Citi ThankYou Rewards

TYPE
Bank
PHONE
1 (800) 842-6596
BEST WAY TO REDEEM
Transfer to Travel Partners

Citi ThankYou Points are the loyalty program of Citi Bank in the United States. They are an excellent supplement to US points and miles mainstays such as American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards. While you could theoretically make many high-value redemptions using only this currency, Citi ThankYou Points are a good supplementary currency to round on your miles and points strategy.

Canadians who have an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) are eligible to apply for Citi Bank credit cards online. Similar to other issuers, once you are approved for one credit card with Citi, getting approved for more is generally relatively easy. If you are new to the idea of holding a US credit card as a Canadian, check out our US Credit Cards for Canadians Guide.

With unique transfer partners, one-of-a-kind transfer ratios, and high earning rates, let me tell you why Citi ThankYou Rewards should be on your radar when it comes to maximizing the value you can receive from US credit cards.

Citi’s 24-Month Rule

While Citi credit cards that earn ThankYou Rewards points do not have lifetime language as American Express US cards do, they do have a rule that is aptly named the “Citi 24-Month Rule”.

The 24-month rule means that cardholders are not eligible to receive the welcome bonus on a new application if they previously received a welcome bonus or closed that specific card within the past 24 months. This means you need to be strategic with your Citi credit card applications to ensure you are within these guidelines before applying for a new card.

There are also other restrictions, such as the fact that you may not be eligible to receive a bonus if you previously received a welcome bonus on a different card within that family of credit cards. Always refer to the terms and conditions of the offer before applying.

Acquiring Citi ThankYou Rewards

Citi Bank issues four personal credit cards that earn ThankYou Rewards points; there are no small business credit cards available that earn these rewards.

Credit Card Bonuses

Like many other currencies, credit card welcome bonuses are the best way to acquire large sums of ThankYou Rewards points quickly. Even better, Citi Bank also offers great multipliers on everyday purchases for their cards that earn ThankYou Rewards. With the right trio or quad of cards, there are many ways to replenish your balance between sign-up bonuses quickly.

Credit Card Welcome Bonus Net Value
Citi Strata Premier Card 60,000 ThankYou Points $1,105 Apply
Citi Custom Cash Mastercard 20,000 ThankYou Points $400 Apply
Citi Double Cash Mastercard 20,000 ThankYou Points $400 Apply
Citi Rewards+ Mastercard 20,000 ThankYou Points $400 Apply

When it comes to welcome bonuses, the best of the bunch is their flagship card, the Citi Strata Premier Mastercard, which often has the strongest welcome bonus with a nominal $95 annual fee.

Citi Strata Premier Card

The Citi Strata Premier Card earns ThankYou points and is available to individuals in the United States.

This card earns 3 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on travel purchases and offers an annual $100 hotel credit for travel booked through Citi.

BONUS
60,000 ThankYou Points
MINSPEND
$4,000
NET VALUE
$1,105+
ANNUAL FEE
$95
FOREX FEES
No
EXPIRY

However, all Citi credit cards that earn ThankYou Rewards points typically offer a welcome bonus of at least 20,000 ThankYou points. Before you apply for a new card, consider the welcome bonuses available as well as the annual fees and benefits of the cards to find the one that is the best fit for you.

Credit Card Spending

While the best way to earn ThankYou Rewards points is through welcome bonuses, the best way to replenish points is through spending on your Citi credit cards.

When it comes to spending optimally, the 3x spending bonus categories (grocery, dining, gas, and travel) on the Citi Strata Premier Mastercard are uncapped. This is an important note for big spenders, as cards like the American Express Gold card (US) only grant bonus points on the first $25,000 per year of spending in bonus categories before defaulting to earning 1x points.

While 3x is nice, a 5x spending bonus is what really grabs our attention. You can supercharge your ThankYou Rewards earnings by holding the Citi Custom Cash Mastercard.

Citi Custom Cash Mastercard

The Citi Custom Cash Mastercard earns ThankYou points and offers up to 5 ThankYou points per dollar spent on the highest eligible spend category during a billing period.

