Citi ThankYou Rewards Review and Guide

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Now that Citi ThankYou points can be transferred 1 to 2 to Choice, I’ve personally doubled down on the program.  I use my Citi Prestige card (no longer available to new applicants) to earn 5x for dining, my two Custom Cash cards to earn 5x at grocery stores, and (sometimes) my Double Cash card for 2x everywhere else.  ThankYou Rewards points still aren’t my favorite points to earn (I’ll take Chase Ultimate Rewards points over Citi points for the ability to transfer to Hyatt) nor is it the easiest to earn in large numbers (thank you Amex Membership Rewards), but with the right cards, Citi offers great rewards for your spend and enough sweet-spot awards to keep me happy with this as my back-up transferable points program.

Since last publication, this guide has been thoroughly updated, and I’ve added a brand new section with my overall review of the ThankYou Rewards program.
The combination of cards shown above is pretty awesome. Earn 5x in one category with the Custom Cash Card, earn 3x in multiple categories with the Premier card, earn 2X everywhere else with the Double Cash card, and get a 10% rebate on point redemptions with the Rewards+ card!

Citi ThankYou Rewards points can be transferred to airline partners, used to pay for travel or merchandise, redeemed to pay bills, or converted to cash back.  Citi ThankYou Rewards competes directly with three other bank issued transferable points programs: Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, and Capital One “Miles”

Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about ThankYou Rewards.

ThankYou Rewards Review

Citibank’s transferable points program is tantalizingly close to being a great competitor to Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards.  The program has some awesome things going for it.  It offers excellent earnings for spend, very low annual fees, and good (but not quite great) transfer partners.  The program’s biggest weaknesses are: 1) Limited options for earning welcome bonuses; 2) Missing popular transfer partners; and 3) The lack of any (any!) travel protections.

Strong earnings for spend

If you’re willing to juggle multiple cards, the number of points per dollar you can earn for spend in common categories (grocery, gas, dining, etc.) is unsurpassed, especially when you consider the price.  For only $95 per year in total annual fees, you can earn 2x to 5x for all your spend, transfer points to airline and hotel partners, and receive a 10% rebate on rewards.  Here’s the line-up of cards to get to earn great rewards on all of your spend:

  • Premier: This $95 card is necessary if you want the power to transfer points to airline and hotel programs.  Plus, it offers no foreign transaction fees and unlimited 3x rewards for grocery, dining, gas stations, flights, hotels, and travel agencies.
  • Custom Cash: With this fee-free card you can earn 5X in whatever category you spend most each billing cycle, up to $500.  Available categories are Restaurants, Gas Stations, Grocery Stores, Select Travel, Select Transit, Select Streaming Services, Drugstores, Home Improvement Stores, Fitness Clubs and Live Entertainment.  I recommend picking a single category and using the card only for that category each billing cycle until you use up the $500 in 5x spend.
  • Double Cash: Earn 2X everywhere with this fee-free card. Use this card anytime another card in the collection doesn’t earn better rewards.
  • Rewards+: This fee-free card rounds up rewards to the nearest 10 points (which means that it is great for low cost transactions) and, most interestingly, offers a 10% rebate on redeemed points, up to 10,000 back per year.  When the card’s ThankYou account is combined with other ThankYou cards, you get 10% of your points back for any award redemption including transfers to airline miles!  For more about this card, see: Citi Rewards+ is a great companion to Premier or Prestige.

You won’t get points-rich with welcome offers

At the time of this writing, Citi’s welcome bonus for the Premier card is 80,000 points after $4K spend in 3 months.  That’s excellent.  But other cards that offer Citi ThankYou points have offers of only up to 20,000 points.  Worse, in many cases you can’t earn a bonus for one ThankYou-earning card if you’ve earned a bonus on another ThankYou-earning card (or closed a card) in the past 24 months.  While you can earn huge numbers of points with Chase welcome bonuses across multiple cards, or really huge numbers of points with Amex welcome bonuses across multiple cards, that game is quite limited with Citi.

Good transfer options

With regards to airline transfer partners, Citi is pretty strong.  The biggest problem is that Citi is the only major transferable points program that doesn’t support transfers to Air Canada Aeroplan.  For Star Alliance awards, though, Citi does support Avianca LifeMiles which can be a decent (and sometimes better) alternative.  Citi used to also fall short because it lacks the ability to transfer to British Airways Avios, but now that Qatar uses Avios as their rewards system it’s possible to transfer points from Citi to Qatar and then to British Airways.

Citi’s biggest strength with regards to airline transfer partners is with their support for transfers to Turkish and EVA Air.  The only other major program that supports both is Capital One, but Capital One’s transfer ratio to EVA Air is less than 1 to 1 (1000 to 750).

Hotel No13, in Bergen Norway, is a Nordic Choice hotel which can be booked for only 12,000 Choice points per night (which means only 6,000 Citi points per night!).

With regards to hotel transfer partners, Citi offers two excellent options.  The best option is to transfer points 1 to 2 to Choice Privileges.  For example, 50,000 Citi ThankYou become 100,000 Choice points.  And while Choice is mostly known for very low end hotels, there are some great high-tier and above options.  For examples, see our posts regarding Preferred Hotels & ResortsAscend Hotel Collection hotelsCambria Hotels, and Nordic Choice Hotels.

