Signing-up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.
Of the 3 main bank points currencies, Citi ThankYou points get the least amount of attention. I understand why: The program has only one domestic transfer partner (JetBlue), NO hotel transfer partners, and a limited number of cards that rack up the points.
But savvy travelers love Citi ThankYou points. Because if you know a few useful tricks, you can easily get outsized value. And they’re remarkably easy to earn!
In fact, I’m focusing on Citi ThankYou cards this year. And regularly use my points for incredible travel experiences domestically and abroad.
I’ll share how to earn them, use them, and if they’re worth it for your travel goals. Here’s our Citi ThankYou points review.
Citi ThankYou Points Review
Citi ThankYou points don’t get enough attention. And they’re surprisingly useful, despite their limitations. I’m using them more than any other points program this year!
Here are answers to common questions about Citi ThankYou points.
How to Earn Citi ThankYou Points
There are 7 credit cards that earn Citi ThankYou points:
- Citi Premier℠ Card – 3X points on travel, 2X points on dining and entertainment, 1X on everything else. Read our review of the Citi Premier
- Citi Rewards+℠ Card – 2X points at gas stations and supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year, then 1X), 1X on everything else. Read our review of the Citi Rewards+ Card
- Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card – 2X points at gas stations and supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year, then 1X), 1X on everything else
- Citi Prestige – 5X points on airfare booked directly and dining, 3X points on hotels and cruises, 1X on everything else
- AT&T Access Card From Citi – 2X points on AT&T purchases, travel, and online retail, 1X on everything else
- AT&T Access More Card From Citi (no longer available to new applicants)
- Citi ThankYou Preferred (no longer available to new applicants)
Of the available cards, only the Citi Prestige and Citi Premier℠ Card earn points you can transfer to airline partners. The others earn points you can redeem for gift cards, statement credits, and travel booked directly through Citi.
You’ll notice Citi Prestige and the Citi Premier℠ Card earn bonus points in popular categories. I love earning 5X Citi ThankYou points on airfare and dining with Citi Prestige. And Jasmin loves her Citi Premier for 3X points on travel (including gas!) and 2X points for entertainment.
If you have multiple Citi ThankYou cards, you can keep them separate in your online account, or combine them into one place. If you have a Citi Prestige or Citi Premier℠ Card, I recommend combining them to make all the points you earn transferable to airline partners!
How to Use Citi ThankYou Points and What They’re Worth
There are lots of ways to use Citi ThankYou points, including:
- Points transfers to travel partners (only with Citi Prestige or Citi Premier℠ Card)
- Travel booked through Citi’s travel center (value varies based on card)
- Gift cards (1 cent per point)
- Cash back as a statement credit (1 cent per point)
- Shop with Points at Amazon or BestBuy ( ~.8 cents per point)
- ThankYou Select & Credit (~.75 cents per point toward certain purchases)
To view and redeem your points, navigate to ThankYou.com.
In general, you’ll get the best deal transferring your points to partners, if your card has that ability. In that case, the value you get varies based every time you redeem them.
And if you don’t transfer them, you can book travel with most cards at a rate of 1 cent per point. But there are a few nuances, which I’ll cover in a bit.
Transfer ThankYou Points to Partners
If you have a Citi Prestige or Citi Premier℠ Card, you can transfer your Citi ThankYou points to these airlines partners at a 1:1 ratio:
- Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific)
- EVA Air
- Etihad Guest
- Flying Blue (Air France / KLM)
- Garuda Indonesia
- Jet Airways
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Singapore Airlines
- Thai Airways
- Turkish Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
Keep in mind, you must transfer in 1,000-point increments.
In my opinion, this is the best and highest-value way to use your Citi ThankYou points. In a future post, I’ll share the smartest ways to use your Citi ThankYou points for travel.
Book Travel Through Citi Travel Portal
If you have Citi Prestige, you can book travel directly through Citi, and each point is worth:
- 1.25 cents toward flights (until September 1, 2019, then 1 cent per point)
- 1 cent toward all other travel (hotels, car rentals, cruises, activities, etc.)
Whereas if you have the Citi Premier℠ Card, your points are worth 1.25 cents each toward other travel redemptions, including hotels, rental cars, and cruises.
If you book a lot of airfare this way, either card gets you the same rate. And you’ll still earn miles and elite status credit when you fly!
But for hotels and other travel, the Citi Premier℠ Card makes your points worth 25% more. Just note you won’t earn elite status credit when you use points to book a hotel stay.
Combine or Transfer Points Between Accounts
Each card will get a new ThankYou membership number, and its own sub-account. This way, you can keep your points separate, and transfer them to the account where they’ll be worth more, or become transferable.
Or, you can request to pool them in one spot automatically. Just note once you combine accounts, you can NOT break them apart again. They will stay combined.
The advantage of combining is all your points will take on the characteristics of the most “powerful” card account. For example, points earned with the Citi Rewards+℠ Card, but combined with Citi Prestige, become transferable to airline partners – whereas you can NOT do this when they’re on their own.
