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Home » Citi ThankYou® Rewards Guide: A great program for earning and transfer partners

Citi ThankYou® Rewards Guide: A great program for earning and transfer partners

ThankYou rewards program logo

ThankYou® Rewards is Citi’s travel rewards program offered across several of the bank’s credit cards. The program offers point redemptions for cash back rewards, gift cards, and point transfers to travel partners and competes with other bank transferable rewards programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards.

This article is our complete guide on the program and will help you get the most out of this rewards program. Here’s what you need to know and what you can ignore about ThankYou® Points.

In this article

ThankYou® Rewards at a Glance

Citi ThankYou® Rewards is the transferable points rewards program of Citibank. It is great if you want to earn a lot of points with ongoing spending and offers some interesting and unique transfer partners. However, the quality of the credit cards Citi offers lags competitors like Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capital One Miles, and Amex Membership Rewards. Here’s our take on each aspect of the program.

Welcome bonuses
How easy is it to amass a ton of points with credit card welcome bonuses?
Below average.Citi’s welcome bonuses aren’t particularly generous and the bank doesn’t usually offer increased welcome bonuses. Typically, you can receive a new welcome bonus on a new card if you haven’t received a welcome bonus for the same product within 48 months.
Earning points
How many points can you earn from spending across a variety of bonus categories and on everyday purchases?
Above average.If you hold all four cards in the Citi ThankYou® Points wallet, you can earn 3x on gas, groceries, air travel, and hotels plus 2x on all of your non-bonused spending. Your Citi Custom Cash℠ Card will get you 5x on up to $500/month in your highest-spending eligible category and there are ways to get multiple Citi Custom Cash℠ cards, meaning you can earn 5x rewards in several categories of your choosing.
Product quality
How do the cards in this program’s ecosystem compare with competing programs.
Below average.Product quality is perhaps the biggest disappoint of the ThankYou® Rewards ecosystem. The Citi Premier® Card, the card meant to compete with premium travel cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card doesn’t even have basic travel insurance benefits.
Non-travel redemption options
How good are the program’s point redemption options for non-travel redemptions?
Average.You can redeem your ThankYou® Points for cash back at 1 cent each and you can get a bit of additional value out of gift card redemptions.
Travel redemption options
Can you get additional value from redeeming your points for travel?
Below average.While you can redeem your ThankYou® Points for travel through Citi Travel, you won’t get more than 1 cent per point of value redeeming points this way.
Transfer partners
Does the program have transfer partners that are easy to use and offer high-value redemptions?
AverageCiti ThankYou® Rewards has a combination of transfer partners that are easy to use and offers EVA Air as a unique transfer partner that no other program has 1:1 point transfer to. The most useful transfer partners for most will be Air France KLM Flying Blue, Avianca LifeMiles, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, and Choice.
Combining and sharing points across cards
How easy is it to share points across your own cards or with another person?
Above averageYou can combine your Citi ThankYou® Points accounts and earn a single pool of points and you can share points with another ThankYou Points members with no fee.
Citi ThankYou Points at a glance

Top tips for using ThankYou Points®

Want to get the most out of the Citi ThankYou® Rewards program? Here are our top tips for using ThankYou® Points.

  • Getting a Citi Rewards+® Card increases the value of your ThankYou points. When you redeem points from a Citi Rewards+® Card, you get a 10% point bonus on up to 100,000 points redeemed each year. You’ll also get this bonus when you redeem points from a combined ThankYou® Points account that includes a Citi Rewards+® Card.
  • Transfers to travel partners are the most valuable use of ThankYou® points. To transfer points to travel partners, you must hold a Citi Premier® Card or the (no longer available) Citi Prestige card.
  • You can share up to 100,000 ThankYou® Points each year with anyone you choose. You can also receive up to 100,000 ThankYou Points from others. Shared points expire after 90 days from when they were received.
  • Be careful when closing ThankYou points cards if you still have points. Points are tracked by account and expire 60 days after you close that account, even if you have combined ThankYou Points accounts.
  • You can redeem your ThankYou points for 1 cent each toward cash-back redemptions. There is never a reason to redeem for less than 1 cent each. This makes many redemption options (like Shop with Points) irrelevant.

