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Citi ThankYou Points Cheat Sheet – How to Use Them for Travel
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With more than a dozen travel partners and the higher-end cards offering bonus value, there are many ways to redeem your ThankYou Points. Our partner Citi has multiple credit cards that let you earn points and the potential for monthly bonuses for banking relationships, making this program easy to earn rewards. This guide will educate you on how to earn more rewards with the right credit card and explain which options give you the best value.
Which credit cards earn Citi ThankYou Points?
There are four Citi cards to choose from.
|Credit cards that earn Citi ThankYou points|
|Credit card||Bonus offer||Rewards earning structure||Annual fee|
|Citi Rewards+® Card||Earn 20,000 bonus points after you spend $1,500 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $200 in gift cards at thankyou.com||Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X ThankYou® Points on All Other Purchases.||$0|
|Citi Premier® Card||Earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening||Earn 3X points per $1 spent at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels and 1X per $1 spent on all other purchases||$95|
|Citi Prestige® Credit Card||Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening.||Earn 5x points at restaurants and for air travel purchases, 3x for hotel and cruise purchases, and 1x for all other purchases||$495|
|Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card||Earn 2,500 bonus points after you spend $500 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for a $25 gift card at thankyou.com||2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases||$0|
In addition to the cards listed, you can earn program rewards with the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer in a limited way. You can transfer rewards earned with this card to the Citi ThankYou program if you also have the Citi Prestige® Credit Card or the Citi Premier® Card. If you do carry the Citi Prestige® Credit Card or the Citi Premier® Card, then you can move rewards earned with the Citi® Double Cash Card to either of the two cards mentioned.
If you opt to only carry the Citi® Double Cash Card , you can earn rewards redeemable for statement credits or a single transfer partner, JetBlue. You can see in the chart below that JetBlue lets you transfer points from the Citi® Double Cash Card at a reduced transfer ratio.
How can I use ThankYou Points for travel?
Citi ThankYou Points can be used for travel by either booking through Citi’s travel portal or transferring points to ThankYou airline transfer partners. In addition to transferring points to airline partners, ThankYou Points can also be redeemed through the travel center for other travel expenditures such as airfare, hotels, car rentals, cruises and activities. Just log into your account and click on the travel options.
Point transfer partners and how long transfers take
Citi has quite a few transfer partners. Point transfers can take different amounts of time depending on the program to which you’re transferring. Here is a breakdown:
|Transfer times with Citi partners|
|Program||Transfer ratio||Transfer time|
|Aeromexico Club Premier||1,000:1,000||Instant|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue||1,000:1,000||Instant|
|Asia Miles||1,000:1,000||1-2 days|
|Etihad Guest||1,000:1,000||3-7 days|
|EVA Air Infinity MileageLands||1,000:1,000||1-3 days|
|JetBlue TrueBlue||1,000:1,000 or 1,000:800 for Citi Rewards+® Card and Citi® Double Cash Card cardmembers||Instant|
|Malaysia Airlines Enrich||1,000:1,000||1-2 days|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||1,000:1,000||1-2 days|
|Qatar Airways Privilege Club||1,000:1,000||1-2 days|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||1,000:1,000||1-2 days|
|Thai Royal Orchid Plus||1,000:1,000||3-7 days|
|Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles||1,000:1,000||1-2 days|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1,000:1,000||1-2 days|
Pros and cons for point transfer partners
Each transfer partner has its own program advantages and disadvantages. Below, we highlight the Citi ThankYou Point transfer partners, along with pros and cons of each.
Aeromexico Club Premier
- Pros: Aeromexico offers some excellent redemptions within Mexico for premier class — its business class product — during what it considers “low season.” You can fly round trip in premier class within Mexico for only 56,000 miles depending on availability during off-peak travel times, which typically includes flights booked outside summer travel season and the winter holidays.
- Cons: Flights from the U.S. to Mexico are not overly affordable with this program no matter the season you travel. You’ll pay 56,000 miles to fly round-trip economy from the U.S. to Mexico during low season (60,000 during high season) and 104,000 miles round trip in premier class during low season (112,000 during high season).
Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- Pros: Flying Blue offers very reasonable rates from North America to Europe. Europe is accessible for as little as 22,000 miles (and sometimes less) one-way in economy. Using Flying Blue for flights to Hawaii from the West Coast is also a good value, starting at 17,500 points in economy one-way or 43,000 points in business one-way. The airline occasionally offers promo awards, which can reduce flight prices by up to 50% from specific cities.
- Cons: First class La Premiere miles are only available to select Flying Blue elite members. That means unless you fly a lot on Air France and KLM or make them your primary mileage program, you may not get access to the best seats on the airplane. Also, flying in business class can be costly.
- Pros: You can get great value by flying from the West Coast to Hong Kong: Premium economy flights start at 45,000 miles, or 70,000 miles in business. Also, miles can be used for awards on more than 20 airlines, including oneworld partners and Alaska Airlines. You can also pay for ticket-change fees in miles.
- Cons: Asia Miles is one of the most complicated programs to use, and getting award tickets is not easy. Only a handful of partners are available online. For the rest (including American Airlines), you will have to submit an airline award request form to start the process. Fuel surcharges may also apply on partner airline award tickets, adding to your total cost.
- Pros: Avianca LifeMiles is part of the Star Alliance, so you can use your miles to book with 28 airline partners. Avianca LifeMiles also offers occasional bonuses on purchased miles. If you needed to top off toward an award, Avianca LifeMiles might offer you the best option.
- Cons: As a South American carrier with award rules based on distance, finding a route that works for your budget can be difficult. Further, some routes may be prohibitively expensive, such as flights between the mainland U.S. and Hawaii on United Airlines at 45,000 miles round trip in economy.
- Pros: Etihad is known for its luxury first class and business class products aboard select flights. Awards price out by segment, so you could fly into an airport on another carrier, and then use your miles for a premium product for a low price. Etihad Guest miles can also be used for cheap redemptions on other partners for specific routes. On American Airlines, 12,500 miles will get you a one-way economy flight in the U.S. and 50,000 miles can get a one-way business-class ticket from the U.S. to Asia.
- Cons: Etihad Guest awards for luxury products are notorious for being expensive and may add fuel surcharges, making it hard to redeem miles with credit card points. Another hurdle is that partner award flights cannot be booked online. They must be reserved over the phone.
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
- Pros: You can use miles to book an around-the-world travel ticket. This type of ticket lets you redeem a reduced number of miles for an award flight that takes you to several destinations around the globe on a single trip. Certain conditions apply.
- Cons: Infinity MileageLands comes with a dizzying array of rules when it comes to redeeming miles. This partner also fails to offer an official award chart online, which means you’ll need to do significant research before you can book a flight with EVA Air or one of its partners.
- Pros: InterMiles (formerly JetPrivilege) lets you book on a multitude of airline partners, ranging from Etihad to Korean Air to United Airlines.
- Cons: Jet Airways has made the headlines with news of its financial trouble over the past few years, which may make you feel uneasy about using miles in this program. Pricing can also be high when you book with miles. For example, you’ll pay 40,000 to 50,000 miles one-way to fly from the U.S. to Europe.
- Pros: JetBlue points are valued between 1 and 1.5 cents per point, and most flights are available with points. Also, the airline offers its branded premium travel experience, Mint. Points are redeemable for both JetBlue and Hawaiian Airlines flights.
- Cons: JetBlue’s route map is fairly limited, with destinations around the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean, plus select destinations in Central and South America. The airline also offers few partners, meaning your miles may not get you very far.
Malaysia Airlines Enrich
- Pros: Enrich offers rewards based on travel class and distance, giving some interesting possibilities for economy and business redemptions. For one-way flights on Malaysia Airlines of less than 600 miles in distance, prices start at just 8,000 miles.
- Cons: Much like other foreign carriers, Malaysia Airlines awards must either be redeemed by calling the Malaysia Airlines call center or visiting a Malaysia Airlines ticketing office. While it does have a 1-800 number in the U.S., redeeming your miles may be challenging.
Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Pros: Qantas lets you book limited seats on Qantas and Jetstar, along with 37 partner airlines and affiliates. “Any Seat Awards” with better availability are also available. If you are flying inside Australia, Frequent Flyer miles offer a good value: one-way awards start at 8,000 miles in economy. Qantas Frequent Flyer also has some pretty lenient rules about booking flights, including up to five stopovers per itinerary on oneworld partners.
- Cons: Australian flyers often use their miles for short-haul flights or upgrades, because there are a lot of reports of poor availability for long-haul flights.
Qatar Airways Privilege Club
- Pros: Qmiles offers interesting opportunities for flying through Doha, Qatar, as well as upgrading on paid flights. Round-trip flights can be affordable in miles depending on where you fly. A round-trip economy award from Rome to Doha starts at just 58,000 miles. Round-trip flights from Istanbul to Doha start at just 42,000 miles in economy.
- Cons: Flights from the U.S. can be pricey with this loyalty program. New York City to Doha starts at 101,500 miles round trip in economy.
- Pros: KrisFlyer miles can be used to book Star Alliance carriers, along with partner airlines Alaska Airlines and Virgin Australia (and others). Redemption values can be good for many of its premium cabin itineraries. You can fly from New York City to Frankfurt, Germany, with a First Saver Award Ticket starting at 86,000 miles one-way. Even better, KrisFlyer is one of the few places where you can transfer all your flexible points (including Chase Ultimate Rewards®, American Express Membership Rewards® and Citi ThankYou Points) at a 1:1 ratio.
- Cons: Flights aboard partners can be expensive. The best use of KrisFlyer miles is for international premium class and upper class flights, so you should not transfer your miles if you can’t use them for those super premium flights.
Thai Royal Orchid Plus
- Pros: Thai Royal Orchid offers awards based on distance, which can be lucrative if you are flying from Thailand and want to take a side trip somewhere else in Asia. Also, there are some limited sweet spots on the Star Alliance award chart: 35,000 Royal Orchid Plus miles can get a domestic economy round trip in North America.
- Cons: Thai Airways’ frequent-flyer program has become insanely complex with an array of different redemption levels for flights in various “zones,” as well as different fares. Even within Asia, cities are split across multiple zones that can make figuring out the price of an award flight a real chore.
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
- Pros: Turkish Airlines offers relatively low costs for Star Alliance partner flights. North America flights — which include Canada and Mexico — aboard Star Alliance partners are only 20,000 miles round trip in economy and 30,000 miles in business. The program allows redemptions for companion tickets, letting you to take someone along in the same class you hold a paid ticket for fewer miles than a single award ticket.
- Cons: Using Turkish Airlines miles to fly to North America from Europe and other regions can be pricey. You’ll pay at least 95,000 miles round-trip in economy to fly from Europe to North America, or 105,000 miles to fly round trip in economy from the Middle East to North America.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Pros: Virgin Atlantic miles are among our favorites because they can be redeemed for exceptional value for Delta business class or Virgin Atlantic Upper Class. The best redemptions come on international flights aboard Delta: 100,000 points for a round-trip business class flight from the U.S. to Europe, or 90,000 miles from the U.S. to South America.
- Cons: Virgin Atlantic prices its award charts based on peak seasons, and it splits the United States based on region. Because fuel surcharges can be so expensive, booking an economy award may be a lower value than paying cash for a ticket in some cases. If you used miles to fly from the United Kingdom to the Northeast U.S., you would pay taxes, fees and carrier-imposed charges starting at $435 in economy.
How to link transfer partners
Linking airline transfer partners to your Citi ThankYou Points account is easy. First, log in to your account at thankyou.com, hover over “Travel” on the menu and click “Points Transfer.”
From there, you can click “Transfer Now” next to any transfer partner and enter your transfer partner information.
You also have the option to have Citi remember your transfer partner account information, so you don’t need to enter it every time.
What are the best ways to use Citi ThankYou Points?
