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Citi ThankYou Points: How to Earn and Use Them

Oct. 21, 2019
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The Citi ThankYou rewards program lets eligible bank or credit card customers collect rewards, known as ThankYou points, on purchases made with a qualifying credit card.

ThankYou points can be valuable, especially for travelers, but the rewards program is less straightforward and a bit harder to navigate when compared with those offered by some other issuers:

  • Redemption options vary depending on what specific Citi card you have.
  • Point values also range widely. You may be able to score a terrific deal on plane tickets (if you have the right Citi card), but cash back yields a poor return.
  • While Citi does allow point transfers to multiple travel loyalty programs, access to this feature again depends on which card you have. And only one of Citi’s travel partners is a domestic program.

Still, ThankYou points are flexible and versatile, especially if you have specific redemptions in mind. Here’s how to make the most out of Citi ThankYou points.

Citi ThankYou points: The basics

You can earn ThankYou points through an eligible banking relationship with Citi or by paying for purchases with an eligible Citi credit card. Rewards can be accessed by logging into your Citi account or by visiting the ThankYou website.

ThankYou points are worth an average of 1 cent each, according to NerdWallet valuations, but that can vary depending on how you redeem and which ThankYou credit card you have.

Generally, ThankYou points can be redeemed for:

  • Travel.
  • Gift cards.
  • Cash back or statement credits.
  • Shopping at participating retailers.
  • Payments toward a mortgage or student loan.
  • Charity.

In some cases, you may be able to redeem points toward eligible bill payments. If you have an eligible Citi credit card, you can also transfer points to certain travel loyalty programs or share points with other ThankYou rewards members.

Credit cards that earn ThankYou points

Citi offers multiple products that earn the ThankYou rewards currency. Here are some of its most prominent:

Citi Rewards+ Card

  • 2 ThankYou points per $1 spent at supermarkets and gas stations (on up to $6,000 in purchases per year).
  • 1 ThankYou point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Rewards are rounded up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase.
  • Get 10% points back for the first 100,000 points you redeem per year.

Annual fee: $0

Sign-up bonus: Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com..

» MORE: Full review of the Citi Rewards+ Card

Citi Rewards+ Student Card

  • 2 ThankYou points per $1 spent at supermarkets and gas stations (on up to $6,000 in purchases per year).
  • 1 ThankYou point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Rewards are rounded up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase.
  • Get 10% points back for the first 100,000 points you redeem per year.

Annual fee: $0

Sign-up bonus: Earn 2,500 bonus points after you spend $500 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for a $25 gift card at thankyou.com.

» MORE: Full review of the Citi Rewards+ Student Card

Citi Premier Card

  • 3 ThankYou points per $1 spent on travel (including gas stations).
  • 2 ThankYou points per $1 spent at restaurants and on entertainment.
  • 1 ThankYou point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • The annual fee is $95.
  • There’s also a sign-up bonus. (This offer is no longer valid on our site.)

Citi Prestige® Card

  • 5 ThankYou points per dollar spent on dining out and air travel purchases.
  • 3 ThankYou points per dollar spent on cruise lines and hotel purchases.
  • 1 ThankYou point per dollar on all other purchases.
  • The annual fee is $495.
  • There’s also a sign-up bonus. (This offer is no longer valid on our site.)

Other ways to earn ThankYou points

You can purchase ThankYou points, but you’ll pay more than they’re worth. They go for 2.5 cents each, and you can buy them only in increments of 1,000. If you don’t have enough points for a particular redemption, you can in some cases pay the difference in cash instead, which may end up being a better deal than buying points outright.

How to redeem Citi ThankYou points

In many cases, you can redeem ThankYou points directly through Citi’s ThankYou.com site. Here’s how to use your points.

Travel

You can redeem ThankYou points through the ThankYou Travel Center for airfare, cruises, hotels, car rentals and other forms of travel. Log in to your Citi account to access these options. Points redeemed for travel vary in value based on the itinerary, time of travel and cost of travel.

If you have an eligible Citi card — such as the Citi Premier Card or Citi Prestige® Card — you can also transfer points to more than a dozen participating travel loyalty programs, in most cases at a 1-to-1 ratio. The full list is here, but some of the most prominent partners include:

  • Club Premier Aeromexico
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
  • JetBlue TrueBlue.
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles.
  • Avianca LifeMiles.
  • Etihad Guest Miles.
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue.
  • Malaysia Enrich.
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer.
  • Qatar Privilege Club.
  • Singapore KrisFlyer.

Gift cards

Gift card redemptions typically start at 2,500 points. They generally redeem at a rate of 1 cent per point. Citi’s ThankYou website has several brands and categories to choose from, including restaurants, department stores, travel and electronics, among others.

Cash back

Redeeming for cash can cut your rewards in half. Cash generally redeems at a rate of 0.5 cent per point in denominations of $50 and $100. And you can’t redeem cash into your checking account; you have to wait for a check to arrive in the mail.

Statement credit

Statement credit has more flexible denomination options that redeem into your account within two billing cycles. It can help pay down your overall balance, but you’ll still be on the hook for the minimum payment.

Payments toward a mortgage or student loan

ThankYou points are worth 1 cent apiece when redeemed for a check to the lender, and you’ll have multiple denomination options, ranging from $25 to $1,000. You’ll have to call 1-800-THANKYOU to redeem for either option.

Charity

You can donate points (starting at 2,500) to charities on Citi’s ThankYou.com site.

Other redemption options

  • Shop With Points program: You can redeem ThankYou points at participating online retailers, including Amazon.com. Points can be used toward a purchase or for statement credit.
  • Pay With Points: After you’ve made an online or in-store out-of-pocket purchase, you’re notified via the Citi mobile app whether that item is eligible to be covered by ThankYou points. If so, you can apply your ThankYou points to the purchase in exchange for a statement credit that arrives within two to three business days. Purchase categories that may be eligible include dining out, groceries, entertainment and department stores, among others. You’ll have to set up alerts to stay on top of purchases that qualify. If you decide to Pay With Points, a redemption value of 0.8 cent per point will apply. That’s lower than the industry standard of a penny per point.
  • Online Bill Pay With Points: Use ThankYou points, or a combination of points and cash, to pay bills via the issuer’s online bill pay feature. (You must be an eligible Citi bank account holder for this option.)

The fine print

With a Citi ThankYou credit card, you may earn ThankYou points as long as your account is open and current.

Points don’t expire, and there’s no cap to how many you can earn, although late payments may prohibit you from redeeming points.

It also helps to understand your credit card’s terms and conditions so that you’re aware of nonqualifying purchases. For instance, some cards earn points in categories like restaurants, but your purchase may not qualify for the higher rewards rate if the restaurant is located inside a department store.

Information related to the Citi Prestige® Card and Citi Premier Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.