Wyndham Vacasa interior 15K. This can now be booked through Vacasa for only 15,000 Citi ThankYou points

Another excellent hotel option is to transfer Citi points 1 to 1 to Wyndham Rewards. While it’s sometimes possible to get great value by using points to book Wyndham properties, the best deal is to find great 1 bedroom Vacasa Vacation Rentals to book for only 15,000 points per night.  For complete details about this option, see: Wyndham Vacasa: Great Value is Real!

The main problem with Citi’s transfer partners is that they don’t support any of the most popular programs.  They don’t support transfers to any of the most popular hotel programs like Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton or IHG. And you can’t transfer points directly to any North American airline programs except JetBlue.  In 2021, Citi temporarily allowed transfers to American Airlines.  If they were to bring this back as a permanent option, Citi transfer line-up would rise to the top of the pack.

No travel protections

One of the biggest weaknesses of Citi’s collection of ThankYou Rewards cards is that they don’t offer any travel protections.  Every other major card issuer that I can think of offers some forms of trip delay and cancellation insurance, rental car coverage, etc.  Not Citi!  If you tend to buy your own travel insurance anyway, this might not matter to you.  For me, though, I avoid using Citi cards to purchase travel.

Review Summary

ThankYou Rewards is a very good program but with some big holes. Its biggest strengths are the ability to earn 2x to 5x on all spend, and a few sweet-spot transfer partners.  I’m especially a fan of the ability to transfer 1 to 2 to Choice Privileges.  It’s biggest liabilities are are a dearth of options for earning huge numbers of points (such as multiple big welcome bonuses, refer-a-friend offers, portal rewards, etc.) and the lack of travel protections available through associated credit cards.  For those who play the points and miles game, ThankYou Rewards is a great secondary or tertiary program.  You can’t rely on it for all the best goodies, but it’s great to have for its sweet-spots.  For those who simply want strong cash back rewards from their spend and who don’t mind juggling multiple cards, Citi is a great choice.

Earn Points

Credit Cards

The easiest and quickest ways to earn ThankYou points is through Citi credit card welcome bonuses, credit card spend, and retention offers (call once per year to ask if any offers are loaded to your cards).  Below are the currently available Citibank cards that earn ThankYou rewards.  With a combination of cards it’s possible to earn 2x to 5x on all spend: earn 5x in whatever category you spend most each billing cycle, up to $500 with the Custom Cash card; earn 3x on all spend at grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, flights, hotels, and travel agencies; earn 2x everywhere else with the Double Cash card; and get a 10% rebate on rewards with the Rewards+ card.

Important: You cannot get a bonus on a new ThankYou Rewards card if you have received a bonus or cancelled the same card or another card in the same family within the past 24 months. This limitation does not apply to the Custom Cash card since it has its own restriction (can’t get a new bonus if you’ve received one for the same card in the past 48 months).  The credit card offer terms for most of the ThankYou Rewards cards state the following:

Bonus ThankYou® Points are not available if you received a new cardmember bonus for Citi Rewards+®, Citi ThankYou® Preferred, Citi ThankYou® Premier/Citi Premier® or Citi Prestige®, or if you have closed any of these accounts, in the past 24 months.

Card Offer and Details
Citi Premier Card
80K points
80K points after $4K spend in the first 3 months

$95 Annual Fee

Recent better offer: None. This matches the best offer we've ever seen.

FM Mini Review: Very strong earnings for spend. Excellent bonus categories. Points transferable to select airlines. Recommend pairing this card with Citi Double Cash and Citi Rewards+. Sadly, this travel card doesn't provide any travel protections.


Card Type: Mastercard World Elite

Base
Travel
Dine
Gas
Grocery

Earning rate: 3X grocery ⚬ 3X dining ⚬ 3X gas stations ⚬ 3X flights, hotels, travel agencies

Noteworthy perks: Transfer points to airline partners ⚬ $100 Annual Hotel Savings Benefit

See also: Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide

Citi Double Cash Card
$200 Cash Back
$200 cash back after $1.5K spend in first 6 months.

No Annual Fee

Recent better offer: None. This is the best we've seen.

FM Mini Review: 2X rewards for all spend with no annual fee makes this card a winner. Earn 2X everywhere and redeem for the equivalent of 2% cash back or 2X ThankYou points. Pair with the Premier or Prestige card to make points transferrable to airlines.


Card Type: Mastercard World Elite

Base

Earning rate: 2% cash back everywhere (1% cash back for each purchase + 1% when paying your credit card bill for that purchase)

Noteworthy perks: 1X when you make a purchase + 1X when you pay for those purchases

See also: Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide

Citi Custom Cash Card
20K Points
20K points after $1500 spend in the first 6 months

No Annual Fee

Recent better offer: Expired 9/13/22 - 20,000 points after $750 spend in first 3 months

FM Mini Review: This is a great card to have and hold for a single category where you spend no more than $500 per month as it represents an excellent return without rotating categories to track.