BONUS
20,000 ThankYou Points
MINSPEND
$1,500
NET VALUE
$400+
ANNUAL FEE
$0
FOREX FEES
Yes
EXPIRY

The Citi Custom Cash has a unique setup for earning. You can earn 5x ThankYou Rewards up to $500 spent each month (meaning a maximum of 2,500 ThankYou points per month and 30,000 ThankYou points per year) in one of the following categories:

  • Drugstores
  • Fitness clubs
  • Gas stations
  • Grocery stores
  • Home improvement stores
  • Live entertainment
  • Restaurants
  • Select streaming services
  • Select transit
  • Select travel

You “choose” which category earns 5x simply by spending the most in said category. I see this card as a great way to get a fantastic return on typically uncategorized purchases like concerts, sports tickets, or home improvement. Best of all, the Citi Custom Cash card has no annual fee.

The final part of a perfect Citi credit card trio is the Citi Rewards+ Mastercard.

Citi Rewards+ Mastercard

The Citi Rewards+ Mastercard earns ThankYou points that can be transferred to a variety of airline and hotel partners.

BONUS
20,000 ThankYou Points
MINSPEND
$1,500
NET VALUE
$400+
ANNUAL FEE
$0
FOREX FEES
Yes
EXPIRY

This card is a new addition to the Citi lineup and has two incredibly unique features. Firstly, it will always round up rewards to the nearest denomination of 10 points. For example, a $1.50 Tim Hortons coffee will be worth 10 points! While that’s great in theory, it won’t rack up tens of thousands of points yearly. Even if you bought a $1.50 coffee for 300 days in a row, you would only rack up 3,000 points.

However, its second unique feature can rack up a significant number of points per year!

By holding the Citi Rewards+ card, you’re entitled to a 10% rebate on all points redeemed, up to the first 100,000 points, for a maximum of 10,000 points. This works for valuable transfer partner redemptions, so if you transferred 100,000 points to book EVA Business Class directly, you would receive a 10,000-point rebate!

Like the Citi Custom Cash card, the Citi Rewards+ card has no annual fee, meaning you’ll earn 10,000 points every year at no extra cost when redeeming ThankYou Rewards points. If you value Citi ThankYou points at $0.02 CAD per point, then the card can provide a $200 benefit every year for simply holding it and not spending.

If you’re smitten with the ThankYou points program, you can also add a Citi Double Cash Mastercard to complete your “quadfecta” of Citi Cards.

Citi Double Cash Mastercard

The Citi Double Cash Mastercard earns 2 ThankYou points per dollar spent on all purchases, regardless of category.

BONUS
20,000 ThankYou Points
MINSPEND
$1,500
NET VALUE
$400+
ANNUAL FEE
$0
FOREX FEES
Yes
EXPIRY

There’s also no annual fee, but the only benefit it brings to the table is 2x earnings on every purchase structured as 1 ThankYou point when making the purchase and 1 ThankYou point when paying the purchase off. While that’s a good return, 2x everywhere is relatively common among US banks (for example, on the Capital One Venture X Rewards card), and it’s always a good idea to diversify miles and points currencies to have options to find a great deal.

As a more advanced strategy, you can switch your Citi American Airlines co-branded cards into Custom Cash cards over time. This advanced tactic would allow you to double or even triple the 5x spending every month.

Transferring Citi ThankYou Rewards to Frequent Flyer & Hotel Loyalty Programs

If you are looking to optimize and get the most value out of your Citi ThankYou points, transferring them to frequent flyer or hotel loyalty programs is the best option.

Transferring Citi ThankYou Rewards to Frequent Flyer Programs

Citi Bank has several solid options if you want to transfer Citi ThankYou Points to airline partners. The list is as follows:

The list contains many industry-standard partners, covering all three alliances (SkyTeam, Oneworld, and Star Alliance). Another important note is that all these partners transfer at a 1:1 ratio unless there’s an ongoing transfer bonus; check out our Miles & Points Transfer Tool to stay up to date on bonuses.

The most unique partner is EVA Air Infinity MileageLands, as Citi is the only bank to form a 1:1 transfer ratio partnership with this loyalty program. EVA is notoriously difficult to find partner award space for, but it’s much easier to find when booking directly, especially for couples or larger parties.

For Canadians, some familiar faces are present, such as Flying Blue and Cathay Pacific, which allow us to use points balances north of the border in conjunction with a stash from Citi. If you are new to the concept of redeeming miles and points for award flights, check out our best practices for booking award flights.

