Earning and using Citi ThankYou points

Everything you need to know about earning Citi ThankYou rewards and redeeming them for the maximum value

Citi ThankYou guide

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Credit card rewards programs are designed to vie for your attention. Most include a variety of bonus offers as well as flexible points redemption options. But how refreshing is it to find a program that actually thanks you for choosing their team in its name? Here’s our analysis of the Citi ThankYou Rewards program and some best practices for using your points.

Earning your ThankYou points

Using your Citi credit card for everyday spending is just scratching the surface when it comes to acquiring ThankYou points. Here are some other ways to maximize your earning capabilities. 

Sign-up bonuses 

Sign-up bonuses are one of the obvious ways to earn ThankYou points up front. While bonus offers for new card members do change periodically, they are often competitive and fairly easy to attain. Here’s what Citi currently offers for each card: 

Citi ThankYou Premier Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou points after you spend $4,000 in purchases with your card within three months of account opening. 

Citi Prestige 

  • Earn a complimentary fourth night stay at any hotel of your choice after a minimum four-consecutive night booking through ThankYou.com. 

Citi ThankYou Preferred for College Students

  • If you are a student, earn 2,500 bonus points after spending $500 within the first three months of account opening. 

AT&T Access from Citi

  • Earn 10,000 Bonus ThankYou Points after making $1,000 in purchases within three months of account opening. 

According to Citi, sign-up bonus ThankYou points are not available if you have had a ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige card opened or closed in the past 24 months. 

Category bonuses 

Spending is the name of the points earning game. But, if you can earn bonus points by spending more in certain categories, why not do so? Citi offers ThankYou bonuses for spending in the following categories: 

Dining – Earn 2x ThankYou Points through dining purchases with the following cards (Citi ThankYou Preferred, Citi ThankYou Premier, Citi Prestige) There are no restrictions on this category. Any establishment that prepares or distributes food is eligible. 

Entertainment – Earn 2x ThankYou Points through entertainment expenses with the following cards (Citi ThankYou Preferred, Citi ThankYou Premier, Citi Prestige) This category includes movie theaters, sporting events, theatrical productions, music performances or record shops, amusement parks and tourist attractions. 

Gas stations – Earn 3x ThankYou Points through purchases at gas stations with the Citi ThankYou Premier card only. 

Travel – Earn 3x ThankYou Points through travel expenses with the following cards (Citi ThankYou Premier, Citi Prestige) 

If you have an AT&T Access card, you can earn 2x ThankYou points by making purchases online at travel and retail websites, in addition to AT&T. There is also an additional 1x bonus ThankYou Points included with all other purchases through the Citi Prestige, Preferred and the Citi ThankYou Premier cards. 

Banking bonuses 

Citi is offering some extra icing on top of helping you organize your bank accounts. If you have a Citibank account, you simply need to register with ThankYou Rewards to begin earning bonus ThankYou points. You can earn up to 1,600 points per month by enrolling in direct deposit and bill payment, as well as by making at least one debit or credit transaction. 

  • See the Citibank monthly rewards points breakdown here.     
  • If you don’t have a Citi checking account, you can open one here.
  • Once your checking account is open, you can manage your ThankYou points through this calculator

Citi ThankYou rewards credit cards

Let’s take a look at the Citi ThankYou rewards cards, their functionality and how their point redemption options compare:

Card Best for Redemption options
Citi ThankYou Preferred Card Entertainment and dining out, with a low intro APR
Redeem points for gift cards, purchases at retailers, home stores, restaurant or a $25 gift card at thankyou.com

 

Card Best for Redemption options
Citi ThankYou Premier Card

Travel, dining and entertainment 

$95 annual fee waived for first 12 months

Redeem points for $750 in airfare on any airline, anytime with no blackout dates when booked through the ThankYou Travel Center or $600 in gift cards redeemed from the ThankYou Rewards collection

 

Card Best for Redemption options
Citi Prestige Card
Travel and hotel rewards with no foreign transaction fees.
Redeem points for four-night hotel benefit with a $250 annual air travel credit.

 

Card Best for Redemption options
Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students
College students seeking to build credit and earn rewards, with no annual fee
Redeem points for $25 in gift cards, electronics and more when redeemed from the ThankYou Rewards collection

 

Card Best for Redemption options
AT&T Access Card from Citi
Online shopping and AT&T customers
Redeem points for gift cards, travel rewards, electronics and more

Comparing ThankYou Rewards with other rewards programs 

Citi’s closest rewards program competitors are American Express, with their Membership Rewards program and Chase, with their Ultimate Rewards program. Each program has a very similar point value and allows you to transfer points for travel miles. While it can be tough to distinguish these three at first glance, they do have a number of differences:

Travel Point Redemption Value
Citi ThankYou Rewards

1.25 cents per point value towards airfare, hotels, cruises, and car rentals with ThankYou Premier card; 1.33 cents per point value towards airfare with Prestige card; 1.25 cents per point value with Prestige card when used to purchase airfare on American Airlines or US Airways

Source: TPG/Using Citi ThankYou Points 
American Express Membership Rewards

1 cent per point value for airfare; 2 cents per point value for eligible flights when you have Amex Business Platinum

Source: TPG/Redeeming Amex Membership Rewards
Chase Ultimate Rewards

1.5 cents per point value with Sapphire Reserve; 1.25 cents per point value with Ink Bold, Ink Plus, Sapphire Preferred

