50,000 Citi ThankYou Points (~$625, But Really $500 in Airfare)

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Update:   This offer is no longer available.  Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers. 

Via Traveling Well For Less, you can get up to 50,000 points on the Citi ThankYou Premier card.  I updated the links in the Hot Deals tab many days ago, but haven’t written about the offer until now.

At first, I didn’t like this offer because you have to jump through a few hoops to get the full sign-up bonus.  But after crunching the numbers, it does make sense to get because I’ll get $500 in free flights with no black-out days!

To be clear, there are better deals if you’re new to miles and points, such as the Southwest or American Airlines 50,000 point cards, but for some folks this could be worth considering.

Citi ThankYou Premier

Link: Citi ThankYou Premier

Last year when Citi offered 50,000 points on the Citi ThankYou Premier card, you got the full 50,000 points after spending $2,500 in the first 3 months.

But this time, you have to keep the card for 1 year (and pay the annual fee for the 2nd year), to get an additional 30,000 Thank You Points.

This is part of a trend where we will see large credit card sign-up bonuses return, but they will either have large minimum spending requirement to get the full bonus (like the 100,000 point British Airways offer) or will require you to keep the card for some time to get the full bonus.

Here’s how you get the full 50,000 points on the Citi ThankYou Premier card:

  • You get 20,000 points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months
  • You get an additional 30,000 after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months of the second year of having your card

How to Get $500 in Flights With No Blackout Days

At first glance, it seems like the card is really a 20,000 point card, because you only get 20,000 points the first year.

You get the full 50,000 points only if you keep the card for the 2nd year and pay the high $125 annual fee.  The $125 annual fee is waived for the 1st year, but not for the 2nd year.

But paying the $125 annual fee is worth it if you can get a net benefit of $500 in free flights with no black-out dates.  You also may be able to get a statement credit or extra points if you are a good customer and call Citi at the end of the 1st year and ask if they could help out with the annual fee.

Each Citi Thank You point is worth 1.25 cents towards airfare, so 50,000 points gets you $625 in free flights.  But you have to pay the annual fee for the 2nd year, so your net benefit is $500 in free flights ($625 in flights less the $125 annual fee for the 2nd year).

Citi markets this by saying that you need 20% fewer points when you redeem for flights.  Which means that 1 Thank You Point gets you 1.25 cents towards airfare.

Thank You Premier

1 Citi Thank You Point Gets You 1.25 Cents Towards Air Tickets

Yes, you do have to keep the card for the 2nd year and pay the fee, but this is a great way to get $500 in flights which you can then redeem for flights on any airline with no black-out days.

That said, it does seem like a bit of work to get the full benefit from the card.  If you do decide to get the card, I’d immediately put a calendar reminder on your phone or computer to remind you about the minimum spending during the 2nd year.

Other Card Perks

  • 3X points on every $1 spent at restaurants and on entertainment
  • 2X points on every $1 spent on airfare and hotels
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $125 annual fee is waived the first year

It looks like Citi has changed the card perks to closely match or beat the Chase Sapphire Preferred which gets you 2x points on travel and dining.

The Citi Thank You Premier gets you 3X points on restaurants and entertainment, so you’re earning 3.75 cents (3 Thank You points X 1.25 cents towards airfare) towards air tickets for every $1 you spend at restaurants or for entertainment.

Thank You Premier

3X Thank You Points on Dining & Entertainment & 2X Points on Airfare & Hotels

Entertainment includes everything from theater to museums to video rental stores.

You get 2X Thank You points or 2.50 cents (2 Thank You points X 1.25 cents towards airfare) towards air tickets for every $1 you spend on airfare or hotels.

However, you can’t transfer Citi Thank You points to airline miles, but you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to airline and hotel points.

So if your goal is first class or business class tickets, you’re better off spending on the Chase Sapphire Preferred instead of the Citi Thank You Premier card.  That’s because you can transfer you points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred to airlines such as United and British Airways and to hotels such as Hyatt and Marriott.

Note that you can transfer Thank You points to Hilton in a 1:1.5 ratio, so 50,000 Thank You points gets you 75,000 Hilton points.  I wouldn’t personally transfer my Thank You points to Hilton (I’d rather use them for flights!), but this could be worth it for some folks

Redeem For Airfare, Hotels, Car Rentals & Gift Cards

1 Citi Thank You point (as long as you have the Citi Thank You Premier) can be redeemed for 1.25 cents towards airfare with no blackout dates.  

So 50,000 points are worth $625 in airfare (50,000 Thank You Points X 1.25 cents towards airfare).

You can use these points to buy flights up to any value, just as you would if you pay cash.  This is great for those occasions where you can’t use miles and points (inter-island flights in French Polynesia) or where you have no flexibility with your travel plans (school schedule, sick family members, etc.).

