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Citi ThankYou Points are a valuable currency when it comes to credit card rewards. Depending on the credit card you hold, the points can be used as cash back, transferred to partners or redeemed for travel in the Citi ThankYou Rewards Travel Center.
Although you can sometimes extract a higher value by transferring Citi ThankYou points to airline partners, applying them toward travel in the Citi travel portal can be a compelling option.
In this guide, we’ll go over which card members can use the Citi ThankYou travel portal, what the points are worth and when redeeming points through the Citi Travel Center can make sense.
Who can use the Citi ThankYou travel portal?
Most cards that earn Citi ThankYou Points offer members access to the Citi ThankYou Rewards Travel Center, including:
The portal offers cardholders perks like same-day booking opportunities, a 24-hour cancellation window for full refunds and flexible payment options.
The baseline value of Citi ThankYou points
Cardholders can redeem Citi ThankYou points for 1 cent per point through the Citi ThankYou portal or when redeemed for cash back. So, 1 cent per point should be your baseline redemption rate when deciding whether you should transfer points to one of Citi's airline or hotel partners.
If you are considering a booking and the value of each point dips below 1 cent, consider getting cash back instead. Then, pay for that same booking in cash. This may be more optimal than redeeming your ThankYou points at a lower rate.
How to book travel in the Citi ThankYou Rewards travel portal
1. Log into your Citi account
To make a booking through the Citi ThankYou Rewards travel portal, you must go to thankyou.com and log in with your Citi banking credentials.
You can redeem Citi ThankYou Points at a rate of 1 cent each toward the following travel purchases: flights, hotel rooms, car rentals, cruises and activities. The Citi travel portal is powered by cxLoyalty, Inc., and works like the online travel agencies you’ve likely used before, such as Expedia or Orbitz.
» Learn more: How to earn miles through online travel agencies
2. Search your travel dates and destinations
Let’s say you want to book a flight. Select the “Flights” tab and begin your search. Select your trip type (round-trip, one-way or multi-city), and enter the number of passengers and preferred class of service. Input your departure and destination cities and travel dates. Check the nonstop box if necessary and click “Search.”
Review your flight options on the following page. To further filter the search results, you can sort by price, travel duration, as well as departure and arrival time. You can also filter results by the number of stops and operating airlines.
3. Choose to pay with cash, points or a combination of both
Once you select the fare, you’ll have the option to select a payment method: using ThankYou Points or a Citi credit card. If you choose to redeem points, you can either pay in full or redeem for a partial payment.
Type the number of points you want to apply toward the cost of the flight, click “Update,” and pay attention to the payment summary. If the points cover only part of the fare, use your credit card to pay the remaining amount. Then, enter passenger information and complete your booking.
Follow the same process online to make reservations for hotel rooms, car rentals and activities. For booking cruises and travel packages, contact the Citi ThankYou Travel Center by phone.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards you might not have
Benefits of booking in the Citi ThankYou travel portal
Although transferring ThankYou points to one of Citi’s partners often results in a higher value for your rewards (in that they are likely to be worth more than 1 cent apiece), there are a few reasons you might consider booking travel through the ThankYou Travel Center instead.
Book flights on the dates you want
Let’s get real for a moment: Award travel is great when everything goes according to plan. What if you want to travel on specific dates and can’t find available seats using miles with a specific airline? In that case, you have to be flexible and pick less convenient travel dates or times.
You can reserve any open seat on a plane by booking your flight through the Citi ThankYou Rewards travel portal because there are no blackout dates.
You might use slightly more points at a fixed redemption rate of 1 cent per point, but at least you can fly on your preferred dates. This option works best with inexpensive economy flights.
Book nonchain hotels with points
When you participate in hotel loyalty programs, you end up staying at chains. But what if you want to book that bewitching beachfront B&B and still take advantage of credit card rewards? Well, the good news is if it shows up in the Citi ThankYou travel portal, you can redeem points to reserve it.
In the Citi travel portal, hotel reward bookings aren’t limited to chain hotels, which means you can book all kinds of properties outside of popular brands.
Keep money in your pocket
If you’ve amassed a large collection of Citi ThankYou points, you might have more points than you know what to do with. And now that you’re ready to book a trip, you want to make use of your points instead of spending cash — essentially avoiding paying out-of-pocket for the same expense.
Though you’ll get a mediocre redemption rate of 1 cent per point, your trip will be paid for entirely with points. This can be a smart money move for the right situation.
Complimentary fourth night on certain hotel bookings
Some hotels in the Citi travel portal allow you to get a complimentary fourth night on eligible stays, which can help you maximize the value of your points.
To use this benefit, filter your hotel search results in the portal to display hotels designated as “Complimentary 4th Night Eligible.” Book at least four nights and you'll see savings automatically noted at checkout.
What else you need to know about Citi travel portal
To speak with an agent, contact Citi Travel Center at 800-842-6596. The operating hours are Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Eastern Time, and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time.
Airline tickets reserved over the phone incur a $23 booking fee. You can avoid this fee by booking online instead.
You can use Citi points to book flights not listed in the portal (like on Southwest Airlines), but you have to call. In this case, the $23 booking fee won’t apply.
It’s possible to redeem ThankYou points to book travel for someone else.
How good is the Citi travel portal?
Booking travel in Citi's travel portal isn’t a go-to for experienced points and miles collectors whose main objective is to maximize value, but there are certain situations where it can be beneficial. For example, using the portal can help you travel on dates with limited award availability and expand your lodging selection.
Although the value of your rewards won’t always reach its ceiling, you’ll keep money in your pocket by using ThankYou points for travel.
The information related to the AT&T Access More Card from Citi and Citi Prestige® Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card