What You Can (and Can’t!) Do With Citi ThankYou Points From a Checking Account

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Million Mile Secrets reader, Eric V, commented:

Are Citi ThankYou Points earned from checking accounts different from those earned from credit cards?

My spouse and I are about to earn 50,000 points each from checking, plus I’m anticipating the 50,000 points sign-up bonus from Citi Prestige.  We’d like to combine them all.

This is a great question, Eric!

Yes, Citi ThankYou points earned from a Citi checking account have different rules and expiration dates than the points you’ll earn from a Citi credit card, like Citi Prestige.

You can combine them all in 1 place but there are some things you need to be aware of.

Here's What You Can And Can't Do With Citi ThankYou Points From A Checking Account

Not All Citi ThankYou Points Are Created Equal! ThankYou Checking Account and Credit Card Points Have a Few Key Differences That Affect How You Can Use Them

I’ll explain how it works!

What’s the Story?

Link:   Citi Checking Account Bonus ThankYou Points Promotion

Through December 31, 2015, Citi is offering up to 50,000 bonus Citi ThankYou points for opening certain types of checking accounts.  Doctor of Credit has the details about this promotion (may be targeted).

Reader Eric wants to combine the Citi ThankYou points earned from his Citi checking account with the points earned from his Citi Prestige card.

And then combine them with his spouse’s points.

Here's What You Can And Can't Do With Citi ThankYou Points From A Checking Account

You Can Earn Citi ThankYou Points in 3 Different Ways: Checking Accounts, Credit Cards, and Transfers From Other CitiThankYou Account Holders

So Eric will wind up with 150,000 Citi ThankYou points:

  • 50,000 Citi ThankYou points from Eric’s Citi checking account
  • 50,000 Citi ThankYou points from Eric’s spouse’s checking account
  • 50,000 Citi ThankYou points from Citi Prestige sign-up bonus

But, each block of 50,000 Citi ThankYou points will have different conditions you should know!

What Are the Differences?

Citi ThankYou Points From Credit Cards

Link:   Citi Prestige

Link:   Citi ThankYou Premier

When you open the Citi Prestige card, you’ll earn 50,000 ThankYou points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account. (EXPIRED.)

It’s a terrific card to have, and the points you’ll earn transfer to Hilton and these airline partners:

 Citi ThankYou Points Airline Transfer Partners 
Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific)EVA AirEtihad
Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)Garuda Indonesia Malaysia Airlines
QantasQatar AirwaysSingapore Airlines
Thai AirwaysVirgin AmericaVirgin Atlantic

Plus, the points never expire for as long as you have your card open.

Here's What You Can And Can't Do With Citi ThankYou Points From A Checking Account

Citi ThankYou Points From Credit Cards Never Expire, and Transfer to Lots of Airline Partners, Like Singapore Airlines

The same is true for Citi ThankYou points earned from the Citi ThankYou Premier card.  You’ll also earn 50,000 bonus Citi ThankYou points after making $3,000 in purchases within the 1st 3 months of account opening. (EXPIRED.)

It’s very different from Citi Prestige, but it’s also a great card to have in your wallet.

You can transfer Citi ThankYou points earned from either card to a friend or spouse.  But once they’re transferred to someone else, they expire in 90 days. 

Note:   If you earn Citi ThankYou points from other cards, like the Citi ThankYou Preferred or Citi AT&T Access More, you can only transfer them to travel partners if you also have Citi Prestige, Citi ThankYou Premier, or (no longer available) Citi Chairman card.

Citi ThankYou Points From Checking Accounts

When you open a Citi checking account, you’ll earn Citi ThankYou points, too.  But, these points have 2 major differences from Citi ThankYou points earned from credit cards:

Here's What You Can And Can't Do With Citi ThankYou Points From A Checking Account

Citi ThankYou Points From Your Checking Accounts Expire in ~4 Years. And You Can NOT Transfer Them to Travel Partners!

  • The points expire 3 years from the end of the year you earned them
  • You can NOT transfer them to hotel or airline partners

And, the points earned from Citi checking accounts are taxable whereas the points earned from Citi credit cards are not taxable.

Citi says:

Taxable points are points received for a Citibank checking relationship, points obtained through activity unrelated to purchases made with your eligible Citi credit card, as well as bonus points that may be awarded with no spend requirements.

Taxable points are not eligible for points transfer (to hotel and airline partners). 

Folks report you only have to pay taxes if you earn over 60,000 Citi ThankYou points in a calendar year with a checking account bonus.