Or if you have a Citi Premier℠ Card, then all your points are worth 1.25 cents each toward travel, which makes them worth more.
There’s not much of a downside to combining, unless you like to keep things separate. You need to call Citi at the number on the back of your card and request for them to combine your card accounts, if you’re interested.
Share Your Points With Anyone Else
How to Share Citi ThankYou Points & What You Need to Be Aware Of to Ensure Your Points Don’t Expire
If you like, you can share your Citi ThankYou points with anyone else who also has a Citi ThankYou member account.
Keep in mind:
- You can transfer up to 100,000 Citi ThankYou points per calendar year from your account
- You can receive up to 100,000 Citi ThankYou points from transfers per calendar year
- Transferred Citi ThankYou points expire after 90 days
- Citi ThankYou points transferred to you cannot then be transferred to another account
This is useful if you need extra points to book a trip. Here’s our guide on how to share Citi ThankYou points with more information.
Do Citi ThankYou Points Expire?
Your Citi ThankYou points will never expire as long as you keep your card open, unless they’re points transferred into your account – in which case, they expire 90 days after you receive them.
If you close a Citi ThankYou points-earning card, you have 30 days to use them before they’re gone, unless you have another Citi ThankYou card to keep them alive.
You can always check if you have points expiring after you log into your account at ThankYou.com if you have any uncertainty.
The Big Pro & Con of Citi ThankYou Points
Pro: Access to Every Alliance
Despite only having 1 domestic airline on the list, you can still access airlines in every major alliance with Citi’s partners:
- oneworld – Asia Miles, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways (for now)
- SkyTeam – Flying Blue, Garuda Indonesia
- Star Alliance – Avianca, EVA Air, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines
Plus, there are other partners that give you access, like:
- Etihad Guest for flights on American Airlines and Brussels Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic for flights on Delta and Hawaiian Airlines
So even if it appears at first glance that Citi ThankYou points are limited without domestic partnerships, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, one of my favorite ways to use Citi ThankYou points is for short flights on American Airlines via Qantas miles.
Con: Not All Transfers Are Instant
Folks report some transfers are nearly instant, like Flying Blue and JetBlue. But others could take a couple of days to over a week!
And there’s really no good way to gauge how long your transfer will take. For example, when I’ve transferred Citi ThankYou points to Qantas, it takes between 2 and 3 days. And it took 6 or 7 days for points to appear in my Etihad loyalty account.
This is NOT handy if you find a great award flight to book, because by the time the points make it to your account, the award could be gone. And it’s hard to transfer speculatively based on an award flight that may or may not be available by the time the points show up.
In my opinion, this is biggest downside of Citi ThankYou points, and the reason I can’t recommend them as enthusiastically as Chase Ultimate Rewards points. If transfer were instant – or even a couple of days – across the board, it would be a different story.
As it stands, this is the most salient thing to be aware of. Your points may take their time getting into airline partner accounts.
So Who Should Collect Citi ThankYou Points?
Though Citi ThankYou points aren’t as user-friendly as other types of points, they’re far from being worthless. Actually, I’m focusing my efforts on Citi ThankYou points. And you might too if you:
- Like the 5X and 3X earning categories on cards like Citi Prestige and Citi Premier℠ Card
- Know how to make use of the airline transfer partners
- Book travel through ThankYou.com, and like the points value there
- Can work with transfers that may or may not be instant
- Find ThankYou points easy to collect
- Want to diversify your points
- Have a good use in mind for the points you earn
My strategy is to use Citi ThankYou points for flights, and save my Chase Ultimate Rewards points for hotel rooms. It’s an easy and effective plan that covers the 2 biggest aspects of award travel.
If you like to book travel directly through the bank, you can do well with the Citi Premier℠ Card, which offers the best of everything the Citi ThankYou program has to offer. I’ve been surprised at how many points I earn – and how valuable they’ve become to my overall approach to points.
Citi ThankYou points aren’t as immediately approachable or expansive as other points programs. But the reward lies in maximizing the list of airline partners, and earning extra points in excellent bonus categories, like 5X on airfare and dining with Citi Prestige, and 3X on travel and gas with the Citi Premier℠ Card.
The biggest pro to the program is access to every major airline alliance, and other airlines through non-alliance partners. And the big downside is points transfers aren’t always instant.
That said, if you rake in points with any of the 7 Citi ThankYou cards, it’s easy to earn travel rewards. This is currently my go-to program because I use a few award options all the time.
If you can find a valuable way to use Citi ThankYou points, I’d say they’re worth collecting. And knowing the quirks and limitations will help you navigate to the best uses.
Do you like Citi ThankYou points? I’d love to hear what you think of the program!
Check out our other articles about Citi ThankYou points:
- Citi ThankYou Points Review
- Citi ThankYou Points Value
- Best Ways to Use Citi ThankYou Points
- Citi Transfer Partners
- How to Earn Citi ThankYou Points
- How to Setup a Citi ThankYou Points Account
- How to Use Citi ThankYou Points
- Do Citi ThankYou Points Expire?