Our top picks of timely offers from our partners

More details
See if you're approved for a loan
Learn More
Terms Apply
Match with lenders that best fit your needs with our new personal loan marketplace
One of the longest 0% intro APR offers plus, no annual fee
Chime
Learn More
Terms Apply
No monthly fees plus, get paid up to 2 days early with direct deposit
Credible
Learn More
Terms Apply
Compare student loan refinancing rates without impacting your credit score - it's free and easy to use
Rocket Mortgage
Learn More
Terms Apply
Rates recently increased and could continue to rise - look into refinancing with one of our top picks
Select is editorially independent. We earn a commission from affiliate partners on many offers, but not all offers on Select are from affiliate partners. Read more about Select on CNBC and on NBC News, and click here to read our full advertiser disclosure.
Credit Cards

What are Citi ThankYou points worth?

Citi ThankYou points can be quite valuable if you use them the right way.

Share
frantic00 | iStock | Getty Images
Select’s editorial team works independently to review financial products and write articles we think our readers will find useful. We earn a commission from affiliate partners on many offers, but not all offers on Select are from affiliate partners.

Citi is an advertising partner. Select may receive an affiliate commission when you click on the links for products from our partners. This commission does not influence the opinions, recommendations, or placement of any products on our site.

Although perhaps not as popular as Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou® Points are a dark horse when it comes to flexible points. In fact, between its partnerships with 17 airlines and providing a solid baseline value, ThankYou points are arguably some of the most valuable points around.

You should be able to get a minimum of 1 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.

What are Citi ThankYou points worth?

How to earn 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 and through everyday spend. Here are the best cards to earn ThankYou points, along with their current welcome bonus':

  • Citi Premier® Card: Earn 80,000 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 the first 3 months of account opening. Points can be transferred to travel partners if you also hold a Citi Premier Card.
  • Citi Custom Cash℠ Card: Earn $200 cash-back after you spend $750 on purchases within three months of opening the card. Cash back is earned in the form of ThankYou points and can be transferred to travel partners if you also hold a Citi Premier Card or Citi Prestige card.
  • Citi Prestige: no longer available for applications

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

    80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    18.24% - 26.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5% of each balance transfer, $5 minimum

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Good/Excellent

Terms apply.

 

Citi Rewards+® Card

On Citi's secure site
  • Rewards

    For a limited time, earn 5 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent at restaurants up to $6,000 in the first 12 months and 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent thereafter.. 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% APR for the first 15 months on purchases from date of account opening; 0% APR for 15 months on balance transfer from date of first transfer

  • Regular APR

    15.74% - 25.74% 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

    Good/Excellent

Terms apply.

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

On Citi's secure site
  • Rewards

    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

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn $200 cash back after spending $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. The 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

    16.24% - 26.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5% of each balance transfer ($5 minimum)

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent, Good

Terms apply.

What's the value of Citi points for cashback?

Citi ThankYou points can be redeemed for cash back at a rate of up to 1 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.

Note that there are some ThankYou point-earning credit cards that don't allow for the 1 cent cash out option, but instead offer redemption rates at .5 cents. The Citi Premier® Card and Citi Prestige offer 1 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 as few as just 1 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 as few as 1 point to get a 1 cent direct deposit into a linked bank account. Don't cut it too close though, as the direct deposit may take 5 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 transfer cash back earned from a Citi Double Cash into ThankYou points if you also hold a Citi Premier or Citi Prestige card — therefore being able to then transfer to airline partners.

What's the value of Citi points for gift cards?

Citi cardholders can redeem points for gift cards at a rate of 1 cent per point. This means 10,000 points would be worth $100 towards gift cards. Citi offers cardholders the ability to redeem points for over 100 brands — from Albertsons to Zeel Massage. 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 cash back.

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.

What's the value of Citi points for travel?

ThankYou points can be used to book travel purchases made through the ThankYou travel portal at a rate of 1 cent per point. This means 10,000 points would be worth $100 towards travel. That's the redemption rate that you'll get for any type of travel purchase:

  • Flights
  • Hotels
  • Rental Cars
  • Activities

This can be a great redemption for booking inexpensive flights. Although airlines may 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. For example, you can book the Four Points by Sheraton Miami Airport for 13,262 points for select nights through the ThankYou travel portal. In this case, Marriott is charging 17,500 Bonvoy points for the same night:

Even better, if you have the Citi Premier card, you can save $100 off a hotel booking of $500 or more (before taxes and fees) each year when you book the hotel through the thankyou.com travel portal.

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 1 cent per point:

What's the value of Citi points for other redemption options?

Citi ThankYou Points can be redeemed for a variety of other redemption options at a rate of 1 cent per point. This includes making student loan payments, mortgage payments or charitable donations.

While it can feel satisfying to use your Citi ThankYou points to pay down debt or help others, these redemption options don't provide any additional value for your points than cash back. So, it might be better to redeem points for cash back and then make payments directly from your bank account.

The best use of Citi points: ThankYou transfer partners

If you want to get more than 1 cent per point in value from your Citi ThankYou points, you need to learn how to take advantage of Citi's 17 airline transfer partners.

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:

Those flights are going for $220 one-way in economy, meaning you'd get 2.92 cents per point in value by using Turkish miles.

Or fly to Europe in business class on United, Lufthansa, Turkish or any other Star Alliance partner for just 45,000 Miles & Smiles miles:

Take advantage of Emirates' expanded partnership with JetBlue to book JetBlue Mint for as few as 40,000 Skywards miles each way:

Utilize Citi's transfer partnership with Qatar Privilege Club to book Qatar's luxurious business class Qsuite from the U.S. to Doha for just 70,000 miles each way:

Or, fly Qsuite all the way to the Maldives for 70,000 miles each way through Citi's temporary transfer partnership with American Airlines AAdvantage:

Or, transfer Citi points to Etihad Guest Miles to book a slew of excellent redemption options:

  • American Airlines flights to Europe or southern South America for as few as 20,000 miles each way on off-peak dates
  • Business class to Europe on American Airlines for 50,000 miles each way
  • Business class to Casablanca on Royal Air Maroc for 44,000 miles each way
  • Business class to Brussels on Brussels Airlines for 44,000 miles each way

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.

The worst uses of Citi points

As most Citi redemptions — including cash back — provide 1 cent per point in value, you should avoid any redemptions that don't provide at least this value for your Citi ThankYou points.

Examples of poor redemptions include redeeming ThankYou points for Amazon purchases or making purchases through PayPal at a rate of 0.8 cents per point. This means 10,000 points would be worth $80.

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.

Bottom line

As you can see, Citi ThankYou points have a remarkably consistent value. Almost all redemption options provide 1 cent per point in value, with only a few options providing less than that. This provides a nice high baseline value for your Citi ThankYou points. 

However, additional effort can certainly pay off. You can get multiple cents in value from 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 44,000 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.


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.
Splash Financial
Learn More
Terms Apply
Easy and free way to check personal and student loan offers with low fixed or variable rates