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The Citi ThankYou® Rewards program allows eligible bank or credit card customers to earn ThankYou Points, a flexible rewards currency, on purchases made with certain Citi credit cards. And, although the Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards programs both offer more cards that earn their respective currencies, the Citi ThankYou Points are still valuable and easy to earn. 

You can earn Citi ThankYou Points by opening new credit cards and earning sign-up bonuses, paying for everyday purchases with eligible credit cards and also by holding Citi checking accounts. You can redeem the accumulated points through Citi’s ThankYou Rewards portal or by transferring them to one of Citi’s airline partners. 

However, there are a few issues that make Citi’s rewards system a bit difficult to navigate. Your redemption options vary based on what Citi card you have. Your access to points transfers to Citi’s travel partners also depends on what card you have. Additionally, points values can vary widely across the program. 

ThankYou Points have a ton of value and versatility if you know how to use them correctly. Let’s take a look at the best ways to earn and use Citi ThankYou Points. 

Earning Citi ThankYou Points

You can earn Citi ThankYou Points by using five personal credit cards issued by Citibank to new applicants. Each of these cards offers different benefits, annual fees, earnings rates and sign-up bonuses. 

The following credit cards earn Citi ThankYou Points: 

  • AT&T Access Card from Citi: $0 annual fee. Earn 2X ThankYou Points per dollar at AT&T, eligible online retail and eligible travel websites, and 1X point on all other purchases.
  • Citi Custom Cash℠ Card: $0 annual fee. Earn 5X ThankYou Points per dollar on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle (on the first $500 spent each month) and 1X point on all other purchases. 
  • Citi® Double Cash Card: $0 annual fee. Earn 2X ThankYou Points per dollar on all purchases—1X point per dollar when you make a purchase and 1X point when you pay off the balance. 
  • Citi Premier® Card: $95 annual fee. Earn 3X ThankYou Points at restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, air travel and hotels, and 1X point on all other purchases.
  • Citi Rewards+® Card: $0 annual fee. Earn 2X ThankYou Points per dollar at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 in spending per year and 1X point on all other purchases. 
Citi Double Cash

Citi® Double Cash Card

For a limited time, earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first six months.

LEARN MORE 

Citi Premier® Card

Earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

LEARN MORE 

The Citi Double Cash card holders should be aware that this card earns cash back in the form of ThankYou Points, which means that your transfer options with this card are limited to JetBlue TrueBlue and hotel partners.

However, if you combine the Citi Double Cash card with one of Citi’s travel cards (such as the Citi Prestige® Card or the Citi Premier® Card), you can transfer the ThankYou Points you earned with your Double Cash card to the other card and then use them as full-fledged ThankYou Points. 

Several Citi personal credit cards that aren’t available to new applicants also earn Citi ThankYou Points. The following cards are discontinued or not available to new applicants, but you can still earn and redeem ThankYou Points by holding these cards:

  • Citi Prestige® Card: $95 annual fee. Earn 5X ThankYou Points per dollar on air travel and restaurants, 3X points on hotels and cruises, and 1X point on all other purchases.
  • Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card: $0 annual fee. Earn 2X ThankYou Points per dollar on restaurants and entertainment, and 1X point on all other purchases. 
  • Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students: $0 annual fee. Earn 2X ThankYou Points per dollar on restaurants and entertainment, and 1X point on all other eligible purchases. 
  • AT&T Access More Mastercard from Citi: $95 annual fee. Earn 3X ThankYou Points per dollar at AT&T, eligible online retail and eligible travel websites, and 1X point on all other purchases. 

Occasionally, Citi sends emails to cardholders for limited-time targeted offers for certain spending categories. For instance, although the Citi Rewards+ Card usually rewards you with 1X ThankYou Point at restaurants, the bank might run an email promotion and offer 2X points per dollar spent for the month of July instead. 

Citi may also make offers for adding an authorized user to your card. However, most of the time, you have to meet a spending requirement for that authorized user, so make sure to read the fine print. 

Other Ways to Earn Citi ThankYou Points

Citi also offers the option to buy ThankYou Points. However, the bank sells them for more than the points are worth. You can buy them for 2.5 cents each in increments of 1,000 points. 

