How to earn Citi ThankYou points in 2020

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Many of the best Citibank credit cards are those that earn Citi ThankYou® Rewards, which are Citibank’s version of transferable points. They can be redeemed for a variety of rewards, including gift cards or travel – and transferred to Citi’s airline partners (depending on which cards you have).

The best way to earn ThankYou points is with the right rewards credit card, though Citi has very specific rules when it comes to qualifying for a sign-up bonus. Let’s take a look at the best cards for earning ThankYou points:

How to earn Citi ThankYou points

CardIntro bonusAnnual fee
Citi® Double Cash CardNone$0
Citi Premier® CardEarn 60,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.$95
Citi Prestige® CardEarn 50,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.$495
Citi Rewards+℠ CardEarn 15,000 ThankYou points after spending $1,000 in the first three months of account opening.$0
AT&T Access Card from CitiEarn 10,000 ThankYou points after spending $1,000 in the first three months of account opening.$0
Citi Rewards+ Student CardEarn 2,500 ThankYou points after spending $500 in the first three months.$0
The information for the Citi Prestige, AT&T Access card, Citi Rewards+ Student card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

 

With the best credit cards for earning Citi ThankYou® Rewards points, you could fly to Japan in style. (Photo by Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)

Best credit cards for earning Citi ThankYou points

Citi® Double Cash Card

Best for everyday purchases

None

Although the Citi Double Cash is technically a cash-back credit card you can convert your cash back into ThankYou points if you pair this card with one of the other cards on this list. You can convert cash back to ThankYou points at a rate of one cent to one point and if you have the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige card you can transfer those points to any of Citi’s transfer partners.

This is the best card for any purchase that doesn’t fall into another card’s bonus category because it earns 2% cash back, 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay.

This card has no annual fee.

Although you can earn higher cash-back rates for specific categories, you won’t find a better card for everyday purchases that also doesn’t have an annual fee. And because this isn’t technically a ThankYou points-earning card (unless you pair it with other cards) it isn’t restricted by the same application rules as the other cards on this list, so it can be easier to get.

Because this card doesn’t have an intro offer its value is completely dependent on your spending habits. But, if you have a Citi Premier or Citi Prestige card and can increase the value of your ThankYou points by transferring those points to the right travel partner, you can greatly increase the value of your return.

Citi Premier

Best sign-up bonus

The Citi Premier has a 60,000 Citi ThankYou point-bonus after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Once per calendar year, Citi Premier cardholders are eligible for a $100 discount on a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) made through the Citi ThankYou website.

The Citi Premier cards benefits were revamped in 2020. If you currently have the card, you’ll get the new perks and have access to the old perks until April 10, 2021. Cardholders can earn 3x ThankYou points on airfare, hotels, dining, supermarkets and gas stations. All other purchases will earn 1 ThankYou point per dollar.

Having the Citi Premier also allows you to transfer your points to any of Citi’s 15 airline partners and if you redeem ThankYou points for maximum value you can really knock it out of the park. For example, you can transfer 15,000 points to Turkish Airlines and book a round-trip flight to Hawaii.

The Citi Premier has a $95 annual fee.

It’s hard to overstate the potential value of being able to use ThankYou points with several different airline programs. Not being tied to a single frequent-flyer account allows to you pick and choose the sweet spots that work for you and protects you from devaluations. And Citi shares some transfer partners (Flying Blue, Virgin Atlantic or Singapore Airlines) with other flexible points programs. This allows you to combine points from different banks into a single airline and easily book more expensive awards.

We value Citi ThankYou points at 1.7 cents each, making this bonus worth $925 after you deduct the $95 annual fee.

Citi Prestige

Best for travel and dining

Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou points after spending $4,000 in the first three months from account opening.

If you have the Citi Prestige (or Citi Premier) you can combine your ThankYou points accounts and the points you earn from certain no-annual-fee cards (Citi Rewards+, Citi AT&T Access, etc.) and those points instantly increase in value because they’ll become transferable.

The Citi Prestige earns 5x ThankYou points for travel and restaurant purchases; 3x points for cruises and hotels, and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. And every year you’ll get up to $250 in credits for eligible travel purchases. This card also comes with a Priority Pass airport lounge membership.

When you book a hotel stay of 4+ nights through the ThankYou website, you’ll get your fourth night free, based on the average cost per night (not including taxes and fees). You can use this perk twice per calendar year. This card also comes with a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit and you’ll get cellphone insurance when you pay your bill with the card.

