December 6, 2022

Learn How to Earn the Most Citi ThankYou Points

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Citi ThankYou Points offer cardholders an affordable way to maximize their credit card rewards. Four Citi credit cards offer this flexible points currency. Customers can redeem points for Citi ThankYou Rewards like cash back, gift cards, shopping or booking travel. They can also move points to a variety of transfer partners for potentially higher value. Learn more about Citi ThankYou Rewards and how this points program might be a good rewards option for your wallet.

How Can You Earn Citi ThankYou Points?

Earning Citi ThankYou Points is the first step customers need to take before they can spend them. Citi offers multiple options for customers to earn ThankYou Points.

  • Welcome bonus. Most rewards credit cards offer a welcome bonus based on meeting a minimum spending requirement within a set time frame. This is generally the easiest and quickest way to earn a large number of points. Before applying for a new credit card, take a look at your expenses to ensure that you can spend enough before the deadline to earn the welcome bonus. If your daily expenses are not enough, consider timing your application with a large purchase, such as car repairs, a home renovation or an annual insurance payment.
  • Category bonuses. Three of the Citi ThankYou Points cards offer category bonuses where you can earn extra points on eligible purchases. Stefan Krasowski, the founder of RapidTravelChai.com, says, “For a person willing to carry multiple credit cards, Citi cards have a strong earning combo, covering many of the most frequent spend categories.”
  • Limited-time offers. Some of the Citi ThankYou cards have limited-time offers where you’ll earn bonus points on eligible purchases. These limited-time offers are in addition to the normal category bonuses that these cards offer. For example, the Citi Rewards+ Credit Card earns five points per dollar spent at restaurants for the first 12 months, on up to $6,000 in purchases.
  • Everyday spending. Use your Citi ThankYou Points credit card for all of your daily purchases to earn points on every purchase. While not all of these purchases offer category bonuses, even earning one point per dollar will grow your points balance over time. Many Citi customers use the Citi Double Cash Credit Card to earn two points per dollar spent on nonbonus category purchases to maximize the rewards they earn on their spending.
  • Book travel through the Citi ThankYou portal. When you use an eligible card to book travel through the Citi ThankYou portal, you can earn bonus points on your reservations. For example, the Citi Prestige Credit Card (not accepting new applications) earns five points per dollar spent on air travel through this portal.
  • Retention offer. If you’re considering closing your Citi ThankYou Points credit card, contact customer service first to discount your options. Banks want to retain good customers, so they may offer a retention bonus if you keep your account open. In some cases, the retention offer provides bonus points on your purchases for a limited time or up to a certain amount of spending.
  • Transfer points between accounts. Citi ThankYou Rewards customers can transfer points to other family members with a Citi ThankYou Points account. This is a good option for spouses, household members and friends who want to combine points for a larger redemption. Members can send and receive up to 100,000 points in a calendar year, and there are no fees to transfer points to eligible members. Transfer only when you have a specific redemption in mind because transferred points expire 90 days after they are received. While this option is available to most Citi ThankYou Points members, Citi Custom Cash Card customers are not eligible to share points.
  • ThankYou Points bank accounts. Citi customers who opened eligible bank accounts before July 18, 2022, can earn ThankYou Points when completing certain activities, like making a bill payment or receiving a direct deposit. However, these programs are no longer available to new accounts at this time.

Which Citi Credit Cards Earn Points?

For consumers interested in earning Citi ThankYou Points, there are four personal credit cards available. These cards offer a variety of bonus categories and benefits that cater to different lifestyles. Only one credit card on this list has an annual fee.

  • Annual fee: $0.
  • Top rewards earning rate: Earn two points per dollar at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 in purchases each year. For the first year, earn five points per dollar spent at restaurants on up to $6,000, for a limited time.
  • Sign-up bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,500 within three months of opening your account.
  • Annual fee: $95.
  • Top rewards earning rate: Earn three points per dollar spent at restaurants and supermarkets and three points per dollar spent at gas stations, on air travel and on hotels.
  • Sign-up bonus: For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
  • Annual fee: $0.
  • Top rewards earning rate: Earn five points per dollar spent in the category where you spend the most each billing cycle, on the first $500 spent in that category.
  • Sign-up bonus: Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 in the first six months after opening your account.
  • Annual fee: $0.
  • Top rewards earning rate: Earn two points per dollar spent on every purchase (one point when you buy and one point when you pay it off).
  • Sign-up bonus: For a limited time, earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 in the first six months after opening your account.

Bethany Walsh, the founder of BougieMiles.com, highlights two Citi ThankYou Points cards in particular. “The Citi Prestige Card is great for restaurants and travel. And the Citi Double Cash Card is a great option for anyone who’s looking to earn these valuable rewards with no annual fee.”

Some discontinued credit cards also earn Citi ThankYou Points, like the Citi Prestige Card and the Sears ThankYou Points Mastercard. Currently, Citi does not offer any business credit cards that earn ThankYou Points.

How Can You Redeem Citi ThankYou Points?