With so many transfer partners, you have plenty of good options for your Citi ThankYou Points. Some of the best redemptions available include:
|Best redemption values|
|Continental U.S. to Hawaii one-way||For 17,500 Singapore Airlines miles in economy, this makes Singapore Airlines one of the best options for flights to Hawaii.|
|Virgin Atlantic Upper Class from the U.S. to Europe||Transfer miles to the Virgin Atlantic program, which lets you fly round trip to Europe on Delta in business class for 100,000 miles.|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue to Israel and Northern Africa||Air France/KLM Flying Blue has some weird region definitions. It considers Algeria, Israel, Morocco, Tunisia and the Canary Islands to be part of Europe, which can offer some incredible prices to these destinations.|
|John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to Brussels in business class||Brussels Airlines business class can be affordable with Etihad miles. You can fly business class from Brussels to Mumbai for only 48,000 miles. Brussels to JFK is only 44,000 miles in business class.|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue economy from the mainland U.S. to Europe||For as little as 21,500 miles one-way on select dates, this is one of the least expensive ways to get to Europe with miles.|
How does the Citi ThankYou travel site work?
Using your points to book directly with Citi is simple. You can log in to your Citi ThankYou account at thankyou.com. Hover over “Travel” on the menu and then click “Flights.”
From there, you can enter the information for a flight itinerary you would like to take, and Citi’s search engine will come back with flight options for you.
When Citi ThankYou Points are redeemed through Citi’s travel portal for flights, they are worth different amounts depending on which Citi card you have:
- Citi Premier® Card : 1.25 cents per mile
- All other Citi ThankYou Points-earning credit cards: 1 cent per mile
Can you use Citi ThankYou Points for any airline?
You can use Citi ThankYou Points for many airlines, but not all airlines. Citi ThankYou Points can be used to book any airline that is available through Citi’s portal or Citi’s airline transfer partners, often including the alliance and non-alliance partners of Citi’s airline transfer partners.
This list will include many airlines with which you’re familiar, including Air France and Singapore Airlines, as well as some airlines you might not know, including Belavia.
Some airlines, including low-cost carriers, are not bookable with Citi’s transfer partners or directly through the portal.
Do you earn miles for flights booked with the Citi travel portal?
Yes. You will earn miles for flights that are booked through Citi’s travel portal, but the number of miles you earn will depend on what fare class you have booked and the airline to which you are crediting the flight. When you book flights with points through the Citi portal, make sure you add your frequent-flyer number to your reservation.
Should you transfer points or book via Citi?
As with many things points- and miles-related, it depends on what option works out to be a better deal. Before transferring any points, you should compare the price of a flight booked with cash (or cash equivalents) and the cost of flights booked with miles.
To find award flight availability, visit the award program website you are considering and search for prices there. In some situations, using a partner website can provide you better information than the award program website. Finding the cost of booking a cash flight with your points is easy: Plug in your travel itinerary to Citi’s travel portal and see what it shows.
Flights booked with miles that have been transferred to a transfer partner will not earn miles, but flights booked directly through Citi’s travel portal most likely will. Also, not all airlines are available for booking on Citi’s travel portal, so there could be a less expensive flight available that can be booked through another site without points or miles.
What are Citi ThankYou Points worth?
The minimum value of Citi ThankYou Points depends on which Citi ThankYou Point-earning credit card you have. If you have the Citi Premier® Card, the minimum redemption should be at least 1.25 cents per point when you book flights. All other Citi ThankYou-eligible cards should have a minimum redemption of 1 cent per point for airfare.
If you transfer your points to airline partners, you can easily get more value for your points. We generally won’t redeem our Citi ThankYou points for less than 1.5 cents each, and prefer redemptions close to (or over) 2 cents per point.
Can points be used for cash back, gift cards and merchandise?
Both cash rewards and gift card redemptions are possible, but the rates are not as good. Check your options below.
ThankYou Pay with Points
You can use Citi ThankYou Points to pay for spending in seven categories:
- Grocery stores
- Clothing/department stores
This isn’t a good way to use your points since you’ll typically get less than one cent per point in value with this option.
ThankYou cash rewards
Your Citi ThankYou Points can also be turned into cash back. When electing to get cash back, you can typically get 1 cent per point in value.
ThankYou Points for gift cards
No matter which Citi ThankYou Points-earning credit card you hold, you can use those points to get gift cards at the same rate as low-end travel through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center: 1 cent per point.
