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When it comes to placing a value on credit card rewards that aren’t straight cash back there is no easy answer. This is especially true for points that transfer to other loyalty programs, like Citi ThankYou points.
These transferrable points can be redeemed in all sorts of ways. You can use them for cash back, gift cards, merchandise purchases, and statement credits in addition to paying for travel or booking award flights.
That’s a lot of options to sort through and to top it all off the value of your points change depending on which card you have. For example, the Citi Premier℠ Card is better to have if you want to use ThankYou points to pay for the travel you book through Citi’s travel center. But the Citi Rewards+℠ Card is better for redeeming ThankYou points for gift cards because you’ll get a 10% points rebate on the first 100,000 points redeemed each year.
It can get complicated. So to help you out, I’ll share 3 easily avoidable mistakes that can suck the value out of your ThankYou points.
3 Mistakes to Avoid When Redeeming Citi ThankYou Points
Citi ThankYou points are Citibank’s transferrable rewards program.
You can earn them with cards like:
Almost always, the best way to use your Citi ThankYou points is to transfer them to one of Citibank’s airline travel partners. This is especially true when Citi is offering a transfer bonus, like they are until February 20, 2019, with Turkish Airlines.
But you can only transfer ThankYou points to airlines if you have the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige card. These cards also make your ThankYou points worth more when you use them to pay for travel through the ThankYou travel site. With the Citi Premier℠ Card, your ThankYou points are worth 1.25 cents toward travel, like flights, rental cars, hotels and cruises, booked through Citi’s website. And with the Citi Prestige card, your points are worth 1.25 cents each toward airfare booked through Citi’s travel center (on September 1st this will be reduced to 1 cent each for the Prestige card).
If you don’t have either of those cards, then you should aim to get at least 1 cent in value per Citi ThankYou point. You can do this by using your points to pay for travel through the ThankYou portal or by redeeming for gift cards.
And if you have the Citi Rewards+℠ Card, you’ll get a 10% rebate on the first 100,000 points you redeem each year.
As easy as it is to get value from your Citi ThankYou points, there are some simple mistakes you’ll want to be sure to avoid.
1. Thou Shalt Not Let Your Citi ThankYou Points Expire
You can transfer up to 100,000 Citi ThankYou points from one account to another for free each year. But, once you transfer the points they expire in 90 days. And there is nothing you can do to extend the expiration date.
So don’t share points with another account until you’re ready to redeem them.
Also, if you have the Citi Rewards+ card, the 10% points rebate is not valid on transferred points.
2. Thou Shalt Not Redeem Citi ThankYou Points for Cash Back or a Statement Credit
Some transferable points, like Chase Ultimate Rewards, are worth 1 cent each as cash back. No other reward is as straight forward as cash back. No headaches, no wasting time trying to maximize the value of your points.
It’s low hanging fruit, but it’s something you should avoid like the plague when it comes to redeeming your Citi ThankYou points because you’ll only get .5 cents per point in value when you redeem for cash back or a statement credit.
If you absolutely need to use your ThankYou points to pay your bills, you can use them to make student loan or mortgage payments at 1 cent per point. However, if you happen to have a Citi Prestige card, you can redeem ThankYou points for cash back at a rate of 1 cent each. But of course, you’ll also have access to better options.
3. Thou Shalt Not Use Citi ThankYou Points for Merchandise Purchases
There are a slew of different types of points you can use to make purchases at Amazon, like Hilton points, AMEX Membership Rewards points, and Citi ThankYou points. The one thing they all have in common is that it’s generally a terrible use of your points.
Your ThankYou points are worth around .8 cents toward merchandise purchases at stores like Amazon, Best Buy, and 1-800-Flowers. But you can use ThankYou points, at rate of 1 cent each, to purchase Best Buy or 1-800-Flowers gift cards.
And the only time it makes sense to use Citi ThankYou points at Amazon is when there is a targeted offer to receive a good discount when using at least 1 ThankYou point.
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