Card Type: Mastercard

Base
Travel
Dine
Gas
Grocery
Other

Earning rate: 5x on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1x thereafter. Eligible categories: Restaurants, Gas Stations, Grocery Stores, Select Travel, Select Transit, Select Streaming Services, Drugstores, Home Improvement Stores, Fitness Clubs and Live Entertainment. ⚬ 1x on all other purchases

See also: Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide

Citi Rewards+ Card
20K points
20K points after $1.5K spend in 3 months

No Annual Fee

FM Mini Review: 10% points rebate (up to 10K rebate per year) make this a great choice to pool with ThankYou Premier, Prestige, and/or Double Cash


Card Type: Mastercard World

Base
Gas
Grocery

Earning rate: 2X at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 per year ⚬ Round up to nearest 10 TY points on all purchases

Noteworthy perks: Round up to the nearest 10 points on all purchases with no cap. ⚬ get 10% of your points back on the first 100K redeemed each year

See also: Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide

AT&T Access Card

FM Mini Review: This card may be worth it for a welcome bonus, but it would be worth considering a product change to the Double Cash down the road..Unforunately, it seems it is no longer possible to product change to the AT&T Access More card.


Card Type: Mastercard World

Base
Travel
Shop
Brand

Earning rate: ⚬ 2 points per $1 on products and services that are purchased directly from AT&T ⚬ 2 points per $1 on all purchases at online retail and travel sites ⚬ 1 point per $1 on all other purchases

See also: Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide

Bank Products

Some Citi banking products also earn ThankYou Rewards points, but Citi appears to be sunsetting this capability.  At the time of this writing there’s a notice at the top of the ThankYou FAQ which states:

Important Notice: As of July 18, 2022 you are not able to enroll Citibank Checking Accounts in the Citi ThankYou Rewards Program; Citibank Checking Accounts enrolled before July 18, 2022 or Card Accounts associated with your Citi ThankYou Account can continue to earn and redeem points. See www.thankyou.com for changes to Citi ThankYou Rewards Terms and Conditions.

Bank point limitations: Points earned through banking are taxable.  Further, these points cannot be transferred to airline partners (not even if you move the points to a friend’s account or combine with a premium Citi card).

Redeem Points

Transfer Points


The best use of ThankYou points is to strategically transfer points to airline and hotel partners in order to book high value awards. Your best bet is usually to wait until you find a great hotel or flight award before transferring points. If you have at least one premium card such as the Citi Premier or Prestige card, most points transfer at a ratio of 1:1, but Citi regularly runs promotions where they offer a transfer bonus to a specific program.  For example, we’ve frequently seen 25% bonuses for transfers to Avianca LifeMiles and to Air France / KLM Flying Blue.

Transfer tips

  • Wait to transfer points: Don’t transfer points until high value awards are available and you are ready to book them. Transfers are one-way only. Citi ThankYou points are valuable for their flexibility. Once you transfer, you are locked into a single program that may or may not have awards available.
  • Watch for transfer bonuses: Citi sometimes offers improved transfer ratios through limited time transfer bonuses.
  • Move points from one account to another (even to friends’ accounts): You can freely move up to 100,000 points per year to any other Citi ThankYou Rewards account.  The catch is that once points are moved, they expire within 90 days. Make sure you have immediate plans for those points before moving them.  Exception: The Custom Cash card does not allow moving points.
  • Always have at least one transferable account: With a few exceptions, ThankYou Rewards are transferable only from Citi Premier and Citi Prestige accounts.  If you or a friend has such an account, you can move points to that account from any other account before transferring to an airline or hotel program, but you are limited to moving 100,000 points per year this way.  Another option is to pool points among your own accounts.  For example, if you have the Citi Rewards+ card and the Citi Premier card, you can pool points between them in order to make all of the points transferable.

Current transfer bonuses

If there are any current transfer bonuses from Citi ThankYou Rewards, details will appear here:

Transfer Bonus DetailsEnd Date

Transfer points to airlines

For flight awards, our post “Citi ThankYou points sweet spots for high value redemptions” details the best value uses of Citi ThankYou points.

Best overall airline transfer partners

Rewards ProgramBest UsesCiti Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Air France KLM Flying BlueMonthly Air France Promo Awards often represent very good value. Air France miles can be used to book Sky Team awards, including Delta awards. Air France often offers very good business class award pricing between the US and Europe & Israel.1 to 1 (Instant)
Avianca LifeMilesAvianca LifeMiles can be great for Star Alliance awards. They offer reasonable award prices and no fuel surcharges on awards. They also offer shorthaul awards within the US (for flying United, for example) for as few as 7,500 miles one-way. Best of all, their mixed-cabin pricing can lead to fantastic first-class award prices. See this post for details.1 to 1 (Instant)
Cathay Pacific Asia MilesCathay Pacific has a decent distance based award chart, but they no longer allow stopovers longer than 24 hours. Cathay Pacific Asia Miles can be a good option for booking American Airlines flights with a distance based award chart, especially if other OneWorld Alliance miles aren't available. For long distance flights, it is possible to reduce the cost of first class by adding on a business class flight. See this post for details.1 to 1 (Instant)