$495

In recent years, the Citi Prestige has followed the trend of other premium travel credit cards and increased it’s annual fee. The difference with this card is that although some benefits have improved, Citi has also stripped the Prestige card of most of its travel and purchase protections. So if you want trip delay insurance or rental car insurance you’ll need to carry another credit card along with this one.

The card’s $250 annual travel credit is easy to use, but its other perks like airport lounge access and Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit can be found on many other rewards credit cards that either have much smaller annual fees or offer a wider range of other benefits. So this card is worth it if you are looking for a great credit card for restaurants or want to be able to transfer your ThankYou points and don’t have airport lounge access with another card.

Based on our Citi ThankYou points value, the bonus offer is worth $850. Add in the $250 annual travel credit and subtract the $495 annual fee and the first year value is $605.

Citi Rewards+℠ Card

Best unique perks

The Citi Rewards+ card has a 15,000-point bonus after spending $1,000 in the first three months from opening the account.

If you pair the Citi Rewards+ with either the Citi Prestige or Citi Premier the card’s 10% points rebate (on the first 100,000 points redeemed each year) will apply to Citi ThankYou points transfers to airlines.

The Citi Rewards+ earns 2x ThankYou points at supermarkets and gas stations (up to $6,000 in combined purchases each year, then 1x) and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Also, the points you earn on all purchases are rounded up to the nearest 10. So a $1 purchase will earn 10 points and a $31 purchase will earn 40 points. This is a unique perk that is particularly lucrative for small purchases.

The card also comes with a 10% points rebate on the first 100,000 points you redeem each year. This includes redemption for gift cards, travel and even points transfers (if it’s partnered with the right card mentioned above). The points rebate won’t apply to Citi ThankYou points shared between different account holders, but it will apply to ThankYou points combined from multiple cards held by the same person.

$0

This card’s 10% annual rebate on up to 100,000 points redeemed and the fact that it has no annual fee, make it a no-brainer card to keep long term. I have this card and have paired it with a Citi Premier so that I can get points back when I transfer my ThankYou points to airlines.

Based on our ThankYou points valuation this intro offer is worth $255.

Citi AT&T Access

Best for online and AT&T purchases

Earn 10,000 ThankYou points after spending $1,000 in the first three months of account opening.

This card earns 2x ThankYou points at eligible retail and travel websites; 2x points on products and services purchased directly from AT&T, and 1 point per dollar spent everywhere else.

$0

If you’re an AT&T customer or can take advantage of being able to earn 2x points at certain online stores, like department stores and certain boutique or specialty store websites, this card makes sense. But outside of that you’re only earning 1 point per dollar spent, which isn’t great.

This bonus is worth $170 based on our ThankYou points valuation.

Citi Rewards+ Student Card

Best for students

Earn 2,500 ThankYou points after spending $500 in the first three months from opening the account.

Only college or graduate students that are 18 years or older are eligible for this card.

This card comes with the same perks as the non-student version of the card. So you’ll earn 2x points at supermarkets and gas stations (on the first $6,000 in combined purchases per year, then 1x), and 1 point per dollar spent everywhere else. You’ll also get the points you earn on every purchase rounded up to the nearest 10 and 10% of your points back on redemption (on up to 100,000 points redeemed each year).

$0

This is a solid card for college students because it has such a small spending requirement, no annual fee and it earns rewards. Plus, it’s a great card to get as you’re building a credit score because you can pair it in the future with a more lucrative card, like the Citi Premier and the points you’ve earned will instantly become more valuable.

Based on our value of ThankYou points this card’s intro offer is worth $42.50.

Citi ThankYou points-earning card application rules

In general, you won’t be eligible for the sign-up bonus on a Citi ThankYou points-earning card if you’ve opened or closed a card within the same brand of cards (i.e., another ThankYou points card) within the past 24 months. But the terms vary for each card, so be sure to read the fine print on the application before you submit it.

Here is a quick breakdown of the sign-up bonus restrictions for each of these Citibank credit cards:

Citi Prestige, Citi Premier Card, Citi Rewards+ Card and Citi Rewards+ Student Card

You won’t be eligible for any of the above card bonus offers if in the past 24 months you’ve earned a sign-up bonus with or opened or closed any of these cards:

  • Citi Rewards+℠
  • Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card  (no longer available)
  • Citi Premier®
  • Citi Prestige®

AT&T Access Card From Citi

You won’t be eligible for the AT&T Access Card’s sign-up bonus if in the past 24 months you’ve opened or closed any of these cards:

  • AT&T Access
  • AT&T Access More

These application restrictions to not apply to the The Citi Double Cash Card.

The information for the AT&T Access and AT&T Access More card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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Jason Stauffer is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, he covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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