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The Citi ThankYou Rewards program offers features that are on par with some of the top credit card rewards programs on the market. Depending on the Citi card you have, you can enjoy benefits like having your points rounded up on every transaction or the ability to transfer points to an airline or hotel loyalty program at a transfer ratio of 1:1.
Whether you’re new to Citi ThankYou Rewards, a longtime member or are shopping around for a solid rewards credit card, our comprehensive guide can provide deeper insight into how the Citi ThankYou Rewards program works.
Most importantly, we’ll cover how to use Citi ThankYou points, and the best ways to earn them, so you can fast-track your rewards and maximize their value.
Citi ThankYou Rewards Program basics
The Citi ThankYou Rewards program is Citi’s credit card rewards program. The rewards currency, issued as points, is called ThankYou points. Most of the time, Citi ThankYou points are worth about 1 cent each but can be slightly more or less depending on how you redeem them.
You can earn ThankYou points with several different Citi credit cards and redeem them for rewards that can include travel, transfer partner travel, statement credits, gift cards and more — though redemption options will vary by card.
Basic vs. full-fledged ThankYou points
There’s an important detail you need to know regarding Citi ThankYou points. Our sister site, The Points Guy, uses the phrases “basic” and “full-fledged” ThankYou points to describe the difference in Citi’s rewards currency. These phrases are not used by Citi or recognized in their terms and conditions, but they can help you understand how Citi’s points work.
In essence, you can’t transfer “basic” ThankYou points to travel partners, although you can still use them to book travel through Citi at a 1 cent value. You can, however, transfer “full-fledged” ThankYou points to travel partners through Citi’s travel portal, which may significantly boost the value of your points, depending on the partner.
As a rule of thumb, Citi’s no-annual-fee cards earn “basic” ThankYou points, while those with an annual fee offer “full-fledged” ThankYou points.
Who is the Citi ThankYou Rewards program best for?
This program is for Citi cardholders who can benefit from a flexible, easy-to-navigate rewards program. Because of the different types of ThankYou points you can earn, this rewards program is especially valuable for cardholders willing to consider advanced card-combining strategies.
A popular card-combining technique, the Citi ThankYou trifecta, involves owning multiple cards to earn more points, then pooling them with other cards with better redemption rates for travel. This is a somewhat advanced approach, but it can be worth it for conscientious cardholders who are especially interested in using rewards for budget-friendly travel accommodations.
How to earn Citi ThankYou points
There are a few ways to earn Citi ThankYou points. Here’s a quick list.
Make purchases on any rewards Citi card
If you have a Citi card that offers rewards in bonus categories or a flat-rate cash back structure, then simply making purchases on your card will rack up ThankYou points.
With the Citi® Double Cash Card, for example, you can earn up to 2 percent cash back on every purchase — 1 percent back when you buy, plus an additional 1 percent as you pay — with no limit to how much you can earn. On the other hand, the Custom Cash earns 5 percent cash back on your top spending category each billing cycle, but up to a cap of $500, then 1 percent, for that cycle.
There’s nothing you need to do to keep track of your spending or points when you own a Citi card, as it will all be posted to your online account.
Earn a card’s welcome bonus
As a new cardholder, you could also earn a sign-up bonus on your Citi card, provided you meet its minimum spending requirement. To ensure you qualify for these additional rewards, you could time your credit card application with an upcoming big purchase, unless you’d already meet the spending requirements based on your typical monthly spend.
The Citi Custom Cash® Card, for example, offers a $200 cash back bonus after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first six months of account opening (fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou points). Spending $250 a month for six months in a row is an attainable requirement for many consumers, especially given most cards have a three-month spending window.
Open a qualifying Citi checking account
If you want to earn more points even faster, you can open a qualifying Citi checking account and use it for direct deposits and bill payments. Personal banking relationship rewards [PDF] could earn you as much as 1,600 points per month.
