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 its team in its name? Here’s our analysis of the Citi ThankYou Rewards program and some best practices for using your points.
What are Citi ThankYou points?
Citi ThankYou points are the rewards currency offered by the Citi bank loyalty program. 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, cardholders 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.
How to earn Citi 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.
Why should you get this card?
The Citi Double Cash card is now one of your best options for stocking up on ThankYou points, giving you up to 2 points for every dollar you spend – 1 point when you make a purchase and another point when you pay off your purchases.
|More things to know: |
Sign-up bonuses are one of the obvious ways to earn ThankYou points upfront. While bonus offers for new card members change periodically, they are often competitive and fairly easy to attain. Here’s what Citi currently offers for each card:
|Earn 60,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in first three months of account opening|
|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.
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 through Aug. 22, 2020. Earn 2x ThankYou points with the Citi Rewards+ Student and Citi Rewards+ Card (up to $6,000 per year in combined gas and supermarket purchases, then 1 point per dollar).
- Entertainment – Earn 2x ThankYou points through entertainment expenses with the Citi Premier through Aug. 22, 2020. 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 through Aug. 22, 2020. 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 station and supermarket purchases, then 1 point per dollar).
- General purchases– Earn 2x ThankYou points on every purchase (1x when you make a purchase and 1x when you pay off your purchase) with the Citi® Double Cash Card.
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.
Cards that earn Citi ThankYou points
Let’s take a look at the Citi ThankYou rewards cards, which is best for what sort of cardholder and how their rewards rates compare:
|Card||Annual Fee||Rewards rate||Best for|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||$0||Flat-rate cash back|
|Citi Prestige® Credit Card||$495||Luxury travel|
|$95||Travel and dining|
|AT&T Access Card from Citi||$0||Online shopping and AT&T customers|
|Citi Rewards+ Card||$0||Supermarket purchases|
|Citi Rewards+ Student Card||$0||Students|
Comparing ThankYou Rewards with other rewards programs
Citi’s closest rewards program competitors are American Express, with its Membership Rewards program and Chase, with its 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:
|Rewards program||Travel point redemption value||Bonus point offers||Transferring points to other accounts||Point expiration|
|Citi ThankYou Rewards||1.25 cents per point value towards airfare, hotels, cruises, and car rentals with Premier card||Bank accounts that offer ThankYou points can be redeemed for rewards||Move points to anyone’s ThankYou account, with transfer limit of 100,000 points per calendar year. Points expire 90 days after transfer.||ThankYou points earned expire 60 days after card cancellation.|
|American Express Membership Rewards||1 cent per point value for airfare; 1.35 cents per point value for eligible flights when you have The Business Platinum Card® from American Express||Offers bonus points through Uber and Amex Offers program||Points cannot be moved to other accounts, but can transfer points to another person’s frequent flyer program if the recipient is an authorized user on your Membership Rewards credit card account.||Membership Rewards points do not expire as long as the card remains active.|
|Chase Ultimate Rewards||1.5 cents per point value with Chase Sapphire Reserve; 1.25 cents per point value with Ink Bold, Ink Plus, Chase Sapphire Preferred||Offers bonus points through Chase Offers program||Move points from/to spouse or significant other living at the same address only. Recipient must also have a Chase credit card that earns Ultimate Rewards points.||Points will be lost if the account is closed.|
How much are Citi ThankYou points worth?
The value of ThankYou points will vary considerably depending on how you redeem them and which rewards card you use. For example, a travel redemption with the Premier card gets you a value of 1.25 cents per point, while the same redemption with the Prestige card only gets you 1 cent per point in value. Here’s a look at the average ThankYou point value by redemption category:
|Redemption||Average point value|
|Pay with points||0.8 cent|
|Cash back||0.5 cent|
|Amazon/Best Buy||0.8 cent|
|Statement credit||0.5 cent|
|Gift cards||1 cent|
|Select and credit||0.75 cent|
How to use Citi ThankYou points
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, 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 of 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 – 25%. Other cards, such as the AT&T Access card, still carry a 1 cent point redemption value within the travel portal. Often, the most valuable and flexible way to redeem 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.
|Citi ThankYou Transfer Partners||Transfer Ratio||1,000 ThankYou Points =|
|AeroMexico||1:1||1,000 Premier Points|
|Asia Miles||1:1||1,000 Asia miles|
|Avianca Lifemiles||1:1||1,000 Avianca miles|
|Emirates Skywards||1:1||1,000 Emirates Skywards miles|
|Etihad Guest Miles||1:1||1,000 Etihad Guest miles|
|Eva Air||1:1||1,000 Eva Air miles|
|Flying Blue (Air France, KLM)||1:1||1,000 Flying Blue miles|
|JetBlue TrueBlue||1:1||1,000 TrueBlue points|
|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 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.