There are times when buying Citi ThankYou Points can make sense. For example, you need just a few thousand points for a certain redemption through the Citi ThankYou Rewards portal that you’re afraid is going to get booked. If you don’t have enough points, Citi will let you make up the difference in cash. And, in some cases, that’s an even better deal than purchasing the difference in points. 

You could also be eligible to earn ThankYou Points if you have a checking account with Citibank. To earn points, you need to enroll in the program and then complete one qualifying direct deposit and one qualifying bill payment each statement period. 

The following Citibank checking accounts earn ThankYou Points: 

  • Citi Priority
  • Citi Private Bank 
  • Citibank®
  • Citigold®

If you have a home equity loan, personal loan, savings or money market account or mortgage linked to your Citi checking account, you could be eligible to earn even more ThankYou Points. 

Combining Citi ThankYou Points

This is where things get a little complicated. If you have the Custom Cash Card, the AT&T Access Card or the Rewards+ Card, you can earn ThankYou Points, but only the Prestige Card and the Premier Card allow point transfers to all travel partners. 

The Citi Double Cash Card earns ThankYou Points but has the option to transfer points only to JetBlue and any of Citi’s hotel partners. 

There is a workaround to this, though. Citi allows you to combine ThankYou Points from different Citi credit card accounts. So, if you have a bunch of points saved up in your Citi Custom Cash account (or any other Citi credit card account), it might make sense to sign up for the Citi Premier Card and then transfer the points from the Custom Cash account over to the Citi Premier account so that you can use them with any transfer partner. 

You can combine your points by calling Citi ThankYou Rewards and requesting to combine your points.

You can also do so on the Citi ThankYou Rewards website by clicking on “Points Summary” in the drop-down menu and then clicking on “Combine My Accounts.” Finally, choose the accounts you want to combine, review and confirm the transaction.

Sharing Citi ThankYou Points

The “Point Sharing” feature gives you the option to share points between two Citi card  members. This is especially useful if you’re only a few thousand points away from a specific redemption, and a friend or family member is willing to send you some points to make up the difference. 

This feature allows account holders to send and receive up to 100,000 points per calendar year. You should be aware that points that have been shared will expire 90 days after they’re received. 

To share your points, you can go on the Citi ThankYou Rewards website, hover over the “More Ways to Redeem” button and then choose “Points Sharing” from the drop-down menu. 

When sharing points, you can only send points from your points to someone else. You can’t initiate a transaction in which you receive points. To send points to another member, you will need their first and last name as well as a Citi ThankYou member account number or a Citi account number from a credit card or a checking account. 

Once you share the rewards, the points will be moved to the other user’s account immediately. You won’t be able to reverse the transaction. And, because of the 90-day expiration period, we recommend that you don’t share points unless you have your eyes on a specific redemption. 

Redeeming Citi ThankYou Points

When you go on the Citi ThankYou Rewards website, you’ll see many different options for redeeming your points. However, the value of your points will vary widely depending on what you choose to redeem them for and what type of card you hold. 

High-value redemptions include booking travel through the ThankYou Rewards travel portal or transferring your points to one of Citi’s travel partners. Low-value redemptions include statement credit, gift cards or buying merchandise online through the “Shop with Points” portal.

Transferring Citi ThankYou Points to Travel Partners

The most lucrative way to use your ThankYou Points is to transfer them to one of Citi’s partnered loyalty programs. 

When transferring them to a travel partner, your points should be worth an average of about 1.5 cents per point, which is far superior to the value of any other redemption you can make with Citi ThankYou Points. You can transfer points to partner programs in increments of 1,000. 

On top of that, certain airline or hotel loyalty programs often run transfer bonus promotions or award sales. When this happens, you can convert your ThankYou Points into the program and get an even better value per point. 

Make sure to keep up to date with any deals offered by Citi’s transfer partners. Citi’s list of transfer partners includes: 

  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Etihad Guest 
  • EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
  • Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer
  • Jet Airways InterMiles
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Qantas Airways Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

One excellent way to use your Citi ThankYou Points is to transfer them to the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club program and then redeem your Virgin Points for Delta Air Lines flights.