Earning ThankYou® Points

There are only a handful of ways to earn Citi ThankYou® Points. You can earn ThankYou® Points from credit card welcome bonuses or ongoing spending on Citi ThankYou® Rewards credit cards. Occasionally Citi offers bonuses for getting new banking account products, and you can also buy points. Here’s what you need to know about earning ThankYou® Points.

Earning ThankYou® Points from credit card welcome bonuses

The fastest way to earn a massive amount of ThankYou® Points is from a new credit card welcome bonus. Here are the current welcome bonuses available on Citi ThankYou® Rewards credit cards:

Citi ThankYou® Rewards credit cardWelcome bonusCard at a glance
Citi Rewards+® Card card art
Citi Rewards+® Card
Annual fee: $0
bonus_miles_full

Jump to this welcome bonus.
Rewards: 5x on hotels and car rentals booked through Citi Travel through June 30, 2024. 2x at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 per year, then 1x. 1x on other purchases.
Citi Premier® Card card art
Citi Premier® Card
Annual fee: $95
bonus_miles_full

Jump to this welcome bonus.
Rewards: 10x on hotel and car rentals booked through the Citi travel portal through 6/30/2024. 3x on other hotel purchases, air travel, restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations. 1x on all other purchases.
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card card art
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card
Annual fee: $0
bonus_miles_full

The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is marketed as a cash back card, but earns ThankYou® Points.

Jump to this welcome bonus.
Rewards: 5% on the first $500 in monthly purchases in your top eligible category. 1% everywhere else.
Citi Double Cash® Card card art
Citi® Double Cash Card
Annual fee: $0
bonus_miles_full

The Citi® Double Cash Card is marketed as a cash back card, but earns ThankYou® Points.

Jump to this welcome bonus.
Rewards: 2% – 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay
Current Citi ThankYou® Points welcome bonuses

Citi Rewards+® Card welcome bonus

Citi Rewards+® Card welcome bonus:

bonus_miles_full

All information about the Citi Rewards+® Card has been collected independently by cardsandpoints.com.

Click here to learn more and apply.

Our take on the welcome bonus: Last year, Citi offered a slightly higher bonus on this card, but that doesn’t happen often. It’s probably not worth waiting for a larger bonus that is likely to amount to just 5,000 additional points.

The link above is a link directly to the bank’s website. We don’t make money when you use the above link, but we always show you the best offer.

Citi Rewards+® Card card art

Citi Rewards+® Card at a glance:
Annual fee: $0
Rewards: 5x on hotels and car rentals booked through Citi Travel through June 30, 2024. 2x at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 per year, then 1x. 1x on other purchases.

Citi Premier® Card welcome bonus

 Citi Premier® Card welcome bonus:

bonus_miles_full

All information about the Citi Premier® Card has been collected independently by cardsandpoints.com.

Click here to learn more and apply.

Our take on the welcome bonus: Citi occasionally offers larger welcome bonuses on the Citi Premier card. If you don’t have an urgent need for this card, you might want to wait to apply.

The link above is a link directly to the bank’s website. We don’t make money when you use the above link, but we always show you the best offer.

Citi Premier® Card card art

Citi Premier® Card at a glance:
Annual fee: $95
Rewards: 10x on hotel and car rentals booked through the Citi travel portal through 6/30/2024. 3x on other hotel purchases, air travel, restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations. 1x on all other purchases.

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card welcome bonus

Citi Custom Cash® Card welcome bonus:

bonus_miles_full

All information about the Citi Custom Cash℠ has been collected independently by cardsandpoints.com.

Click here to learn more and apply.

Our take on the welcome bonus: Citi doesn’t often offer an increased welcome bonus on the Custom Cash. If you do not yet have a Custom Cash card, there’s no reason to wait for an increased bonus.

