Can I Use Citi ThankYou Points for Flights on any Airline?

Nov 1, 2015

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here: Citi Prestige, Citi Premier® Card

Our newbie question of the week comes from TPG reader Justin, who sent a message on Facebook to ask about the Citi ThankYou Rewards program:

“Is there a way to use ThankYou points to book flights on any of the US airlines, like United, American, Delta and others?”

One of the greatest benefits of transferable points programs is flexibility. You’ll usually get the best value by transferring your rewards to airline and hotel partners, but you can also redeem directly for flights and more via the travel portals run by the major card issuers. That can come in handy when transferring isn’t an option, when rates are low (so you’re not getting a good return on normal award redemptions) or when transfer times are too long. Overall, the option to redeem directly is one of the reasons transferable points rate so highly in my monthly valuations.

The Citi ThankYou Travel Center lets you redeem points for flights on major airlines (including the US legacy carriers) at a base rate of 1 cent apiece, though higher redemption rates are available to certain cardholders. For example, the Citi Premier® Card gives you a 25% bonus, so you can redeem points for 1.25 cents apiece. The Citi Prestige Card does even better, offering a standard redemption rate of 1.33 cents apiece, or 1.6 cents apiece for flights on American Airlines. That last option is one of the best ways to redeem ThankYou points

You
You can redeem ThankYou Points (and other flexible rewards) for flights on a wide variety of carriers when you redeem directly.

One great feature of direct redemptions is that flights booked through these portals count as revenue fares, so they’re generally eligible to earn miles and elite credits. That gives you a better return on each point you spend, which can help compensate for any value you might be sacrificing otherwise.

Keep in mind that these travel portals don’t always have the best prices, so it’s worth shopping around. For a better sense of how each one performs, check out Richard Kerr’s posts on pricing through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center, the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal and American Express Membership Rewards Travel.

For more info about ThankYou Rewards and other programs, check out these posts:

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

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the 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.