Since Delta has a large ownership stake in Virgin Atlantic, you can book a wide variety of Delta flights directly through the Flying Club rewards portal. For instance, you can use Virgin Points to book a round-trip flight to Europe in a super-luxurious Delta One business-class suite for as few as 100,000 points. That’s an excellent value. 

Booking Through Citi ThankYou Rewards Travel Portal

The Citi ThankYou Rewards travel portal provides a simple and easy way to book flights, hotels, rental cars and attractions online using your ThankYou Points. You can’t book cruises or vacation packages through the portal, but you can do so by calling 1-800-842-6596. 

The ThankYou Rewards travel portal works just like any other online travel agency. You can search the dates and location of the booking you want to make, and then the portal will pull up your options.

When it comes time to pay, you can either pay with points or with your Citi credit card or a combination of the two. You can make a partial payment with points and, if there is any remainder, it will be charged to your Citi credit card. Whether you’re paying entirely with ThankYou Points or with a combination of ThankYou Points and a credit card, your points will be worth 1 cent each. 

If you’re paying with both points and a credit card, you can use any credit card. It doesn’t have to be a Citi card or even your card. For instance, if you want to split the cost of a hotel room with another person and pay your portion using points, they can enter their own credit card and pay their portion that way. 

You should be aware that any changes or cancellations must be made through the Citi ThankYou Rewards portal. 

If you’re booking an airline ticket with points through the ThankYou Rewards portal, you can still earn frequent-flyer miles, and your elite benefits will still be honored. 

If you’re booking a hotel stay, on the other hand, you can’t earn points, and your elite benefits won’t be recognized. Only direct hotel booking are eligible for points accrual or loyalty benefits. 

Redeeming for Cash Back

You can request a cashback redemption in the form of a check, a statement credit or a deposit into a bank account. 

Typically, redeeming points for cash back is going to yield a low value of 1 cent per point, so you’re better off redeeming your points by transferring to partners. 

Redeeming for Gift Cards

You also have the option to redeem your points for a gift card through the ThankYou Rewards portal. You can opt for an electronic gift card mailed to you immediately or a physical gift card mailed to you in one to three weeks. 

Most of the merchant gift cards are available once you earn at least 2,500 points and come in $25, $50 or $100 denominations. Citi offers gift cards from a long list of well-known brands, including Lowe’s, Macy’s, L.L. Bean, Carnival Cruise Lines, Target, Starbucks, Microsoft Xbox, Spotify, AMC Theatres and many more. 

Unfortunately, the value that you receive when you redeem points for a gift card is also low at 1 cent per point. 

Redeeming for Charitable Contribution

Citi also gives you the option to redeem your points for a charitable contribution to either American Red Cross Disaster Relief Services, American Red Cross International Services or Smile Train. The minimum donation is 2,500 for $25, and you can donate in increments of $25, $50 or $100. 

Using Shop with Points 

Another way to redeem your points is to use them for online shopping through Shop with Points. This portal allows you to use points to pay for online purchases made from partnered retailers, including Amazon.

While using your points in this way typically doesn’t offer as much value as other redemption options at only 0.8 cents per point, Citi’s partnered retailers will occasionally run promotions that will give you decent value. Still, it’s usually not a great way to use your points. 

Do Citi ThankYou Points Expire?

Citi ThankYou Points don’t expire as long as the account is still open. If you close the account, you will have 30 days to spend your points before they expire. 

If you have ThankYou Points that you earned with a Citi checking account, they expire three years from Dec. 31 of the year you earned them. For example, if you earn ThankYou Points in April 2022, they will not expire until Dec. 31, 2025. 

Bottom Line

One of the best things about Citi ThankYou Points is that they provide so many different redemption options. However, some of these redemption methods offer far greater value than others. 

If you understand how to take advantage of targeted category spending bonuses and sign-up bonuses to rack up points quickly, a card that earns Citi ThankYou Points might be a great addition to your wallet, especially if you plan to redeem those points by transferring them to one of Citi’s travel partners. 

If you don’t do much traveling, the Citi ThankYou Rewards program might not be for you. Outside of their own travel portal and transfers to travel partners, Citi’s redemption values are pretty mediocre.