Should I Redeem Citi ThankYou Points for Hotels on Expedia?

Jun 12, 2016

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Citi Premier CardCiti ThankYou Preferred CardCiti Prestige Card

TPG reader Chad emailed me to ask about a new Citi ThankYou Rewards partnership:

“Is there a way to maximize the value of ThankYou points by booking hotels with Expedia, or are there better options?”

Citi’s partnership with Expedia extends back nearly a decade. For most of that time, the partnership has been defined by various co-branded credit cards, but it expanded earlier this year when Citi began allowing ThankYou Rewards members to redeem points for hotels on Expedia. Linking your ThankYou account and choosing to pay with points is pretty easy, and it doesn’t hurt to have more options for booking award travel. However, this new feature offers a terrible redemption value, and there are definitely better ways to maximize your rewards.

ThankYou points are worth just 0.8 cents apiece when you use them to book hotels on Expedia. That’s less than what you’ll get by redeeming for gift cards, and much less than what you can get by transferring to airline and hotel partners. Furthermore, you can get a better return by skipping Expedia altogether and booking travel through ThankYou Rewards directly (including hotels, flights, rental cars and more).

For example, the Citi Premier Card offers 1.25 cents per point when you redeem through the ThankYou Travel Center. The Citi Prestige Card gives you even higher rates of 1.33 cents per point on most travel, or 1.6 cents per point on American Airlines flights. Even no-fee options like the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card give you 1 cent per point when you book through Citi — 25% better than what you’ll get by using Expedia.

Citi
You’ll get more out of your ThankYou points by redeeming directly through Citi rather than Expedia.

The one advantage of this partnership is that Expedia gives you access to a wider selection of properties. When I searched for a hotel in Boston for one night in August, Citi gave me 189 options and Expedia gave me 331, even though the ThankYou Rewards site appeared to be searching a larger area. Still, even if you’re targeting a specific property that’s only available as an award on Expedia, you’re probably better off just paying cash and saving your ThankYou points for another time.

For more on how to maximize Citi ThankYou Rewards points, 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.

Featured image courtesy of the Fairmont Orchid Hawaii.

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.