Thank You Premier

It is Very Easy to Use Citi Thank You Points to Book Air Fare!

It is very easy to redeem Citi Thank You points by going to the Thank You portal.

You can also redeem 1 Citi Thank You point for 1 cent towards hotels or car rentals, so 50,000 points is worth ~$500 in hotels or car rentals.  But you’ll pay $125 in the 2nd year, so your net benefit is $375 ($500 in benefits – $125 in annual fees) in hotels or car rentals.

Thank You Premier

You Can Also Book Hotels on the Citi Thank You Portal With Your Thank You Points

The Citi Thank You portal has the same great rates on car rentals as the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal!  These are some of the best rates on rental cars.

And you can redeem 1 Thank You point for 1 cent towards gift cards such as Wal-Mart, TJ Maxx, etc. 

So 50,000 points is worth ~$500 in gift cards.  But you’ll pay $125 in the 2nd year, so your net benefit is $375 ($500 in benefits – $125 in annual fees) in gift cards.

Thank You Premier

And You Can Also Use Thank You Points For Gift Cards!

Points Don’t Expire

Your Citi ThankYou Points don’t expire, as long as you don’t cancel the card.

See this post for more details on how to prevent your Thank You points from expiring if you cancel your Citi Thank You card.

Bottom Line

You get up to 50,000 ThankYou points on the Citi ThankYou Premier card but you have to spend $2,000 in the first 3 months of the 1st year and an additional $3,000 in the first 3 months of the 2nd year to get the full bonus.

But you will get $500 in free flights on ANY airline with NO blackout dates with 50,000 Citi Thank You points even after paying the $125 annual fee for the 2nd year.

$500 in free flights could be worth the trouble of remembering to spend $3,000 within the first 3 months of your 2nd year of having the card!

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30 responses to “50,000 Citi ThankYou Points (~$625, But Really $500 in Airfare)

  1. Good write-up and thank you for bringing the bonus to wider attention. The “trend” you mention, in which the juiciest bonuses will come with either high spend or long-term commitment, is probably happening, but I wouldn’t agree this card is indicative thereof, as Citi ran similar deals in the past as well. Last year, I got a 30k point bonus on the TY Premier after spending $2k, and followed-up this year with another 30k points/$2k after the account anniversary, and my understanding then was that they’d run this weird deal before.

    The annual fee, which you mention, reduces the value, and unfortunately Citi just nerfed the point values and my favorite bonuses (OCT 13: points on the TY Premier are no longer worth 1.33 times regular value when used for travel, and there is no longer a companion pass).

    I was very happy with the no-FOREX in a recent trip to Japan. I tried to use a Discover as my primary card, as I heard from many sources that there is greater coverage now, but this was not the case. Thank goodness for this card as a backup, but I do not plan to pay the annual fee again, and early next year will either cancel the card or downgrade it, depending on whether I’ve used all my points.

  2. Hi MMS,

    I have bunch of TYPs which I got from Citi Forward and Citi Thankyou cards, and I’m continuing getting those points at a fast rate. But I need to spend those points somehow. I was thinking about getting this card, when it gave companion ticket and 1.33c per point for airfare, but then Citi devaluated this card. Now thinking about Citi Prestige. What do you think about Prestige card? Still gives 1.33c per point, 2 companion tickets worldwide, and some other perks. There is signup bonus in a branches which I’ve seen which gives you 60000 TYPs (30k after spending $3k in first 3 months and 30k after spending $15k in a year). I also opened 2 Citigold accounts recently, which will give me another 80k TYPs and will continue to generate some TYPs every month.

  3. Thanks so much for this article. I usually use my ThankYou Points for gift cards. Instead, I should be using my points for other things. I wonder if you can waive the fee the 2nd year based on your usage.
    BTW, love your bag from Chicago Seminars. I am probably one of a handful using it when I grocery shop in Chicago.

  4. Debating whether to get this card or not. In process of cancelling some Citi American Advantage card and was told by Citi that you have 37 days after an annual fee posts to cancel the card and get a full refund. After that its prorated depending on how long you hold onto the card during that year. You can get the additional points second year on this card, spend it, and then cancel to get some of the fees back (and not pay the full $125).

    In the past the 20% discount for flights only applied to Citi Premier cards…but you could transfer Thank You points into the premier account from other “non-premium” accounts (like Thank You Preferred card) and as long as you had a Premier card, all points can be used with the 20% discount…hope that is still true as I have a Citi Forward card which gives 5 TY points per dollar on dining.

    • @SW Screener – You’re right that they have run similar structured offers before and this offer is just another one with the bonus split over two years.

      @yugi – The Citi Prestige also has a $400 annual fee, but could be worth it if you can meet the minimum spending for the 60K points and want to get the 1.33 cents redemption for airfare.

