Best Ways to Redeem Citi ThankYou Points

Best Ways to Redeem Citi ThankYou Points

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When it comes to credit card rewards programs, the biggest question is how to redeem points to get the most value. Although Citi provides many ways to redeem ThankYou points, some ways are better than others. Here's how to maximize your hard-earned points.

Citi ThankYou rewards credit cards

Every time you swipe a Citi credit card, you'll earn ThankYou points that you can redeem for different types of rewards. However, each credit card has its own rewards rates and bonus categories. It's always best to select the card that fits your needs and rewards your unique spending style. You can use any of the following cards to earn ThankYou points:

Citi Premier® Card

  • On Citibank's Secure Website

$95

15.99% - 23.99% (Variable)

Excellent/Good

  • Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 60,000 Points are redeemable for $600 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases

The Citi Premier® Card is one of Citi's most popular offerings. Cardholders Earn 3X points per $1 spent on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels and 1X per $1 spent on all other purchases . This card also features a generous welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

The Citi Prestige® Credit Card is Citi's premium option, and with its rewards program and benefits comes a steep annual fee. Cardholders Earn 5x points at restaurants and for air travel purchases, 3x for hotel and cruise purchases, and 1x for all other purchases. You'll also get exclusive premium benefits such as a free hotel night on reservations of at least four nights (limited to twice a year, when you book at ThankYou.com), VIP lounge access through Priority Pass™ Select℠ and an annual travel credit. The welcome bonus? Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening.

The Citi Prestige® Credit Card is ideal for those who often travel internationally and would frequently use these benefits. However, given the steep annual fee ($495), there may be better premium travel card options available. We would recommend applying for this card if your preferred airline is a ThankYou points travel partner.

Citi Rewards+® Card

  • On Citibank's Secure Website

$0

13.49% - 23.49% (Variable)

Excellent/Good

  • The Citi Rewards+® Card - the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap.
  • Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months from date of first transfer and on purchases from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 13.49% - 23.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfer fee — either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X ThankYou® Points on All Other Purchases.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.49% - 23.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

The Citi Rewards+® Card features $0 annual fee, making it the most widely accessible Citi ThankYou rewards card. Cardholders Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X ThankYou® Points on All Other Purchases.. The card rounds up all purchases to the nearest 10 points with no cap. There is also a modest welcome bonus that cardholders can easily achieve: Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com. The Citi Rewards+® Card is a great credit card for individuals who want to access the ThankYou rewards network but don't want to deal with annual fees.

The Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card was designed with students in mind. The rewards rate is similar to the Citi Rewards+® Card, although it features a smaller welcome bonus. If you're a student, we would recommend applying for this credit card as one of your first.

Credit card recommendations

The best credit card for you will vary depending on your needs. If your priority is to have a low-cost, accessible credit card, then the Citi Rewards+® Card is your best option. This card has $0 annual fee and has a simple rewards program.

If you are looking to get the most points possible from a welcome bonus, then consider applying for the Citi Premier® Card. The requirements for the bonus are easy to reach, and you'll Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. The card also charges a $95 annual fee.

If you are looking for premium travel perks, then the Citi Prestige® Credit Card is your best option. Although it has the highest annual fee of any Citi card, it provides by far the best rewards rate in the most categories. Additionally, the card features many premium benefits like Priority Pass Select membership and a complimentary hotel night on reservations of at least four nights.

Ways to redeem Citi ThankYou points

Redeem for
Example
Value per point
Statement credit$10 statement credit: 2,000 points0.5 cent
Shopping$829 Apple iPad Mini: 100,000 points0.83 cent
Amazon.com$80 purchase: 10,000 points0.8 cent
Online bill pay$10 toward bill payments: 1,000 points1 cent
Student loans$100 check toward lender: 10,000 points1 cent
Mortgage$50 check toward lender: 5,000 points1 cent
Gift cards$25 Best Buy gift card: 2,500 points1 cent
Redeem for flights$450 fare: 45,000 points*1 cent
Citi ThankYou Travel Center$750 Credit: 60,000 points1.25 cents
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Redeem for statement credit

Redeeming your ThankYou points for a statement credit is among the easiest ways to redeem points, but it's also one of the least valuable. That's because each point is worth just 0.5 cent (half of a cent). You would need to redeem 20,000 points for a $100 statement.

ThankYou redemptions toward charitable contributions also convert to about 0.5 cent per point. Because of the low potential point value, we'd advise against redeeming your points this way.

If you are looking to receive cash back from your credit card transactions, then you may benefit most from getting a dedicated cash-back card instead of redeeming your ThankYou points for statement credit. Take a look at our list of the best cash-back credit cards if this is something you're interested in.

Redeem for shopping with partners and Amazon

Citi ThankYou shop with partners

You can use your ThankYou points to pay for purchases with partner services. This method is slightly more rewarding than redeeming for statement credit or charitable contributions. Each point is worth about 0.83 cent (based on the value of redeeming 100,000 points for a $829 Apple iPad Mini). We'd recommend redeeming your points a different way to get the most value.