The link above is a link directly to the bank’s website. We don’t make money when you use the above link, but we always show you the best offer.

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card card art

Citi Custom Cash℠ at a glance:
Annual fee: $0
Rewards: 5% on the first $500 in monthly purchases in your top eligible category. 1% everywhere else.

Citi® Double Cash Card welcome bonus

Citi Double Cash® Card welcome bonus

bonus_miles_full

All information about the Citi Double Cash® Card has been collected independently by cardsandpoints.com.

Click here to learn more and apply.

Our take on the welcome bonus: The Citi Double Cash card hasn’t always offered a welcome bonus, so if you are considering getting this card, now is a good time to apply.

The link above is a link directly to the bank’s website. We don’t make money when you use the above link, but we always show you the best offer.

Citi Double Cash® Card card art

Citi Double Cash® Card at a glance:
Annual fee: $0
Rewards: 2% – 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay

Earning ThankYou® Points from credit card spending

If you hold a credit card that earns Citi ThankYou® Points, you can earn ThankYou® Points from your ongoing spending on credit cards. Here are the cards that will earn you ThankYou® Points from ongoing spending:

  • Citi® Double Cash Card. Offers two ThankYou points—one point when you purchase and one point when you pay—on every purchase.
  • Citi Custom Cash℠ Card. This card earns 5% cash back (as 5x ThankYou Points) on up to $500 of purchases in your top eligible spending category each statement cycle. Other purchases earn 1% cash back (1x ThankYou Points.)
  • Citi Rewards+® Card. Earns 2x points on a limited amount of supermarket and gas spending. 1x elsewhere.
  • Citi Premier® Card. Earns 3x ThankYou Points on hotels, air travel, restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations. 1x elsewhere.

Here’s what each of the ThankYou® Rewards cards earns:

Citi® Double Cash CardCiti Custom Cash℠ CardCiti Rewards+® CardCiti Premier® Card
Citi Double Cash® Card card artCiti Custom Cash℠ Card card artCiti Rewards+® Card card artCiti Premier® Card card art
RestaurantsUp to 5x3x
DrugstoresUp to 5x
Gas stationsUp to 5x2x
(on the first $6,000 spent across bonus categories)
3x
SupermarketsUp to 5x2x
(on the first $6,000 spent across bonus categories)
3x
Streaming (Select providers)Up to 5x
Travel – Citi Travel Portal5x

Hotels, car rentals and attractions booked through Citi Travel through June 30, 2024.
5x

Hotels, car rentals and attractions booked through Citi Travel through June 30, 2024.
10x

Hotels, car rentals and attractions booked through Citi Travel through June 30, 2024.
Travel – Air TravelUp to 5x3x
Travel – HotelsUp to 5x3x
Travel – Cruise line and travel agencyUp to 5x
Select transitUp to 5x
Home improvement storesUp to 5x
Fitness clubsUp to 5x
Live entertainmentUp to 5x
Everywhere else2x

(1% as you buy, plus 1% as you pay.)
1x1x1x
Reward earnings on ThankYou Points credit cards

All of the cards in the table above earn ThankYou® Points, even though some are marketed as cash back cards.

The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card earns 5% cash back in the one eligible category where you spend the most each statement cycle, on up to $500 of spending. Other purchases earn 1%.

Earning ThankYou® Points from bank accounts

In the past, Citi has offered ThankYou® Points for opening bank accounts, but this hasn’t been an option in the recent past. Some people who opened rewards bank accounts that earn ThankYou® Points instead of interest may be able to earn ThankYou® Points this way, but this option isn’t available to new accounts.

Earning rewards points from bank account bonuses usually results in taxable income. Bank account bonuses are treated as interest income, whereas most credit card welcome bonuses are considered a “rebate” and therefore not taxable income. Consult your tax advisor for advice on how to treat bank rewards for tax purposes.

