? Go with an an Amazon card instead if you don’t mind getting Amazon gift certificates because you get a $30 coupon and 3% from purchases on Amazon anyway.

I suppose I can always just keep the card and get a $10 gift card each year… almost not worth the hassle of keeping it around.

Update: I take it back, I didn’t realize or know that you could get $25 towards your student loans for 2,500 points and since I have a lot of student loans, this puts the card back on track for 5% cashback. Thank you Miller and Brian.

{ 11 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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11 Responses to “I Don’t Know If I Like The Citi mtvU Card”

  1. LAMoneyGuy says:

    The only reason I would get it is for the 5 points/dollar at restaurants. Part of my work entails business lunches, for which I get reimbursed. I don’t know of any other cards that gives you as much benefit for restaurant spending, do you?

  2. jim says:

    Well, right now my AMEX True Earnings Costco card gives 3% back from restaurants, but you get your cashback once a year (not a big deal to me).

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    As usual, there’s a wealth of information (pun only slightly intended) in the personal finance blog community! Here are some of my favorites and shout outs for the week: Jim at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity broke down the goods and

  4. Miller says:

    But Jim, unless I am mistaken, you have student loans, right? I know I do… and they aren’t leaving any time soon! Thank you network gets you 1:1 conversion for student loan rebates. I’ve used one and verified it working (it takes a while to get the check, but it works just fine).

  5. Brian says:

    Miller beat me to it – use the rebates to help pay your student loans down.

  6. jim says:

    Oooh, I didn’t know/realize that. This just tipped the scales in mtvU’s favor… I take it back, I like the card now.

  7. LAMoneyGuy says:

    Hold on there, how does this student loan stuff work? If you use your rebate check towards your student loan, they double it? Is that right? Sorry, not sure I’m totally clear.

  8. Miller says:

    No, they don’t double it, but you get the full percentage (1% or 5% depending on your purchase) in what I’ll call useable cash.

    2,500 pts = $25 check filled out to your loan company

  9. lamoneyguy says:

    Sweet. Maybe I’ll suggest it for my girlfriend. She’s been trying hard to get the student loans paid off.

  10. King Asa says:

    While your conversion rate for the lesser gift cards (1,500 points for a $10 gift card) is correct, if you opt for a $50 gift card, it’s 5000 points, so the cash back is actually the full percentage earned as long as you use it toward gift cards of at least $50.

  11. Alec says:

    Watch out.
    Citibank is taking a hit, along with all other financials. They denied me a STUDENT CARD!…..I do not have a bad credit history since its zerp! I’m sure its not my credit history, since no one has been using my SSN, not me or a criminal! I’m very unhappy with this decision from Citibank, and I’m looking for another company to lend my money. It took 3 months for a final decision…….Goddbye Citibank, and thanks for the negative points on my creit report………………………………

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