The Citi ThankYou Rewards program offers features that are at least on par with — if not better than — some of the other major 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 your points could be transferred to an airline loyalty program at a transfer ratio of 1:1. You could even be rewarded for using your points — not just for earning them.
Whether you’re new to Citi rewards, a longtime member or you’re shopping around for a new credit card, our comprehensive guide can provide deeper insight into the way the program works. 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.
What are Citi ThankYou points?
Citi ThankYou points are all about rewarding customer loyalty. If you have a Citi credit card that participates in the ThankYou program, then you can collect points when you make purchases. How fast your points balance grows will depend on a number of factors, like how often you use your card, the size of your transactions and the card’s rewards rate.
You can redeem points in a variety of ways: Use them as statement credits to cover recent purchases, pay for purchases on Amazon.com, exchange them for gift cards, pay for travel, transfer them to select airline loyalty programs and more. While your Citi credit card account will be managed through the Citi online portal, you can find your points balance and redeem rewards through ThankYou.com.
Citi ThankYou points value
According to The Points Guy August 2020 valuations, Citi ThankYou points are worth 1.7 cents each. This is probably a good estimate for those with a Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige® Card, especially because points accumulated under these cards can be transferred to all airline partners at a 1:1 ratio. Transferring to a travel partner tends to be one of the best ways to eke more value out of rewards.
However, cardholders of the Citi Rewards+® Card can’t transfer to partners. For these cardholders, as well as cardholders of other Citi credit cards that don’t have the option for points transfer, their ThankYou points are likely to be worth much less than 1.7 cents.
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.
How to earn Citi ThankYou points
There are multiple straightforward ways to earn Citi ThankYou points.
You’ll first need to have a Citi card that gives you access to the ThankYou Rewards program. While it’s best to use your card as often as possible, it’s especially important to use it for purchases in rewards categories so you can earn extra points.
As a new member, you may be offered a lucrative welcome bonus, provided you meet a minimum spending requirement. To ensure you qualify for these additional points, you could time your card application with an upcoming big purchase.
Those serious about accelerating their ThankYou points balance may wish to open a qualifying Citi checking account and use it for direct debits and bill payments. Personal banking relationship rewards could earn you as much as 1,600 points per month.
Best Citi credit cards for earning ThankYou points
Not all Citi credit cards will give you access to the rewards program. Below are our top picks for consumer card options for earning ThankYou points. (Note that some Citi business credit cards will earn ThankYou points too.)
|Rewards rate||Annual fee||Welcome bonus|
|Citi Prestige® Card||5X points on flights and restaurants, 3X points on hotels and cruises, 1X point on all other purchases||$495||50,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months|
|Citi Premier® Card||3X points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels, 1X point for all other purchases||$95||80,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first three months|
|Citi Rewards+® Card||2X points at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 per year then 1X point thereafter, 1X point on all other purchases, all point earnings rounded up to nearest 10||$0||For a limited time, 20,000 points if you spend $1,500 in the first three months|
|Citi Custom Cash℠ Card||5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle (up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter) and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases||$0||$200 cash back (fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou points) if you spend $750 in the first three months|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||Unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases — 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay off those purchases||$0||N/A|
Citi Prestige Card: Best for frequent travelers
The Citi Prestige Card is ideal if your life or work features regular spending on travel, dining or entertainment. It offers 5X points on flights and restaurants, 3X points on hotels and cruises and 1X point on everything else. With a rewards rate this generous, you’ll be able to build points quickly.
Although the card has an eye-watering $495 annual fee, it’s worth it for frequent flyers because you’ll get a $250 travel credit every calendar year. What’s more, you’ll receive a complimentary fourth-night hotel stay up to two times a year — so if you book a hotel for four consecutive nights, you’ll only pay for three. These benefits, along with the $100 fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck every five years and access to hundreds of VIP lounges, make it easy to offset the annual fee.
Citi Premier Card: 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 Card is a fantastic choice. Although the recently redesigned Premier card will no longer come with a 25 percent value boost for travel redemption after April 10, 2021— making it less desirable than alternatives like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card at first glance — the Premier card has the edge with a bigger rewards rate on everyday purchase categories.
You’ll get 3X points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels, then 1 point per dollar for all other purchases. The annual fee is $95, but you’ll receive an annual hotel credit of $100 for a single hotel stay of $500 or more through thankyou.com. This hotel credit alone is enough to offset the annual fee entirely. Like the Citi Prestige Card, you can transfer your points to any of Citi’s air and retail partners.