Buy ThankYou points
Although buying ThankYou points with your cash isn’t a great value, it is a sure-fire way to get more points when needed. You’ll have to purchase them in increments of 1,000 points for $25. In most cases, it probably makes more sense to pay for the rest of your purchase in cash whenever you’re short on points.
How to redeem Citi ThankYou points
Citi rewards cards are especially attractive due to the flexibility and ease of redemption. You can redeem ThankYou points via the ThankYou Rewards portal or by calling the ThankYou Service Center, which is open seven days a week. There is also a live chat function accessible from the rewards website.
Here’s a run down of all the ways you can redeem your Citi ThankYou points:
You can redeem your rewards for cash in a few ways. First, you can get a statement credit to reduce your Citi credit card account balance. There’s also the option to request a check or a direct deposit to the account of your choice.
Redeem your ThankYou points to pay for travel or transfer them to select loyalty programs with eligible transfer partners. Note, you can only transfer points to airline or hotel partners if you have the Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige® Card* (and the Citi Prestige is no longer open to new applicants).
Gift cards and shopping with points
You can purchase gift cards in categories such as dining, shopping and entertainment. You can also use ThankYou points at checkout with participating online retailers, including Amazon.com and PayPal.
Further, you can redeem your ThankYou points through Citi’s Shop with Points program, which you can use for online and in-store purchases as well as gas purchases.
Transfer, share and donate
As mentioned, transferring your points to participating loyalty programs — often travel-related brands — to book airline and hotel accommodations is a popular redemption route. Sharing points with other Citi cardholders is also possible, but you should know that these points expire 90 days after sharing them. Finally, you can also redeem your points to make charitable contributions.
How much are Citi ThankYou points worth?
According to Bankrate’s latest points and miles valuations, Citi ThankYou points earned with the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige are worth around 1.9 cents each. That’s because the points you earn with these cards can be transferred to Citi ThankYou Rewards transfer partners, ranging from 1:1 to 1:2 in terms of a redemption ratio.
For instance, Choice Privileges offers a 1:2 transfer ratio. This means that for every 1,000 Citi ThankYou points you transfer, you’ll get 2,000 Choice Privileges points — which could help you save substantially on hotel bookings using your rewards. With this example, you can see that transferring to a travel partner tends to be one of the best ways to eke more value out of your rewards.
However, no-annual-fee Citi credit card holders can’t transfer points to partners. For these cardholders, ThankYou points are likely worth much less than 1.9 cents — closer to the 1-cent mark. All Citi cards in the ThankYou Rewards program offer gift card and travel purchase redemptions at 1 cent per point, so it’s fair to estimate the minimum Citi ThankYou points value to be 1 cent.
If you compared ThankYou points transfer partner value to other major credit card issuers’ rewards programs, you’d see similar values (based on Bankrate valuations):
- American Express Membership Rewards: 2.1 cents per point
- Chase Ultimate Rewards: 2.0 cents per point
- Capital One Miles: 2.0 cents per point
- Bank of America Travel Rewards: 1.0 cent per point
Citi ThankYou Rewards transfer partners
If you’d like to get more out of your ThankYou points, you should definitely consider transferring your points to one of Citi’s airline or hotel travel partners. Here’s a list of loyalty programs you can transfer points to.
Citi ThankYou airline transfer partners
Each of the following airline transfer partners lets you transfer Citi ThankYou points at a 1:1 ratio (unless otherwise specified):
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- Aeromexico Club Premier
- Asia Miles
- Avianca LifeMiles
- Cathay Pacific
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Guest
- EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
- JetBlue TrueBlue (0.8 cents per point for Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card*, Citi Rewards+® Card, Sears Mastercard* and Citi® Double Cash Card)
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
- Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Citi ThankYou hotel transfer partners
Citi has two hotel transfer partners, both of which include different points transfer ratios depending on the Citi credit card you have:
Choice Hotels has a variety of hotel brands — including Comfort Hotels, Quality Inn, Econo Lodge and the Ascend Hotel Collection — so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. Transfer ratios from Citi ThankYou points to Choice Privileges points are 2 cents per point for the Citi Prestige and Citi Premier cards and 1.5 cents per point for the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card*, Citi Rewards+ Card, Sears Mastercard and Citi Double Cash.
