Getting to Know Citi ThankYou

citi thankyou overview

Citi ThankYou Overview

In other sections of Tips & Tricks, we have explored Chase’s Ultimate Rewards programStarwood’s Preferred Guest (SPG) program and American Express Membership Rewards. In this resource we will look at another huge flexible points program for travelers: Citi ThankYou.

Earning Points

There are two main ways to earn Citi ThankYou points. The first is through credit cards and the second through eligible bank accounts.

Credit cards – There are several cards that earn ThankYou points including: ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier, Prestige, Citi Business ThankYou & AT&T Access More.

Bank Accounts – You can also earn ThankYou points through your banking relationship with Citi. Points are earned for having a combination of products and for performing bill pay and/or having a direct deposit. You can find the bank account earning structure here.

Sign-Up Bonuses

From time to time Citi may eliminate the bonuses on some of their ThankYou cards, however bonuses can go up to as high as 50K.  We cover the very best sign-up deals via Quick Deals and you can always find the best current offers on our “Best Credit Card Offers” page. For more information on applying for Citi cards, see: Applying for Citi Credit Cards.

Credit Card Spend

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Another way to earn points is through credit card spend. While all ThankYou earning cards earn a base of 1 point per dollar spent, each has bonus categories where you can earn more. On most of the cards the bonus categories are very generous. Among the best cards are:

  • ThankYou Premier – 3X on travel and gas, 2X on dining and entertainment
  • AT&T Access More – 3X at online retail & travel websites, 3X on AT&T purchases
  • Citi Prestige – 3X on air travel and hotels, 2X on dining and entertainment

Using Points

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Citi offers many ways to redeem your ThankYou points at various values. Here are some options for ThankYou points redemptions and the value that Citi gives you for your points:

  • Statement credit or cash: .5 cents per point
  • Pay with Points at Amazon & other retailers: ~.8 cents per point
  • Merchandise: Less than 1 cent per point.
  • Gift cards: Normally 1 cent per point, but sometimes less.
  • Mortgage or Student Loan Check: 1 cent per point
  • Donate to Charity: 1 cent per point

You can also book travel through Citi. Normally ThankYou points are worth 1 cent each for flights, hotels, car rentals and cruises, but with certain cards their value is increased. Here are the three notable ways you can get more than 1 cent per point value on travel:

  • Citi ThankYou Premier cardholders get 1.25 cents per point value on airfare, car rental, cruise and hotel bookings.
  • Citi Prestige cardholders get 1.33 cents per point value on airfare.
  • Citi Prestige cardholders get 1.6 cents per point value for American Airlines flights.

Transferring Points

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In addition to redeeming points as shown above, if you are a ThankYou Premier or Citi Prestige cardmember then you can transfer points to several partner programs. These transfers can often give the best overall value for your points. Here is a list of Citi ThankYou transfer partners along with the transfer ratio:

1,000 ThankYou = 1,500 Points/Miles (1:1.5)

  • Hilton HHonors

1,000 ThankYou = 1,000 Points/Miles (1:1)

  • Asia Miles
  • EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
  • Etihad Guest
  • Flying Blue
  • Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privelege Club
  • Singapore Airlines Krisflyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

1,000 ThankYou = 500 Points/Miles (1:.5)

  • Virgin America Elevate

Note: ThankYou points earned from bank accounts cannot be transferred to travel partners.

Combining Points

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Combine Your Accounts

One of the nice things about Citi ThankYou points is that they can be combined. For example, if you have several different cards that earn ThankYou points, you can pool all of the points together. This is handy when you have a card like the ThankYou Premier or Prestige that gives a higher value for your points. For example, if you earned points on the AT&T Access More card and have them pooled with your ThankYou Premier, those points will be worth 1.25 cents for travel even though they were earned with a different card.

Share Points with Others

You can also transfer points to someone else’s account, but there is a catch. While there isn’t a restriction on who you can share points with, points transferred to someone else’s account expire after 90 days. For this reason you should only transfer points when you are ready to redeem them. Points transfers are handy if you have a friend or spouse who has a card that unlocks better value. For example, my wife has the AT&T Access More card and earns a lot of points for online shopping and I have the Citi Prestige card. To get a better value, she transfers points to me as needed to book flights on American Airlines at a value of 1.6 cents per point.

Bottom Line

The best way to earn ThankYou points is through credit card sign-up offers, however several ThankYou credit cards have very nice bonus earning categories as well. Generally the best uses of ThankYou points are transfers to partner programs and booking travel through Citi if you have a ThankYou Premier or Prestige. With the addition of transfer partners and the option to book travel at an increased value, the Citi ThankYou program has improved tremendously over the past few years and is one of the best flexible points programs around.

Go to: Table of Contents - Credit Cards - Flexible Points Programs - Airline Programs - Hotel Programs - Earning & Managing Points - Miscellaneous

About Shawn Coomer - Senior Editor

Shawn Coomer has spent nearly a decade circling the globe for pennies on the dollar. He uses that first-hand knowledge and experience to teach others how to achieve their travel dreams for the least amount of money possible.

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  1. The most disappointing thing I just learned about Citi TY points is that when you close your card, even if you transferred your points to your own TY account from another card, those points expire in 60 days. So effectively there is no way to keep your points alive other than renew the card or use within 60 days of closure. I could speculatively buy AA flights, but there is a high chance that I would have to change the dates, and then the change fees would wipe out most of the benefit of the 1.6x. I wish they didn’t have that policy, but I don’t blame them for it – it does encourage renewal or a lower value use of points.

    • Yeah, the best approach, I think, is to downgrade to the no fee ThankYou Preferred card rather than cancelling. That way you keep the points but still don’t have to pay an annual fee.

      • When I called to downgrade to the No Fee, I was informed that points associated with the Premier would be canceled within 60 days. Have others experienced something different and can,in fact, keep the points?

  2. I think that the whole Thank You points concept is hopelessly confusing and opaque — and that can only work in Citi’s favor and not mine. I don’t find this product interesting at all.

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