Useful airline transfer partners

Rewards ProgramBest UsesCiti Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
British Airways AviosWhile flights on British Airways itself often incur outrageously high fuel surcharges, many BA partners charge low or no fuel surcharges. Excellent value can be had in redeeming BA points for short distance flights. It's possible to move points (Avios) between Iberia, British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Qatar. See also: Avios Sweet Spots for Award Tickets.1 to 1 via Qatar (1 to 2 days)
Emirates SkywardsThe best use of Emirates miles has been to fly Emirates itself. Unfortunately fuel surcharges can be steep. See: Emirates Sweet Spot Awards - First class from 30K miles round trip. 1 to 1 (Instant)
Etihad GuestEtihad has a very competitive award chart for American Airlines flights, among others.  For example, they charge only 50,000 miles one-way for business class flights from North America to Europe. Partner awards must be booked over the phone.1 to 1 (~1 hour)
EVA Air Infinity MileageLandsIf you want to fly one of the best business class products in the sky, the best way to snag EVA flights is with their own miles since they release more award space to their own members. One-way business class flights from the US to Taipei cost 75K to 80K miles. Fuel surcharges are very low on these routes.
1 to 1 (Instant)
Iberia AviosIberia offers very low award prices on their own flights. Round trip partner awards can offer good value under some circumstances as well. Fuel surcharges are often lower when booking with Iberia rather than British Airways. It's possible to move points (Avios) between Iberia, British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Qatar.  See also: Avios Sweet Spots for Award Tickets.1 to 1 via Qatar, BA (1 to 2 days)
JetBlueJetBlue points offer the most value when cheap ticket prices are available and when award taxes are high relative to the overall cost of the ticket (more details can be found here). The JetBlue Plus Card and the JetBlue Business Card offer a 10% rebate on awards, so you can get more value by holding one of these cards.1 to 1 (Instant)
Qantas Frequent FlyerBest use is probably for flights on El Al with no fuel surcharges. Also useful for short AA flights. Qantas offers distance based award charts similar to Cathay Pacific. Both are OneWorld Alliance members. I recommend comparing award prices across both programs before transferring to either. Qantas offers round the world business class awards for only 280,000 points (but with many restrictions)1 to 1 (~1 day)
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyerUse to book Singapore Airlines First Class awards (generally reserved for their own members), Alaska Airlines economy awards, or for Star Alliance awards (including United Airlines).1 to 1 (~1 day)
Turkish Airlines Miles & SmilesMiles & Smiles offers a number of awesome sweet-spot awards including 7.5K one-way anywhere within the US, even to Hawaii. Many awards cannot be booked online but can be booked via phone or email. See: Turkish Miles & Smiles Complete Guide and Turkish business class sweet spots from the US.1 to 1 (~1 day)
Virgin Atlantic Flying ClubVirgin Atlantic offers a few great sweet spot awards including ANA first class between the US and Japan for as low as 55K points one-way; and US to Europe on Delta One business class for 50K points one-way. See: Best uses for Virgin Atlantic points (Sweet Spot Spotlight).1 to 1 (Instant)

Other airline transfer partners

Rewards ProgramBest UsesCiti Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Aer Lingus AviosIberia offers very low award prices on their own flights. Round trip partner awards can offer good value under some circumstances as well. Fuel surcharges are often lower when booking with Iberia rather than British Airways. It's possible to move points (Avios) between Iberia, British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Qatar.  See also: Avios Sweet Spots for Award Tickets.1 to 1 via Qatar, BA (1 to 2 days)
AeroMexico ClubPremierAeroMexico is a SkyTeam partner. Club Premier points can be used to book flights on AeroMexico, SkyTeam alliance members (such as Delta or Korean Air), or on select partner airlines. Unfortunately many have reported that awards are extremely difficult to book through AeroMexico so we do not recommend transferring points to this program. If you want to fly AeroMexico, look to transfer points to another SkyTeam partner (such as Air France) and then book AeroMexico with that program.1 to 1 (~6 days)
Jet Airways Inter MilesJetAirways JetPrivilege miles are useful only for a few very specific cases such as certain flights to Hawaii for as low as 15K (30K business) one-way, or to the Caribbean or Central America for as low as 10K (20K business) one-way. Details can be found here.1 to 1 (Instant)
Malaysia EnrichGiven Malaysia's award chart devaluation in June 2017, I'm not aware of any good uses for these miles.1 to 1 (1 to 2 days)
Thai Airways International Royal Orchid PlusI'm not aware of any good uses for these miles1 to 1 (3 to 7 days)

Transfer points to hotel programs

One fantastic option is to transfer points 1 to 2 to Choice Privileges in order to get great value when booking Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Ascend Hotel Collection hotels, Cambria Hotels, and Nordic Choice Hotels.  Another great option is to transfer 1 to 1 to Wyndham to book Vacasa Vacation rentals for 15,000 points per bedroom per night.  See: Wyndham Vacasa – Great Value is Real!