Redeeming ThankYou® Points

Citi ThankYou® Points can be redeemed for a variety of rewards. But not all rewards have equal value. For most people, cash back redemptions are the easiest redemptions and transfers to travel partners have the opportunity to add the most value. Here’s our quick take on the best redemption options:

Redemption optionOur quick takeWhy
Cash back
OK use of points.
You’ll get 1 cent each for cash back redemptions on most cards.
Transfers to airlines and hotels
By far the best use of Citi ThankYou Points.
If you have the Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige card, you can transfer points to airline and hotel partners. This is the best way to redeem points if you have a redemption in mind. We don’t recommend transferring points speculatively.
Gift cards
Good use of ThankYou Points if you buy gift cards that are on sale.
You can get more than 1 cent per point of value from your Citi ThankYou Points® when you purchase gift cards that are on sale. Purchasing gift cards that are not on sale offers less value than cash back redemptions.
Travel redemptions through Citi
Low value use of points.
You’ll only get 1 cent each for your points this way. Since you can redeem your points for cash back at 1 cent each, there isn’t a compelling reason to redeem your rewards for travel redemptions.
Pay with ThankYou Points/Shop with points
Low value use of points.
Pay with points redemptions typically offer less than you’ll get with a simple cash back redemption.
Charitable contributions
Low value use of points.
You’ll get 1 cent per point of value, but there isn’t an opportunity to increase the value you get from your points over a cash back redemption. Making a charitable donation directly likely offers more tax advantages.
All Citi ThankYou® Points redemption options

Here’s a bit more on each of the redemption options offered with Citi ThankYou® Rewards that are worth considering.

Cash back redemptions

Screenshot showing the three cash-back redemption options available with ThankYou Points: Statement credit, direct deposit, and check by mail.
You can redeem your ThankYou® Points for a statement credit, direct deposit, or check by mail.

Citi ThankYou® Points can easily be redeemed for cash back. And you have three option for redeeming your points for cash back:

  • Statement credit
  • Direct deposit
  • Check by mail

Cash back redemptions for statement credits and direct deposits can be made with as little as one point. A check by mail requires a minimum $5 redemption.

Most of the time, redeeming for either a statement credit or a direct deposit will be best option for you.

Most Citi cards that earn ThankYou® Points are eligible to redeem points at 1 cent per point, so redeeming 10,000 points will get you a $100 cash back reward. If you hold only a Citi Rewards+® Card or have not combined your Rewards+ card ThankYou® Rewards account with your other cards, you can only redeem your ThankYou® Points for 1 cent each toward gift cards. Redemptions of ThankYou® Points for cash back rewards are at a value of 0.5 cents each.

If you hold a legacy ThankYou® Points card such as the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card (no longer available to new cardmembers) you may only be able to redeem your ThankYou® Points at half a cent per point (10,000 points gets a $50 reward.) Combining your legacy card with a current card can get you the option to redeem those points for 1 cent each.

Gift cards during sales

Screenshot showing an Apple gift card on sale. A $25 Apple gift card is available for 2,250 points. Normal price for an Apple gift card is 2,500 points.
Gift cards can be a good redemption option when they are on sale.

While gift cards aren’t usually a good use of Citi ThankYou® Points, Citi does occasionally offer some gift cards on sales.

If you can get more than 1 cent per point out of a gift card redemption, using your ThankYou® Points for gift cards might make sense. But if you’re redeeming your points for 1 cent each toward gift cards, you’re better off simply redeeming for cash.

At the time of writing, several gift cards to popular merchants like Apple, Adidas, and Gap, plus “Happy” gift cards, usable at various merchants, were on sale for 10% off. Most gift cards were available in denominations starting at $25. During a sale, 2,250 points can get you a $25 gift card, giving you 1.1 cents per point of value.

Transfer to Travel Partners

Redeeming ThankYou® Points for point transfers to travel partners is by far the best opportunity to increase the value of your ThankYou® Points. You won’t get much more than 1 cent of value out of each of your points when you redeem for cash back or gift cards, but sometimes travel transfer partners offer redemptions for flights or hotels that offer incredible value.

