Citi introduces an innovative new way to take away your ThankYou points

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Citibank has a number of credit card and banking products that earn “ThankYou” points.  If you have a Citi ThankYou Premier card, ThankYou points are worth 1.25 cents each towards airfare.  In most other situations, ThankYou points are worth 1 cent each towards travel, gift cards, merchandise, mortgage payments, or student loan payments.  Then there are ways to get less than 1 cent per point value…

Citi has added a new option to the ThankYou program.  You can now request a “Reward Account Number” which is a virtual Visa or MasterCard number that can be used anywhere online that accepts Visa or MasterCard cards.  At first I thought that was pretty cool because I could use it to pay my insurance and other bills, and possibly do Amazon Payments for (I thought) 1 cent per point value.

By exploring online, I tried to find out the value you’d get from points through this new option, but I couldn’t find that info anywhere.  I then tried to setup a Rewards Account Number so that I could see myself, but I received a “server not available” error.  Luckily, I received a press release about this new “benefit” and found this:

Log in to your ThankYou Rewards account to generate a Rewards Account Number for the desired amount of your available ThankYou Points. For example, select 10,000 ThankYou Points to be used for a statement credit of $75.00 towards your purchase.

So, when points are used in this way, you’ll get just 3/4 of a penny per point value.  While I applaud Citibank for coming up with an innovative new way to use points, I hate that they’re essentially tricking customers into using points for far less than they’re worth.  My advice: don’t do it.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Comments

  1. The wording is very weird… “to be used for a statement credit of $75.00 towards your purchase”. A statement credit is different from credit towards a purchase. Two different things.

  2. Typical citi. They did the same thing with Amazon redemptions which used to be a penny per point. Now it’s “direct” with a lower value. At least be upfront about it and list the exchange rate!

  3. Their hotel redemptions are worthless as well, almost always much more expensive than going rates elsewhere.

    I wonder why they have a bonus on flights, is there some discount they’re getting from the airline booking system? Or is it a loss leader reward that they hope will rarely get used?

  4. It’s “nice” for those who don’t know what to do w/ their points and to be able to pay for something. As somebody must be ordering those cameras and TVs and jewelry from the respective stores for un-Godly amounts of points/miles/what-have-you.

  5. AMEX is far worse IMHO in terms of trying to fleece customers. Just got an email from AMEX last week that I could save 40% if I used points for charges with the Amex Mobile app. Translation: we will give you 1 cent per MR point if you use the mobile app for statement credits instead of trying to rip you off even worse at 0.6 cents.

  6. Ok. I did find some gift cards that are worth cent/pt. (home depot gc for example). I AM DONE with citibank “thankyou”!

    My next mission is to use up delta points at cent/pt value.

    Any ideas? Thanks!

  7. Most gift cards are a penny a point. They no longer have amazon gift cards but the workaround is to get best buy cards and exchange them in the store for kindle cards.

  8. Re 1c per point: Student loan and mortgage redemptions are always 1c per point (and you can, by “mistake”, have it made out to your bank and then deposit it into your account). Unless you just have the forward, all higher value gift cards should be 1c per point.

    For large cash outs, you can get Walmart gift cards, and use those to buy visa gift cards, losing 1% at the store, 3% online.

  9. 1-800-842-6596 Calling this number and you can request physical Amazon giftcard for 1 cent per point. The website has it 1.25 points per cent.

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