Manage Points

Combine Points Across Cards

If you are the primary account holder with multiple cards, you can combine ThankYou Rewards accounts.  When your points are combined, they can then automatically be redeemed at the same value as your best card.  For example, if one of your cards is the Premier card, you will be able to transfer points to airline partners even if the points were earned on a card other than the Premier card.  Similarly, if you combine other cards with the Rewards+ card, you’ll get a 10% rebate on all award redemptions (up to 10,000 rebated points per year) even if the points originated from a different card.  If you have both the Premier and the Rewards+ card combined together and you transfer 100K points to a partner program, you'll get 10,000 points back.
There are some disadvantages to combining points:
  • You lose the ability to pick and choose which points are used when you redeem awards.
  • You lose visibility into how many points remain with each card.
The above disadvantages become important when you want to cancel a card: when you cancel a card, all points earned from that account are lost after 60 days.  I recommend downgrading to a no-fee ThankYou card rather than cancelling outright.  That way your points are safe.

Share Points Across Cardholders

Citi generously allows people to transfer ThankYou points to anyone else, for free.  There are a couple of “catches” to this and an exception:
  1. Shared points expire after 90 days. Make sure you have a specific near-term use in mind before transferring points.
  2. 100K limit: Each member may share up to 100,000 points per calendar year.  Each member may receive up to 100,000 points per calendar year.
  3. Exception: The Custom Cash card does not have the capability to share points (but you can combine points with other cards that you have).  Yes, it's extremely weird that all other Citi ThankYou Rewards cards allow sharing points, but not Custom Cash.  I have no idea why this is.
Why this is valuable:
  • If you don't have the Premier or Prestige card (the two cards in Citi's lineup that allow full value transfers to partners), you can move your points to a friend who has one of those cards and then they can transfer the points to an airline or hotel program in order to book high value awards.
  • If a friend has airline elite status with one of Citi’s transfer partners with which you want to book an award, you may be better off transferring points to your friend who can then transfer the points to the airline partner and book the award for you (to get free award changes, for example).

How to Keep Points Alive

There are several situations in which you may have Citi ThankYou Rewards points that will expire:
  • Points earned by a credit card account expire 60 days after cancelling that account.
  • Points transferred to your account expire after 90 days.
  • Points earned from some older and no longer available credit cards expire in a set amount of time after points were earned (e.g. 3 or 5 years after December 31 of the year in which the points were earned).
  • Points earned from some credit cards expire if your credit card account has no purchase activity in 18 months.
  • Points earned from Citibank banking products expire 3 years after December 31 of the year in which the points were earned.

Credit card points: how to keep points alive

With most credit card points (except with some older credit cards which are no longer available), points remain alive until you cancel the card from which they were earned.  Once you cancel the card, points expire after 60 days.
Combining accounts does not solve the problem.  When you combine multiple ThankYou accounts, it’s natural to assume that as long as you keep any ThankYou Rewards credit card open, your points will be safe.  That’s simply not the case.  Citi keeps track of where each ThankYou point came from.  If you cancel a card, the points earned on that card expire after 60 days.  Period. They are not known to reinstate points.
The best way to preserve your ThankYou points is to keep your credit card account alive.  If you don’t want an annual fee, then call to downgrade to a no-fee ThankYou card.  There is a side benefit to this approach too: Your no fee card may be eligible for occasional lucrative retention offers.  See: How one call led to a points bonanza and rethought plans.

Bank product points: how to keep points alive

Points earned from banking products (such as checking accounts) expire 3 years after December 31 of the year in which the points were earned.  Fortunately, when redeeming points combined across multiple accounts, Citi automatically uses first whichever points have the most recent expiration date.  So, in general, your banking product points (which eventually expire) will be used first if you have combined accounts.

More information

Citibank’s official ThankYou Rewards FAQ can be found here.

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Stevenson

am i able to combine points between my custom cash and rewards+ cards, and than using my rewards+ card share those points with P2? i ask bec the custom cash card does not allow points sharing, so hoping this would be a workaround.

Pam

Great post, Greg! I have ramped up TYPs, too, in the past 6 months.

My husband & I have 4 Custom Cash cards between us from converting old cards. Those alone generate 120,000 points/yr when max’d out. And those equate to 240,000 Choice points to use for Preferred Hotel bookings at 55,000/nt ea (typically the properties we prefer).

We both have Premier cards so are able to combine all Custom Cash points from one acct and share with another. That acct (mine) also has the Rewards+ card attached for the extra 10,000 TYP/yr bonus when transferring to Choice.

Am seeing amazing value from the Preferred Hotels partnership, thank you SO much for all your help & leadership with that strategy!

Stevenson

thinking about doing similar but how do you get around custom cash’s no points sharing rule? unless of course you are making 2 separate reservations.

Jeremy

Biggest problem is UA blocking award tickets for TK/AV

Bill

Imagine you also have a legacy Sears Mastercard that earns ThankYou Points lol

10-20x on Dining, Gas and Groceries and spending offers like 10K TY points on a 2K general spending requirement. I would account my 80% of TY points earned from Citi Sears Mastercard. Others are monthly $500 on my multiple Custom Cash and 10% points back from Citi Rewards+

I use Venture X mostly instead of Double Cash for other non-bonus spending if I am not meeting the MSR for a signup bonus or Sears offer

JohnB

I have the Sears Mastercard that earns Thank You Points. I also have a Premier and Custom Cash. Without a whole lot of special/manufactured spend, I earned 200K of points with all the bonuses. I especially liked the Sears CC promo for paying for utilities that earned 10X points for like 5 months. The current promo was spend $1K anywhere and receive 7X points. The Sears CC promos put other CCs to shame.

