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TPG reader Maxwell tweeted me with a question about using Citi ThankYou points:

@thepointsguy– “Should I use Citi ThankYou points to book hotels and rental cars at 1.25 cents per point with my Citi ThankYou Premier card?”

Maxwell, in general I think using your Citi ThankYou points for car rentals and hotels is a decent value, and you have the right idea. It’s hard to get rental car points these days unless you’re renting a lot, since most transferable points programs don’t have car rental partners. However, car rental costs can add up, so using points to get your rentals is a smart choice.

Using Citi ThankYou points to pay for a car rental is not a bad idea. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

When the Citi ThankYou Premier card updated and improved its benefits back in April, it also quietly increased the amount each point is worth when you redeem for hotels, car rentals and cruises to match the 1.25 cents you get when you redeem for airfare through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center.

Chase Ultimate Rewards also gives you 1.25 cents per point if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, but I’d rather save my Ultimate Rewards points for more valuable redemptions. For example, I just transferred 30,000 Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt for one night at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme hotel that would have cost me $882 (about three cents per point in value). Other partners such as United and even Amtrak can get you up to five cents per point in value.

Since Citi ThankYou points are generally easier to accrue (thanks to lucrative bonus spending categories that offer two and three points per dollar), it’s better to redeem those for cars and hotels than to use other currencies that may only give you one cent apiece. Overall, I think you have a solid plan for maximizing your points.

That said, I plan to use my Citi ThankYou points for transfers to Singapore KrisFlyer to take advantage of some excellent Star Alliance redemptions. Of course, I’m more of a transfer guy myself, and don’t typically rent cars, but to each his own.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
5.00%
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.