Citi ThankYou Points may or may not be worth your time. Whether you should subscribe to this program depends on how you would like to redeem rewards. Some categories have decent redemption value, while others are a bit of a disappointment. As a general rule of thumb, do not settle for points worth less than 1 cent each.
We’ll make this easy for you. Citi ThankYou points provide a good penny-per-point value on gift cards, music downloads, student loan and mortgage payments, charitable donations and travel certificates. They do not yield a good value when exchanged for merchandise, cash or prepaid debit cards.
The value of ThankYou Points varies widely and is contingent on how you redeem. Take a gander at our comprehensive table below for value according to category. For more information, check out our take on how to get the most out of your Citi Thank You Points.
|Redemption Option||Fewest Points Needed||Estimated Value|
|Gift cards||1,000||1 cent|
|Music downloads||100||1 cent|
|Prepaid debit||4,000||0.625-0.71 cents|
|Mortgage/student loan payment||2,500||1 cent|
|Travel certificates||3,500||1 cent|
Gift cards: ThankYou Points are great for gift cards. At a rate of 1 penny per point, you can swap as few as 2,500 points for a $25 gift card. Retailers and restaurants include big names like Ann Taylor, Chili’s, Best Buy and Barnes and Noble. Gift cards don’t offer the same versatility as cash, but if you don’t mind committing rewards to a particular business, this is a great way to redeem.
Merchandise: The Citi ThankYou Points online mall allows you to redeem for books, electronics, clothes, CDs, DVDs and more. It’s like an Amazon-type marketplace but with fewer deals and a smaller inventory. The value of your points depends on the item and vendor.
Generally speaking, you won’t get a whole lot of bang for your buck here. For example, the Underworld: Awakening Blu-ray costs 3,700 ThankYou points. You can get the same item on Amazon for $19.99. In this situation, your points are only worth .54 cents each. You’re better off redeeming for an Amazon gift card and shopping on Amazon instead.
Also, keep in mind, the more expensive your item, the more your points will be worth (usually). Look elsewhere for small purchases.
Music downloads: You can redeem at a flat 1-cent-per-point value for a promo codes to Sony Music Entertainment that lets you download MP3′s. This is a good deal, but remember, unless you download a LOT of music, you”ll want to make sure you’ll also make use of one or two of the other redemption options.
Prepaid debit: Don’t redeem for prepaid debit. It’s a pretty big waste of your hard-earned rewards. Here are your miserable prepaid redemption options and their corresponding values:
- $25 for 4,000 points. Value: 0.625 cents
- $50 for 7,500 points. Value: 0.66 cents
- $100 for 14,000 points. Value: 0.71 cents
Cash: This is another sub-par option. You can opt redeem 8,000 points for $50 or 16,000 for $100. The redemption value works out to a paltry 0.625 cents per point. Meh. Stick with gift cards.
Charity: If you don’t need the rewards, Citi makes it easy to pass them on to someone else. They have list of charities to choose from, including the Red Cross. If you’d prefer to give to an unlisted charity, the GiftBack Card option allows you to donate to virtually any cause. All donations hold a penny-per-point value.
Mortgage or student loan payments: This is a pretty good deal in lieu of a proper cash back system. You can put your points directly toward a mortgage or student loan payment for 1 cent per point no matter how much you redeem. This option is far better than cash or prepaid debit.
Travel certificates: Citi offers travel certificates for car rentals, hotel stays and cruise purchases. Names include Avis, the Hyatt, Carnival and more. These all provide a substantial value at 1 cent per point. For example, a $100 Avis costs 10,000 ThankYou Points. You can also book travel and cruises through the ThankYou travel center, but you’ll probably prefer a discount site like Kayak.com. If you’re aiming for travel rewards, we advise you to look into travel credit cards.
Points expire after 3 years in most cases. Some cards–like the Citi ThankYou Premier and Preferred–offer points that don’t expire as long as you actively earn or redeem rewards every 12 months.
Earning ThankYou Points
We prefer the no annual fee version of Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, as opposed to the $annual fee is $500 per year Citi ThankYou Prestige, although the Prestige comes with quite a few perks.