Our top picks of timely offers from our partners

More details
UFB Secure Savings
Learn More
Terms Apply
Up to 5.25% APY on one of our top picks for best savings accounts plus, no monthly fee
Accredited Debt Relief
Learn More
Terms Apply
Accredited Debt Relief helps consumers with over $30,000 of debt
LendingClub High-Yield Savings
Learn More
Terms Apply
Our top pick for best savings accounts for its strong APY and an ATM card with no ATM fees
Choice Home Warranty
Learn More
Terms Apply
Protects 25+ systems & appliances. Free quote + $50 off + 1 month free
Freedom Debt Relief
Learn More
Terms Apply
Freedom Debt Relief can help clients get started without fees up front
Select independently determines what we cover and recommend. We earn a commission from affiliate partners on many offers and links. This commission may impact how and where certain products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). Read more about Select on CNBC and on NBC News, and click here to read our full advertiser disclosure.
Credit Cards

How to redeem Citi ThankYou points for the most value: Book luxury flights, hotels and more

Citi ThankYou Rewards offers a wide range of valuable redemptions.

Share
Hawaii ranked as the most expensive state to live in, according to doxo's 2023 report.
M Swiet Productions | Moment | Getty Images

Citi is an advertising partner.

Citi ThankYou® Rewards is a flexible rewards program that offers a variety of ways to earn and redeem points, similar to American Express Membership Rewards®, Chase Ultimate Rewards® and Capital One Miles. It's an excellent option for both beginners who are looking for easy-to-use credit card rewards and rewards experts who want to maximize their points' value.

ThankYou® Points can be earned through everyday spending with certain Citi credit cards like the Citi Premier® Card and the Citi Double Cash® Card. You can then cash out your points to pad your savings account or transfer them to one of Citi's many travel partners to book first-class flights and luxury hotels on the cheap.

Here are all the ways to earn Citi ThankYou® Points and the best ways to redeem them for maximum value.

How to maximize Citi ThankYou® Rewards

Best Citi credit cards for earning ThankYou® Points

A handful of rewards credit cards issued by Citi earn ThankYou® Points but if you want access to all of Citi's transfer partners, you'll need an annual fee card like the Citi Premier® Card.

It can also make sense to have more than one Citi card because there's a synergy with certain benefits. For example, the Citi Rewards+® Card offers a 10% rebate on points redemptions (on the first 100,000 points you redeem per calendar year). If you link your Citi card accounts and pool your ThankYou® Points, then redemptions you make with other Citi cards qualify for the 10% points refund. And this includes points transfers you can make to airlines and hotels if you have the Citi Premier card.

Citi cards that earn ThankYou® Points include:

Citi Premier® Card

On Citi's secure site
  • Rewards

    3X points per $1 spent at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, and on hotels and air travel, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, for a limited time, earn a total of 10 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on hotel, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024.

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    21.24% - 29.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5% of each balance transfer, $5 minimum

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Good/Excellent

  • See rates and fees. Terms apply.

 

Citi Rewards+® Card

On Citi's secure site
  • Rewards

    As a special offer, earn 5 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on CitiTravel.com through December 31, 2025. Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X ThankYou® Points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 20,000 bonus points after you spend $1,500 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $200 in gift cards at thankyou.com

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months from date of first transfer and on purchases from date of account opening.

  • Regular APR

    18.74% - 28.74% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5)

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Good/Excellent

See rates and fees. Terms apply.

Technically, the Citi Custom Cash Card and Citi Double Cash Card are cash-back cards. However, the cashback is earned in the form of ThankYou® Points (one point equals one cent) and the points you earn with these cash-back cards can be pooled with other Citi cards, like the Citi Premier or Citi Rewards+.

Citi Custom Cash® Card

On Citi's secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Also, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Special Travel Offer: Earn an additional 4% cash back on hotels, car rentals, and attractions booked on Citi Travel℠ portal through 6/30/2025.

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $1500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for first 15 months

  • Regular APR

    19.24% - 29.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5% of each balance transfer ($5 minimum)

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent, Good, Fair

  • See rates and fees. Terms apply.

Citi Double Cash® Card

  • Rewards

    Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time. Plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 18 months on balance transfers; N/A for purchases

  • Regular APR

    19.24% - 29.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    For balance transfers completed within 4 months of account opening, an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies; after that, a balance transfer fee of 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Fair/Good/Excellent

  • See rates and fees. Terms apply.