ThankYou Rewards members have numerous options when redeeming points. Redemption options include travel, gift cards, cash, shopping and charitable donations. These are the most common redemption options:

  • Book travel. Through the Citi travel portal, you can book flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises and experiences with your points. Citi is launching a new travel portal soon.
  • Buy gift cards. Points can be redeemed for dining, shopping and entertainment gift cards. Brands include Airbnb, Domino’s, Lowe’s, Nike and Staples.
  • Shop with points. Citi partners with several retailers where members can use their points to pay for purchases. Points can be redeemed for online or in-store purchases, gas purchases, and statement credits. Partners include Amazon, PayPal, CVS, Best Buy and Shell.
  • Cash back. ThankYou Points can be redeemed for cash back through statement credits, direct deposit or a check by mail.
  • Donate to charities. Donate money to selected charities by redeeming your points.
  • Transfer to partners. Members can transfer points to 17 airline, hotel and retail partners. Most points transfer on a 1-to-1 basis, and some cards have different transfer ratios with certain loyalty programs.

Citi ThankYou Points Transfer Partners

Citi ThankYou Points members have 17 airline, hotel and retail partners that they can transfer points to. In most cases, points transfer on a 1-to-1 ratio. However, some transfer ratios depend on which Citi ThankYou Points card you are transferring from.

This chart details which transfer partners are available and the transfer ratio based on your credit card.

Loyalty Program Type Transfer Ratio
Aeromexico Club Premier Airline 1-to-1
Air France KLM Flying Blue Airline 1-to-1
Avianca LifeMiles Airline 1-to-1
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles Airline 1-to-1
Choice Privileges Hotel 1-to-2 – Prestige, Premier
1-to-1.5 – Preferred, Rewards+, Sears Mastercard, Double Cash
Emirates Skywards Airline 1-to-1
Etihad Guest Airline 1-to-1
Eva Air Airline 1-to-1
JetBlue TrueBlue Airline 1-to-1 – Prestige, Premier
1-to-0.8 – Preferred, Rewards+, Sears Mastercard, Double Cash
Qantas Frequent Flyer Airline 1-to-1
Qatar Privilege Club Airline 1-to-1
Sears Shop Your Way Retail 1-to-10
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Airline 1-to-1
Thai Royal Orchid Plus Airline 1-to-1
Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles Airline 1-to-1
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Airline 1-to-1
Wyndham Rewards Hotel 1-to-1 – Prestige, Premier
1-to-0.8 – Preferred, Rewards+, Sears Mastercard, Double Cash

How Much Are Citi ThankYou Points Worth?

The value you’ll receive from your points depends on where you transfer them and how you use them.

  • Book travel via the Citi travel portal. One cent per point.
  • Buy gift cards. Prices may vary based on the brand, but most are 1 cent per point. Occasionally, some brands go on sale so that you can get higher value for your points.
  • Shop with points. Values vary depending on where you are shopping, but most are up to 1 cent per point.
  • Cash back. Get cash back at a value of 1 cent per point.
  • Donate to charities. Charities receive 1 cent for every point redeemed.
  • Transfer to partners. The value of your points depends on which program you transfer to and how they are redeemed within those programs.

How Can You Maximize Citi ThankYou Points?

While most ThankYou redemption options are valued at 1 cent per point, it is possible to get a much higher value by taking advantage of Citi’s transfer partners to book high-end resorts and premium cabin seats on international flights.

Walsh recommends customers “Really lock in max value by taking advantage of limited-time promotions offering bonuses to transfer partners.” Transfer partner promotions typically occur for short periods of time throughout the year. For example, customers received a 40% transfer bonus in June 2022 when transferring points to Qatar Airways.

Another way to maximize Citi ThankYou Points is to optimize your purchases. By combining the earning power of multiple Citi ThankYou Points credit cards, you can get maximum points on all of your purchases.

Krasowski’s favorite strategy is “the Citi Premier and Citi Double Cash combo, which earns two to three points per dollar on all spend for only an annual fee of $95.”

Should You Use Citi ThankYou Points?

With four Citi credit cards offering ThankYou Points, including a cash back card that earns two points per every dollar spent, you can earn substantial rewards through the rewards program.

Pros

  • 17 airline, hotel and retail partners.
  • Most redemption options provide at least 1 cent per point in value, even when redeeming for cash back.
  • Sign-up bonuses available for all ThankYou Points cards.

Cons

  • Citi doesn’t offer a small-business credit card that earns ThankYou Points.
  • Not all cards offer point transfers at a 1-to-1 ratio.
  • Limited domestic airline transfer partners.

Citi ThankYou Rewards Competitors

Citi isn’t the only credit card issuer with its own rewards ecosystem – Chase, Capital One and American Express also have points currencies offering cash back, gift cards and travel redemption, along with a host of point transfer partners. Since Citi doesn’t offer a small-business credit card that earns ThankYou Points, small-business owners are better off getting a card from one of the other issuers to maximize spending for personal and business expenses.

Citi has four cards that earn points, compared with nine with Chase, nine with AmEx and six with Capital One. Still, the issuer is working on upgrading its offerings, including launching a new travel portal powered by booking.com.

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