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Once you find a card issuer that has a few great rewards credit cards, it only makes sense that you’ll want to learn more about how credit card rewards work — especially if you’re interested in pairing credit cards to get the most out of your rewards. Citi is one such credit card issuer, and it offers plenty of ways to earn and redeem rewards through its Citi ThankYou Rewards (or Citi ThankYou Points) program.

However, not all Citi ThankYou points are created equal, and some points have more redemption options than others. But, thankfully, you’ve also got the option to combine ThankYou points from different accounts or even pool them with certain Citi cards. If all of this sounds confusing, don’t worry, it can be a lot to take in. Here’s our guide to help you understand your Citi ThankYou points once and for all.

What are Citi ThankYou points?

Citi ThankYou points are rewards points that you can earn with several different Citi credit cards. Depending on the Citi card you have, you may be able to redeem these points for rewards like statement credits, checks, direct deposits, travel through Citi, gift cards and more. Some cards even allow you to transfer ThankYou points to airline and hotel partners.

Most of the time, Citi ThankYou points are worth about 1.0 cents each. However, depending on how you redeem your points, they can be worth slightly more or less than this value.

What are “basic” Citi ThankYou points?

Citi doesn’t use the word “basic” to describe the type of points that don’t have as much redemption flexibility as “full-fledged” ThankYou points. However, our colleagues over at The Points Guy have coined the terms “basic” and “full-fledged” to distinguish between the two different types of ThankYou points and make things easier to understand. Just know you won’t find these designations in any Citi card’s terms and conditions.

The main difference between basic and full-fledged ThankYou points is that you can’t transfer basic ThankYou points to travel partners. However, you can still use basic points to book travel through Citi at a value of 1.0 cents.

If you have trouble remembering which of your Citi cards award basic or full ThankYou points, follow this rule of thumb: Citi cards with no annual fee generally earn basic ThankYou points, while Citi cards with an annual fee generally earn full ThankYou points.

Here are some no-annual-fee Citi credits cards that earn basic ThankYou points:

What are “full-fledged” Citi ThankYou points?

In essence, full-fledged ThankYou points provide an additional redemption option — they’re transferable to Citi’s airline and hotel partners. According to Bankrate’s points and miles valuations, ThankYou points can be worth up to 1.6 cents when redeemed with high-value transfer partners.

Cards that allow you to earn full-fledged ThankYou points include:

Even though your ThankYou points could be worth slightly more in some redemption scenarios with these cards, you’ll pay an annual fee. The Citi Prestige has a $495 annual fee, while the Citi Premier has a $95 fee. Note, of course, the Prestige is no longer available to new applicants, so keep this in mind if you don’t already hold it.

If you spend and travel enough to take advantage of the Premier’s perks, you shouldn’t have any trouble justifying the cost of its annual fee. And since holding the Premier grants you the ability to redeem points toward airline and hotel partner travel, here’s a list of Citi ThankYou Rewards’ transfer partners:

  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • Aeromexico Club Premier
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Choice Privileges
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Wyndham Rewards

How to earn both types of Citi ThankYou points

Here is a list of available Citi credit cards that allow cardholders to earn both basic and full ThankYou points:

Card ThankYou points Rewards rate Best for
Citi Premier Card Full ThankYou points 3X points on restaurant, supermarket, gas station, hotel and air travel purchases; 1X points on all other purchases Transfer partner travel
Citi Custom Cash Card Basic ThankYou points 5% cash back (on up to $500 each billing cycle, then 1%) on your top eligible spending category each billing cycle Flexible rewards
Citi Double Cash Card Earn cash back that can be converted to basic ThankYou points Unlimited 1% as you buy, plus another 1% back when you pay for your purchases Flat-rate cash back
Citi Rewards+ Card Basic ThankYou points 2X points at supermarkets and gas stations (on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1X points); 1X points on all other purchases Grocery and gas spending

How to get the most value from basic Citi ThankYou points

To get the most value from your ThankYou points (basic and full-fledged), you should pair Citi cards — or even build a Citi ThankYou trifecta — to maximize your rewards. In either scenario, you’ll essentially use a combination of cards that will help you earn the most rewards based on your spending, then move points around for boosted redemption values.

Ideally, you’d pool your basic ThankYou points with full-fledged ThankYou points (Citi Prestige or Citi Premier required). Then, you’d transfer this lot of combined ThankYou points to any of the Citi ThankYou travel partners listed above for maximum points value.

It’s also important to note that Citi ThankYou points can expire, so be sure to check your account’s terms and conditions for more details. Unless otherwise noted, ThankYou points typically expire three years after they were awarded. Additionally, shared points expire after 90 days.

Is earning basic Citi ThankYou points worth it?

Any rewards you earn from a credit card can give you some value — whether it’s in the form of cash back, statement credits or discounted travel. If you’re loyal to Citi cards, there’s plenty to take advantage of in terms of rewards, but the real value will come down to your preferences and lifestyle.

If you’ve got a penchant for discounted travel, the right Citi card pairing could help you satisfy your wanderlust. However, if you’d rather earn rewards on everyday spending, basic ThankYou points still have solid value (even if they can’t be transferred to travel partners).

*The information about the Citi Prestige® Credit Card has been collected independently by The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.