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Million Mile Secrets reader John writes:
Now my wife and I both have the CitiGold checking account (40,000 points), Citi Forward (5% movies and restaurants), Citi ThankYou Preferred (20,000 points), Citi ThankYou Premier (50,000 points), and the Citi Prestige (50,000 points).
I have no annual fee AMEX and Chase cards in place to prevent losing those points, when I cancel annual fee cards, but don’t have a Citi solution. How do I keep the Citi ThankYou points alive, when I cancel an annual fee card?
A transfer only delays the forced redemption for 90 days.
John wants to cancel his Citi ThankYou cards to avoid paying the annual fee. But when he closes his account, he only has 60 days to use his points before he’ll lose them. How can he extend the life of his Citi ThankYou points?
Luckily, there are some steps he can take to prevent this from happening.
However, the points you earn with bank credit cards, like John’s Citi Prestige, are different.
Note: Bank credit cards don’t earn specific airline miles or hotel points. Instead you earn “bank points” such American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou points.
When you close your Citi Prestige account, you lose your points after 60 days.
But there are some ways around this!
1. Combine Your Citi ThankYou Points With Another Citi ThankYou Card
John can combine his Citi ThankYou points with another Citi ThankYou card he plans on keeping. But Citi ThankYou points work differently from Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards points.
With Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards points, you transfer your points to an active eligible card and they’re safe. Not so with Citi ThankYou points!
While John can combine Citi ThankYou points from different cards into 1 Citi ThankYou account, once he cancels a card, any points he’s earned from that card must be redeemed within 60 days or else he’ll lose them. Even if the points are sitting in a combined account.
And as he mentioned, he can transfer Citi ThankYou points to another Citi ThankYou account holder, like his spouse. But they’ll expire 90 days after the transfer is made.
2. Transfer Your Points to an Airline or Hotel Partner
John can keep his points safe longer by transferring his Citi ThankYou points to an airline…
|Citi ThankYou Points Airline Transfer Partners|
|Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific)||EVA Air||Etihad|
|Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)||Garuda Indonesia||Malaysia Airlines|
|Qantas||Qatar Airways||Singapore Airlines|
|Thai Airways||Virgin America||Virgin Atlantic|
…or hotel partner,
|Citi ThankYou Points Hotel Transfer Partners|
He still won’t be forced to redeem his points, but once they are in an airline or hotel account it’s easier to keep his points active.
For example, Virgin Atlantic miles don’t expire for 36 months. And each time there’s new activity on your account, your miles are safe for another 36 months. Ways to keep your Virgin Atlantic miles from expiring include:
- Flying Virgin Atlantic or 1 of its partner airlines
- Buying Virgin Atlantic miles
- Stay with a hotel partner
- Book a rental car
And Hilton points expire after 12 months of no activity. But there are lots of simple ways to create activity on your account and keep your points another 12 months.
3. Convert to a NO Annual Fee Card
Or John can convert to a no annual fee card instead of canceling, such as:
- Citi AT&T Access (Not to be confused with the AT&T Access More card which DOES have a fee)
- Citi ThankYou Preferred
- Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students
Because these cards don’t charge an annual fee, John never has to cancel. This will keep the points from the card he converted safe and help him build a long-term relationship with Citi.
But he will NOT earn a sign-up bonus for his new card because he isn’t completing a new application. So this may not be a good option if the sign-up bonus is worth more than the points currently in his account.
Your Citi ThankYou points can be worth Big Travel! So fortunately, there are ways to keep them longer than 60 days.
You can combine your points with another Citi card you plan to keep or move the points to your spouse’s account. But that will only extend the life of your points by a few more weeks.
Instead, to keep your Citi ThankYou points active much longer, transfer them to a partner airline or hotel chain. Or convert to a card with no annual fee.
Just be sure to plan ahead before you cancel!