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 
AviancaAsia Miles (Cathay Pacific)EVA Air
EtihadFlying Blue (Air France/KLM)Garuda Indonesia
Jet AirwaysJetBlueMalaysia Airlines
QantasQatar AirwaysSingapore Airlines
Thai AirwaysTurkish AirlinesVirgin 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!

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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