If you take the time to search for awards through a travel partner, you may find award travel, a hotel stay or another redemption opportunity that represents good value for your ThankYou® Points.

Here’s an example of a flight that I found that represents a better value than a cash redemption. I can book the Lufthansa flight below for 26,000 Avianca LifeMiles and $50.30 ($25.30 in carrier-imposed surcharges, plus a $25 ticketing fee.) If I would otherwise purchase the flight for the cash price of $650, but instead transfer 26,000 ThankYou points and book the flight through LifeMiles, I am getting a value of 2.3 cents per point.

Screenshot showing a Lufthansa flight bookable for 26,000 Avianca Lifemiles, plus $25.30. Lufthansa flight is the same flight as the other screenshot on this page.
A Lufthansa flight available for 26,000 Avianca LifeMiles
Screenshot showing a Lufthansa flight bookable for $650. Lufthansa flight is the same flight as the other screenshot on this page.
The same Lufthansa flight costs $650 in cash

You’ll want to have a Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige card to transfer points. While you can transfer points to select partners with other cards, you’ll often transfer at a reduced transfer ratio to low-value partners.

While a point transfer to a travel partner can be a good use of points, we recommend you only transfer points if you have a specific travel redemption in mind. Not all point transfers happen instantly and award travel availability can change all the time. It’s typically not a good idea to transfer points to travel partners speculatively. Also, not all cards offer point transfers to all partners.

Transfer partners available to all:

Hotel Partners:
Accor Live Limitless
Choice Privileges
Wyndham Rewards

Airline Partners:
JetBlue TrueBlue

Retail Partners:
Sears Shop Your Way

Transfer partners available to holders of a premium ThankYou Points card (Citi Premier, Citi Prestige):

Airline Partners:
Aeromexico Club Premier
Air France/KLM Flying Blue
Avianca LifeMiles
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Emirates Skywards
Etihad Guest
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Qatar Airways Privilege Club
Singapore KrisFlyer
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Card synergies: Cards that boost the value of your other cards and points

Sometimes holding one credit card can make the points you earn from another card more valuable. This is certainly true with Citi ThankYou® Rewards. Holding the Citi Premier® Card unlocks transfers to most of Citi’s travel partners. And holding the Citi Rewards+® Card gives you a bonus 10% on your first 100,000 points of redemptions each year.

Citi Premier® Card: Get this card for transfers to travel partners

Citi Premier® Card card art
Citi Premier® Card

When you hold the Citi Premier® Card, the points you earn from any ThankYou® Rewards card can be transferred to one of Citi’s travel partners. Transfers to travel partners are by far the best way to get additional value from your ThankYou points. But transferring points to airline partners requires you to book travel through international airline partners that you may not have heard of.

But if you want to learn the how to use the transfer partners offered by Citi, the Citi Premier® Card is an essential part of your Citi wallet.

 Citi Premier® Card welcome bonus:

bonus_miles_full

All information about the Citi Premier® Card has been collected independently by cardsandpoints.com.

Click here to learn more and apply.

Our take on the welcome bonus: Citi occasionally offers larger welcome bonuses on the Citi Premier card. If you don’t have an urgent need for this card, you might want to wait to apply.

The link above is a link directly to the bank’s website. We don’t make money when you use the above link, but we always show you the best offer.

Citi Premier® Card card art

Citi Premier® Card at a glance:
Annual fee: $95
Rewards: 10x on hotel and car rentals booked through the Citi travel portal through 6/30/2024. 3x on other hotel purchases, air travel, restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations. 1x on all other purchases.

Citi Rewards+ Credit Card: Get a 10% bonus on redemptions

Citi Rewards+ Card

The Citi Rewards+ credit card synergizes with other cards by giving you a 10% rebate on your ThankYou® Rewards redemptions. If you’re collecting ThankYou® Points, this card is an essential addition to your wallet. While the card won’t earn you many ThankYou® Points on purchases, simply having the card can get you up to 10,000 additional points per year.

