Maskot / Getty Images

Basic ThankYou points: What does that actually mean?

Learn which Citi cards offer better redemption options for their ThankYou points


In this guide, we will explore the difference between the types of Citi ThankYou points you can earn and determine what cards offer the best redemption offers.

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired. Please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

ThankYou points are Citi’s proprietary rewards currency that can be earned with its reward credit cards. As these points are earned, they can be used in a number of ways, from redeeming them for cash back to using them for travel, student loan repayments and even online shopping. However, there are a few restrictions in place for certain cards, and only a few of Citi’s point-earning cards have the ability to transfer to Citi’s partners.

If you want to earn ThankYou points, there are options to do so with a variety of different Citi credit cards, but before you apply, it’s important to make sure that the cards you are interested in are a good fit for your financial goals and your spending, and that the rewards make sense for you. To get you started on your journey toward earning ThankYou points, let’s take a look at the difference between the types of Citi ThankYou points you can earn.

What are basic Citi ThankYou points?

ThankYou points earned from no-annual-fee Citi cards, like the Citi Custom Cash® Card, can be redeemed a multitude of ways, such as cash back or travel directly booked with Citi Travel, but cannot be transferred to most of Citi’s airline travel partners. However, points earned with some Citi cards, for instance the Citi Double Cash® Card and Citi Rewards+® Card can be transferred to the JetBlue TrueBlue program at a lower rate than the rate of Citi’s travel cards. Only ThankYou points earned with premium Citi cards, the Citi Premier® Card or the Citi Prestige® Card*, can be transferred to other travel partners.

Because of this tiered system, one way to describe the points that you earn with the no-annual-fee Citi cards is “basic” Citi ThankYou points. Citi’s website does not use this terminology; rather, it’s a convenient label to describe ThankYou points that can’t be transferred to most travel partners.

How do I earn ThankYou points?

The primary way you can earn Citi ThankYou points is from welcome offers and ongoing rewards rates for spending on Citi credit cards. The following Citi credit cards earn ThankYou points:

CardRewardsAnnual fee
Citi Prestige® Card5X points on restaurants and air travel, 3X points on hotels and cruises and 1X point on other purchases$495
Citi Premier® Card3X points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels, and 1X on other purchases$95
Citi Rewards+® Card5X points on hotel reservations, car rentals and attractions booked through Citi Travel (limited-time offer through June 30, 2024); 2X points spent at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 per year, then 1X; and 1X points on other purchases$0
Citi Custom Cash® Card5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle (up to the first $500 spent each billing cycle, then 1% thereafter), plus 1% on all other purchases$0
Citi Double Cash® Card1% cash back on general purchases, then an additional 1% cash back when you pay off those purchases$0
AT&T Access Card from Citi*3X points at gas stations, 2X points at grocery stores and 1X point on other purchases$0

How do I redeem ThankYou points?

How you redeem your ThankYou points depends on the card(s) you have associated with your ThankYou points.

Redeeming basic ThankYou points

The following Citi credit cards come with no annual fee and earn basic ThankYou points:

  • Citi Rewards+ Card
  • Citi Double Cash Card
  • Citi Custom Cash Card
  • AT&T Access Card from Citi

If you have one of these cards, you can redeem your ThankYou points in the following ways and with the following values:

  • Travel booked through Citi Travel — 1 cent
  • Gift cards — 1 cent
  • Home mortgage or student loan repayments — 1 cent
  • Shopping — 0.83 cents
  • Pay with Points — 0.8 cents
  • Cash back or statement credit — 0.5 cents

There are two exceptions that are important to note. The first is that while the Citi Rewards+ card earns basic ThankYou points, you can also transfer points earned with that card to JetBlue, but only at a rate of 0.8 cents per point (or 800 TrueBlue points for every 1,000 ThankYou points). You can’t transfer ThankYou points earned with the Citi Rewards+ Card to any other transfer partners. Secondly, the ThankYou points earned with the Citi Custom Cash Card can be redeemed for 1 cent per point as cash back or for a statement credit.