As far as I know, one can still apply for a Sears CC. Searscard.com

Pam

Unfort no longer open to new applicants, but that was my first card while still in college I eventually closed.

JohnB

I was just on Searscard.com. I went almost all the thru the application on there. So I then called the number on my card. The agent stated that the Sears Thank You CC is still open for new applications. Now I don’t know if you will receive all the point offers that older accounts receive. But for a no AF card, this card has the most lucrative offers that have padded my TYP points balance every month. I am averaging 10k of points per month for couple $100 of purchases.

Pam

JohnB I am most grateful to you! I called Citi & verified that the Sears TYP card issued today does, in fact, have the exact same earnings structure as if I had kept the one from college! There is a lot of bad info out there about this card & I didn’t follow my usual rule of checking on it myself. I am applying TODAY. Happy Thanksgiving & thank you SO MUCH again

JohnB

Great and have a happy Thanksgiving, you and your family. I’ll give an example of a Sears bonus that I just earned. I had a large dentist bill. For any purchase of $1k or more, the bonus was 7x points. 8500 points for a bill I could pay cash, but used this CC. How many CC would offer anything more than 2x points? But I still abhor dentist bills…LOL.

Stevenson

can you explain their earnings structure?

how applying for the card as its not available on citi.com

Last edited 4 days ago by Stevenson
Paul

Do you think they will ever bring back American Airlines as a transfer partner? It was weird that they did that once and never again. It would be a no brainer if they brought AA back…….

Ben

Does downgrading a Premier reset the 24 month clock?

Stevenson

It is for your reasons listed below that I dont understand how most people could accumulate enough points for a nice hotel & plane award bookings using Citi vs Amex/Chase (even cap 1 to a lesser degree).

“It’s biggest liabilities are are a dearth of options for earning huge numbers of points (such as multiple big welcome bonuses, refer-a-friend offers etc..”

I have the premier (80,000/ every 3 yrs), rewards+ (10% rebate when redeeming), custom cash (30,000 TYP/ annually) and double cash cards (reg spend).

Last edited 13 days ago by Stevenson
Stevenson

is it possible to carry more than 1 custom cash card simultaneously from downgrading a rewards+/double cash?

JN2

I saw in your post from 2019 — when Double Cash (DC) earnings first were allowed to be converted to Thank You Points (TYPs) — that transferring TYPs converted from Double Cash to a Premier/Prestige TYP account allowed the DC TYPs to be transferred to airline partners, but in that example, I think all the credit cards were in the same person’s name.

Do you know if shared TYPs could be transferred to airlines in the following situation:
1) Person A only has the DC card
2) Person A converts DC earnings to TYP and shares TYPs with Person B
3) Person B has a Premier card and plans to transfer TYPs to an airline.

My uncertainty is about whether points shared from someone’s account who only has a DC card would have full TYP functionality after being transferred to another person’s TYP account that includes a premium card. Assuming the shared points are unrestricted TYPs, I understand that they would be used first for the airline transfer, due to Citi using points expiring soonest first.Thanks!

JN2

Thanks, Greg!

Yen

If I have 20K points under my CTY account, and I transfer another 30K from p2 because I have rewards+ card, how do I ensure I redeem p2’s 30K points first ? I think my real question is, is it possible to redeem p2’s expirable points while p1’s points keep untouched ?

Last edited 10 months ago by Yen
trix

Applied for Citi premier through your link, got instant denial. This was for my husband, excellent credit, has had and cancelled a Citi Aadvantage Business card last year. No other Citi cards for over 12 years. We’re retired, no outstanding debt.
Reasons for denial were lack of loans, too many open credit cards, with too much available credit. Very nice CSR when calling reconsideration line. But still denied when they got back to us a few hours later.
Husband opened Wyndham Bus card a few months ago, and Chase Bus Ink this past Aug.
Really wanted that Citi! Is this happening to other retirees? Is it just Citi? Chase has not been a problem.

JohnB

That closed AA card is what did you in. I have lots of CCs. With a whole lot of credit and retired as well. But the last Citi CC I closed was over 10 years ago. I also carry a balance in certain times of the year because of the way my investments pay out. And sometimes, I just need to buy something asap and using a CC is the easiest way to do that. But closing a Citi CC is like a big no-no for Citi to see on your credit reports.

kurson

If I convert cash rewards from MY Double Cash CC to TYP, do they expire after some time?

[…] miles.  Points can be transferred 1 to 1 from Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, or Citi ThankYou Rewards.  Additionally, points can be transferred from Marriott Bonvoy: 60,000 Marriott points becomes […]

[…] Citi ThankYou Rewards […]

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[…] Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide […]

[…] but not great for spend everywhere else.  For example, the Citi Prestige card offers 5X ThankYou Rewards for airfare, dining, and most travel agencies, and 3X for hotels and cruise lines.  That’s […]

[…] Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide […]

[…] Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide […]

Jacob Y

Thank you for the interesting post.

