Citi ThankYou Points: 7 Reasons You Should Collect Them

Filed Under: Citi, Credit Cards
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It’s interesting to see how the value of transferable points currencies can change over time. For a while I think many people wrote off the Citi ThankYou program, but we’ve now seen Citi make several positive changes to the program, and I really think the program is worth getting involved in more than ever.

Best of all, at the moment the Citi Premier℠ Card has its best ever welcome bonus of 60,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 within three months.

So, why should you take another look at Citi ThankYou? Here are some of the top reasons:

Valuable transfer bonuses

One of the great things about credit cards earning transferable points currencies is that you can often earn multiple points per dollar spent. For example, the Citi Premier℠ Card offers triple points on travel and gas, and double points on dining and entertainment.

One way to get even more value is by transferring points to partner programs when there’s a transfer bonus. While Chase Ultimate Rewards virtually never has transfer bonuses, Citi ThankYou has them pretty consistently, and that’s a way to stretch your points even further.

Just to recap, here are some of the transfer bonuses we’ve seen from Citi ThankYou so far this year:

These are some excellent programs, and when you factor in the transfer bonuses, you could get a lot of value. For example, right now you could transfer just 93,000 Citi ThankYou points to Virgin Atlantic and book a roundtrip ANA first class award ticket from the US to Japan.

Get amazing value with ThankYou points for redemptions in ANA first class

Improved JetBlue TrueBlue transfer ratio

As of Thursday, Citi ThankYou improved the transfer ratio when transferring points to JetBlue TrueBlue.

If you have the Citi Premier℠ Card, points transfer at a 1:1 ratio. Typically TrueBlue points can be redeemed for 1.3-1.5 cents each towards the cost of a ticket on JetBlue, which is solid. But it gets better than that. If you have the JetBlue Plus Card, you get a 10% refund when you redeem points, meaning you’re looking at getting more like ~1.5-1.7 cents per point, which I’d consider to be very compelling.

That makes this card a great option for JetBlue flyers.

Redeem ThankYou points for JetBlue Mint

Avianca LifeMiles

At the end of last year, the LifeMiles program was added as a Citi ThankYou transfer partner. Citi is the only transferable points currency to partner with LifeMiles, and I consider this to be a valuable option. Being able to transfer Citi points to LifeMiles is an excellent option for Star Alliance redemptions, and can nicely supplement buying miles directly from the program.

LifeMiles is a great program for booking Lufthansa first class

Air France/KLM, Etihad, Singapore, and Virgin Atlantic

Nowadays there’s quite a bit of overlap between the transfer partners offered by the major programs. This is due to some programs losing unique partners (like Chase losing Korean Air SkyPass), and also due to programs adding more common partners.

All three transferrable points currencies partner with Air France KLM Flying Blue, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. Amex and Citi also partner with Etihad Guest. I consider all of those programs to be extremely useful for the redemptions they offer, so having access to them with Citi is great.

The other good thing is that it allows you to pool points from different transferable points currencies towards one redemption. Have Chase points and Citi points, for example? Great, you can transfer those points to several overlapping programs.

While you can of course use those miles to book actual travel on those airlines, there are plenty of interesting partner redemptions this opens up:

Redeem Etihad Guest miles for travel in Royal Air Maroc business class

Redeem points for 1.25 cents each towards airfare

While this isn’t personally how I’d choose to redeem my ThankYou points, if you have the Citi Premier℠ Card then you can redeem points for 1.25 cents each towards airfare, which is a good minimum value you should get from your points.

This is generally better than the “cash out” value you’d get on airfare with Amex Membership Rewards cards, and it’s in a similar range to what’s offered by most Chase cards (though the Sapphire Reserve gives you 1.5 cents per point towards the cost of a travel purchase).

Redeem points for 1.25 cents each towards the cost of airfare

Easily transferable points

There are pros and cons to each of the major transferable points currencies when it comes to the ability to transfer points to others.

Citi ThankYou is the most generous when it comes to allowing you to transfer points to non-family/household members.

Citi ThankYou lets you transfer up to 100,000 ThankYou points to another member each calendar year. Shared points do expire 90 days after they’re received, though this is great in terms of being able to pool the points earned across multiple accounts towards a single redemption.

A best-ever welcome bonus

If the above aren’t enough reasons, one other reason this is the ideal time to take the ThankYou program for a spin is because the Citi Premier℠ Card is offering its best-ever welcome bonus of 60,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 within three months.

The card has a $95 annual fee, and offers triple points on travel and gas, and double points on dining and entertainment. In terms of return on spend, this might just be the most rewarding card with an annual fee of under $100.

Bottom line

For a while I thought ThankYou points were worth less than Membership Rewards and Ultimate Rewards points, but with the positive changes to ThankYou and with Ultimate Rewards losing Korean Air as a parter, I think ThankYou points are on par with the competition, if not more valuable.

If you haven’t considered this points currency, I highly recommend picking up a card like the Citi Premier℠ Card, given that it’s offering its best-ever welcome bonus.

How are you feeling about the value of ThankYou points compared to other currencies?