Wyndham Rewards members can redeem points at any eligible Wyndham Hotels & Resorts brand, including La Quinta, Days Inn, Ramada and Super 8. Transfer ratios from Citi ThankYou points to Wyndham Rewards points are 1 cent per point for Citi Prestige and Citi Premier cards and 0.8 cents per point for the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card, Citi Rewards+ Card, Sears Mastercard and Citi Double Cash.
Best Citi credit cards for earning ThankYou points
If you’re totally sold on the perks and benefits of the Citi ThankYou Rewards program, you’re probably interested in one of the best Citi credit cards to get going with. Although some Citi business credit cards earn ThankYou points as well, we’ve compiled a list of consumer cards to get you started.
|Rewards rate||Annual||Welcome bonus|
|Citi Premier Card||
||$95||60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months|
|Citi Rewards+ Card||
||$0||20,000 points after you spend $1,500 in purchases with your card within three months|
|Citi Custom Cash Card||
||$0||20,000 points — worth $200 in cash back — after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first six months|
|Citi Double Cash Card||
Citi Premier: Best for travel rewards from everyday purchases
For those who want travel rewards but can’t quite justify a hefty annual fee, the Citi Premier is a fantastic choice.
For a $95 annual fee, you’ll earn 3X points on hotel and air travel purchases, as well as on restaurant, supermarket and gas station purchases. All other purchases earn 1X points. Plus, for a limited time, earn a total of 10 ThankYou® Points per $1 spend on hotel, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi TravelSM portal through June 30, 2024.
You’ll also receive a $100 annual hotel savings credit for a single hotel stay of $500 or more through thankyou.com, among other benefits. This hotel credit alone is enough to offset the annual fee entirely. Further, you can transfer your points to any of Citi’s airline and hotel partners.
Citi Rewards+: Best for small, frequent purchases
If you prefer a credit card that focuses solely on rewarding everyday spending rather than travel purchases, the Citi Rewards+ Card is a solid option. You’ll earn 2X points at supermarkets and gas stations (on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1X points) with 1X points on everything else. We especially love that this card rounds up your purchases to the nearest 10 points, so your $3 coffee from the gas station will earn you 10X points instead of the traditional 2X points.
In terms of other Citi Rewards+ Card benefits, Citi will also give you 10 percent points back on the first 100,000 ThankYou points you redeem each year.
Citi Custom Cash: Best for a high rate of cash back
Even though the Citi Custom Cash is marketed as a cash back card, it technically earns basic ThankYou points, which you can redeem as a direct deposit, check or statement credit, gift cards or for travel through the Citi travel portal.
The Citi Custom Cash charges no annual fee and automatically earns you 5 percent cash back on your top spending category each billing cycle (up to $500, then 1 percent back). Such an earning system makes this card a solid choice if you want a low-maintenance option that can offer high value. Eligible categories include restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs and live entertainment.
Other card benefits, including cellphone protection, Lyft and DashPass perks, are further explained in our Citi Custom Cash benefits guide.
Citi Double Cash: Best for rewards flexibility
Another no-annual-fee option, the Citi Double Cash Card gets you up to 2 percent cash back on your purchases — 1 percent back when you buy and another 1 percent when you pay off your purchase. The best part? You can convert your cash back into ThankYou points at a ratio of $1 to 100 points.
There’s no first-year welcome bonus to take advantage of, but other Citi Double Cash benefits include an introductory zero-interest balance transfer offer and basic security and protection perks.
Citi ThankYou Rewards program frequently asked questions
As long as your account is active, your ThankYou points will not expire. If you buy points, they expire a year after purchase, and if you share points with someone else, those points expire after 90 days from the transfer date.
Yes, you can share qualifying points with other ThankYou members, though Citi Custom Cash credit card holders, in particular, are not eligible to share points.
Yes, you can purchase points in 1,000 increments for $25.
*Information about these cards has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.