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Basic ThankYou points: What does that actually mean?

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


Some Citi credit cards that earn ThankYou points have better redemption options. Combining points from multiple Citi cards can help you maximize the value of your ThankYou points.

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ThankYou points are Citi’s proprietary rewards currency and can be earned from a variety of different Citi credit cards. These points can be redeemed in different ways, but there are a few restrictions in place for certain cards. Only a few of Citi’s point-earning cards have the ability to transfer to Citi’s partners. In this guide, we will explore 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 for cash back or used to book travel directly but cannot be transferred to most of Citi’s airline travel partners. The only exception is if you have points earned with the Citi Rewards+® Card; on this card, you can transfer to the JetBlue True Blue program at a lower rate. Only ThankYou points earned with premium Citi cards, such as 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 and 3X points on hotels and cruises, plus 1X points on other purchases$495
Citi Premier® Card3X points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels, plus 1X on other purchases$95
Citi Rewards+® Card2X points spent at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 per year, then 1X, plus 1X points on other purchasesNone
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%, plus 1% on all other purchasesNone
AT&T Access Card from Citi*2X points on online retail, travel websites and AT&T products and services, plus 1% on other purchasesNone

In addition to these cards, you can convert the cash back that you earn with the Citi® Double Cash Card into ThankYou points at a rate of 1 cent per point.

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 the ThankYou Rewards center – 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

Two exceptions to this chart 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. 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. For more information, check out our complete guide to earning and redeeming 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 airline travel partners. To do this, you will need to have one of Citi’s premium credit cards:

  • Citi Prestige
  • Citi Premier

Citi ThankYou points can currently be transferred to the following 16 airline partners:

Citi ThankYou transfer partnersTransfer ratio1,000 ThankYou points =
Aeromexico1:11,000 Premier points
Asia Miles1:11,000 Asia miles
Avianca Lifemiles1:11,000 Avianca miles
Emirates Skyward1:11,000 Emirates Skywards miles
Etihad Guest Miles1:11,000 Etihad Guest miles
Eva Air1:11,000 Eva Air miles
Flying Blue (Air France, KLM)1:11,000 Flying Blue miles
JetBlue TrueBlue1:0.8 for Citi Rewards+ cardmembers or 1:1 for premium Citi cardmembers800 or 1,000 TrueBlue points
InterMiles1:11,000 Intermiles
Malaysia Airlines1:11,000 Malaysia miles
Qantas Frequent Flyer1:11,000 Qantas miles
Qatar Privilege Club1:11,000 Qatar Privilege miles
Singapore Airlines1:11,000 Singapore Airlines miles
Thai Royal Orchid Plus1:11,000 Thai Royal miles
Turkish Airlines1:11,000 Turkish Airlines miles
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1:11,000 Virgin Atlantic miles

You can also transfer your ThankYou points to the Sears 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 airline travel partners
  • Citi Double Cash for 2 ThankYou points per dollar on all other purchases (Double Cash offers 2% cash back on purchases; 1% when you buy, plus an additional 1% 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 can’t transfer 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.

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