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

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Citi_ThankYou_RewardsAccountNumbers

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.

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