Are Citi ThankYou Points Valuable?

With the recent news from the Citi Double Cash Card, is it finally time to get a Citi credit card? Or is it still better to focus on Chase and American Express?

Citi recently announced that Citi Double Cash cardholders will soon be able to transfer their cashback into Citi ThankYou Points at a 1:1 ratio, as long as the cardholder has another premium ThankYou Point earning a card.

I don’t have any Citi ThankYou point earning cards, and because of this news, I’m considering if it would be worthwhile to start earning ThankYou points.

I’ve always been a big fan of transferrable point credit cards, especially those earning Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards. Holding the Chase Trifecta ensures that I’ll never earn less than 1.5x on every purchase.

But, because transferrable point credit cards are so valuable, it might just be worth adding Citi ThankYou Points to the army.

So what are all of the Citi credit cards?

Citi ThankYou Point Credit Cards

Sign-up bonuses vary with Citi cards. The bonuses range from 15,000 points to 50,000 points. It goes without saying, it’s important to get a good sign-up bonus.

Citi Double Cash Card

Photo by Citi
  • No annual fee
  • Earns 2% cashback on all purchases (1% when you make the purchase, 1% when you pay the card)
  • Can be transferred to all Citi travel partners with a premium card

Citi Rewards+ Card

  • No annual fee
  • 2x at Supermarkets & Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and 1 point per $1 spent thereafter
  • Automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase
  • Can be transferred to all Citi travel partners with a premium card. If not, earns “basic” ThankYou points that can be redeemed for 1 cent each on the Citi Travel Portal.
  • Also has a Citi Rewards+ Student Card

Citi Premier Card

Photo by Citi
  • $95 annual fee
  • 3x points on travel including gas stations
  • 2x points at restaurants and on entertainment
  • 1x points on all other purchases
  • Can be transferred to all Citi travel partners as well as redeemed for 1.25 cents per dollar on the Citi Travel Portal.

Citi Prestige Card

Photo by Citi
  • $95 annual fee
  • 5x points on travel
  • 5x points on restaurants
  • 3x points on hotel
  • 3x points on cruises
  • 1x points on all other purchases
  • $250 annual travel credit
  • Complimentary fourth-night hotel stay
  • Priority Pass Select Membership
  • Can be transferred to all Citi travel partners as well as redeemed for 1.25 cents per dollar on the Citi Travel Portal.

Strategy to earn Citi ThankYou Points

Citi is very restrictive – all of these cards have the following warning:

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

Because it’s so restrictive, lining up your Citi ThankYou point strategy may need to be more of a long-term play. If you’re like me and don’t have any Citi ThankyYou Point earning cards, there’s a decision to be made. I would be able to open a Citi credit card, however, I’ll have to wait 24 months to get another one.

In order to transfer cashback from Citi Double Cash to Citi ThankYou Points, at least two cards will be needed – Double Cash and either the Prestige or Premium. But, what I could do is open up a no annual fee Citi card (like the Citi Double Cash Card), earn points for two years, and then open up a premium card.

Now, if you already have the Citi Double Cash Card, it’s a different ballgame. If you think you can take advantage of Citi transfer partners, opening up a Citi Prestige or Premier card would open up a lot to you pretty quickly.

Citi Transfer Partners

Remember, in order to transfer to one of Citi’s transfer partners, you must have a Citi Premier or Prestige card. Below are the transfer partners for Citi (as well as those for American Express, Capital One, and Chase).

Chase Ultimate RewardsAmerican Express Membership RewardsCapital One Venture MilesCiti ThankYou Points
Aer Lingus AerClubAeromexicoAeromexicoAir France/KLM
Air France/KLM Flying BlueAir Canada AeroplanAir Canada AeroplanAvianca
British Airways AviosAir France/KLM Flying BlueAir France/KLM Flying BlueCathay Pacific
EmiratesAlitaliaAlitaliaEtihad Guest
Iberia PlusAll Nippon AirwaysAviancaEVA
JetBlue TrueBlueAsia MilesCathay PacificGaruda Indonesia
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyerBritish Airways AviosEtihadJet Airways
Southwest Airlines Rapid RewardsCathay PacificEVAJetBlue True Blue
United Airlines Mileage PlanDelta SkymilesFinnairMalaysia AIrlines
Virgin Atlantic Flying ClubEl Al Israel AirlinesHainanQantas
IHG Rewards ClubEmiratesQantasSingapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Marriott BonvoyEtihad AirlinesQatarThai Airways
World of HyattHawaiian AIrlinesEmirates Turkish Airlines
Iberia PlusSingapore Airlines KrisFlyerVirgin Atlantic Flying Club
JetBlue TrueBlue
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Choice Hotels
Hilton Honors
Marriott Bonvoy

The Best Citi ThankYou Point Redemptions

Turkish Airlines is a Citi ThankYou Point transfer partner. For just 7,500 miles, you can travel to Hawaii from anywhere in the United States.

We’ve written about one redemption previously: use just 7,500 Turkish Airlines miles to get to Hawaii. But, there are many other redemptions.

Turkish Airlines to Hawaii

Transfer 15,000 Citi ThankYou Points to Turkish Airlines for a roundtrip economy ticket to Hawaii from anywhere in the United States. Finding availability on United can be tough, but if travel is flexible, it’s the best and cheapest way to get there. A roundtrip business class ticket is just 25,000 miles.

Virgin Atlantic on Delta

Using Virgin Atlantic miles on Delta is a great value. There are many domestic routes that are much cheaper using Virgin Atlantic miles. I flew first class from Atlanta to Seattle a few years ago for 20,000 Virgin Atlantic miles (I transferred them from American Express).

But, for example, while using Delta Skymiles to fly Delta One from the US to Europe could be more than 400,000 miles. With Virgin Atlantic miles, it’s possible for just 100,000 miles.

Singapore KrisFlyer to Europe from the US 

It’ll take just 27,500 miles to fly economy one-way to Europe from the United States using the Singapore KrisFlyer program. You will need to find availability on a Star Alliance carrier, but that shouldn’t be a problem.

Final Thoughts

Citi ThankYou points are certainly catching my eye with this new redemption option for the Citi ThankYou Double Cash Card. However, only being able to receive one card bonus every 24 months is a little bit of a downside, and it makes this more of a long-term play.

Because airlines and programs can devalue points and miles at any time, long-term plays in the points and miles game make me really nervous. Another downside is that Citi doesn’t have any hotel transfer partners – the only option would be to use the Citi Travel Portal.

Cardholders earn 2x ThankYou Points on every purchase. With the Chase Trifecta, I only earn a minimum of 1.5x points per purchase, which means I’m effectively losing a half a point not using Citi. But, I value Chase points more, so it’s probably even.

Yes, Citi has several transfer partners that Chase doesn’t have, but personally, I prefer Chase’s hotel partners to air partners.

I’m not sure I’m going to apply for a card just yet, but I’m definitely going to keep my eyes out for a great sign-up bonus. And at that point, I might pull the trigger on a long-term play for Citi ThankYou Points.


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