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Earning and using Citi ThankYou points

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

Summary

Our Citi ThankYou guide gives a full overview on the best ways to earn and redeem ThankYou points.

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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 Premier℠ Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in first three months of account opening
Citi Premier℠ Card
Citi Premier

Why should you get this card?

The Citi Premier card offers a generous travel rewards program, encompassing gas, subway fares and more.

Read more

More things to know:

  • 3 points per dollar on travel, including gas, 2 points per dollar on restaurants and entertainment and 1 point per dollar on other purchases
  • 50,000 ThankYou® points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months
  • 25% higher redemption value on travel when redeemed through the ThankYou Travel Center
  • VIP entertainment and concert ticket pre-sale access

AT&T Access from Citi

  • Earn 10,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 in first three months of account opening.
  • Earn 15,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 in first three months of account opening.
  • Earn 2,500 bonus points if you spend $500 in first three months of account opening.
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in first 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:

Gas – Earn 3x ThankYou points with the Citi Premier Card. Earn 2x ThankYou points with the Citi Rewards+ Student and Citi Rewards+ Card (up to $6,000 per year in combined gas and supermarket purchses, then 1 point per dollar).

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

Travel – Earn 3x ThankYou points through travel expenses with the Citi Premier. Earn 5x ThankYou points on air travel and 3x points on hotels and cruises with the Citi Prestige.

Groceries – Earn 2x ThankYou points with Citi Rewards+ Student and Citi Rewards+ Card on supermarket purchases (up to $6,000 per year in combined gas and supermarket purchases, then 1 point per dollar).

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.

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:

CardBest forRedemption options
Citi Prestige® Credit CardTravel and dining.Redeem points for airfare on any airline, anytime with no blackout dates when booked through the ThankYou Travel Center.

 

CardBest forRedemption options
Citi Premier℠
Card
Travel, dining, and entertainment. $95 annual fee waived for first 12 monthsRedeem points for $625 in airfare on any airline, anytime with no blackout dates when booked through the ThankYou Travel Center, or $500 in gift cards redeemed from the ThankYou Rewards collection

 

CardBest forRedemption options
AT&T Access Card from CitiOnline shopping and AT&T customersRedeem points for gift cards, travel rewards, electronics and more

 

CardBest forRedemption options
Citi Rewards+ CardGas, supermarket purchases and small everyday purchasesRedeem points for gift cards, travel rewards and merchandise

 

CardBest forRedemption options
Citi Rewards+ Student CardStudents looking for a rewards program on everyday spendingRedeem points for gift cards, travel rewards and merchandise

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 Rewards1.25 cents per point value towards airfare, hotels, cruises, and car rentals with ThankYou Premier card

Source: TPG/Using Citi ThankYou Points

American Express Membership Rewards1 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 Rewards1.5 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 RewardsBank 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 RewardsOffers bonus points through Uber and Offers for You program
Chase Ultimate RewardsOffers bonus points through Shop with Chase

 

Transferring Points to Other Accounts
Citi ThankYou RewardsThankYou 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 RewardsMembership 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 RewardsUltimate 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 RewardsIf cardholders wish to cancel their card, ThankYou points earned will expire 60 days after cancellation.
American Express Membership RewardsMembership Rewards points do not expire as long as the card remains active.
Chase Ultimate RewardsSimilar 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
RewardsAverage value per point
Shopping0.83 cent
Cash Back0.5 cent
Amazon/Best Buy0.8 cent
Statement Credit0.5 cent
Flights1 cent
Gift Cards1 cent
Select and Credit0.75 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 Premier card gets the highest boost in value of 25 percent. Other cards, such as the AT&T Access card, still carries 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 PartnersTransfer Ratio1,000 ThankYou Points =
Flying Blue (Air France, KLM1:11,000 Flying Blue miles
JetBlue TrueBlue1:11,000 TrueBlue points
Asia Miles1:11,000 Asia miles
Avianca Lifemiles1:11,000 Avianca miles
Etihad Guest Miles1:11,000 Etihad Guest miles
Eva Air1:11,000 Eva Air miles
Garuda Indonesia1:11,000 Garuda miles
JetPrivilege1:11,000 JetPrivilege miles
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

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.

Related stories: American Express Rewards guide, Chase Ultimate Rewards guide

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: May 23rd, 2019
Business
15.61%
Airline
17.50%
Cash Back
17.60%
Reward
17.62%
Student
17.79%

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