Guide to basic ThankYou points

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Once you find a card issuer that has a few great rewards credit cards, it only makes sense that you want to learn more about how the rewards work—especially if you are prone to pairing credit cards to get the most out of your rewards. Citi is one such credit card issuer with plenty of ways to earn rewards, including cash back as a statement credit, direct deposit, check or the option to receive, then redeem, ThankYou points.

However, you may not know that all of Citi’s ThankYou points are not created equal. Some points have more redemption options than others. Then, you’ve also got the option to combine ThankYou points 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 a guide that will 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 credit cards. Depending on the Citi card you have, you can redeem these points for rewards ranging from statement credits to travel and gift cards. Some cards even allow you to transfer ThankYou points to airline partners.

Most of the time, Citi ThankYou points are worth about 1 cent each. However, depending on how you redeem your points, they can be worth slightly more or less than 1 cent.

How can I earn Citi ThankYou points?

For most Citi cards, when you spend money on your card, you’ll earn points. (The Citi® Double Cash Card offers 2 percent cash back, but you get 1 percent when you spend and another 1 percent back when you pay on your card balance. This cash back can be converted to basic ThankYou points.)

Citi flat-rate cards will allow you to earn points on your everyday spending, while cards with bonus categories will earn ThankYou points based on eligible transactions. For instance, the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card offers ThankYou points on your largest spending category per billing statement while the Citi Premier® Card rewards 3X points based on spending in bonus categories like travel, hotel and airline, and 1X points on all other spending.

What are “basic” Citi ThankYou points?

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

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. If you have trouble remembering which of your Citi cards award basic or full ThankYou points, the rule of thumb is that Citi cards with no annual fee allow you to earn basic ThankYou points.

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

What are “full-fledged” Citi ThankYou points?

In essence, full-fledged ThankYou points are transferable to airline partners through Citi ThankYou Travel. According to The Points Guy’s valuations, ThankYou points can be worth up to around 1.7 cents with certain transfer partners. Cards that allow you to earn full-fledged points include these:

Even though your ThankYou points could be worth slightly more in some redemption scenarios with these cards, you’ll pay an annual fee with these options. The Citi Prestige card currently has a $495 annual fee, and the Citi Premier has a $95 fee.

It’s also important to note that Citi recently changed their rewards structure for the Citi Premier card. The elevated redemption of 1.25 cents per point for travel booked through the Citi ThankYou Travel center was discontinued as of April 2021.

If you spend enough and travel enough to take advantage of the card perks, you should not have any trouble justifying the cost of either annual fee. However, the annual fee is something to keep in mind when considering which card makes sense for you.

Should you opt for a more premium travel card with Citi, here’s a list of Citi ThankYou points transfer partners you could use your full-fledged points for:

  • Aeromexico Club Premier
  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
  • Jet Airways JetPrivilege (now InterMiles; note that the airline currently isn’t flying)
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

How can I earn both types of ThankYou points?

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

Card ThankYou points Rewards rate Best for
Citi Custom Cash Card Basic ThankYou points

 

5 percent cash back in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle (up to $500 spent per billing cycle, then 1 percent) and 1 percent on all other purchases Flexible rewards
Citi Double Cash Credit Card Earn cash back that can be converted to basic ThankYou points Up to 2 percent cash back on every purchase (1 percent when you buy and 1 percent when you pay off those purchases)

Transfer your cash back to Citi ThankYou points at a rate of $1 cash back to 100 ThankYou points

 

Flat-rate cash back
Citi Rewards+ Credit Card Basic ThankYou points 2X points at supermarkets and gas stations (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1X points)

1X points on all other purchases

Every purchase rounded up to the nearest 10 points

 

Supermarket spending
AT&T Access Credit Card From Citi Basic ThankYou points 2X points on online retail, travel websites and AT&T products and services

1X points other purchases

 

Online shopping and AT&T customers
Citi Prestige® Card Full-fledged ThankYou points 5X points on air travel and restaurants

3X points on hotels and cruise lines

1X points on other purchases

 

Luxury travel
Citi Premier® Card Full-fledged ThankYou points 3X points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, hotels and air travel

1X points on other purchases

Travel and dining

How can I get the most value from basic ThankYou points?

To get the most value from your ThankYou points (basic and full-fledged), you should pair Citi cards or even use the Citi ThankYou trifecta of cards 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 card required). Then, you’d transfer this lot of combined ThankYou points to any of the Citi ThankYou travel partners listed above.

You should also know about expiration dates and other limitations for your ThankYou points. As long as you have the card still open that you earned your points on, the points do not expire. However, points that you transfer expire within 90 days.

Are basic 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 are loyal to the Citi brand of 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, a pairing of the right Citi cards 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).