Citi used to also award ThankYou® Points to certain checking account holders but closed enrollment for this benefit in July 2022.

Best ways to use Citi ThankYou® Points

You can use Citi points in all sorts of ways, including redeeming points for gift cards, cash back, statement credits, merchandise and travel. However, the best way to get the most value out of your Citi points is usually to transfer them to one of Citi's 17 partner airline and hotel loyalty programs:

  • Accor Live Limitless
  • Aeromexico Club Premier
  • Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific)
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • Eva Air Infinity MileageLands
  • Flying Blue (KLM and Air France)
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Choice Privileges
  • Wyndham Rewards

Book one-way flights to Hawaii for only 7,500 points

By transferring ThankYou® Points to Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles you could fly a family of four from the U.S. East Coast to Hawaii and back for only 60,000 points. This is because the Turkish Airlines award chart includes Hawaii and the Continental U.S. in the same award zone.

Turkish Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, which means you can use Turkish miles to book award flights on United Airlines. While many airlines operate distanced-based award charts or have ditched award charts altogether in favor of dynamic pricing, Turkish Airlines has a zone-based partner award chart. This allows you to book flights to/from anywhere in the U.S. that United flies for the set price of 7,500 one-way in economy or 12,500 one-way in business class.

Turkish Airlines

Economy flights between the East Coast and Hawaii typically cost $300 to $400, so you're getting a value of roughly four to five cents per point after you account for taxes.

Fly to Europe in business class

International business-class flights can cost thousands of dollars, so using your credit card rewards to book these awards can unlock exceptional value. The best airline program for booking business-class awards depends on where you want to go, but Citi partners with several loyalty programs that have great business-class award prices to Europe, including Avianca LifeMiles, Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

You can book awards with Star Alliance partner airlines through Avianca or Turkish Airlines. Turkish charges 45,000 miles for one-way business-class flights from the U.S. to Europe, while LifeMiles typically charges 63,000 miles, although it sometimes varies.

Virgin Atlantic is a member of the SkyTeam alliance and has separate award charts for each partner airline. The best options for using Virgin Atlantic points to book business-class flights to Europe are Air France, KLM and Delta. It costs 50,000 Virgin points one-way for a nonstop business-class award to Europe on Delta and 48,500 points one-way for an off-peak award with Air France or KLM (58,500 points during peak dates).

This award flight would cost nearly $3,600, which means you're getting a value of just under seven cents per point after accounting for the $275 in taxes.

Aside from the points or miles you pay for a business-class award, it's also important to pay attention to the taxes and fees. The fees you pay vary depending on where you're flying and which airline, or airlines, you're flying with. To save on taxes avoid booking award flights through the U.K. or book with a program like Avianca LifeMiles because it doesn't add fuel surcharges to award flights.

Book cheap domestic flights

For only 15,000 ThankYou® Points (or less) you can book domestic awards on United, Delta and more. You can book United by transferring points to Avianca or Turkish Airlines. Turkish Airlines charges 7,500 for a one-way award and Avianca typically charges 6,500 to 12,500 miles for one-way domestic awards.

To book flights on Delta, transfer miles to Virgin Atlantic. Virgin Atlantic operates a distance-based award chart for domestic Delta flights and charges per flight segment, so trips with a connection cost more. Flight segments start at 7,500 miles (under 500 miles) and go up to 15,000 miles (segments between 2,001-3,000).

JetBlue TrueBlue can be a good option for cheap flights because it prices award flights dynamically. You'll typically get around 1.1 to 1.5 cents per point depending on the flight you book.

If you'd like to book flights without transferring points to a partner, you can pay for flights through the Citi ThankYou site at a fixed rate of one cent per point. This is a solid option when cash fares are low, plus you'll earn miles on the flight.

Book free nights in hotels or vacation rentals

Generally, transferring points to Citi's hotel partners is less valuable than using your points for flights. However, airfare is only one cost associated with traveling, and being able to offset the cost of lodging with your credit card rewards or hotel points is useful. And there are specific hotel redemptions that can be more lucrative.

Citi points transfer to Choice Hotels at a 1:2 ratio (with the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige cards, 1:1.5 otherwise) and certain Choice Hotels awards can be very valuable. Choice Hotels has a large footprint in Scandinavian countries, where other chains aren't as common and points bookings can be a great deal.