I currently have Double Cash which has only 1 travel partner at 0.8 transfer rate. If I open Prestige and/or Premier, and then eventually transfer my Double Cash associated Thank you points to Prestige and/or Premier associated Thank you account, will I be able to transfer those DC-associated TY points to the extended list of travel partners (subject to 90-day limit)?

I am a long time customer of Chase, but thinking about shifting to Citi. I keep comparing this to Chase, where you can combine or transfer points from zero fee credit cards (like Freedom or Freedom Unlimited, alternative of Citi’s Double Cash) to Sapphire (alternative of Prestige or Premier) that opens the door to travel partners. Chase does not have any restrictions to use points received from Freedom and these points once transferred become a part of total points in Sapphire.

Thanks!

[…] Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide […]

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[…] See also: Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide […]

james

What are your thoughts about now downgrading from Prestige to Rewards plus? Was planning on cancelling anyway now that fee is due, at least that way I keep 10% of Prestige points ( have earned about 100k TYP on just that card) that I will be forced to use in 60 days – Plus keep from resetting the 24 mo. clock. Seems like a good option for anyone coming up on the anniversary.

kim

can I get the double cash back card with no other Citi card and still transfer to thank you points? Or do I need the prestige card?
Thanks!

[…] Revised ThankYou Points Guide:  With all of the recent shake ups by Citi, one may be wondering how to earn and burn ThankYou points.  This guide should help provide you the information you need. […]

[…] spot awards available through each of the transferable points currencies: Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Amex Membership […]

Bob

Greg: Does the 24-month rule (between applications and between cancellation and new application) apply only to the Prestige and Premier – or will the Rewards+ and/o DoubleCash be included? More generally, what are the time rules between Citi TY card applications? Recommend this info be included in your guide.

Josh

Is the 24 month rule between applications/approval or bonuses? I was approved for a thankyou card 25 months ago but received the bonus 23 months ago—am I good to apply for another card that earns thankyou points? Thanks!

Pahill

Is it possible to use the points and get it refunded as a cash statement credit?
I’ve done it with FlexPerks but not sure if it works with TYP or UR points, anyone with data points please share.

Yuri

You forgot to mention Sears card. This card has pretty good bonuses every few months.

CRUISINGFLYING4LIFE

Did JetAirways is shut down, right? So, no more transfer partner…

Rick I

DofC reader reporting on Reddit the only transfer partner from Citi Double cash transfers is JetBlue. It may be worth waiting a day or two for the smoke to clear

[…] Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide […]

[…] fact, you might already have access to Virgin Atlantic miles indirectly: Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Chase Ultimate Rewards all transfer 1 to 1 to Virgin Atlantic.  And both Amex and Citi are […]

Blair

Question: Can you now do a three way stack with Prestige, Premier, and rewards plus. 4th night, plus 20% , plus 10% rebate??

Andrew K

So doesn’t that mean you get 1.85 CPP for the first 100k towards hotels?! Obviously whether you count that or not is subjective because you could easily transfer them to airlines and get the same bonus, but seems like a big deal to me for someone who can easily pay for flights with Chase or Amex but has a hard time finding good value for hotels, especially with amex.

[…] Citi ThankYou Rewards: 10% increase = 1.45 […]

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Yati

If i downgrade from Premier to a no-fee thank you card, I’ll keep my points. Will they still be available to transfer to airlines at a 1:1 rate? Will I still be able to book travel and pay with points, but no longer with the 20% discount? Thanks so much for your help.

[…] published complete guides to most transferable points programs, including Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and Amex Membership Rewards. Now that Capital One has added transfer partners and initiated the […]

[…] This post rounds out our guides to the big three transferable points programs: Amex Membership Rewards (this post), Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Rewards. […]

[…] Deep Dive Into Thank You Points:  Most are familiar with UR and MR points, however you may overlook Thank You points.  Some would argue that they are not very valuable, however this article shares a lot of facts that could be useful for you. […]

mangoMan

I have the Prestige and a CitiGold account, and have a mix of credit card and bank points. If redeeming points for travel, how do I ensure that I’m using the bank points first before the credit card points? Does Citi do this automatically?

[…] Greg published an excellent resource on Citi ThankYou points (See: Citi Thank You Points. Deep Dive.) Many readers found that resource useful, so I decided to steal borrow Greg’s useful format […]

[…] Miler does a deep dive into the Citi ThankYou Rewards […]

Elizabeth

There is at least some enforcement on the 100k/year sharing. I had transferred X number of points from hubby’s account to mine earlier this year. Recently I went to transfer more and it only allowed 100k – X.

Adam

Hey Greg, thanks for the comprehensive and helpful post!

One thing I’d like to be double-sure of, though: if I downgrade my Premier to a no-fee ThankYou Preferred card, are you SURE that I won’t lose those earned TY points? A customer rep (obviously incented to have me NOT downgrade) suggested otherwise earlier this year :(.

WR2

I would only disagree on one point: I think you are undervaluing EVA. Solid redemption rates for USA to Asia (75k one way from west coast to SE Asia in one of the best business class products in the world). Great availability, low fees. That is more than a niche redemption, and better than transferring to Singapore. This is where all my TYP go, except when there is a good transfer bonus to Asia Miles.

