Citi ThankYou Rewards Program: Your Complete Guide

A woman waits for a flight she booked with her ThankYou rewards.
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Marko Geber / Getty Images

The Citi ThankYou Rewards program offers flexible redemption options, including travel, cash, and gift cards. Learn how the program works, how you can earn points, and which redemption options give you the most value.

What Is the Citi ThankYou Rewards Program?

The Citi ThankYou Rewards program is a general rewards program that offers points you can use for travel, gift cards, cash back, statement credits, online shopping, and more. 

You can join the program by opening a Citi credit card that offers ThankYou points or allows you to convert cash back to ThankYou points—more on that in a minute.

Credit Cards That Offer ThankYou Rewards Points

Pros
  • Offers flexible redemption options.

  • Provides several frequent flyer transfer partners on some cards.

  • Most cards charge a modest or no annual fee.

Cons
  • Most redemption options offer below-average value.

  • Maximizing your rewards requires extra work.

How To Earn Citi ThankYou Rewards

Like many other general rewards programs, you can earn Citi ThankYou points only by using the cards that offer them. Here are some of the options you have to rack up rewards with your ThankYou credit card.

Earn a New-Cardholder Bonus

Most of the cards in the ThankYou Rewards program offer a welcome bonus when you first open your account and meet certain spending requirements. The only exception is the Citi Double Cash Card, which earns cash back that you can convert to ThankYou points.

New-cardholder bonuses can vary based on the card you choose. For example, the Citi Premier Card will give you 80,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. In contrast, the Citi Rewards+ Card offers just 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months.

Welcome offers can be an excellent way to earn a lot of points fast. If you’re looking to get a lot of value upfront that you can use for a trip, gift cards, or other purposes, compare your options to find the best fit based on your goals and spending habits.

Use Citi ThankYou Rewards Card for Everyday Spending

Rewards rates can vary depending on which card you choose. However, Citi offers bonus rates on a lot of common expenses, including groceries, gas, dining, and travel. 

Again, it’s important to pick a card that will allow you to get the biggest bang for your buck based on where you spend the most of your money. Here’s how each card rewards you for your everyday purchases:

Credit Card Annual Fee Rewards Earning Rate
Citi Rewards+ Card None 2 points per dollar on the first $6,000 spent per year at supermarkets and gas stations, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. All purchases round up to the nearest 10 points.
Citi Double Cash Card None 1% back when you make a purchase and 1% back when you pay it off. You can convert cash back to ThankYou points.
AT&T Access Card From Citi None 2 points per dollar on products and services purchased directly from AT&T and online purchases made at eligible travel and retail sites, and 1 point per dollar on everything else.
Citi Premier Card $95 3 points per dollar on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel, and hotels; 1 point per dollar on everything else.
Citi Prestige Card $495 5 points per dollar on airlines and restaurants, 3 points per dollar on hotels and cruise lines, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. 

Receiving Points From Someone Else

Citi allows ThankYou Rewards members to share up to 100,000 points per calendar year with another member in the program. If you have a partner you want to pool points with to maximize your rewards value, this is a good option to take advantage of. Just keep in mind that shared points have an expiration date, so do it only if you’re ready to redeem your rewards.

Do Citi ThankYou Rewards Points Expire? 

Your points may expire depending on the terms in your Citi Account materials, with one exception: Shared ThankYou Rewards points expire 90 days after the date they were shared.

What Are Citi ThankYou Rewards Points Worth?

The value of your ThankYou points can vary depending on the redemption option and even which card you have in your wallet. 

On average, points earned with the Citi Premier Card and the Citi Prestige Card are worth 1.21 cents each across all redemption options, according to data gathered by The Balance. The average value for the other ThankYou cards is one cent per point. Here’s how each redemption option breaks down in terms of value:

  • Transfer points to airline partners: Citi Premier Card and Citi Prestige Card points may be worth an impressive 2.04 cents per point when used this way, while point transfers with the Citi Rewards+ Card and Citi Double Cash Card have an average transfer value of 1.14 cents per point. The AT&T Access Card from Citi doesn’t offer transfer partners. 
  • Citi ThankYou Travel Center: 1 cent per point.
  • Cash back: 1 cent per point for the Prestige and Double Cash; 0.5 cents per point for all other cards.
  • Gift cards: 1 cent per point.
  • Shop with points with various merchants: 1 cent per point with the AT&T Access card, 0.8 cents per point for all other cards.
  • Statement credits: 0.5 cents.
  • Student loan or mortgage payments: 1 cent per point.
  • Charitable donations: 1 cent per point.

How To Use Citi ThankYou Rewards Points

If your card offers it, the best way to maximize the value of your rewards is to transfer your points to Citi’s airline partners. Otherwise, look for a redemption option that will give you at least 1 cent per point in value. Here are all of your redemption options in order of value.

Transfer Points to Partners

If you have the Citi Premier Card or Citi Prestige Card, you can transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to 16 airlines and a 1:10 ratio to Sears’ Shop Your Way rewards program. Points you transfer to JetBlue, the program’s only domestic airline partner, are worth between 1.14 cents and 1.42 each, depending on the card.

Here are the airline partners for the program’s two travel cards:

  • Aeromexico Club Premier
  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • EVA Air
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • InterMiles
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Points earned from the Citi Rewards+ Card and Citi ThankYou Preferred cards can be transferred to JetBlue at a value of 1,000 card points to 800 JetBlue points.

You can transfer between 1,000 and 500,000 points for airline partners, but there is no minimum or maximum for the Shop Your Way program. There is no charge to transfer rewards, but once you transfer your points to a partner, you can’t reverse the transaction. 

It can take up to 14 days for your transferred points to arrive in your airline loyalty account, but Shop Your Way transfers take only three to five days. You can request a points transfer through your online account or by calling Citi. 

Book Travel Through Citi

You can use your ThankYou rewards points to book flights, hotel stays, rental cars, cruises, vacation packages, and activities through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center. You can book online or by calling Citi, but airline reservations made over the phone will cost $23 per ticket.

Citi allows you to book travel using points only or a combination of points and dollars. There are no blackout dates or award restrictions for travel booked with Citi. 

Buy Gift Cards

Cardholders can use their points to buy gift cards from well-known brands like Apple, Bed Bath and Beyond, Grubhub, Nike, Olive Garden, and Target.

Donate to Charity

If you’re feeling charitable, you can donate your points to one of the program’s participating organizations. Options include American Red Cross, No Kid Hungry, Smile Train, UNICEF, and World Central Kitchen.

Student Loan or Mortgage Payments

Not many rewards programs allow you to use points to directly pay down debt, but with ThankYou points, you can have the bank cut a check for up to $1,000 to your mortgage or student loan lender. 

Other Ways To Use Citi ThankYou Rewards Points

The following options are available but will give you less than 1 cent per point in value, so it’s best to avoid them:

  • Shop with points
  • Cash back
  • Statement credits

Key Takeaways

The Citi ThankYou Rewards program is a solid rewards program for travelers, especially if you have the Citi Premier Card or Citi Prestige Card, because they give you access to the program’s full list of airline transfer partners. Your rewards are best used for travel, but you can also get solid value on student loan and mortgage payments, gift cards, and charitable donations. It’s best to avoid using your rewards to get cash back and statement credits or to shop online with one of the bank’s partners.