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Best Ways To Redeem Citi ThankYou Points

10 min read

How to maximize Citi ThankYou Rewards

Best Citi credit cards for earning ThankYou points

Citi Premier® Card

  • Rewards

    3X points per $1 spent at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, and on hotels and air travel, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

  • Regular APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    5% of each balance transfer, $5 minimum

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Citi Rewards+® Card

  • Rewards

    For a limited time, earn 5 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on hotel, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ Portal through June 30, 2024. 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

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 25,000 bonus points after you spend $1,500 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $250 in gift cards at thankyou.com

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months from date of first transfer and on purchases from date of account opening.

  • Regular APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5)

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

  • Rewards

    5% cash back on purchases in top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent (then 1%); unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for first 15 months

  • Regular APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    5% of each balance transfer ($5 minimum)

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Citi® Double Cash Card

  • Rewards

    2% cash back: 1% on all eligible purchases and an additional 1% after you pay your credit card bill

  • Welcome bonus

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 18 months on balance transfers; N/A for purchases

  • Regular APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    For balance transfers completed within 4 months of account opening, an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies; after that, a balance transfer fee of 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Citi used to also award ThankYou points to certain checking account holders but closed enrollment for this benefit in July 2022.

Best ways to use Citi ThankYou points

Economy flights between the East Coast and Hawaii typically cost $300 to $400, so you’re getting a value of roughly four to five cents per point after you account for taxes.

Fly to Europe in business class

International business-class flights can cost thousands of dollars, so using your credit card rewards to book these awards can unlock exceptional value. The best airline program for booking business-class awards depends on where you want to go, but Citi partners with several loyalty programs that have great business-class award prices to Europe, including Avianca LifeMiles, Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

You can book awards with Star Alliance partner airlines through Avianca or Turkish Airlines. Turkish charges 45,000 miles for one-way business-class flights from the U.S. to Europe, while LifeMiles typically charges 63,000 miles, although it sometimes varies.

Virgin Atlantic is a member of the SkyTeam alliance and has separate award charts for each partner airline. The best options for using Virgin Atlantic points to book business-class flights to Europe are Air France, KLM and Delta. It costs 50,000 Virgin points one-way for a nonstop business-class award to Europe on Delta and 48,500 points one-way for an off-peak award with Air France or KLM (58,500 points during peak dates).

This award flight would cost nearly $3,600, which means you’re getting a value of just under seven cents per point after accounting for the $275 in taxes.

Aside from the points or miles you pay for a business-class award, it’s also important to pay attention to the taxes and fees. The fees you pay vary depending on where you’re flying and which airline, or airlines, you’re flying with. To save on taxes avoid booking award flights through the U.K. or book with a program like Avianca LifeMiles because it doesn’t add fuel surcharges to award flights.

Book cheap domestic flights

For only 15,000 ThankYou points (or less) you can book domestic awards on United, Delta and more. You can book United by transferring points to Avianca or Turkish Airlines. Turkish Airlines charges 7,500 for a one-way award and Avianca typically charges 6,500 to 12,500 miles for one-way domestic awards.

To book flights on Delta, transfer miles to Virgin Atlantic. Virgin Atlantic operates a distance-based award chart for domestic Delta flights and charges per flight segment, so trips with a connection cost more. Flight segments start at 7,500 miles (under 500 miles) and go up to 15,000 miles (segments between 2,001-3,000).

JetBlue TrueBlue can be a good option for cheap flights because it prices award flights dynamically. You’ll typically get around 1.1 to 1.5 cents per point depending on the flight you book.

If you’d like to book flights without transferring points to a partner, you can pay for flights through the Citi ThankYou site at a fixed rate of one cent per point. This is a solid option when cash fares are low, plus you’ll earn miles on the flight.

Book free nights in hotels or vacation rentals

Generally, transferring points to Citi’s hotel partners is less valuable than using your points for flights. However, airfare is only one cost associated with traveling, and being able to offset the cost of lodging with your credit card rewards or hotel points is useful. And there are specific hotel redemptions that can be more lucrative.

Citi points transfer to Choice Hotels at a 1:2 ratio (with the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige cards, 1:1.5 otherwise) and certain Choice Hotels awards can be very valuable. Choice Hotels has a large footprint in Scandinavian countries, where other chains aren’t as common and points bookings can be a great deal.

At the time of writing, there are a handful of Choice Hotels available in Oslo, Norway for 16,000 Choice points per night. These hotels cost between $122 and $153 per night, which is a value of 1.5 to 1.9 cents per point once you factor in Citi’s 1:2 transfer ratio. Choice Hotels also runs the Sweet Spots promotion, which features discounted award rates at select hotels and can yield similar values per point.

Wyndham charges 7,500, 15,000 or 30,000 points per night and Citi points transfer to Wyndham at a 1:1 ratio (with the Citi Premier and Prestige cards, otherwise 1:0.8). At more expensive hotels, Wyndham points can yield a higher value. The Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach, for example, costs 30,000 points per night and can easily cost over $400 a night, which is a value of 1.33 cents per point.

You can even use Wyndham points to book vacation rentals with Vacasa for 15,000 per night per bedroom. This is a great option for family vacations and can often yield a value of two cents per point or more. As a side note, you to call Wyndham Rewards at 800-441-1034 to book Vacasa rentals.

However, you’ll often get less than one cent per point in value for Wyndham bookings. In that situation, it’s better to cash out your ThankYou points for one cent each in statement credits and use that money to book the hotel.

Fly some of the best first-class seats

James D. Morgan | Getty Images News | Getty Images

First-class awards can be hard to find and require you to save up more points compared to other redemptions. But you can book some of the best first-class flights in the world with ThankYou points, including Emirates first class and Singapore Airlines first class. The best way to book these exclusive awards is by transferring points directly to Emirates Skywards or Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.

Emirates doesn’t have an award chart but you can use its miles calculator to find the price of any award itinerary. One of the best deals in first-class is flying from New York to Milan, which costs 102,00 miles and $104 one-way. The cash price of this flight is normally $11,000+, that’s a value of over nine cents per point.

Singapore Airlines has a zone-based award chart, so you’ll always know exactly how many points you need for an award. One of the best first-class redemptions is from New York to Frankfurt for 97,000 miles, while other first-class flights cost 140,000 or more.

Although these first-class awards cost more points, it’s easier to collect Emirates and Singapore miles than you may think. In addition to Citi points, you can transfer points to either airline from other popular rewards programs, like Chase, Amex and Capital One. So you can open travel credit cards from different banks and transfer all those points to a single airline.

How to avoid less valuable ThankYou points redemptions

What are Citi ThankYou points worth?

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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