As you can see, some redemptions of ThankYou points are better than others. You’ll want to avoid some of the weaker redemptions if you’re truly looking to get the best value from your ThankYou points.

Redeeming ThankYou points at higher rates

Another way to get great value for your ThankYou points is to transfer them to Citi’s transfer partners. To do this, you will need to have one of Citi’s premium credit cards: the Citi Prestige Card or the Citi Premier Card.

Citi ThankYou points can currently be transferred to the following 17 travel partners:

Citi ThankYou transfer partnersTransfer ratio1,000 ThankYou points equals
Aeromexico Rewards1:11,000 Premier points
Accor Live Limitless ALL1:0.5500 ALL Reward points
Avianca LifeMiles1:11,000 LifeMiles
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles1:11,000 Asia miles
Choice Privileges1:1.5 for Citi Rewards+ and Citi Double Cash cardholders or 1:2 for premium Citi cardholders1,500 or 2,000 Choice Privileges points
Emirates Skyward1:11,000 Skywards miles
Etihad Guest1:11,000 Etihad Guest miles
EVA Air1:11,000 Infinity MileageLands miles
Flying Blue (Air France, KLM)1:1.25 (Limited-time offer through June 17, 2023)1,250 Flying Blue miles
JetBlue TrueBlue1:0.8 for Citi Rewards+ and Citi Double Cash cardholders or 1:1 for premium Citi cardholders800 or 1,000 TrueBlue points
Qantas Frequent Flyer1:11,000 Qantas points
Qatar Privilege Club1:11,000 Avios miles
Singapore Airlines1:11,000 KrisFlyer miles
Thai Royal Orchid Plus1:11,000 Royal Orchid Plus miles
Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles1:11,000 miles
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1:11,000 Virgin miles
Wyndham Rewards1:0.8 for Citi Rewards+ and Citi Double Cash cardholders or 1:1 for premium Citi cardholders800 or 1,000 Wyndham Rewards points

You can also transfer your ThankYou points to the Shop Your Way program at a rate of 1 ThankYou point to 10 Shop Your Way points.

How do I pair Citi cards to redeem basic points at the best rate?

Many of the cards that earn basic ThankYou points have solid earnings rates and carry no annual fee. In many cases, it makes a lot of sense to combine multiple Citi cards to maximize your earnings. You are allowed to combine your ThankYou accounts for no charge, which means that all of the points you earn with multiple cards can be redeemed out of the same account.

One example of an attractive combination is the Citi ThankYou trifecta, in which you combine the Citi Custom Cash, Citi Double Cash and Citi Prestige Cards:

  • Citi Custom Cash for 5 ThankYou points per dollar on up to $500 in spending each month in an eligible bonus category
  • Citi Prestige for 5 ThankYou points per dollar at restaurants and for air travel, 3 points per dollar on hotels and cruises, premium travel benefits and the ability to transfer ThankYou points to Citi travel partners
  • Citi Double Cash for 2 ThankYou points per dollar on all other purchases (Double Cash offers 2 percent cash back on purchases; 1 percent when you buy, plus an additional 1 percent as you pay for those purchases)

If you balk at the $495 annual fee of the Citi Prestige, you can instead consider the Citi Premier, which comes with lower earning rates (but only a $95 annual fee) and allows you to transfer points to travel partners.

Bottom line

Citi ThankYou points that you earn from Citi credit cards vary in how they can be redeemed. ThankYou points earned with Citi’s no-annual-fee credit cards can be considered basic ThankYou points that cannot be transferred to most of Citi’s airline partners. To maximize the value of your ThankYou points, you’ll need to get either the Citi Premier or Prestige Card to unlock the ability to transfer to airlines and supercharge your redemptions.

*Information about the Citi Prestige Card and the AT&T Access Card from Citi has been collected independently by The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

Credit Card Rate Report
Cash Back

Questions or comments?

Contact us

Editorial corrections policies

Learn more