      @Barb – Glad you like the bag! If you’re a good customer and spend a lot on the card, it doesn’t hurt to ask if the bank can help you out with the fee.

      @SP – You should be able to redeem for flights at 1.2 cents per point using the Thank You points from your other cards, as long as you have the Thank You Premier card.

  5. Signed up for this card as a way to get more out of the pile of TY points I have from my fee-free Forward and Preferred cards. After activating the card and starting to use it, I’m still seeing the same 1:1 rate via the Travel Center. Is there anything you need to do to initialize or connect the Premier TY benefits with one’s existing TY points? Or do I just need to wait until 1st statement posts?

  6. in July of this year i received a targeted offer in the mail for 30k thankyou points after spending $2000 in the first few months, this was for a regular thankyou card not a preferred card with no annual fee, i applied, got the card cashed out the30,000 points for gift cards at macys ,lowes,cvs,sunoco gas, walmart, not bad at all,after getting the card i still kept on getting offers for the thankyou card in the mail but not for 30k only for 15k or 20k

  7. MMS,

    Prestige is $350 for CitiGold customers, and $50 for AU, but this does give you 2 worldwide companion tickets per year. I’m thinking about applying, because soon I will have around 400-500k TYPs.

  8. I have the Prestige and quite honestly its one of my favorite cards. The companion pass alone more than covered the annual fee, plus the fact you can use it on economy fare classes makes it pretty handy. Key to it is finding high fare, low YQ routes.

  9. Sorry Daraius, this one is something other than impressive.

    So the net benefit after $5.000.00 over 15 months is a measly $500….. ? Not exactly impressive. (as you note above, there really are far better promotions available…. including Southwest, American Barclay’s & now United…. less spending, no fees, no wait, and far more bang.)

    Sheesh, one could use the venerable ole GM Card, spend 5K, and get $250 towards a new car deal. (assuming they don’t round it up — as they do each January)

    Again, for me anyway, this one barely passes the laugh test. If this is the future of airline credit card promotions, the future is bleak.

  10. Big deal, I got the Preferred card in April, that gives me 500,000 points monthly for spending $100k at grocery stores, drugstores and gas stations. Bahahaha!

  11. Thanks for the write up…. but I won’t be jumping on this one. I’m still mourning the end of the 1.33 cents per point redemption of the old Citi Premier card. I accumulated over 100K points last year between the Premier and Preferred sign up bonuses and got great use out of those points. I’ve been hoping to churn again, but that doesn’t look like it’s in the cards. Oh well.

  12. How easy is it to get a retention bonus for this card, assuming you used it regularly throughout the year?

  13. Hi Daraius,

    So I saw a couple post before you mentioned that the united requires more miles to fly internationally. Awhile back I asked your suggestion what the best credit card for me to fly to Indonesia, and you mentioned that Chase Sapphire Preferred was the best one to suit my need. Now that the miles have devalued by 7500 each way (coach class), would you still consider CSP the best one for me? If not, what would be then? Thank you

  14. @Daraius Did you mean transfering my Ultimate Rewards points to AA or to apply for AA credit card? I was just checking the AA website to see how many points needed to fly round trip (coach) to Jakarta, it does not seem to offer such flight.

  15. @Daraius Maybe to better answer my question, let me just give you my situation. I’m by no mean a big spender, I’m just trying to be able to visit my family in Indonesia once a year. I know I can’t expect to be able to fly to Indonesia with points every year, but I hope at least once every two year (I’ll pay for the ticket every other year is not too bad). So if you were in my situation, what would you do to maximize my chance flying with points to Indonesia? I already have the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card.

    Thank you so much in advance

  16. @daraius so why do you think using aa miles to Indonesia and United miles back to us is a good idea? Instead of just using United miles round trip? Thank you. I’m sorry if I’m asking stupid questions, I’m still newbie with all this mile things

  17. hi
    One other thing you mentioned in passing but i think is important is that you can use the citi premier as a vehicle to transfer all of your thank you points to hilton. There are a few qualifications to be able to do this transfer and premier lets you do this. I think it is a 1000/1200 transfer but I am not sure. Likely worth mentioning

  18. Woops you mentioned it but what makes it attractive is that you could move your other points too.

  19. If I was approved for the City ThankYou Premier card, can I also apply for the City ThankYou Preferred card and get the bonus for both?

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  24. I was very confused by this review as I could have sworn I had read that CITI Thank You Points DO transfer to airlines. In looking back at what I thought I had read this, I found the following blog post from milevalue.com: http://www.milevalue.com/citi-thankyou-points-now-transferable-to-seven-airlines/

    Is this valid? (I haven’t tried doing the transfers myself) It might be worth mentioning this in the above post, even though these are all foreign airlines – I have used Singapore Air points to book flights to Hawaii…