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The Citi ThankYou® program might not get as much attention as its Amex and Chase counterparts, but if you know how to milk it, this rewards program can be just as lucrative. Between generous credit card sign-up bonuses and a lengthy list of transfer partners that covers all three airline alliances, earning and using Citi ThankYou points has never been easier.
What is Citi ThankYou?
Citi ThankYou is a points-based credit card and banking rewards program associated with Citi. Citi ThankYou points are earned through spending on select Citi credit cards and qualifying Citi checking account activity, and they can be redeemed for various shopping and travel rewards.
How much are Citi ThankYou points worth?
On average, Citi ThankYou points are worth about 0.8 cents each, but it's not hard to get 1 cent per point by redeeming them for gift cards or flights. The easiest redemption options, cash back and statement credits, will only get you 0.5 cents per point, which drags down the average value of Citi ThankYou points.
Citi ThankYou points value
|Example||Value Per Point|
|Cash Back||$50 Cash Back: 10,000 points||0.5 cents|
|Gift Cards||$25 Best Buy Gift Card: 2,500 points||1 cent|
|Redeem For Flights||$450 fare: 45,000 points||1 cent|
|Mortgage/Student Loan Payment||$25 payment: 2,500 points||1 cent|
|Charity Donation||$25 donation: 2,500 points||1 cent|
|Shopping||$829 Apple iPad Mini: 100,000 points||0.83 cents|
|Statement Credit||$10 Statement Credit: 2,000 points||0.5 cents|
|Amazon||$80 purchase: 10,000 points||0.8 cents|
Pros and cons of the Citi ThankYou program
Like all rewards programs, the Citi ThankYou program has both its strengths and weaknesses. Weighing the pros and cons will help you decide whether this is the right program for you.
You can earn ThankYou points through banking in addition to credit card spending, making this a good program if you're not a big credit card user. Gift card redemptions offer a high value of 1 cent per point, which provides extra flexibility if you don't want to redeem points for travel. ThankYou points can be transferred to over a dozen Citi transfer partners, which mostly consist of airline loyalty programs, as long as you have an eligible credit card.
ThankYou points offer a lower average value than comparable rewards programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards. Citi's transfer partners don't include any major U.S. airlines. (They do, however, cover all of the major airline alliances). Low value for cashback redemptions compared with competitors, Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership rewards.
How to earn Citi ThankYou points
You can accumulate Citi ThankYou points with an eligible Citi checking account and/or several different Citi credit cards.
Earning Citi ThankYou points with your checking account
To earn ThankYou points with your banking activity, you'll need to have or open an eligible checking account with Citi. It's worth noting that only some of Citi's bank account packages earn ThankYou points, and they often come with bigger monthly service fees that can only be waived if you maintain a certain bank account balance.
You'll also need to have at least one qualifying direct deposit and one qualifying bill payment on each monthly statement, and there are maximums to how many points you can earn through banking. You'll earn ThankYou points a lot faster with a credit card, but banking can be a good way to supplement your credit card rewards if you already bank with Citi anyway.
Earning Citi ThankYou points with a credit card
Citi offers three main credit cards that earn ThankYou points: a no-annual-fee card, a middle-of-the-road card and a premium card. Two of these cards — the Citi Premier℠ Card and the Citi Prestige® Card — allow you to transfer your points to any of Citi's airline partners, which significantly increases the value of your ThankYou points.
|Sign-up bonus||Earning rate||Eligible for points transfer?||Annual fee|
|Citi Rewards+℠ Card||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||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.||No||$0|
|Citi Premier℠ Card||Earn 60,000 bonus points after making $4,000 in purchases with your card within the first 3 months of account opening||3 points per $1 on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels, 1 point per $1 on other purchases||Yes||$95|
|Citi Prestige® Card||Earn 50,000 bonus points after making $4,000 in purchases with your card within the first 3 months of account opening||5 points per dollar spent on air travel and at restaurants, 3 points per dollar spent on cruise lines and at hotels, and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else||Yes||$495|
The sign-up bonuses on these credit cards are one of the best ways to accumulate lots of Citi ThankYou points in a short period of time. For lasting value, though, you'll want to pay attention to the earning rate and pick a card that offers bonus points on categories where you spend the most. You'll also want to make sure that your annual earnings outweigh the annual fee.
You're not eligible for these sign-up bonuses if you've previously earned a sign-up bonus on one of these cards, or on the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, in the past 24 months.
The cash back earnings from the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, one of the most popular cashback credit cards thanks to its unlimited 2% back on all purchases (1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases), can be converted to ThankYou points at a rate of 100 points per $1. If you have a Citi card that allows you to transfer your ThankYou points to Citi's airline partners, this could help you earn more value than the card's already lucrative 2% back.
Best ways to use Citi ThankYou points
Citi ThankYou points offer a lot of flexibility in how they can be used, but some redemption options offer a lot more value than others. Here are the most lucrative ways to use your Citi ThankYou points.
Citi ThankYou Travel
You can redeem your ThankYou points through the ThankYou travel center for flights, hotel stays, cruises and rental cars. The value you'll get from these travel redemptions varies, although you'll get 1 cent per point when you redeem for flights. Typically, you can get more value by transferring your ThankYou points to one of Citi's transfer partners.
