The Latest from Citi – New Secured Credit Card Launches and ThankYou Points Now Transfer to Virgin

Citi recently launched a new secured credit card which is aimed at consumers with limited or poor credit. The Citi Secured MasterCard is designed for people who want to either rebuild their credit history or those who have no credit history at all. Like most secured cards, in order to open an account, you are required to make a deposit which is then held as collateral (in this case a minimum of $200 and a maximum of $5,000). Your credit limit is determined by the amount of deposit you give at the time of approval. For example, a $500 deposit equals a $500 credit limit. Unlike a pre-paid or debit card, your payment history is reported to the three main credit bureaus each month. Over time, consistent on-time payments help build your credit history or repair a damaged one.

The Citi Secured MasterCard comes with an annual fee of $25 which is fairly reasonable for a secured card. If you are in the market for a secured credit card, you may also want to consider the Wells Fargo Secured Visa (annual fee of $25), the BankAmericard Secured Visa (annual fee of $39) or the USAA Secured American Express (annual fee of $35).

In other news from Citi, its ThankYou Rewards program has undergone various changes in its bid to become more competitive and offer better value to its card members. In the summer of 2014, Citi introduced transfers to airline partners which include the following:

  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • EVA Air
  • Etihad
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qatar Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Thai Airways
  • Flying Blue

Earlier this year, Virgin Atlantic and Qantas joined the list of partner airlines.

But until a few weeks ago, the Citi ThankYou Rewards program didn’t have one transfer partner based in the U.S. (other than Hilton HHonors). Now, however, points can be transferred to Virgin America which is great news for cardholders who want to use their ThankYou points for domestic travel rewards. Officially, only cards like the Citi Prestige and the Citi Thank You Premier Card allow transfers to Virgin America and other partners.