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I wrote about why it’s NOT a good idea to redeem your Citi ThankYou points for cash back or statement credits. You’ll get a very poor value (0.5 cents per point or 0.5% back)!
The trick is there’s a way you can deposit these checks to your bank account and use the money however you’d like!
To be clear, using Citi ThankYou points for travel is better for most. But if you want cash, I’ll show you how to get the most out of your points!
How Does This Work?
Link: Citi ThankYou
Normally, you’ll only get 0.5 cents per Citi ThankYou point (0.5% back) when you redeem them for a check or statement credit.
But Citi allows you to apply points to a mortgage payment or student loan rebate check at a rate of 1 cent per point (1% back). So for example, a $100 check costs 10,000 Citi ThankYou points.
You’ll receive a check made out to your financial institution. But you can sign it and deposit it into your bank account. You do NOT have to use it for a mortgage or student loan!
Folks on FatWallet say it’s easy, and most banks don’t question the deposit. That said, if you try this trick, it might be better to start with a small test check to be sure it goes through! Some banks will NOT accept 3rd party checks.
Here’s how you do it.
Step 1 – Call Citi ThankYou
Call Citi ThankYou at 800-842-6596 to redeem your points for a mortgage or student loan rebate check.
You’ll need to provide the following information:
- Name of the lender (use the name of the bank where you have your account)
- Amount of the check
You do NOT need to provide a mortgage or student loan account number. Just the bank name.
Checks are available in the following denominations:
- $25 – 2,500 Citi ThankYou points
- $50 – 5,000 Citi ThankYou points
- $75 – 7,500 Citi ThankYou points
- $100 – 10,000 Citi ThankYou points
- $250 – 25,000 Citi ThankYou points
- $500 – 50,000 Citi ThankYou points
- $750 – 75,000 Citi ThankYou points
- $1,000 – 100,000 Citi ThankYou points
The Citi ThankYou representative will ask you to confirm that your bank is willing to accept 3rd party checks and multiple mortgage or student loan payments.
Step 3 – Receive Check via Mail and Deposit
You’ll get your check ~7 to 10 days after you make the request (sometimes sooner). Checks are valid for 180 days.
The check will be made out to your bank or financial institution. Write your name and account number in the “memo” field on the front of the check.
Most folks sign the back of the check, and many recommend depositing it through an ATM or through mobile banking (rather than with a teller). This can help avoid confusion, because the check is made out to the bank and not directly to you!
Once the funds are in your account, you can use them for whatever you like (including paying your mortgage or student loan).
Is It Worth It?
This is a better deal than redeeming Citi ThankYou points for cash back or a statement credit. But there are other ways to get more value from your points!
For example, Citi ThankYou points are worth:
- 1.6 cents per point (if you have the Citi Prestige card) when redeemed for American Airlines paid flights through the Citi Travel Center
- 1.33 cents per point (if you have the Citi Prestige card) when redeemed for travel on other airlines through the Citi Travel Center
- 1.25 cents per point (if you have the Citi ThankYou Premier card) when redeemed for airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises through the Citi Travel Center
- ~1 cent per point when redeemed for retail gift cards (still not a great deal, but less hassle)
- Potentially much more when you transfer them to airline and hotel partners and use them for Big Travel, like First Class tickets on Singapore Airlines
So redeeming Citi ThankYou points at 1 cent per point is NOT the best deal. I’d only recommend it if you really want cash.
And some folks might not feel comfortable depositing a 3rd party check into their account. So do what makes the most sense for you.
My favorite use of Citi ThankYou points is transferring them to airline and hotel partners for Big Travel. You’ll usually get much more than 1 cent per point when redeemed this way.
You can normally use Citi ThankYou points for cash back or statement credits at a rate of 0.5 cents per point (0.5% back).
But by redeeming them for a mortgage payment or student loan rebate check, Citi ThankYou points are worth 1 cent per point (1% back).
And you can deposit these checks into your bank account to use the funds any way you want.
Have you had success redeeming Citi ThankYou points for mortgage or student loan payments?