You can also redeem your Citi ThankYou points at Amazon.com, where they're worth about 0.8 cent each. We also don't recommend this option, as there are more valuable ways to redeem points.

Redeem for online bill pay

Citi ThankYou online bill pay

Eligible cardholders can also use points to pay for bills through a Citi checking account. There's no service fee, but you must have a ThankYou rewards account and a Citi checking account. You can also divide your online bill payment by using a combination of cash and points to cover the bill. If you're low on cash and have an upcoming bill payment, this option can help make ends meet. Points are valued at 1 cent each.

Redeem for student loans or mortgages

Citi ThankYou redeem student loan
Citi ThankYou redeem mortgage

You may also use points to pay for student loan or mortgage balances. Your ThankYou points would be worth 1 cent each when redeemed this way. This is a decent return for your points, but you're not getting any additional value. We would recommend you save your points and pay for mortgages or student loan debts by using cash, because there are more rewarding ways to redeem. However, if you're struggling to come up with the money for one of these payments, it's great to know this option is available.

Redeem for gift cards

citi thankyou redeem gift cards

Gift card redemptions often translate into the lowest value per point, but that's not the case with Citi ThankYou points. Your points can be redeemed for 1 cent apiece for gift cards, which is the same rate you'll get for flights and other travel products.

Gift card options include:

  • AMC Theatres
  • American Eagle
  • App Store and iTunes
  • Applebee's
  • AutoZone
  • Baby Gap
  • Banana Republic
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Bath & Body Works
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Best Buy
  • Bloomingdale's
  • Brooks Brothers
  • Buffalo Wild Wings
  • Build-A-Bear
  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Chart House Restaurants
  • Chili's
  • Coach
  • Domino's
  • Express
  • Fandango
  • Foot Locker
  • Gap
  • Home Depot
  • Hotels.com
  • Hulu
  • IHOP
  • Kmart
  • Kohl's
  • Krispy Kreme
  • L.L. Bean
  • Lands' End
  • LongHorn Steakhouse
  • Lowe's
  • Macy's
  • Mandarin Oriental
  • Microsoft Xbox
  • Morton's The Steakhouse
  • Nike
  • Old Navy
  • Olive Garden
  • Omaha steaks
  • P.F. Chang's
  • Panera Bread
  • Papa John's
  • PetSmart
  • Pottery Barn
  • Red Lobster
  • Red Robin
  • Regal Cinemas
  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Sears
  • Sephora
  • Spotify
  • Staples
  • Starbucks
  • Sunglass Hut
  • Target
  • Top Golf
  • Victoria's Secret
  • Yard House

Redeem for flights and travel products

Redeeming your ThankYou points for flights and other travel rewards is one of the better options. Each point is worth about 1 cent when used for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises booked through the ThankYou Travel Center. Redemption rates vary slightly depending on which Citi credit card you use and the products you buy.

Tickets booked through the ThankYou portal using points are often considered paid fares. The distinction means your award flight will count toward redeemable and — in some cases — tier-qualifying mileage. There are also no blackout dates.

If you're redeeming points from the Citi Premier® Card, then each point is worth a higher rate of 1.25 cents for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises. This is a great way to gain extra value on your redemptions.

Additionally, if you're redeeming points from the Citi Prestige® Credit Card, each point is worth 1.25 cents for airfare and 1 cent for all other travel products. However, as of September 1, 2019, each point earned with Citi Prestige® Credit Card will only be worth 1 cent toward airfare.

Best way to redeem ThankYou points: Airline partners

Citi ThankYou flying blue partner bonus

By far the best way to redeem ThankYou points is by transferring them to one of Citi's many travel partners. Depending on the airline, your points transfer at a 1:1 conversion rate. On average, you can expect to receive 1.5 cents to 1.6 cents per point by converting them to frequent flyer mileage. While this is already a great value, points are worth even more in some cases.

The best way to maximize point value is to wait for transfer bonuses or airline-specific award sales. Many airlines run promotional deals where they discount the price in points or mileage of certain flights, which you can capitalize on via your Citi ThankYou points.

Citi ThankYou Airline Partners
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Etihad Airways Guest Programme
  • EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
  • Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer
  • Jet Airways JetPrivilege
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Qantas Airways Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

If an airline has a flash sale, then the flight's price in points will decrease considerably. You can then transfer your ThankYou points to the airline's rewards program and get a higher value per point. We've seen point values reach 5 cents or more apiece using this method. If you're using the Citi Prestige® Credit Card, then you could be earning 25 cents per dollar spent on dining given the 5X points on dining bonus; that's a rewards rate that can't be beat. However, you would be booking your flight last minute to get this high value through flash sales, so this approach is not for everyone.