Transferring Citi ThankYou Rewards to Hotel Loyalty Programs

Citi has four hotel programs to transfer to, which is more than most! They again include some very unique partners, which are:

  • ALL Accor Live Limitless
  • Choice Privileges
  • Leading Hotels of the World
  • Wyndham Rewards

The transfer ratios here are all over the map. To make things easy to understand, I’ve created a table:

Hotel Program Transfer PartnerTransfer Ratio
ALL Accor Live Limitless1:0.5
Choice Privileges1:2
Leading Hotels Of The World5:1
Wyndham Rewards1:1

Citi is best known for its preferred 1 ThankYou Point = 2 Choice Points ratio, which has some serious sweet spots. This ratio can have fantastic value, particularly in college/university towns that only offer basic accommodation or in select European cities with Ascend and Preferred hotels. 

It’s worth noting that American Express Membership Rewards (US) also transfer to Choice, but only at a 1:1 ratio. You should use Citi points first, but US Membership Rewards points are an option to top up for a high-value redemption.

Leading Hotels of the World (LHoW) and ALL Accor Live Limitless are transfer partners unique to Citi ThankYou Points. LHoW is the newest transfer partner to the collection and provides an average of 2.43 CAD Cents per ThankYou Point value. One downfall compared to Accor is that LHoW redemptions are often expensive, and they don’t allow cash and points bookings.

ALL Accor Live Limitless points are worth roughly 1.8 Euro cents per point, translating to 1.35 CAD cents per Citi point. While that’s not an excellent valuation, the ability to use cash and points bookings easily means a quick discount on some convenient hotels, such as the Fairmont Vancouver Airport or the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

Other Citi ThankYou Rewards Redemptions

If you aren’t interested in transferring your Citi ThankYou points to a frequent flyer or hotel loyalty program partner, there are a few other options that can be considered to redeem points.

Travel Purchases

If you go to the Citi Travel Center, you can book flights or hotels and redeem your points at 1 cent per point.

citi travel portal search

Redeeming Citi ThankYou Points via this portal can be a simple way to get free or reduced-rate independent hotel nights, but generally, your points are worth more when transferred to airline partners provided you can find availability for award redemption.

For example, you could redeem 85,000 ThankYou Rewards for an $850 credit towards an economy flight or you can transfer points to Qatar Airways Privilege Club and if you can find flight award availability, redeem for a $6,000 Qatar Airways QSuites Business Class ticket to the Maldives.

Statement Credit

There are multiple ways to get a statement credit for your Citi points. The most straightforward is to click the Use Points Now tab. Select the purchase you would like to cover and click redeem. 

You will receive a redemption rate of 1 cent per point when redeeming for statement credit on the Citi Strata Premier card, the Citi Double Cash card, and the Citi Custom Cash card. On the other hand, you will receive a redemption rate of 0.5 cents per point when redeeming for statement credit on the Citi Rewards+ card.

You can also Shop With Points at select retailers, including Amazon, BestBuy, CVS, or even through PayPal. Once again, these options redeem Citi ThankYou Points at a rate of 1 cent per point.

Gift Cards

The following and slightly more restrictive way to redeem for a statement credit is to purchase gift cards with points. The gift card merchants are plentiful, and you’re likely to find a couple of useful options when redeeming your points this way. However, be aware that some US-issued gift cards will not work at Canadian retailers, so do your research before redeeming if you wish to use your points for this option.

These will provide a set value of 1 cent per point and also come in US currency, so I’m not sure they would be the best fit for Canadians. Occasionally, Citi will run promotions to get slightly more than 1 cent per point value.

Points Sharing

While you can’t transfer points to authorized user accounts as you can with American Express and Chase, you can send up to 100,000 Citi ThankYou Rewards points to another Citi Cardholder per calendar year. Cardholders can also receive up to 100,000 Citi ThankYou Rewards points per calendar year.

The points transfer from one Citi card member to another nearly instantly, but the limitation here is that the person you wish to share with must also have an eligible Citi Bank credit card that participates in the Citi ThankYou Rewards program.

citi thankyou rewards points sharing steps

The biggest warning with this part of the program is that after points are transferred, they are only valid for 90 days before expiring. It should go without saying, but especially with Citi, you need to make sure you only transfer points when you have an immediate need to use them.

Frequently Asked Questions

On average, you should expect about 2 cents per point from your Citi Rewards when transferred to airlines or hotels. If redeemed for a statement credit, they will be worth about 1 cent per point.

Yes, but the person you wish to transfer to must also be a Citi cardholder. If both individuals hold an eligible Citi credit card, you can transfer up to 100,000 points in a calendar year, and the points expire 90 days after they have been transferred.

As long as you remain a cardholder, they will never expire. Once you cancel your last Citi Card, your points will remain for another 30 days before expiry. Transferred points expire 90 days after they have been transferred.

Posts About Citi ThankYou Rewards

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