At the time of writing, there are a handful of Choice Hotels available in Oslo, Norway for 16,000 Choice points per night. These hotels cost between $122 and $153 per night, which is a value of 1.5 to 1.9 cents per point once you factor in Citi's 1:2 transfer ratio. Choice Hotels also runs the Sweet Spots promotion, which features discounted award rates at select hotels and can yield similar values per point.

Wyndham charges 7,500, 15,000 or 30,000 points per night and Citi points transfer to Wyndham at a 1:1 ratio (with the Citi Premier and Prestige cards, otherwise 1:0.8). At more expensive hotels, Wyndham points can yield a higher value. The Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach, for example, costs 30,000 points per night and can easily cost over $400 a night, which is a value of 1.33 cents per point.

You can even use Wyndham points to book vacation rentals with Vacasa for 15,000 per night per bedroom. This is a great option for family vacations and can often yield a value of two cents per point or more. As a side note, you to call Wyndham Rewards at 800-441-1034 to book Vacasa rentals.

However, you'll often get less than one cent per point in value for Wyndham bookings. In that situation, it's better to cash out your ThankYou® Points for one cent each in statement credits and use that money to book the hotel.

Fly some of the best first-class seats

James D. Morgan | Getty Images News | Getty Images

First-class awards can be hard to find and require you to save up more points compared to other redemptions. But you can book some of the best first-class flights in the world with ThankYou® Points, including Emirates first class and Singapore Airlines first class. The best way to book these exclusive awards is by transferring points directly to Emirates Skywards or Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.

Emirates doesn't have an award chart but you can use its miles calculator to find the price of any award itinerary. One of the best deals in first-class is flying from New York to Milan, which costs 102,00 miles and $104 one-way. The cash price of this flight is normally $11,000+, that's a value of over nine cents per point.

Singapore Airlines has a zone-based award chart, so you'll always know exactly how many points you need for an award. One of the best first-class redemptions is from New York to Frankfurt for 97,000 miles, while other first-class flights cost 140,000 or more.

Although these first-class awards cost more points, it's easier to collect Emirates and Singapore miles than you may think. In addition to Citi points, you can transfer points to either airline from other popular rewards programs, like Chase, Amex and Capital One. So you can open travel credit cards from different banks and transfer all those points to a single airline.

How to avoid less valuable ThankYou® Points redemptions

Browsing the ThankYou® Points site, you'll see all sorts of options to use Citi points. It can be overwhelming but to keep it simple, know that you can always cash out your points at a rate of one cent each as a statement credit, direct deposit or check.

Some of the redemption options are less valuable, like shopping with points at select retail partners, which has a value of less than one cent per point. And you may indirectly get less value paying with points for a rental car or hotel you book through Citi's travel site because you won't be able to shop for the lowest price. In these types of situations, it's easier and more valuable to cash out your points.

You can purchase gift cards with Citi points (one cent per point) and there occasionally are gift card sales for 10% off. Another way to boost the value of your points is with the Citi Rewards+ Card, which earns a 10% points rebate on the first 100,000 points you redeem each year.

What are Citi ThankYou® Points worth?

As you can see, Citi points are almost always worth at least one cent apiece, with only a few redemption options providing less value. However, with a little additional effort, you can easily get multiple cents in value from your Citi points when redeemed through an airline or hotel transfer partner.

Find the best credit card for you by reviewing offers in our credit card marketplace or get personalized offers via CardMatch™.

Subscribe to the CNBC Select Newsletter!

Money matters —  so make the most of it. Get expert tips, strategies, news and everything else you need to maximize your money, right to your inbox. Sign up here.

Bottom line

Citi ThankYou® Points are easy to earn with the right Citi credit cards and have the right mix of redemption options to provide you value and flexibility.

The simplest way to use Citi points is to redeem them for cash back. However, if you want to get outsized value, consider transferring your points to one of Citi's 17 partner travel programs. With the right program, you can book expensive business- or first-class flights worth thousands of dollars.

Catch up on CNBC Select's in-depth coverage of credit cardsbanking and money, and follow us on TikTokFacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.


Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
Chime
Learn More
Terms Apply
Chime offers online-only accounts that minimize fees plus, get paid up to 2 days early with direct deposits
Find the right savings account for you
Learn More
Terms Apply
Help your money grow by finding the savings account that offers the best rates and features for you