Transfer points to Singapore KrisFlyer: Singapore Suites and Hawaii

Singapore Airlines is well-known for consistently providing the most luxurious experiences in the air. In particular, the airline's Singapore Suites and first-class options are popular. You can book a suite class flight from New York to Frankfurt for 86,000 KrisFlyer miles. While that may seem steep, you can use your Citi credit card to earn points that you can later transfer to KrisFlyer miles at a 1:1 rate. ThankYou points are a great way to experience some of the best travel luxuries without needing to earn mileage through specifically flights or airline co-branded cards.

Singapore Suites are individual cabins with sliding doors, window blinds, leather armchairs, a bed separate from your seat, gourmet restaurant service, and internet connectivity and multimedia messaging on certain flights.

If you're looking to book an inexpensive award flight to Hawaii, you can transfer your ThankYou points to the KrisFlyer program, then transfer the points again to United Airlines (since it's in the Alliance network). Doing so allows you to access some of the most affordable routes from the United States to Hawaii. After testing a few scenarios, we noticed that the amount of mileage needed to access these United award flights are actually lower at all classes of service by using transferable KrisFlyer miles than had you booked with United directly.

Transfer Points to Virgin Atlantic: Delta One Suites

You cannot directly transfer your ThankYou points to Delta, but you can transfer them to Virgin Atlantic and then from Virgin to Delta. This is one of the best ways to redeem mileage for award flights in Delta One Suites: an all-suites business-class cabin on all of Delta's Airbus A350s and some of their Boeing 777 aircrafts. These Delta One Suites are available on certain flights originating from Atlanta, Detroit and Los Angeles (Delta's major travel hubs). From these hubs, you can travel in a Delta One Suite to Tokyo Narita (NRT), Tokyo Haneda (HND), Seoul (ICN), Beijing (PEK), Amsterdam (AMS), Shanghai (PVG), Sydney (SYD) and Paris (CDG).

You can book a round trip in Delta One Suites to Asia for 120,000 miles or a one-way flight for 60,000 miles. You can also book a round trip in Delta One suites to Europe for 100,000 miles or a one-way flight for 50,000 miles. Because you're transferring your points at a 1:1 rate from ThankYou to Virgin Atlantic, you're earning substantial value on each point, which is going toward one of the most exclusive travel luxuries available.

Transfer points to Etihad Guest: Lowest American Airlines prices

Etihad Guest provides one of the most comprehensive flight networks available in the industry, so transferring points to this program opens up your options considerably. If you want to fly within the U.S. the best approach is transferring points to Etihad, then again to Etihad's partner American Airlines. This allows you to book flights at AAdvantage pre-devaluation prices: the stellar award rates American Airlines used prior to their award rates changes of 2016. You'll also find good value when booking international flights to destinations in Asia, Europe and the South Pacific.

Frequently asked questions

ThankYou points don't expire as long as you have an open Citi credit card account. If you close your account, you will still have 30 days from account closing to use your ThankYou points before they expire.

The best way to maximize the value of your points is to transfer them to a partner airline's points system and then redeem them toward an award flight on sale. Points are worth about 1.5 cents each on average, but they could be worth more during a flash sale.

Yes. You can transfer your ThankYou points to a number of different airline loyalty programs, including both airlines that travel domestically and internationally. You can also transfer your points from Citi's partnered airlines to others within the airlines' network.

The value of Citi ThankYou points vary depending on what you redeem them for and which credit card you use. The lowest redemption rate is 0.5 cent per point for statement credit or charitable contributions and the highest is above 5 cents per point when used to redeem award flights from flash sales.

All you need to do to use your ThankYou points on Amazon is to add an eligible Citi credit card to your Amazon account and use it to make a purchase. Doing so will automatically enroll you in Shop with Points. You can also self-register by linking your ThankYou and Amazon.com accounts by clicking here.

Your balance of ThankYou points in your account is updated at the end of each monthly billing cycle. In other words, you will receive your points in monthly lump sums.

Yes. You can transfer points only in increments of 1,000.

Transferring your Citi ThankYou points to another loyalty program via Points Transfer is completely free of charge. There are no fees or taxes you need to pay on your transfers.

Final thoughts

There are a variety of ways you can redeem your ThankYou points, but some methods are clearly more valuable than others. Based solely on the value you get for each point, we recommend against redeeming points toward statement credit, purchases with Citi's partners or outstanding bills. While being one of the most common options, redeeming your points through Citi's ThankYou portal will also only provide an average rewards rate.

If you're looking to get the most value out of your points, there is no better option than redeeming your points toward one of Citi's airline partners. Points are worth 1.5 cents on average — or more if you redeem them during flash sales. We've seen situations where individuals have redeemed their points at rewards rates greater than 5 cents per point by using this method. This strategy typically requires you to do last-minute booking and have flexible destinations, so it's not suitable for everyone. You should consider your own needs and redeem your ThankYou points in the way that you believe best addresses them.

Yowana is a former product analyst at ValuePenguin, specializing in credit cards, rewards programs and travel. He previously covered mortgages, banking and insurance for the website. Yowana graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in Political Science.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).