Citi ThankYou Points That Are Transferred

Regardless of whether you earn Citi ThankYou points from credit cards or checking account, once you transfer them to someone else, they expire in 90 days.

Here's What You Can And Can't Do With Citi ThankYou Points From A Checking Account

Any Time You Transfer Citi ThankYou Points to Someone Else, They Expire in 90 Days

Another key difference is that you can transfer Citi ThankYou points earned from a Citi credit card to hotel and airline partners, after they are transferred to you (or after you transfer them to someone else).

But, if the points are transferred from a Citi checking account, you can NOT transfer them to travel partners.  Even if you combine them with points earned from Citi credit cards.

That’s because Citi realizes the points were earned from different accounts, and places restrictions on them accordingly.

So, the Citi ThankYou points originally earned from credit cards transfer to airlines and hotels (as long as you have the Citi Prestige, Citi ThankYou Premier, or Citi Chairman card).  But the Citi ThankYou points you earn from checking accounts can NOT be moved to airlines and hotels..

What Eric Should Know About His Points

Reader Eric will accumulate 150,000 Citi ThankYou points in total.

Here’s what he needs to know about how his points will behave:

  • The 50,000 Citi ThankYou points he earns from his Citi Prestige card can be transferred to travel partners and will never expire for as long as he has the card
  • The 50,000 Citi ThankYou points he earns from his Citi checking account will expire 3 years from the end of the year he earned them, and can NOT be transferred to travel partners
  • The 50,000 Citi ThankYou points his spouse transfers to him will expire in 90 days and can NOT be transferred to travel partners

So of his 150,000 Citi ThankYou points, he can only transfer 50,000 of them to partners like Hilton or Singapore Airlines.

Here's What You Can And Can't Do With Citi ThankYou Points From A Checking Account

Eric Can Use All of His Points for $2,400 Worth of Travel on American Airlines

But, he can redeem all of them for gift cards or statement credits.  And if he transfers them to his Citi Prestige account, he can redeem them for $2,400 worth of tickets on American Airlines including international partner flights.  Or $1,995 worth of travel on other airlines.

That’s because, with the Citi Prestige card, each Citi ThankYou point is worth 1.6 cents toward paid American Airlines tickets, and 1.33 cents each on other airlines when you book through the Citi Travel Center through July 23, 2017.

And folks with the Citi ThankYou Premier card can redeem their points at 1.25 cents each for flights, car rentals, hotel stays, and cruises.

But Eric should pay close attention the Citi ThankYou points he’ll get from his spouse.  Because those will expire first!

Only transfer Citi ThankYou points to others when you know you’ll use them.  Because once they expire, there’s no way to get them back.

Bottom Line

There are 2 types of Citi ThankYou points:

  • Those earned from credit cards like the Citi Prestige and Citi ThankYou Premier
  • Those earned from Citi checking accounts

Citi ThankYou points you earn from a Citi credit card never expire, as long as your account is open and can be transferred to travel partners as long as you have a Citi Prestige, Citi ThankYou Premier, or Citi Chairman card.

And the points earned from a Citi checking account expire 3 years from the end of the year you earned them, and you can NOT transfer them to travel partners.

Both types of points expire in 90 days when you transfer them to someone else’s account.

Eric, I hope that answers your question!  Enjoy your Citi ThankYou points, whichever way you decide to redeem them!

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19 responses to “What You Can (and Can’t!) Do With Citi ThankYou Points From a Checking Account

  1. Do TY points I transfer from my checking to my prestige have the same expiration / restrictions? Since I have the prestige, do I have to actually transfer TY points from checking to get the 1.6 value on AA?

  2. I have a question.
    Suppose I transfer 50000 thank you points earned by my wife via checking account bonus to my thank you account which already has another 54000 thank you points earned via my citi prestige card. Now can I transfer all of these 104000 thank you points to my krisflyer account?

  3. Is it possible to transfer ty points from checking to Citi prestige? The Citi representative said this cannot be done. $2400 you mentioned, that can be done by redeeming $800 worth of tickets from ty earned from checking ?

  4. What is the best way to use TY points aquired from Citi checking if they can’t be transferred to partners?

  5. Thanks. I never realized that the checking points are treated differently than the credit card points. That is so deceiving. I see them all in one account and realized that when I go to transfer I only see my CC earned points available, which is lower than my balance.
    Bad news but good to know. Thank you.

