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Citi ThankYou Points

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Citi ThankYou Points

Citi ThankYou®: The basics

Citi ThankYou® Points range in value, depending on how you use them, but they max out at 1 cent per point for most CitiCards. They can be redeemed for a wide variety of rewards, including travel, gift cards, merchandise, debt payments and cash back.

Cards that earn ThankYou® Points

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card

  • 2X points on dining at restaurants and entertainment
  • 1 point per dollar spent on everything else

Citi Prestige® Card

  • 3X points on airfare, hotels and travel agencies
  • 2X points on dining at restaurants and entertainment
  • 1 point per dollar spent on everything else

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students

  • 2X points on dining at restaurants and entertainment
  • 1 point per dollar spent on everything else

AT&T Access Card from Citi

  • 2X points on products and services purchased directly from AT&T
  • 2X points on online purchases at retail and travel websites
  • 1 point per dollar spent on everything else

Citi® Chairman card: No longer accepting new applications

CitiBusiness® ThankYou®: No longer accepting new applications

Citi ThankYou® Premier Card: No longer accepting new applications

How to get more ThankYou® Points

Citi banking customers can earn extra points by enrolling their checking accounts, setting up one qualifying direct deposit each statement cycle and setting up one qualifying bill payment each statement cycle. Rewards will vary based on account type and certain monthly activities. See the details here.

You can purchase ThankYou® Points at a rate of 2.5 cents each in 1,000 point increments, so you can get 1,000 points for $25. Because ThankYou® Points are worth 1 cent each or less, this isn’t a good deal. You could buy ThankYou® Points to top off your account if you’re close to a certain high-value reward, but it makes far more sense to reach the points balance necessary by earning ThankYou® Points through card spending.

How to redeem ThankYou® Points

Good redemption options

ThankYou® Points can be redeemed for rewards at a rate of 1 cent each or less. As such, you should aim to get 1 cent out of each point if possible. At this rate, you have several redemption options:

  • Redeem ThankYou® Points for mortgage or student loan payments starting at 2,500 points ($25), all the way up to 100,000 points ($1,000).
  • Redeem ThankYou® Points for charitable contributions starting at 2,500 points ($25), all the way up to 10,000 points ($100).
  • Redeem ThankYou® Points for gift cards starting at 2,500 points ($25), up to 10,000 points ($100). Note: Some gift cards have lower redemption values, and some credit cards have different redemption requirements (i.e., 3,500 points for a $25 gift card). For the best value, choose a gift card with a redemption value of 1 cent per point.
  • Redeem ThankYou® Points for rental certificates for Avis or SIXT starting at 2,500 points ($25), up to 10,000 points ($100). Note: Some credit cards have different redemption requirements (i.e., 3,500 points for a $25 gift card). For the best value, choose a rental certificate with a redemption value of 1 cent per point.

You can also use your ThankYou® Points to book travel through Citi’s Travel Center at a rate of 1 cent per point.

Bad redemption options

Rewards that have a redemption rate of less than 1 cent per ThankYou® Point aren’t ideal. There are several rewards with low values, including:

  • Merchandise: Varies, less than 1 cent per point
  • Cash: 0.5 cents per point
  • Statement credit: 0.5 cents per point

Of course, if you prefer one of these redemption options to the higher value rewards, feel free to redeem your ThankYou® Points here. But understand that you’re getting a lower value per point.

Transfer partners

You can transfer your ThankYou® Points at a rate of 1:1 to a multitude of frequent flier programs, or you can transfer your points to Hilton HHonors at a rate of 1:1.5. Here are Citi’s current partner programs:

  • Airlines
    • Asia Miles
    • EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
    • Etihad Guest
    • Flying Blue
    • Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flier
    • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
    • Qantas Frequent Flyer
    • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
    • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
    • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
    • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
    • Virgin America Elevate®
  • Hotels

Travel hackers may be intrigued, but this isn’t necessarily the best redemption option. Frequent flier miles are often worth more than 1 cent each, but it’s important to note that Citi’s partner programs aren’t very popular for most U.S. residents.

It’s also important to note that Hilton HHonors points are worth about 0.5 cents each, meaning that using your ThankYou® Points in this way effectively makes them worth 0.75 cents each. This is less than our ideal 1 cent per point value, so the Nerds recommend that you skip it.

Fine print

Unless otherwise stated in your benefits statement, ThankYou® Points expire three years from the end of the year you earned them. Some cards offer points that don’t expire as long as you actively earn or redeem rewards. Check your benefits statement for details.

Methodology

The calculated value of these points is based on an estimated redemption rate, not a credit card rewards earn rate. Therefore, you may notice that these numbers don’t match the rewards rates on our credit card finder tool. Read on for how we estimated these points values.

The different values of Citi ThankYou® Points are calculated by taking the cash value of a reward divided by the number of points it requires. So if you want to redeem points for a $100 Gap gift card:

$100 / 10,000 points = $0.01 per point

You can use this calculation for most of the redemption options, including gift cards, cash, statement credit, prepaid debit and more.

For merchandise, we found that more expensive items tend to have better redemption values. Here are a couple of items (one low-priced item, one high-priced item) we crunched the numbers for:

“Crazy Stupid Love” DVD = $4.99 / 1,800 = $0.0028 or 0.27 cents

Samsung 32” HDTV = $287.95 / 33,400 = $0.0086 or 0.73 cents

Last updated on October 9, 2015

Erin El Issa is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow her on Twitter @Erin_Lindsay17 and on Google+.


Image via iStock.