Transfer Citi Thankyou points
As long as you have the Citi Premier℠ Card or the Citi Prestige® Card, you can transfer your ThankYou points to more than a dozen airline loyalty programs at a 1:1 rate. You do have to transfer your points in 1,000-point increments.
While most of Citi's transfer partners are airlines based outside of the U.S., many are part of an airline alliance, which means you get access to a large network of airlines when redeeming those miles. In fact, between all of Citi's transfer partners, you have access to all three of the major airline alliances. In many cases, these airline miles are worth well over 1 cent each, so points transfer tends to be the most lucrative redemption option.
Citi ThankYou transfer partners
|Airline alliance||Transfer ratio|
|Eva Air||Star Alliance||1,000:1,000|
|Singapore Airlines||Star Alliance||1,000:1,000|
|Thai Airways||Star Alliance||1,000:1,000|
|Turkish Airlines||Star Alliance||1,000:1,000|
You can also redeem your ThankYou points for gift cards from tons of major brands. These include chain restaurants like Olive Garden and Starbucks; clothing and department stores like Macy's, Kohl's and Saks Fifth Avenue; and entertainment and travel companies like Royal Caribbean and iTunes. While this won't yield as much value as transferring your points, you'll get around 1 cent per point, which is better than what most credit card programs offer for gift card redemptions. It's not a bad option if you can't find a way to redeem your points for air travel.
Other redemption options
Citi offers a slew of other ways to redeem your ThankYou points, including online shopping with Citi's partners, statement, paying bills with points and cash back. These redemption options might be tempting thanks to the high level of flexibility they offer, but unfortunately, they're generally a bad value. You'll only get 0.5 to 0.83 cents per point when you redeem your ThankYou points with these methods, versus the 1+ cent per point you can get by transferring points or redeeming them for gift cards or travel.
Is Citi ThankYou worth it?
Overall, the Citi ThankYou program offers excellent value to people who prefer to redeem their rewards for air travel. The average value offered by Citi ThankYou points is a little lower than what you'll get from Chase Ultimate Rewards points, but it's on par with Amex Membership Rewards points and Capital One Venture miles.
What really sets the Citi ThankYou program apart from other big rewards programs are its transfer partners. Not only does it boast a longer list of transfer partners than both Chase and Capital One, but Citi's transfer partners also include all three of the major airline alliances, giving you ample redemption options when it comes to flying. If you decide you don't want to redeem your points for travel, Citi ThankYou also offers a higher value on gift card redemptions than the other reward programs.
How do I redeem my Citi ThankYou points?
You can redeem your Citi ThankYou points by logging on to your Citi ThankYou account. From there, you can navigate to the redemption option of your choice to spend your points.
What are Citi ThankYou points good for?
Citi ThankYou points can be used to book travel through the Citi ThankYou center, transferred to one of Citi's airline partners or exchanged for gift cards, statement credits, online shopping, bill payments or cash back. Transferring your ThankYou points will often get you the best value, followed by travel and gift card redemptions.
Can you transfer Citi ThankYou points?
You can transfer Citi ThankYou points to over a dozen airline loyalty programs at a 1:1 rate. Transfers must be made in 1,000-point increments, and once completed, they can't be reversed. Make sure you have a trip in mind before transferring your ThankYou points to one of Citi's transfer partners.
How do you cash out Citi ThankYou points?
You can cash out your Citi ThankYou points by redeeming them for statement credits, cash rewards, online bill payments or payments toward your student loans or mortgage. You might not get as much value from these redemptions.
Can you transfer Citi ThankYou points to another person?
You can transfer or share your Citi ThankYou points with another person as long as they're also a member of the Citi ThankYou program. However, shared points are only valid for 90 days from the day they're received, so make sure the other person plans to use them soon.
Is the Citi Premier℠ Card a Mastercard or Visa?
The Citi Premier℠ Card is a Mastercard.
When do Citi ThankYou points expire?
While the ThankYou points you earn with your credit card won't expire as long as the account remains open and in good standing, points earned through other avenues can expire. You can check the expiration status of your ThankYou points by logging in to your account and going to the ThankYou Points Summary section. Shared ThankYou points expire 90 days from the date they're received, while points issued by ThankYou Rewards expire three years from the end of the year in which you received them.
How do you link your Citi ThankYou account to Amazon?
First, you'll need to add your eligible Citi credit card as a form of payment on your Amazon account. Use it to make a purchase on Amazon, and you'll automatically be enrolled in the "Shop with points" program, which will give you the option to pay for Amazon purchases with your ThankYou points upon checkout.
How many Citi ThankYou points do you need for a free flight?
The number of Citi ThankYou points you need for a free flight depends on the dollar price of that flight, as your points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed for flights through the ThankYou center. This means that you'd need 40,000 ThankYou points to purchase a $400 flight through this portal. Alternatively, you can transfer your ThankYou points to one of Citi's airline transfer partners. The number of Citi ThankYou points you need in that case will depend on the airline partner and how many miles you need with that partner to purchase the flight you want.
The information related to Citi Premier℠ Card and Citi Prestige® Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.