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. The leading travel rewards cards 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 Card ThankYou points?
Citi ThankYou points are the rewards currency offered by Citi’s credit card loyalty program. In gratitude for your business, Citi allows you to collect points by making transactions with one of its designated rewards cards. The points can then be redeemed for various rewards, including purchases from Amazon or Best Buy, gift cards, statement credits and travel reservations. Some cards that offer Citi ThankYou points also allow you to transfer your rewards to airline miles.
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 your Citi rewards can be managed through ThankYou.com.
How to earn Citi card 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.
Welcome bonuses are one of the easy ways to earn ThankYou points right away. While bonus offers for new cardmembers change periodically, they are often competitive and fairly easy to obtain. Here’s what Citi currently offers for each card:
|Earn 80,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months of account opening|
|Earn 10,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months of account opening|
|Earn 15,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months of account opening|
|Earn 50,000 bonus points if you spend $4,000 in first 3 months of account opening|
|Earn $200 in cash back (fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou points) if you spend $750 in first 3 months of account opening|
According to Citi, bonus ThankYou points for new accounts aren’t 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 Stations – Earn 3X ThankYou points with the Citi Premier Card. Earn 2X ThankYou points with the Citi Rewards+ Card (up to $6,000 per year in combined gas station and supermarket purchases, then 1 point per dollar).
- Travel – Earn 3X ThankYou points on air travel and hotels with the Citi Premier. Earn 5X ThankYou points on air travel and 3X points on hotels and cruises with the Citi Prestige.
- Supermarkets – Earn 3X ThankYou points at supermarkets with the Citi Premier. Earn 2X ThankYou points on supermarket purchases (up to $6,000 per year in combined gas station and supermarket purchases, then 1 point per dollar) with the Citi Rewards+ Card.
- Restaurants – Earn 3X ThankYou points with the Citi Premier Card. Earn 5X ThankYou points with the Citi Prestige.
Additionally, the new Citi Custom Cash℠ Card offers 5% cash back (5 ThankYou points) on purchases in your top eligible category every billing cycle (up to $500 in spend per billing cycle, then 1%). The eligible categories are restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs and live entertainment.
Citi is offering some extra icing on top by 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.
- Figure out which Citibank monthly rewards points you can earn.
- If you don’t have a Citi checking account, you can open a new Citi account.
- Once your checking account is open, you can manage your ThankYou points with Citi’s calculator.
Cards that earn Citi ThankYou points
Let’s take a look at the Citi ThankYou rewards cards, which card is best for what sort of cardholder and how each card’s rewards rates stack up:
|Card||Annual Fee||Rewards rate||Best for|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||$0||Flat-rate cash back|
|Citi Prestige® 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 Custom Cash℠ Card||$0||5% cash back in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle (up to $500 spent per billing cycle, then 1%) and 1% on all other purchases||Flexible rewards|
Comparing ThankYou Rewards with other rewards programs
Citi’s closest rewards program competitors are American Express’ Membership Rewards program and Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program, as well as the Capital One miles program. Each program has a similar point value and allows you to transfer points for travel miles. While it can be tough to distinguish among these programs at first glance, they do have several differences, which we highlight in the table below:
|Rewards program||Travel point redemption value||Bonus point offers||Transferring points to other accounts||Point expiration|
|Citi ThankYou Rewards||1 cent per point value toward airfare, hotels, cruises and car rentals||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 you 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 you have an active card that participates in the Membership Rewards program.|
|Chase Ultimate Rewards||1.5 cents per point value with Chase Sapphire Reserve; 1.25 cents per point value with Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||Offers bonus points through Chase Offers program||Move points from or to spouse or domestic partner living at the same address only. For business cards, the recipient must be an employee of the primary account holder. Recipients must be an authorized user of a Chase credit card that earns Ultimate Rewards points.||Points will be lost if the account is closed, but points can be transferred to another active account beforehand.|
|Capital One Miles||Double miles on all purchases with Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and 1.25 miles per dollar with Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card||n/a||Miles can be shared with anyone.||Miles are lost when the account is closed, and the cardholder no longer has an active account that offers miles.|
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, travel redemptions offer you 1 cent per point in value, but a statement credit would need 2 points to yield a value of 1 cent. Here’s a look at the typical 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|
|Home mortgage or student loan repayments||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 fun part – redeeming them. Redemption options are where the real strategy comes into play. You’ll want to redeem your points for the most possible value. For example, if you redeem 10,000 points for a statement credit, you’ll only receive $50 value from those points. But if you choose to redeem the same 10,000 points for a home mortgage or student loan payment, you’ll yield $100 in value.
If redeeming for travel, 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 simplicity and the consistent value you’ll receive, which is 1 cent per point.
Alternatively, Citi Premier and Prestige cardholders can transfer their points (including points earned with other Citi cards) to frequent flyer miles with 16 different airlines, including JetBlue, Virgin Atlantic, Turkish, Singapore and Emirates. When you redeem your miles for expensive tickets, it’s sometimes possible to receive more than 1 cent in value per point transferred to miles.
Transferring ThankYou points
Citi ThankYou points can be transferred to almost all airline partners at the 1:1 ratio, in 1,000 point increments. The only current exception is JetBlue, which offers either 800 or 1,000 JetBlue points for every 1,000 ThankYou points redeemed depending on which Citi card you have. However, Citi occasionally offers bonuses that return a more favorable transfer ratio.
|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 Skyward||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||1:0.8 or 1:1||800 or 1,000 TrueBlue points|
|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 both the Chase Ultimate Rewards and the American Express Membership Rewards programs, Citi’s ThankYou program has fewer domestic airline partners, as well as no hotel partners.
Citi perks and benefits
Other than the flexible rewards options offered by Citi ThankYou credit cards, Citi cards that offer ThankYou points no longer offer any travel insurance or purchase protection benefits. In contrast, American Express, Capital One and Chase continue to offer benefits like rental car insurance, trip delay and cancellation coverage, extended warranty policies, and theft and damage benefits. However, Citi still includes some credit protection, dining and entertainment benefits.
*Information about the AT&T Access from Citi and the Citi Prestige Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuers did not provide the details, nor are they responsible for their accuracy.