ThankYou Rewards from Citibank Program Review
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As far as credit points programs go, Citibank is actually an old player in the rewards game.
The original idea for the program was to reward the customer for all the banking, no matter what type it is. Over the years Citi has added several benefits specifically for travelers, such as airline point transfers.
Unlike many credit card reward programs, you can actually earn Citi ThankYou points for activities with your checking account as well as your credit card. There are additional bonuses available for small business checking accounts. The great part is you can use a debit card rather than a credit card, you can still earn double or triple points on that spending.
Coupled with an ability to pay bills online with points(not worth it), the ThankYou program is a great fit for individuals looking for a program with rewards they can use for both travel and everyday spending. Rewards can even be used for student loan and monthly mortgage payment rebates.The major downside of the program is that many of the redemption options come with a value below 1 cent per point. Well below the standard benchmark. But as the program continues to add airline point transfer partners and strengthen its travel benefits, it is becoming increasingly competitive.
How Can You Use Citi ThankYou Points?
Citi ThankYou points can be used on a variety of products and gift cards at published redemption rates available on ThankYou.com. With a minimum of 10,000 points in your account, you can use Citi’s “Your Wish Fulfilled” feature to request a custom reward that is not currently offered.
To book travel with your Citi ThankYou points, you can book cash fares directly through Citi’s online travel booking tool at a rate starting at 1 cent per point. You can then pay the difference with your Citi card if you do not have enough ThankYou points available.
If you have a Premier or Prestige card, your points go further. Premier holders get a 25 percent bump on redemptions for cash fare travel, while Prestige card holders can use their points for any airline at a 1.33 cent value per point.
For the best option, you can also transfer your points to 12 different frequent flyer partners. Transferring typically offers the best value.
- Many airline transfer partners
- Points can be used for any type of travel through the ThankYou travel center, including airlines, hotels, rental cars, cruises, travel packages and more
- You can buy points in 1,000-point bundles at $25 per 1,000 points to top off your balance
- Points transfers can take up to 14 days to post
- Point transfers are only available for Premier and Prestige cardholders
- Points earned through certain methods are not transferable
- When purchasing products directly through ThankYou.com, the number of points required for each item depends on the type of card you have
- Cruises, travel packages and all-inclusive vacations can only be booked by phone, but are eligible for upgrades, on-board credits, and complimentary excursions
Best value awards
As the Citi ThankYou program gives you two options: transfer points to airlines as and use your points at a fixed rate to buy cash fares The best use of points would be to redeem them for miles.
If you are looking for premium travel, the best use of Citi ThankYou points is as a transfer to Cathay Pacific or Singapore Airlines, the two most flexible and valuable airline programs connected to ThankYou rewards.
Worst value awards
Though Citi’s packed online shopping center can be very tempting. Using your ThankYou points in redemption categories besides travel will get you a very low return on your spend.
Many gift cards, such as the $25 Best Buy gift card that requires 3,500 points to redeem, carry a less than 1-point-per-cent value. 1 cent per point is the absolute minimum you should always aim for when redeeming any points or miles.
Associated Credit Cards
Three main cards are associated with the Citi ThankYou program, the Citi ThankYou Premier Card, Citi Prestige Card, and Citi ThankYou Preferred Card.
The Premier card has high earning opportunities, particularly for travelers, with:
- 3 points per $1 spent on Travel including Gas
- 2 points per $1 spent on Dining Out and Entertainment
- 1 point per dollar on everything else.
- No foreign transaction fees
- Citi Private Pass event access
- Concierge service
The card also has a $95 annual fee and no standard sign-up bonus, though sometimes you can get up to a 50,000-point bonus during special promotional periods.
For travelers, the next tier Prestige card also has excellent benefits. Some include Priority Pass airport lounge access, $250 air travel statement credit and complimentary fourth night at luxury hotels. The $450-annual-fee card earns double points on dining and entertainment and triple points on airfare and hotels, plus it comes with a 40,000-point sign-up bonus.
The introductory Preferred card has no annual fee, no standard sign-up bonus and earns double points on only dining and entertainment. It also does not offer a bonus when booking airlines through the Citi travel center.