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Although perhaps not as talked about as Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou® Rewards is a dark horse when it comes to flexible points. In fact, its partnerships with 17 airlines and hotels provide a solid baseline value, making ThankYou points some of the most valuable points around.
You should be able to get a minimum of one cent per point in value from your Citi ThankYou points. However, with a little research, you can get significantly more than that through Citi's airline transfer partners.
Let's dig into all the ways you can get value from Citi ThankYou points.
The quickest way to earn a ton of Citi ThankYou points is by opening up a Citi credit card and earning a welcome bonus. These rewards credit cards are also great for earning ThankYou points through everyday spending. Here are the best cards to earn ThankYou points, along with their current welcome bonuses:
- Citi Premier® Card: Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening.
- Citi Rewards+® Card: 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. Points can be transferred to all travel partners if you also hold a Citi Premier Card or Citi Prestige card.
- Citi Custom Cash® Card: Earn $200 cash-back after you spend $1,500 on purchases within six months of opening the card. Cashback is earned in the form of ThankYou points and can be transferred to all travel partners if you also hold a Citi Premier Card or Citi Prestige card.
- Citi Prestige: no longer available for applications
3X points per $1 spent at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, and on hotels and air travel, 1X points on all other purchases
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.
21.24% - 29.24% variable
Balance transfer fee
5% of each balance transfer, $5 minimum
Foreign transaction fee
Read our Citi Premier® Card review.
For a limited time, earn 5 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024. 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
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
0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months from date of first transfer and on purchases from date of account opening.
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
5% cash back on purchases in top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent (then 1%); unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
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.
0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for first 15 months
19.24% - 29.24% variable
Balance transfer fee
5% of each balance transfer ($5 minimum)
Foreign transaction fee
Excellent, Good. Fair
Read our Citi Custom Cash® Card review.
Citi used to also award ThankYou points to certain checking account holders but closed enrollment for this benefit in July 2022.
Citi ThankYou points can be redeemed for cash back at a rate of up to one cent per point. This means 10,000 points would be worth $100. You can redeem points for a statement credit, direct deposit or get a check in the mail. Plus, there's no limit to the number of cash redemptions you make.
Some ThankYou point-earning credit cards offer cash-back redemption rates of only .5 cents per point. Cards like the Citi Premier® Card, Citi Double Cash® Card (see rates and fees) and Citi Custom Cash offer one cent per ThankYou point when redeeming for cash back. The Citi Rewards+® Card offers .5 cents per ThankYou point when redeeming for cash back.
For statement credits, you can apply just one point to get a $0.01 statement credit. That makes this redemption option particularly useful when you want to round off — or zero out — your ThankYou point balance after redeeming points through transfer partners.
Note that this statement credit doesn't count as a credit card payment. If you need to use your ThankYou points to help pay your credit card, you'll want to opt for the direct deposit or check by mail options.
Like the statement credit option, you can redeem one point to get a one-cent direct deposit into a linked bank account. Don't cut it too close though, as the direct deposit may take five business days to reach your account.
To get a check by mail, you need to redeem a minimum of $5 (500 points). But, you can select any amount above that.
If your goal is to earn cash back, you may not want to use a ThankYou points-earning credit card. Instead, the Citi Double Cash® Card is an excellent option. The Double Cash card earns 2% cash back — 1% when you make a purchase and 1% when you pay your card. You can also combine your Citi Double Cash account with a Citi Premier or Citi Prestige card and then you'll be able to transfer your rewards to all of the Citi travel partners.
Citi cardholders can redeem points for gift cards at a rate of one cent per point. This means 10,000 points would be worth $100 toward gift cards. Citi offers cardholders the ability to redeem points for over 100 brands. However, unlike cash-back rewards, you're limited to buying gift cards in certain increments. The gift card increments depend on the merchant:
Gift card rewards don't provide any additional value than cash rewards. Both provide exactly one cent per point in value. So, if you're considering buying a gift card for yourself, it makes more sense to just make a purchase at the store and redeem your points for cashback.
Even if you're getting a gift card for a friend or family member, consider purchasing a gift card with your Citi card. That way you'll earn points on the purchase. Then, you can still use the cash rewards option to effectively erase the purchase.
ThankYou points can be used to book travel through the ThankYou travel portal at a rate of one cent per point. This means 10,000 points would be worth $100 toward travel. That's the redemption rate that you'll get for any type of travel purchase:
- Rental cars
This can be a great redemption for booking inexpensive flights. Although airlines often charge 10,000 miles or more for an award flight, you can book some inexpensive flights for under 5,000 points each way through the travel portal.
Similarly, you can book hotels through the Citi travel portal for less than the hotel may charge for an award stay when the cash price is lower. For example, you can book the Wyndham Garden Miami International Airport for $116 or 13,063 points through the ThankYou travel portal. To book the same date through Wyndham's loyalty program, you would need to transfer 30,000 Thankyou points to Wyndham:
If your hotel doesn't have a shuttle, you can also use your ThankYou points to book a rental car. Again, the redemption rate is one cent per point.
If you want to get more than one cent per point in value from your Citi ThankYou points, you need to learn how to take advantage of Citi's 17 airline and hotel transfer partners:
- 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
Of the major transferable points programs, Citi offers perhaps the most eclectic group of airline transfer partners. But, by mastering these partners, you can get a ton of value. This is a case where research definitely can pay off.
For example, you can transfer Citi ThankYou points to Turkish Miles & Smiles to book United awards to Hawaii for just 7,500 miles each way in economy or 12,500 miles one-way in business class:
That exact flight cost $453 one-way in economy, meaning you'd get over 6 cents per point in value by using Turkish miles.
Citi ThankYou points are also useful for booking all sorts of other valuable redemptions. You could fly from the U.S. to:
- Europe in business class on any Star Alliance airline for just 45,000 Turkish Miles & Smiles miles one-way
- Europe in business class on any Star Alliance airline for just 63,000 Avianca miles one-way with no fuel surcharges
- Doha, Qatar in business class on Qatar Airways for 70,000 Avios points one-way
- Europe in Delta business class for 50,000 Virgin Atlantic points
These are just a few of the great redemptions you can get when transferring Citi ThankYou points to its airline partners. There are a lot more possibilities, but you'll need to do your research to understand which is the best option for you.
Most Citi redemptions — including cash back — provide one cent per point in value, so you should avoid less valuable Citi ThankYou points redemptions.
In both cases, it makes much more sense to just make a purchase using your Citi credit card. That way you'll earn points on the purchase. Then, you can always redeem ThankYou points for cash rewards to offset the purchase.
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Citi ThankYou points have a remarkably consistent value. Almost all redemption options provide one cent per point in value. This provides a nice high baseline value for your Citi ThankYou points.
However, additional effort can certainly pay off. You can multiply the value of your Citi points by redeeming them through airline transfer partners — whether that's flying to Hawaii for just 7,500 points each way or business class to Europe for as few as 50,000 points each way.
Information about the Citi Prestige® Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
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