ThankYou Online Bill Pay with Points
If you have a qualifying Citi bank account, your Citi ThankYou Points can also be applied to paying your bills online. However, this really isn’t a good way to spend points. When applied to online bill pay, your value is only 65 cents per point.
ThankYou Points for mortgage or student loan payments
One of the unique advantages Citi ThankYou Points offers is the ability to use them to pay your mortgage or student loan at the same rate as baseline travel: 1 cent per point.
Mortgage rewards are issued as a check made out to the financial lending institution, while student loan rewards can be applied to any student loan program financial institution.
If you don’t have any travel planned in the future, this could be a good way to use your points, but remember that travel rewards may often yield a better return.
Using ThankYou Points for retail purchases
Through a partnership, it’s possible to use your Citi ThankYou Points at Amazon.com, Best Buy, Expedia, Live Nation and 1-800-Flowers.com. But even with these partners, your choices are limited:
- Best Buy: You can use points to purchase items at Best Buy, and then pick them up in store or have them shipped to your home.
- Amazon.com: When you link your Citi ThankYou Points-earning card to your Amazon.com account, you can use points to pay for purchases. Points can’t be used for certain music and movie downloads, select gift certificates, Kindle downloads, subscribe-and-save items, Amazon Local items, Amazon Fresh purchases or at other Amazon sites, including Zappos.
- Expedia: You can use Citi ThankYou Points only for “Pay Now” hotel bookings only.
- Live Nation: You can purchase concert tickets with Citi ThankYou Points when you link your Citi card to your Live Nation account.
You will typically get a poor value with each of these options. You’ll only get around 0.8 cents per point toward each purchase, or $10 in value for every 1,250 ThankYou Points.
If you use your Citi ThankYou Points for travel, you should be able to get at least 1.2 cents per point on your redemptions, but we usually strive for closer to 2 cents per point. If you redeem your points at Amazon.com, Best Buy or Live Nation, you’re leaving money on the table. The only place you may want to consider is Expedia, but only if you can get a better deal than booking a hotel through the ThankYou Travel Center.
Does Citi offer an online shopping portal to earn more bonus points?
Citi used to offer an online shopping portal, but the program was discontinued in 2014.
Can you buy Citi ThankYou Points?
Yes, it is possible to buy Citi ThankYou Points by calling 1-800-THANKYOU. Points can be purchased in 1,000-point increments for $25.
It’s generally not a good idea to buy Citi ThankYou Points at this rate because you’re effectively buying points for 2.5 cents each, which is higher than our valuation of Citi ThankYou Points. But if you have a specific redemption in mind but don’t have enough points, it could be worth considering making this purchase, especially when you will get more than 2.5 cents per point in value.
It could be less expensive to purchase airline miles directly from the airline to which you plan to transfer your points.
Can you transfer points to other people?
It is possible to transfer your Citi ThankYou Points to other people, but there are a few restrictions. You can only receive and share a total of 100,000 points per calendar year, and the points that are transferred expire in 90 days.
Transferred points cannot be transferred back or shared with anyone else, so you should only transfer points if you have an immediate use for them.
It is also not possible to transfer taxable points, which are points earned through bank account bonuses (more on that below).
Can you combine points across multiple accounts?
Yes, you can combine points across multiple accounts in the same way that you can transfer points to other people. Remember that transferred points expire after 90 days, so make sure you have an immediate use for your points before you combine them.
Is it possible to borrow Citi ThankYou Points?
There is no official way to borrow Citi ThankYou Points. If you need more points to make a redemption, your best options are to apply for a new credit card that earns Citi ThankYou Points or spend on a credit card you already have to earn the points needed.
You can also buy Citi ThankYou Points at a rate of 2.5 cents per point in increments of 1,000 points, but this is likely to be a higher price than the value you will get out of your points.
Earn points with banking offers
If you have a select bank account with Citi, you could earn even more Citi ThankYou bonus points every month. The table below shows how you can earn monthly points with a Citibank account:
Do Citi ThankYou Points expire?
Unless otherwise noted in your account, points earned in this program will expire three years from the end of the year in which they were awarded to you. Also, remember that points someone shares with you will expire after 90 days if you don’t use them.
The information related to the Citi Prestige® Credit Card and Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card has been independently collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.