Andy

Why do you still say “up to 1.67 cpp” when in your old post about it, you said thought it was wrong to say it that way (which I agree with)?

“I now think it is much better to say that it is possible to stack the Prestige 4th Night Free discount with the Premier 20% pay with points discount.” — Yes, it is!

I know it’s not your intent, but saying “up to 1.67 cpp” is very misleading.

Andy

Logically, I don’t disagree with you if you are only comparing points options. Here’s the problem though:

Even if they ultimately decide to book with points, most people will also want to compare with cash.

To make an apples-to-apples comparison, for a Prestige cardholder, if you did your points valuation using a pre-discount price, you have to do the same with cash. Therefore, for this post’s example, $1,518.74 (value) / $1,173.30 (amount you actually pay) = 1.29 cents of value per penny.

This last bit is 100% my subjective opinion, but any valuation system where the value of cash is anything other than 1 penny = 1 penny is incredibly misleading and should never be used.

tro

If you pay for airfare or hotel with points and need to use Trip Interruption, what happens? Do you get then get the points back?

I mostly do 1.25c redemptions through the travel portal, and I’ve noticed that the prepaid rates are often competetive with other OTAs, but the refundable rate will sometimes be much higher than what’s widely available elsewhere. I would feel better about taking the prepaid rate if I knew I could get the points backs for a covered reason.

Joel

Yes they refund the points used. They are refunded to the account you used to make the travel booking. Citi is great in handling cancellations – they make refunds quickly. BUT make sure the card you used to purchase the trip is still active – otherwise your refunded miles may disappear.

tro

Thx that helps. Relevant because I am actually considering downgrading the Premier. Since I don’t have the Prestige, I was expecting that if I do that I would lose the trip interruption protection for outstanding reservations. Although, I might have the Prestige by the time I would make the claim if I end up applying for it in January 🙂

Neil

Good overview. I currently have the Prestige – I believe I am still getting 1.25 cents per point on travel redemption. I recall reading that will drop to 1 cent per point, but do you know the effective date for that change (your article makes it sound like it has already happened).

Biggie F

Ah, important point for those of us who have Prestige but had dropped Premier. I had been kicking myself for not having taken the upgrade-your-Preferred-to-Premier-with-no-AF-in-first-year offers that I was being pelted with, but now see that I have another ten months before I have to worry about the Premier and its AF. This is being written by someone who uses TYPs for airfare since I have to make some AA status annually. At 5x x1.25 for airfare on dining (come Jan 2019), plus Prestige’s strong travel insurance, this is a nice discount. Glad I recently renewed Prestige… and that Citi thinks I’m still CitiGold.

Tamas Karpati

Greg,

Great article! Thanks you!
There is one more way to get TY points via the Sears no fee Master Card. I know Sears is likely to disappear, but on the CC front this card has been on a tear lately offering 10% back on grocery/gas/dining for 3 months and other great bonuses. Even if Sears disappears the TY points should be available since they belong to Citi.

Tamas

You are right. It does not seem to be available for signup anymore and likely there is no way to PC to it. But whoever has it should take advantage of the effective 10% back this quarter for up to 40K TY points.

Mr G

As discussed a few times over on doctorofcredit.com sign up for the Shop Your Way version and then after a few months you can product change to the TYP card.

Yuri

You should get it right away.

Yuri
Marc

There just seem to be too many gotchas throughout the program…so many things to keep track of to use your miles correctly. And there is still no way to combine 1.25 cpp with 4th night free without giving up any status benefits one might be able to get otherwise. For now, I like the earning potential but not the redemption qualities. Going to stay away and focus on the other options.

Chaser123

I know over the phone with 4th night free you can still keep and earn status benefits. They will happily book on the hotels website for you. You are right, you can not combine the point redemption. All they are doing is inputting your credit card on the hotels site.

tom

Another high quality post — thanks

Chaz

Thanks for this post. Interesting to note that you believe only five good partners exist: Air France, Avianca, Cathay Pacific, Singapore and Virgin Atlantic. Four of five are part of other programs, and Avianca is the lone wolf that’s unique. I picked up the Avianca credit card and bought miles earlier this year, but still am unable to book flights with blocked award availability compared to United or Aeroplan on Star Alliance.

This post basically confirms the Thank You Program isn’t great compared to Amex. Yes it might make sense to pick up the Prestige in January with a sign up bonus, but it will be hard to recoup the investment in annual fee after year one for only one point more in dining, considering I probably won’t use the fourth night free benefit. Despite dining being my biggest spend category, Amex Gold+BBP is too strong for everyday spend in the long term on an ROI basis.

I still don’t see the excitement in this program, especially considering Citi devalues earning / benefits on cards so quickly compared to Amex / Chase.

Jules

The AMEX Gold+BP combo is a good option but only if most or all of your spending is in USD. For those of us that travel a lot internationally, the AMEX Gold’s 4x on dining and supermarkets doesn’t apply and the BBP’s foreign transaction fee makes it pretty much useless. The Citi Prestige offers 5x on dining internationally which is lucrative. Pair this with the Ink Preferred and that would be the ideal combo imh.