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Should I Use Citi ThankYou Points for Hotels and Rental Cars?

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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
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card