Citi's lineup of ThankYou cards can be very worthwhile for savvy travelers. With lucrative signup bonuses, it's easy to rack up a lot of points quickly.
But redeeming all of those ThankYou points for good value can be tricky. You should be able to get at least $0.01 per point at a minimum, but if you're strategic about transferring rewards to Citi's travel partners, they can be worth a lot more.
How to earn ThankYou points
There are just four credit cards that earn Citi ThankYou points.
- Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card (and the variant for college students) -- no annual fee.
- AT&T Access Card From Citi -- no annual fee.
- Citi ThankYou® Premier Card -- $95 annual fee.
- Citi Prestige® Card -- $450 annual fee.
It's important to note that points earned on the no annual fee cards cannot be transferred to Citi's travel partner programs and are worth less through Citi's travel portal.
There's a workaround, however. If you have either the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card or the Citi Prestige® Card as well, you can transfer points earned on other cards to those accounts, then subsequently transfer them to travel partners.
Don't waste your points on shopping
Citi allows cardholders to use their ThankYou points at several retailers, including Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, 1800Flowers.com, and Expedia.com (hotels only). In addition, Citi offers its own shopping portal where you can redeem ThankYou Points for electronics, home goods, and other items. But redeeming ThankYou points this way will net you less than $0.01 per point.
You'd be better off redeeming points for a gift card at the retailer you want to shop. Points are worth $0.01 each when redeemed toward gift cards.
Redeeming points for a blanket cash-back credit is possibly the worst redemption option, netting just $0.005 per point. Citi also offers the option to pay for purchases in select categories at a slightly higher rate of $0.0075 per point. If you have the Citi Prestige® Card, the cashback rate bumps up to $0.01 per point, but it's still not a great option for that card.
Redeeming points for more through Citi's travel portal
Redeeming ThankYou points through Citi's travel portal can be a good option, particularly if you have the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card or Citi Prestige® Card.
If you have the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card or AT&T Access Card From Citi, you'll only receive $0.01 per point through the travel portal. That's just as good as other redemption options with those cards, so if you're planning travel anyway, this is a good option.
Points are worth $0.0125 with the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card or Citi Prestige® Card. You can transfer points from other accounts (even friends' accounts) to these premium card accounts to receive the better redemption value.
Transfer your ThankYou points for maximum value
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card or Citi Prestige® Card cardholders can transfer their points to travel partners and redeem miles through individual airline rewards programs. Citi's transfer partners include:
- JetBlue TrueBlue.
- Asia Miles.
- Etihad Guest.
- EVA Air.
- Air France and KLM Flying Blue.
- Garuda Indonesia.
- Jet Airways JetPrivilege.
- Malaysia Airlines Enrich.
- Qantas Frequent Flyer.
- Qatar Privilege Club.
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.
- Thai Royal Orchid Plus.
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
- Hilton Honors.
Some transfer partners points are worth much less than others. Hilton points, for example, aren't worth very much, even though you'll usually get 1.5 Hilton Honor points per ThankYou point.
Other options can make your points worth a ton. Transferring points to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles would allow you to book a private suite on an international flight from the United States. It's an incredible first class experience that can make your ThankYou Points worth nearly $0.10 each.
Another high-value redemption option is transferring points to Air France and KLM's Flying Blue program and use its partner airline, Delta, to fly to Hawaii from the continental United States. A round trip can cost just 30,000 Flying Blue miles in economy class if you're flexible with your dates. Considering flights to Hawaii regularly cost over $1,000, that's a value well over $0.03 per point.
If you really want to maximize how much Citi ThankYou points are worth, do some research and find a way to redeem points through Citi's travel partners.
Adam Levy owns shares of Amazon. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon. The Motley Fool recommends JetBlue Airways. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. The Motley Fool receives compensation from some advertisers who provide products and services that may be covered by our editorial team. It’s one way we make money. But know that our editorial integrity and transparency matters most and our ratings aren’t influenced by compensation. The statements above are The Motley Fool's alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. Review The Motley Fool’s ratings methodology to uncover how we pick the best credit cards.