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Citi ThankYou® Rewards, the loyalty program for CitiBank®, earns Citi ThankYou points, one of the four big transferrable or flexible rewards currencies available to U.S. consumers (the others being Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Marriott Rewards).
Citi’s rewards program, when compared to some of its counterparts, is relatively straightforward. You can earn ThankYou points on every $1 spent using a participating Citi credit card, and also on select Citibank consumer checking accounts.
Unlike Ultimate Rewards, Citi doesn’t allow you to earn points when using its online mall at ThankYou.com but does offer plenty of redemption options for using your points online once you’ve earned them.
In this post, we’re just going to touch on the different ways of earning and redeeming ThankYou points, and we'll dive into more detail in future posts.
Earning Citi ThankYou Points
There are two primary ways to earn ThankYou points. You earn points on each $1 spent on one of five participating Citi credit cards, and also through eligible Citi checking accounts by adding a qualifying direct deposit and a qualifying bill payment.
ThankYou Points Earning Credit Cards
There are currently five publicly available Citi credit cards that earn ThankYou points. These range from basic cards with no annual fee up to premium travel cards with higher annual fees but additional travel benefits and points earning capacity.
- Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card – An entry-level card with $0* annual fee
- Citi Premier℠ Card – A mid-tier card with great bonus spending categories and an annual fee of $95
- Citi Prestige® Card – Citi’s premium travel credit card. No current signup bonus but has fantastic bonus categories and travel benefits, and a $495 annual fee
- Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students – Earn 2,500 bonus points after spending $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening, only for students, $0* annual fee
- AT&T Access Card From Citi – Another entry level card, earns 10,000 bonus points after making $1,000 in purchases within 3 months of account opening and has no annual fee
- 5x points on airfare and restaurants
- 3x points on hotels and cruise lines
- 2x points on entertainment, (through 8/31/19)
Plus you receive a $250 Travel Credit which effectively drops the annual fee down to $245.
Citi Premier cardholders can earn:
- 3x points on travel and gas
- 2x points on dining and entertainment
Citi Consumer Checking Accounts That Earn ThankYou Points
To earn ThankYou points through your Citi checking account, you need to complete a qualifying deposit and bill payment each statement cycle. You can see a full list of ways to earn through a Citi checking account via the ThankYou points Earning Chart.
Eligible checking accounts include:
- Citigold® Account
- Citi Private Bank Account
- The Citibank Account
As with most rewards programs, you can also buy ThankYou Points. But, even if you can buy points at a discount, it’s not recommended unless you need to top off an account for a specific redemption.
Redeeming Citi ThankYou Points
Citi offers a bunch of different options to redeem ThankYou points, but not all redemption options provide the same value. As with other transferable currencies, transferring points out to travel partners is the easiest way of leveraging maximum value from your points. However, it’s not the only way.
Citi ThankYou points can be redeemed for:
- Transferring points to travel partners
- Redeeming directly through the Citi Travel Portal for flights, hotels, rental cars, and more
- Pay bills online using ThankYou points
- Receive a statement credit on recent purchases, categories include dining, entertainment, utility bills, gas, grocery, clothing and department stores, and drug stores
- Purchase gift cards and shop at major retailers using ThankYou points through ThankYou.com
Citi ThankYou Rewards Travel Partners
To take advantage of Citi’s transfer partners, you must hold the Citi Premier, Prestige Card or Citi Chairman® Card (no longer accepting applications). While Citi doesn’t offer anything in the way of hotel transfers, you can transfer to 15 different airline partners across all three international airline alliances, and almost all transfer at a 1:1 ratio. While Citi says transfers can take up to 14 days, we've found that they're much quicker than that, and have listed our experience on transfer times in the chart as well.
|Citi Transfer Partner||Transfer Ratio||Transfer Time (based on our experience)|
|Asia Miles||1:1||1 business day|
|EVA Air Infinity MileageLands||1:1||1 business day|
|Etihad Guest||1:1||6 business days|
|Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer||1:1||2 business days|
|Jet Airways JetPrivilege||1:1||Instant|
|Malaysia Airlines Enrich||1:1||2 business days|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||1:1||2 business days|
|Qatar Airways Privilege Club||1:1||2 business days|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||1:1||2 business days|
|Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus||1:1||5 business days|
|Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles||1:1||2 business days|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1:1||Instant|
|Sears Shop Your Way®||1:12||Unknown|
Citi’s transfer partners include some of the most desirable airline programs in the world, with the likes of Etihad Guest, Avianca LifeMiles, and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, making ThankYou points a fantastic option for travelers who enjoy using rewards for aspirational redemptions.
Sharing and Combining Citi ThankYou Points
While recent changes to Citi’s points sharing rules limit points transfers to 100K points per calendar year, ThankYou points maintain their status as having the most relaxed transfer rules of the big four, still being the easiest points to transfer. You can transfer up to 100K ThankYou points per calendar year to any other Citi ThankYou Rewards account, with points valid for up to 90 days.
You can also combine ThankYou points earned via checking accounts, and multiple credit cards into one account, to be redeemed or transferred out to transfer partners. Note: you cannot transfer points earned from checking accounts to travel partners.
The Citi ThankYou Rewards program is one of the most straightforward and valuable rewards programs available for U.S. consumers, offering an easy to understand earning structure and fantastic redemption options through its extensive list of transfer partners.
While we haven’t covered every method of earning and redeeming Citi ThankYou Rewards points, this post should offer a starting point to discover more about Citi’s transfer partners, and the best credit cards to earn ThankYou Points.
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