Citi Rewards+ Card: Best for small frequent purchases
If you prefer a credit card that focuses on rewarding everyday spending rather than travel purchases, then the Citi Rewards+ Card is an amazing option. We love that this card rounds up your purchases to the nearest 10 points, so your $3 coffee will earn you 10 points instead of three. The Citi Rewards+ Card doesn’t have an annual fee either, so it won’t cost you anything to keep as long as you repay your balance in full each month.
The rewards rate is 2X points at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 per year. You’ll get 1 point per dollar spent after that. Additionally, Citi will give you 10 percent points back for the first 100,000 ThankYou points you redeem each year.
Citi Custom Cash Card: Best for high rate cash back
Even though the new Citi Custom Cash Card is marketed as a cash back card, it earns ThankYou Points, which you can redeem as a direct deposit, check or statement credit or for gift cards or travel through the Citi travel portal. However, you can also pool them with points you earn with your other Citi cards, meaning you can use the Citi Premier or Prestige to transfer them to partner Citi travel programs for a potentially higher value.
The Citi Custom Cash charges no annual fee and earns 5 percent cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle (up to the first $500 spent, 1 percent cash back thereafter). All other purchases earn 1 percent cash back. Such an earning system makes this card a solid choice for cardholders who want a low-maintenance credit card that can offer high value or those looking for a card to reward them in a certain spending category. The eligible categories include restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs and live entertainment.
Citi Double Cash: Best for rewards flexibility
Yes, the Citi® Double Cash Card is not officially part of the ThankYou Rewards program. But we mention it briefly here because you can earn ThankYou points with it.
Another $0 annual fee option, you’ll get up to 2 percent cash back on your purchases — 1 percent when you buy and 1 percent when you pay off those purchases. There are no rewards categories or spending caps to worry about. The best bit? You can convert your cash back into ThankYou points at a ratio of $1 to 100 points.
How to redeem ThankYou points
So, what is Citi ThankYou points’ biggest strength? We think it’s the flexibility and ease of redemption.
You can redeem ThankYou points easily from 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.
Redemption options are plentiful. With your points, you can cover travel purchases like flights, hotels and car rentals, transfer them to an airline or retail partner, exchange them for gift cards, pay for purchases through select retailers, receive them as cash back, make charitable donations or even share them with another person with a ThankYou account.
Note, you can only transfer points to most airline partners if you have a Citi Premier or Citi Prestige card.
The points you earn from your Citi card won’t expire as long as your account remains open. However, points that have been shared do expire after 90 days. Additionally, points that you have purchased also have an expiry — one year from the end of the year from which they were purchased.
If all this sounds complicated, rest assured you can easily check the expiration status of your points online through the ThankYou Rewards portal. Just go into “My Account,” then take a look at the ThankYou points summary.
Citi ThankYou transfer partners
ThankYou points are transferrable to several airlines and retail loyalty programs, but you’ll need to be a cardholder of the Citi Prestige or Citi Premier to enjoy this benefit. While transfers happen instantly with other major rewards programs, keep in mind that it could take a few days with ThankYou Rewards.
Below is a list of Citi ThankYou points transfer partners.
- Aeromexico Club Premier: 1,000:1,000
- Asia Miles: 1,000:1,000
- Avianca LifeMiles: 1,000:1,000
- Emirates Skywards: 1,000:1000
- Ethihad Guest: 1,000:1,000
- Eva Air: 1,000:1,000
- Air France and KLM Flying Blue: 1,000:1,000
- JetBlue TrueBlue: 1,000:1000 for Citi Premier and Citi Prestige member point transfers; 1,000:800 for Citi Rewards+ card member point transfers
- JetPrivilege: 1,000:1,000
- Air Malaysia Airlines Enrich: 1,000:1,000
- Qantas Frequent Flyer: 1,000:1,000
- Qatar Airways Qatar Privilege Club: 1,000:1,000
- Sears Shop Your Way: 1:12
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer: 1,000:1,000
- Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus: 1,000:1,000
- Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles: 1,000:1,000
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club: 1,000:1,000
Transfers get the best value from your ThankYou points
As is usually the case with credit card rewards programs, you’ll get the best value from your ThankYou points by transferring them to an airline partner. Once transferred, you can use them to book award airfare. The best value award fares are often for international flights or business/first-class seats.
Avianca, Cathay Pacific, Qantas and Singapore Airlines regularly have award tickets at fantastic prices, but if you plan your trip well in advance and try a few different travel dates, you’ll likely have more choices for your travel.
If you have two Citi cards, such as the Citi Rewards+ Card and either the Citi Prestige Card or Citi Premier Card, you can combine your ThankYou points from the two cards into one account. By doing this, all your ThankYou points become eligible for points transfer and therefore give you better value. You can even do this with the Citi Double Cash Card by converting your cash back into ThankYou points to maximize your rewards benefits.