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

The Citi mtvU Platinum Select Visa Card I applied for about a week ago [3] came in today and along with it a directory of services. The card itself is part of the ThankYou Network [4] 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 [5].