Source: TPG/Chase Ultimate Rewards

 

Bonus Point Offers
Citi ThankYou Rewards Bank accounts that offer ThankYou points can be redeemed for rewards. These include sign-up bonuses for accounts and bonus points from banking relationships 
American Express Membership Rewards
Offers bonus points through Uber and Offers for You program
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Offers bonus points through Shop with Chase

 

Transferring Points to Other Accounts
Citi ThankYou Rewards ThankYou members are able to move points to anyone’s ThankYou account. However, there is a transfer limit of 100,000 points per calendar year. Points will also expire 90 days after transfer.
American Express Membership Rewards
Membership Rewards points cannot be moved to other accounts. However, it is possible to transfer points to another person’s frequent flyer program if the recipient is an authorized user on your Membership Rewards credit card account.
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Ultimate Rewards members may move points from/to their spouse or significant other living at the same address only. The recipient must also have a Chase credit card that earns Ultimate Rewards points.

 

Point Expiration
Citi ThankYou Rewards If cardholders wish to cancel their card, ThankYou points earned will expire 60 days after cancellation. 
American Express Membership Rewards
Membership Rewards points do not expire as long as the card remains active.
Chase Ultimate Rewards
Similar to Citi and Amex, Ultimate Rewards points will be lost if the account is cancelled. Points can be saved if they are transferred to a significant other’s account.

 

Average ThankYou Point Value for all Purchases
Rewards Average value per point
Shopping
0.83 cent
Cash Back
0.5 cent
Amazon/Best Buy
0.8 cent
Statement Credit
0.5 cent
Flights
1 cent
Gift Cards
1 cent
Select and Credit
0.75 cent

Redeeming your ThankYou points 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0R5U5pSoNsM 

After you’ve had some practice collecting your ThankYou points, next comes the really fun part – redeeming them. However, here’s where the real strategy comes in. Due to the average point value with trying to redeem through normal means, such as shopping or cash back (1 cent per point), better rewards value will be found through the Citi travel portal. 

You can directly book travel with ThankYou points through the Citi travel portal found at the ThankYou rewards center. The benefit to booking directly is that your points are worth more booking than other third-party vendors – but exactly how much more depends on the card you have. 

The Prestige and Premier cards get the highest boost in value of 33 percent and 25 percent, respectively. Other cards, such as the Citi ThankYou Preferred and the AT&T Access cards, still carry a 1 cent point redemption value within the travel portal. Often, the most valuable and flexible way to redeeming ThankYou points for travel rewards is to transfer them to one of Citi’s travel partners.   

Transferring ThankYou points 

Most of Citi’s transfer ratios are a straightforward 1:1, with a transfer time ranging from instantly to about one week. There is an expiration period after 90 days, so you should be strategic when taking advantage of bonus periods and redeeming  your points in time.

Transfer Partners Transfer Ratio 1,000 ThankYou Points =
Hilton Honors 1:1.5 1,500 HHonors points
JetBlue TrueBlue 1:1 (1:0.8 for Preferred cardholders) 1,000 TrueBlue points
Asia Miles 1:1 1,000 Asia miles
Avianca Lifemiles
1:1 1,000 Avianca miles
Etihad Guest Miles 1:1 1,000 Etihad Guest miles
Eva Air 1:1 1,000 Eva Air miles
Garuda Indonesia 1:1 1,000 Garuda miles
JetPrivilege 1:1 1,000 JetPrivilege miles
Malaysia Airlines 1:1 1,000 Malaysia miles
Qantas Frequent Flyer
1:1 1,000 Qantas miles
Qatar Privilege Club
1:1 1,000 Qatar Privilege miles
Singapore Airlines
1:1 1,000 Singapore Airlines miles
Thai Royal Orchid Plus
1:1 1,000 Thai Royal miles
Turkish Airlines 1:1 1,000 Turkish Airlines miles
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 1:1 1,000 Virgin Atlantic miles

Compared with Chase and American Express rewards programs, Citi’s ThankYou program has fewer airline partners (Amex has the most at more than 20), and a few more restrictions on members. These restrictions mainly include the length of time it can take to transfer points. The Chase and American Express rewards programs allow instantaneous points transfer, while Citi points can take up to seven days to transfer.

Citi ThankYou Rewards overview 

What is Citi ThankYou rewards? It’s the bank loyalty program offered to Citi cardholders. In gratitude for your business, Citi allows you to collect points by making transactions with one of the designated rewards cards. The points can be used for a variety of rewards. Some include purchases through Amazon or Best Buy, buying gift cards, receiving a statement credit, as well as travel rewards. 

Once approved for one of the Citi ThankYou credit cards, card holders can immediately begin earning points. The customer’s Citi account can be managed via the Citi online credit card portal. And the Citi Rewards can be managed through ThankYou.com.

Citi perks and benefits 

In addition to flexible rewards options offered by Citi ThankYou credit cards, there are plenty of other perks that come with being a Citi cardmember. Explore more of what Citi has to offer when it comes to travel, shopping, credit protection, dining and entertainment benefits.

Latest offers from Citi 

New Citibank account offers

60K American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles

New low intro APR for Citi Diamond Preferred

Earn 2 percent cash back on Citi Double Cash card

Lowest intro APR for 18 months through Citi Simplicity card


Related stories:
 Citi Prestige vs. AmEx Platinum: Which card is best?American Express Rewards guide, Chase Ultimate Rewards guide


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Updated: 09-26-2018