ThankYou® Rewards is the big credit card rewards program from Citi, one of the largest banks in the United States.
While it’s program doesn’t always rank up with Chase and American Express as the most sought-after rewards points, Citi’s program does offer some valuable reward booking options.
Follow along with this guide to learn how Citi ThankYou® rewards poinst work and how you can redeem Citi points for the best value.
ThankYou® points are a rewards currency from Citibank and are part of the ThankYou® Rewards program. You can earn points through credit card sign up bonuses and as a reward for regular credit card spend.
Depending on the Thank You rewards card you choose and how much you spend, you may be able to rack up a sizeable balance of points very quickly.
Using Citi ThankYou® rewards points is easy through the Thank You rewards website. Options include:
Simplified, that means you can transfer, shop, or turn points into cash. But not all redemptions are created equally.
You can earn ThankYou Points from your bank accounts and credit cards. The bank account options to earn are not as extensive as credit cards, so that is where we will focus today.
There are multiple Citi credit cards that earn ThankYou® rewards points. Depending on your banking relationship with Citi, you can earn up to 1,600 points per month from the banking side of the house.
The three main cards are the Citi ThankYou® Preferred, Citi ThankYou® Premier, and Citi Prestige® credit cards.
Citi ThankYou® Preferred offers 2x points on dining and entertainment purchases, with no annual fee, and 1 point per dollar on everything else.
Of the Citi cards, this is best for those with lower spending overall and who want to avoid an annual fee if at all possible.
Citi ThankYou® Premier offers 3x points per dollar on travel (including gas stations!) and 2x points on dining out and entertainment, with 1x everywhere else.
The card currently offers 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months after opening a new account.
This is a huge overall value and requires a $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year. The sign-up bonus alone is worth at least five times the cost of one annual fee.
At the top of the pile, Citi Prestige® is an elite travel rewards card. It comes with $250 in annual air travel credits, access to Priority Pass Select airport lounges, and other travel benefits.
It earns 3x points on air and hotel spend, 2x points on dining and entertainment, and 1x everywhere else.
It has a whopping $450 annual fee, not waived the first year. This fee puts it on par with Amex Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve as the most elite, premium tier cards available today.
Citi offers a range of redemption choices for using your ThankYou® points. Here is a rundown of what you can do, which make sense, and which you should avoid.
1) Transfer to travel partners - The best value for many general credit card points programs is to transfer points to travel partners.
Citi doesn’t have the best list of transfer partners out there, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore this benefit.
Airline programs for the best Citi Thank You point value, according to the Frequent Miler, include:
Air France KLM Flying Blue, Avianca LifeMiles, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
Other 1:1 transfer partners include EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, Jet Airways, JetBlue, Malaysia, Quantas, Qatar Airways, Thai Airways, and Turkish Airlines. Remember to only redeem when you have a specific flight in mind and only redeem for 1:1 transfers.
2) Citi travel portal - The ThankYou Travel Center is home to Citi’s direct options to book travel with points. The Points Guy shares that you redeem for 1 cent per point to 1.6 cents at the high end.
Redeeming for one cent is rarely worth it, but over that value for things like air, hotel, car rentals, activities, and cruises could be worth considering.
3) Gift cards - Redeeming gift cards with your Citi points yields 1 cent per point, which isn't a great value.
4) Shopping - You can buy items directly from some partner stores through the ThankYou® Rewards portal, but you shouldn’t. The Points Guy found that you get 1 cent per point on the high end, but some popular vendors like Amazon and Live Nation offer values below 1 cent. Skip this redemption option, you can do better.
5) Cash - Several redemption options equate to cash, which you can redeem at a 1 cent per point ratio. This is better than shopping and gift cards, but you will easily find better values redeeming for travel, ideally through transfers to a high-value partner airline.
After tallying up valuations for using your Citi points, the best option is transferring to a travel partner (when the stars align) for a high-value booking.
You can transfer 25,000 points to hop on a domestic round-trip on American fairly easily, but always compare to the Travel Center to see if you can get a similar flight for fewer points.
There is never a right or wrong answer until you’ve done the math and found which redemption method makes the most sense for your specific travel needs.
But travel is usually the best value of any redemption option. If you love any one particular airline, you may also consider that airline credit card for unique bonus opportunities and perks.
Your Citi credit card points are a very valuable asset. Don’t let them go to waste on low-value redemptions. Use them for the maximum possible value, which is travel. Consider all rewards cards to decide which one offers you the best value.
But don’t just go book on a whim, do the math to make sure you get the most value each time you redeem. That is the secret to Citi ThankYou® Points redemption success.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.
This article was last updated July 3, 2018 but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.