If you’ve combined your Citi ThankYou® Rewards accounts, whenever you redeem your points, you’ll receive 10% of the points back in your ThankYou Points account.

In addition, the Citi Rewards+® Card offers the best credit card warranty we know about. You can use the card to get an extra two years of warranty coverage on most things you purchase on the card.

Citi Rewards+® Card welcome bonus:

bonus_miles_full

All information about the Citi Rewards+® Card has been collected independently by cardsandpoints.com.

Click here to learn more and apply.

Our take on the welcome bonus: Last year, Citi offered a slightly higher bonus on this card, but that doesn’t happen often. It’s probably not worth waiting for a larger bonus that is likely to amount to just 5,000 additional points.

The link above is a link directly to the bank’s website. We don’t make money when you use the above link, but we always show you the best offer.

Citi Rewards+® Card card art

Citi Rewards+® Card at a glance:
Annual fee: $0
Rewards: 5x on hotels and car rentals booked through Citi Travel through June 30, 2024. 2x at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 per year, then 1x. 1x on other purchases.

Combining your ThankYou® Rewards accounts

Citi allows you to combine your ThankYou® Rewards accounts. All you need to do is go to Combine My Account when you are logged in online. When you combine your accounts, you will be able to access all of your points for any redemption option offered by your ThankYou® Points-earning cards.

For example, if you held both the Citi® Double Cash Card and the Citi Premier® Card, you could earn 2% total rewards on all spending with the Citi® Double Cash Card and then transfer those points to travel partners because the Citi Premier® Card enables point transfers to partners. If you held the Citi Rewards+® Card, almost any ThankYou point redemption would trigger that card’s 10% point refund benefit. This means, if you redeemed 100,000 of your Citi® Double Cash Card points for a cash back reward, you would get a 10,000 point refund from your Citi Rewards+® Card.

Point sharing: Sharing ThankYou® Points with a partner or friend

Citi ThankYou® Rewards is one of the most generous programs with it comes to sharing your points with a partner or friend. That’s because you can send up to 100,000 ThankYou® Points annually to any person that has a Citi ThankYou® Rewards account. You may also receive up to 100,000 points annually. The best part? Sending points will cost you nothing.

Sharing points typically only makes sense if you are transferring points to someone who is going to then immediately transfer the points to an airline or hotel transfer partner. Points expire 90 days after they are received, so be sure that the person receiving points has a plan to use them before they vanish.

Points sharing is not eligible for the 10% points back reward from the Citi Rewards+® Card.

Points expiration and how to keep your points alive.

Citi ThankYou® Points expire after a certain amount of inactivity. Here’s when your points might expire and our tips for keeping your points alive.

  • Points earned on a credit card expire 60 days after that account is canceled. This applies even if you have a combined ThankYou® Rewards account. Rather than canceling an account, consider downgrading to a no-annual fee card. (This is a great opportunity to get multiple Citi Custom Cash℠ cards.)
  • Points that have been transferred to your account expire after 90 days. If you’re going to transfer (or receive) ThankYou® Points, be sure to have a plan to cash out any transferred points before this expiration date.
  • Some older credit cards and bank accounts have additional rules. If you have an older ThankYou® Rewards credit card, see your card’s Guide to Benefits for expiration rules.
  • If Citi terminates the ThankYou® Rewards program, points can 90 days after the program is terminated. If this happens, use your points as soon as possible.

Additional resources and Links

Frequently asked questions

Can you redeem ThankYou® Points for 1 cent each?

Most cards allow you to redeem your ThankYou® Points for 1 cent cash back each. If you hold only the Citi Rewards+® Card, your points are redeemable for cash back at 0.5 cents each. But if you hold any other currently available ThankYou® Rewards card, you can redeem your points for 1 cent each.

Can you use Citi ThankYou® Points to pay for purchases?

You can use Citi ThankYou® Points to pay for purchases through Shop with Points, but this redemption offers less value than cash back redemptions. The best way to pay for purchases with ThankYou® Points is to redeem points for cash back and use the cash back rewards to pay for your purchases.

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