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Citi cardholders have long been able to convert their hard-earned points into cash at a rate of 0.5 cent per point. However, Citi recently improved its ThankYou points program and now, eligible Citi cardholders can convert Citi ThankYou points to cash at a rate of 1 cent per point. This improvement effectively doubles the baseline value for ThankYou points.
This may seem like wonderful news, but just because you can redeem Citi ThankYou points for 1 cent each doesn't mean you should. Based on our data-driven analysis, ThankYou points are valued between 1 cent (when booking travel directly) and 1.5 cents (when transferred to partners).
So before you decide to cash them out, consider all the options of what you can do with your points. We explain how to cash out Citi ThankYou points at 1 cent each, and how you can redeem those points at an even higher value.
ThankYou cards eligible to cash out points at 1 cent each
The option to cash out Citi ThankYou points to cash is a recent and unannounced improvement, so we aren't sure exactly which cards are covered. However, we've been able to confirm that at least the following cards are eligible for the 1-cent-per-point redemption rate:
Not all ThankYou cards are eligible to cash out points at this high of a rate. Citi Rewards+® Card and AT&T Access Card from Citi cardholders can only redeem points at 0.5 cent per point if they don't have a Citi Prestige® Card or Citi Premier® Card.
Note: A representative reached out to confirm that Citi Prestige® Card, Citi Premier® Card, Citi Custom Cash℠ Card and Citi® Double Cash Card and PremierPass Expedia Elite cardmembers all have the same ThankYou Points redemption rate for cash. However, the Citi® Double Cash Card doesn't earn ThankYou points until March 28, 2022, at least. However, it's important to understand that these cards can't transfer points to the same full list of transfer partners as the Citi Prestige® Card and Citi Premier® Card cards.
How to cash out Citi ThankYou points at 1 cent each
Citi ThankYou cardholders have a handful of options for cashing out at 1 cent per point. You can:
Cash out ThankYou points for a statement credit.
Get a check in the mail.
Deposit your cash back into your checking account.
Pay your mortgage.
Pay your student loans.
Donate to certain charities.
Each of these redemption options has slightly different terms and conditions to keep in mind.
ThankYou points statement credit redemptions
Perhaps the easiest and most straightforward option is to redeem ThankYou points to get a statement credit in your Citi credit card account. The advantages of the ThankYou points statement credit option are that there's no minimum redemption amount and you won't need to deposit a check.
However, keep in mind that it can take up to two billing cycles for the statement credit to post to your account. Also, the statement credit doesn't count as a payment, so you'll still need to pay the minimum payment due on your account.
Cash out ThankYou points for a direct deposit
You can also redeem ThankYou points at 1 cent per point for a direct deposit into a verified linked checking account. It will be deposited within five business days. And, as with the statement credit option, there's no minimum redemption required.
This option can come in handy if you want to use ThankYou points to cover your minimum payment. That's because you can use the direct deposit payment to pay your credit card bill.
Redeem your ThankYou points for a check by mail
Citi ThankYou cardholders can also redeem ThankYou points at 1 cent per point for a check in the mail. However, the downsides with this redemption option are many.
The check will take one to three weeks to arrive by the United States Postal Service, making it much slower than the direct deposit option. You need to redeem at least 500 points for a check of at least $5 and you'll also need to deposit the check within 180 days.
Use ThankYou points for a mortgage or student loan payment
If you want, you also have the option to redeem ThankYou points to pay your mortgage or student loans. Again, the redemption rate is 1 cent per point. However, you're limited to redeeming points in denominations of $25, $50, $75, $100, $250, $500, $750 or $1,000.
Redemptions are fulfilled by mailing you a check, which you would then need to mail to your financial institution. Checks can take one to three weeks to ship. Between these limitations, it's generally going to be a better idea to redeem ThankYou points for a direct deposit or check by mail. Either way, you'll be able to choose an exact redemption amount.
Turn your ThankYou points into a charity donation
If you're feeling charitable, you can redeem ThankYou points for a donation to one of eight charitable funds:
American Red Cross Disaster Relief.
American Red Cross International Services.
No Kid Hungry.
Susan G. Komen.
UNICEF - Kid Power.
World Central Kitchen.
In each case, you'll need to redeem at least 2,500 points for a $25 donation. And redemptions have to be made in denominations of $25, $50 or $100. So again, it might be better to just cash out your ThankYou points for a direct deposit or check and make a charitable contribution directly.
Why you shouldn't cash out ThankYou points at 1 cent each
The option to cash out ThankYou points at 1 cent each establishes a solid baseline value. However, Citi ThankYou points can be so much more valuable than 1 cent per point by redeeming points through Citi's airline and hotel partners. Since Citi ThankYou points are worth between 1 cent (when booking travel directly) and 1.5 cents (when transferred to partners) each, consider which use of points makes sense for you.
» Learn more: What's the value of Citi ThankYou points?
Redeeming for fixed value through JetBlue
You can easily get more than 1 cent per point in value by transferring ThankYou points to JetBlue's TrueBlue program. That's because JetBlue TrueBlue points can be redeemed at a fairly fixed value.
In NerdWallet testing, we found that you can expect to get 1.5 cents per TrueBlue point in value from JetBlue economy awards. That means you can generally get 50% more value from ThankYou Points by transferring points to JetBlue rather than cashing out points at 1 cent each.
Splurge for premium cabin awards
With a little flexibility, you can get much more than 1 cent per point by transferring ThankYou points to airline partners and redeeming points for business or first-class flights. And Citi ThankYou points can unlock some of the cheapest business class awards between the U.S. and Europe.
For example, Citi ThankYou points transfer to Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles at a 1:1 ratio. That means you can use ThankYou points to book a business class flight on United, Turkish or another Star Alliance partner to Europe for around 45,000 Miles&Smiles miles each way. (Based on our most recent analysis, NerdWallet values Turkish Airlines miles at 1.4 cents each.)
Or, transfer Citi points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club to book business class awards to Europe on Delta for just 50,000 points each way.
Even when business class fares are on sale, it's rare that you'll find rates for under $2,000 round trip. So the ability to fly to Europe for 90,000 to 100,000 points round-trip in business class means you're getting at least 2 cents each in value from your Citi ThankYou points.
Final thoughts on cashing out ThankYou points
Citi recently improved the rate to redeem Citi ThankYou points for cash from 0.5 cent per point to 1 cent per point for eligible cards. This doubles the baseline value that you can get from Citi ThankYou points.
However, the most valuable Citi ThankYou Point redemption options are still going to be found by transferring points to airline and hotel partners. You can easily get more than 1 cent per point in value through a fixed-value program like JetBlue TrueBlue, and you can get even more value by taking advantage of the many Citi ThankYou Point transfer partner sweet spots.
The information related to 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.
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