  6. To Paul and Chris,
    Paul, the TY points from checking cannot be transferred to kris flyer account. Chris,
    The TY points from checking can be used to by AA flights at 1.6 cents with Citi Prestige card or 1.3 cents on other airlines- example Southwest, or just buy AA gift card but at 1cent each. To recap 50,000 TY points will buy $800.00 AA flight if you also have Citi Prestige or $650.00 Southwest,United flight or $500 airline gift card. Hope this helps.

  7. Thanks for the info!

  8. Is the student loan/mortgage payment request not an option with the checking TYP? It’s not listed under checking TYP options but then again you didn’t mention it for credit card earned TYP (which I know first hand can be redeemed for payment request).

  9. Citi ThankYou Points: There is an additional category of ThankYou Points, namely those earned with the Citi ThankYou Preferred credit card. Points earned with that credit card are treated like those earned with the Citi checking accounts, namely cannot be transferred to travel partners. Accordingly, your statement of

    “Citi ThankYou points you earn from a Citi credit card never expire, as long as your account is open and can be transferred to travel partners as long as you have a Citi Prestige, Citi ThankYou Premier, or Citi Chairman card.”

    is only partially correct. The points earned with the Citi ThankYou Preferred card can never be transferred to travel partners, even if you have a Citi ThankYou Premier card.

    I learned all these rules through a serious of frustrations. I cannot understand why Citi calls these different types of points by the same name. I hope that they are not intentionally confusing their customers, because I believe such methods are counterproductive.

  10. Once points are transferred how can you differentiate to use the transferred points first?

  11. Scenario: Combine 50,000 checking account points with 50,000 PREFERRED or PRESTIGE credit card points. Now you have 100,000. Are they all non-transferable now to partners? – or – if 50,000 are still transferable, how does Citi figure this out now that they are combined?

  12. If you transfer 50k Thankyou points from Checking account to Prestige and use it for a $800 flight, you would get a 1099 for $800.
    If you redeem 50k points to some gift cards under for $500 or under…you would not receive the 1099.

    If you tend to use the value of more than $600, you would be hit with a 1099.

  13. Thank you for the post! I have the same question as Joediver. How can I use the transferred points (from wife’s checking) *before* the points from my Prestige? I’d like to use her points at 1.6 cents each to book American flights before I use my own points from the Prestige.

  14. Brian,
    You could buy one ticket from each account (checking and credit card) this year, then do the same thing next year. I think that the point redemption in two different years should not trigger a 1099 since it would be $400 each year from the checking account but I do not have enough information if this has been tried and has worked.

  15. Darius – Time to chime in? This is your blog?

  16. @Dan B – The points transferred from your Citi checking account will expire in ~4 years. Yes, you must transfer them to Citi Prestige to book American Airlines flights at the 1.6 cent per point rate.

    @paul – No, only the points earned from your Citi credit cards are transferable to travel partners.

    @Jack – I believe you can transfer them to your Citi Prestige card. Then you’ll be able to book tickets on American Airlines in the Citi Travel Center.

    @Chaser123 @Eric V – You’re welcome! Thank you for reading. I hope this post helps you decide how to use your points!

    @Tony – Thanks for helping! You sound like an expert on the different uses of Citi ThankYou points! I appreciate it! 🙂

    @anthonyjh21 – I’m not sure what you’re referring to. Let me know if I can help!

    @Manfred Lehmann – Thanks for the clarification! I hope you have an easier time redeeming your points in the future. Thanks again for adding your experience.

    @Joediver – Citi will automatically use the points that expire 1st for the type of redemption you want to make.

    @Kent C – Only the Citi ThankYou points earned from Citi credit cards are transferrable. Citi separates them in your ThankYou account. For your example, you’d be able to transfer 50,000 Citi ThankYou points to travel partners.

    @Nvtech – I haven’t heard of Citi tracking ThankYou points based on how you redeem them. Thanks for the heads up!

    @Brian – Citi will use the points that expire 1st for flights booked in the Citi ThankYou Travel Center. It won’t affect the points you want to transfer to travel partners.

    @Tony – That should work!

  17. If I earn 50,000 points from a checking account and then close the checking account, would my points still not expire for 3-4 years? Thank you for your great blog!!

  18. Thank you, Darius, for the information; that is great news!

  19. So I received 40 k through citi gold. When I redeemed I was told it would take 37,800 points to redeem for a 300 dollar mortgage payment. What’s the deal? When I did this with my thank you cc the value of my points for the same transaction was 1 point per penny. Did someone made a mistake?