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  1. What kind of fuel surcharges are we talking about with some of these listed options? Obviously Avianca doesn’t pass them on, but with Virgin Atlantic etc?

  2. I was thinking this today. When has chase ever offered a transfer bonus? AFAIK never! Their only good exclusive partner now is Hyatt… united so so.

    Hyatt top tier night is 30k for 5 nights 150k UR points.

    Hilton top tier night is 95k for 5 nights its 126,666 citi points when there is the transfer bonus.

    Citi has transfer bonus all the time and so do amex.

    UR points are worth the same. The only advantadge of UR points is they are easier to get (UR shopping, 5x freedom 1.5x FU)

  3. But how easily can Citi points be collected?? Only a 60k card offer? What other cards do they have that offers a sign up bonus? That’s the real challenge imo.

  4. my problem with citi premier is I cannot justify to pay for the annual fee after the first year. There is no 1 special category it pays the best. The only interesting category was entertainment but capital one’s savor card pays 4% cash in my opinion is better.

  5. Lamentably the Citi Card issued in Mexico do not have the same promotions. If I transfer points to KLM/Air France I only get 9 miles per 10 from City, so if I transfer 100,000 thankyou points will get only 90,000 Flying Blue miles.

  6. To me the best option for the card is for the bonus points, transfer them to Good transfer partner and then dump the card. Can’t see using it over CSR. Would like to see how Citi Prestige is reintroduced.

  7. Hey Lucky love the posts. I am I reading this right

    (For example, right now you could transfer just 93,000 Citi ThankYou points to Virgin Atlantic and book a roundtrip ANA first class award ticket from the US to Japan. ) Is 93000 (taking in account bonus ) the total for round trip or is 93000 per one way . Seems a bit confusing.

  8. @Lucky it’s about time someone highlights the value of Citi TY points, so I appreciate that. Someone above mentioned a great point about the transfer bonus with Citi and Amex, which Chase lacks. It still blows my mind that TPG is valuing Chase points so high. I still wonder if they are on Chase’s payroll, directly. With that said, TPG has gone down the drain with content quality and you sir have maintained a great site. Keep up the fantastic work.

  9. Kind of dishonest gushing about how great the value can be by transferring to Virgin Atlantic….all the Virgin airlines will be re-vamping their loyalty programs completely. If you’re ready to book something now, OK, it may work well for you. But if you think you’ll be able to get the same benefits a year from now or later, watch out – nobody knows what any of the Virgins will let you do when after they switch over. Anyone counting on using points in their programs down the road are fools IMHO.

  10. @Robert
    I could clarify @Lucky’s answer a little more.
    You transfer 93,000 Thank You points to Virgin Atlantic and receive 120,990 Virgin Atlantic Miles with 30% bonus. The cost on ANA first from east coast to Japan is 120,000 virgin miles round trip.
    Hope this is helpful

  11. I have been thinking the same thing… switching spending from Chase to Citi.

    These transfer bonuses are just too good. I got four very nice AF one ways from this recent transfer bonus and have a few points left.

    I am even more comfortable with a semi speculative transfer… having a general idea of a redemption in the next 6 months. Unlikely you get hit with a devaluation, and if you did unlikely it will be worse than 40%.


  12. Years ago I just got the card to get it the air flt deal wasn’t that good so I used it for 5 nights in Vegas . Now it changed I like that transfer to Singapore airlines . Then with my Ink card great combination.
    Hope they don’t change the 4th nite free deal.


  13. SOmething to keep in mind for those concerned with the AF. Citi has the best retention offers, and with the least amount of drama…

    MY Premier was up for renewal, called in and said I can’t justify the AF. They said ok, spend $95 in the next 2 cycles and we’ll give you the $95 AF back. SImple enough, AF waived. Didn’t end there. ALso said for the next 16(might ahve been 14) billing cycles, spend $500 and get 500 TYP bonus. Basically an additional TYP per spend. Their bonus categories are already solid, and not owning an amex plat anymore and never having had a CSR/CSP, my travel spend goes on this card. Uber and such also get 3x back. SO did it end there? Nope. Lastly, they threw in 0% rate till next april. 9 months at 0%. I don’t carry balances regardless, but getting 0% allows me to park that money elsewhere, earning money, and I’ll pay the whole thing off in April.

    I am glad someone finally spoke fairly of the TYP program. It always gets crapped on as a lower tier program to UR/MR, but honestly if transfers is where your head is at(and it should always be) then this program is as good as the other 2. And the way they’ve been throwing bonuses around on transfers makes it ever better. Solid program, and the premier is a solid card which should be 0 AF for most as long as you put a decent amount of spend on it.

  14. Don’t trust Thank You Points from any program. They can take them without recourse, unless you go to court.

  15. I’ve been able to collect TY points well the past few years. Initiated a significant transfer from Citi to Avianca LifeMiles five days ago and still nothing has posted in my LifeMiles account. Was expecting an instantaneous transfer, or at least within 48 hours. Now I’m concerned I won’t get the miles posted before the end of their Star Alliance sale. If anyone has any advice I’d love to hear it! =) Fingers crossed.

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