How to maximize your Citi ThankYou® Points

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In a Nutshell

Get the most out of your Citi ThankYou Points by selecting the best card for you and prioritizing travel.
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Citi’s ThankYou® Rewards program could be attractive to globe-trotters.

Because it’s a flexible rewards program, Citi ThankYou® Rewards can give you access to some of the top airline and hotel loyalty programs. You might even be able travel all around the world on your points. But Citi also offers a handful of more practical rewards if your travel plans don’t take you that far from home.



How to earn Citi ThankYou Rewards points

The best way to earn Citi ThankYou Rewards points is with a Citi credit card. Here are four options.

  • Citi Premier® Card
  • Citi Rewards+® Card
  • Citi Double Cash® Card
  • Citi Custom Cash® Card

Not all Citi credit cards offer ThankYou Rewards points. And even those that do might limit your redemption options. So be sure to compare your card options closely to choose the best Citi card for your situation.

Citi Premier® Card: Best for frequent travelers

From our partner

Citi Premier® Card

2.3 out of 5

From cardholders in the last year

See details, rates & fees

The Citi Premier® Card could make your points go further. You’ll earn 60,000 ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 on purchases during the first 3 months from account opening.

For a limited time, you’ll earn a total of 10 points per $1 spent on hotel, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024. Plus, you’ll get three ThankYou Points for every $1 spent on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, hotels and air travel. You’ll also get one point per $1 spent on all other purchases. You’ll also have access to the full slate of Citi’s transfer partners.

There’s a $95 annual fee, but you could offset it with the $100 hotel savings credit you’ll get when you book a stay of $500 or more through Citi’s travel portal.

Learn more about the Citi Premier® Card in our review.

Citi Rewards+® Card: Best for people who want unique rewards incentives

From our partner

Citi Rewards+® Card

2.3 out of 5

From cardholders in the last year

See details, rates & fees

The Citi Rewards+® Card offers some truly unique rewards. You’ll start off with 20,000 ThankYou Points after spending $1,500 on purchases during the first 3 months from account opening.

Plus, you’ll earn two points per $1 spent at gas stations and supermarkets on the first $6,000 you spend each year. You’ll get one point per $1 spent on those categories after you hit the cap, as well as on all other purchases you make. And through June 30, 2024, you’ll earn five points per $1 spent on hotel, car rentals and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ Portal. Additionally, the Citi Rewards+® Card rounds up every purchase to the nearest 10 points, so you can earn points even faster.

The Citi Rewards+® Card gives you limited access to Citi’s transfer partners. But what really makes this card stand out is the points rebate. When you redeem points directly through Citi, you could score 10% of your points back (on the first 100,000 points you redeem per year).

The card comes with a $0 annual fee.

 Learn more about the Citi Rewards+® Card in our review.

Citi Double Cash® Card: Best for people who want a steady cash back rate

From our partner

Citi Double Cash® Card

3.0 out of 5

From cardholders in the last year

See details, rates & fees

With the Citi Double Cash® Card, you’ll get 2% cash back on every purchase — 1% cash back when you make the purchase, and 1% when you pay it off. You’ll earn cash back as ThankYou Points and can redeem them through the rewards portal, where you’ll have limited access to Citi’s transfer partners. And there’s no annual fee with this card.

Read our review for more about the Citi Double Cash® Card.

Citi Custom Cash® Card: Best for people who want more cash back

From our partner

Citi Custom Cash® Card

2.4 out of 5

From cardholders in the last year

See details, rates & fees

The Citi Custom Cash® Card offers flexible rewards that adapt to your spending habits. New cardholders will get $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases during the first 6 months after account opening. You’ll receive the cash back as 20,000 points that you can then redeem through the rewards portal.

You’ll also earn five points per $1 spent on the first $500 you spend in your top eligible spending category each billing cycle. Categories include restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, certain travel providers, certain transit operators, certain streaming services and live entertainment venues. After you hit the cap, and on all other purchases, you’ll get one point per $1 spent.

Even though it’s a cash back card, you can redeem your points directly through Citi for cash back along with a number of other rewards.

The card has a $0 annual fee.

Read member reviews of the Citi Custom Cash® Card.

Citi cards each offer different redemption options

Rewards programs such as American Express Membership Rewards® or Chase Ultimate Rewards® offer a straightforward approach to cashing in points. But redemption options for Citi ThankYou points vary by card.

  • The Citi Premier® Card allows you to transfer points to any airline or hotel partner, while the Citi Rewards+® Card and Citi Double Cash® Card have limited transfer options.
  • If you plan to redeem your points directly through Citi’s ThankYou Rewards program, the Citi Rewards+® Card could be your best bet because you might be eligible for a points rebate.

Before deciding on the Citi card that’s best for you, it’s a good idea check out each card’s redemption limitations.

How to use Citi ThankYou Rewards points

Citi ThankYou Rewards are worth an estimated 1.14 cents each, based on Credit Karma’s point valuations. But the value of the points depends on how you redeem them.

Now that you understand the nuances of the various Citi credit cards, let’s take a look at some of the best ways to redeem your Citi ThankYou Rewards points.

1. Fly around the world with AeroMexico

AeroMexico is one of Citi’s top transfer partners. If you turn your Citi ThankYou Rewards into AeroMexico Club Premier points, you could redeem them for a round-the-world ticket. So instead of using your points to visit one place, you could check off many of the top destinations on your bucket list.

We recommend you familiarize yourself with AeroMexico’s rules for round-the-world tickets before transferring your points just to make sure it’s a good fit for you.

2. Exchange your Citi Rewards for JetBlue TrueBlue points

JetBlue may be a better choice for travelers who prefer to stay closer to home. According to Credit Karma’s point valuations, JetBlue TrueBlue points are worth 1.14 cents each, which makes this airline one of Citi’s most valuable transfer partners.

3. Get some shut-eye

Citi also partners with Choice Hotels®. When you exchange your Citi ThankYou Rewards for Choice Privileges® Points, you can use them to book hotel stays at places like Comfort Inn and Quality Inn, where you can book a room for as few as 8,000 points.

4. Book travel through Citi’s ThankYou Travel Center

You can also redeem your points directly through Citi’s ThankYou Travel Center. In most cases, your points are worth 1 cent each when you redeem through Citi’s ThankYou Travel Center. But if you have the Citi Rewards+® Card, you’ll get 10% of your points back (on the first 100,000 points you redeem per year), which means they’re actually worth about 1.11 cents each.

While you might not get quite as much bang for your buck as you would with certain Citi transfer partners, it’s a simpler redemption option and you’ll have more flexibility to choose from things like airline tickets, hotel reservations, rental cars and cruises.

5. Share your Citi Rewards with family and friends

You could also share your Citi ThankYou points with family and friends. If you’re planning a vacation together, points sharing could be a good way to pool your points together for a bigger reward.

The cool thing is there’s no fee to share points. Just make sure you have a plan to use them right away because points expire only 90 days after they’re shared.

Unfortunately, if you have the Citi Custom Cash® Card, you’re not allowed to share points.

A few more Citi ThankYou Rewards redemption options

Citi offers a number of other ways to redeem your points.

These options might not be the most valuable ways to redeem points, but they might be a better fit for you. If you don’t like any of the choices mentioned above, it’s worth considering these other ways to redeem your points.

  • Cash rewards (in the form of a check, direct deposit or statement credit)
  • Online bill pay
  • Gift cards
  • Charitable contributions

About the author: Tim Devaney is a personal finance writer and credit card expert at Credit Karma. He’s a longtime journalist who prides himself on being a good storyteller who can explain complex information in an easily digestible wa… Read more.