How to cancel travel booked through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Citi is a TPG advertising partner.
If you have a card like the Citi Prestige® Card or Citi Premier® Card, The Citi ThankYou Travel Center is a popular option for easily redeeming Citi ThankYou Rewards points. But what happens when your travel plans change, causing you to need to change or cancel a flight before you depart? As you'd expect, it is possible to cancel airfare and other travel plans booked through the ThankYou Travel Center, but it's more involved than if you booked directly through the airline.
Plus, things get even more complicated when you consider travel waivers that many airlines have issued in response to the global coronavirus outbreak. While this lets many customers cancel or change their plans for free, the process of actually changing or canceling tickets is different when you booked through the Citi portal.
We'll discuss everything you need to know about canceling or changing travel booked through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center. The main focus here is travel that's affected by the coronavirus outbreak, but you can apply these tips to almost any booking you've made through the Citi portal.
The information for the Citi Prestige has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
First, check your travel provider's website for information
Travel booked through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center is still governed by the change or cancellation policy of the airline, hotel or car rental company that you’ve booked with. These waivers vary by airline. For example, if you booked a JetBlue flight through the Citi portal, you’re subject to JetBlue's change and cancellation policies. Before you start the change or cancellation process for a ticket, make sure you know your carrier’s policy by checking the airline's website.
Further, your travel is also covered by any travel waivers that a travel company has in place. These are most commonly issued by airlines during bad weather and natural disasters. However, recently we've seen nearly all major U.S. and international airlines add travel waivers for those affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The specifics vary by airline, but these waivers will let you cancel or change your travel for free in most cases.
You can see if your airline or hotel is offering a travel waiver at one of the links below:
- Coronavirus hotel change and cancellation policies: What to know
- Flight waivers in place at U.S. carriers
Canceling airfare booked through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center
Canceling travel booked through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center can be a little convoluted. At this time, you can only cancel airfare booked with select airlines on Citi's website. If your airline isn't supported, you have to call Citi to process the cancellation.
Citi hasn't released a list of airlines that support online cancellation. Still, you can check if your itinerary is eligible by heading to ThankYou.com, signing in with your Citi account and navigating to the My Trips page. You can do this by hovering over the Travel button at the top of the screen and clicking the My Trips button from the drop-down menu.
Then, find your itinerary at the bottom of the screen and click the blue View Itinerary button to pull up your flight details. There will be a Cancel Flight button at the center of the screen if your flight is eligible for online cancellation — to cancel, click the button and follow the on-screen prompts.
If there's no Cancel Flight button (or the button is grayed out), you have to call to cancel your ticket. When you do this, make sure you have your travel waiver in front of you. This will help you ensure that you're getting the proper refund for your ticket and that the phone representative isn't charging you any unnecessary fees.
If your flight is not covered by a travel waiver, look up your airline's cancellation policy beforehand to know what types of fees to expect. You'll be charged the same fee that you would if you booked directly through the airline.
One word of advice, though: Since Citi's phone lines can get congested, try and cancel your flight 5 to 7 days before departure. This will ensure that people canceling tickets at the last minute can get through to a phone representative while also giving you ample time to call back if hold times excessively long.
Related: The ultimate guide to Citi ThankYou Rewards
How will my refund be processed? Will I get my ThankYou points back?
How you're refunded depends on the type of ticket you booked. Nonrefundable tickets are seldom refunded to the original form of payment, so in most cases, you'll be issued a travel voucher for the airline you originally booked with. There are some exceptions to this rule, though. For example, if the airline completely canceled your flight or you're subject to a massive schedule change, you may be able to get a full refund to your original form of payment.
On the other hand, refundable tickets can be canceled without penalty and are due a full refund to the original form of payment. In this case, you may be able to request that the refund be deposited back into your ThankYou point balance — just ask the phone representative when you call in to cancel your ticket.
These policies may vary by airline and travel waiver, so make sure to double-check with the Citi ThankYou Travel Center representative when you call in. He or she will be able to fill you in on the policy for your specific airline and discuss how you'll receive your refund.
What if I want to change my plans, not outright cancel?
Most airline travel waivers are offering free changes in addition to waiving cancellation fees. If this is the case for your airline, you can request that the Citi ThankYou Travel Center representative change your reservation when you call in. Note that in some cases, you may still be responsible for paying a fare difference if the flight you're changing to is priced higher than your original ticket, but again, this varies by airline.
What about hotel and rental car reservations?
Hotel and rental car reservations can be canceled online through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center. However, like airfare, these cancellations will be subject to either the standard cancellation policy of your hotel or rental car company or any travel waiver that's in effect. Many hotels are waiving cancellation fees during the coronavirus outbreak, though, so make sure to check your hotel's policy before you cancel online.
You can cancel your booking through the My Trips page in the Citi ThankYou Travel Center. Once on this page, select the trip you'd like to cancel and click the cancel button at the top of the window. The Citi ThankYou Travel Center will notify you if you're subject to any penalties or fees when canceling your ticket. If these don't match your travel waiver, call the Citi ThankYou Travel Center to waive the fee.
Likewise, a phone representative may be able to waive a hotel or car rental cancellation fee over the phone, even if a travel waiver isn't in place, so it never hurts to ask. Just make sure to be kind to the representative regardless of the outcome of the call.
TPG is dedicated to helping readers understand how the global coronavirus outbreak is affecting the travel industry. Because of this, we've written an extensive library of travel news, advice and guides that will help you up to date on how the coronavirus is impacting you as a traveler. Keep an eye on our dedicated coronavirus page to stay up to date.
Don't know where to start? Check out these guides first:
- Here’s what to consider if you’re thinking about booking future travel now
- The best credit cards that offer trip cancellation and interruption coverage
- These are the global coronavirus travel restrictions by country
- Complete guide to airline elite status during the coronavirus outbreak
- Tips to reach airline customer service quickly
- Complete guide to hotel elite status during the coronavirus outbreak
Unfortunately, canceling tickets booked through the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal isn't always easy. We're hopeful that the bank will roll out an online cancellation tool for all airlines soon, but until then, you're stuck calling in to cancel your airfare on select airlines. Thankfully, hotels, car rentals and select airfare can be canceled online, which helps reduce congestion on the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal's phone line.
Remember, when you call in to cancel a ticket, make sure to have your travel waiver in front of you and be kind to the phone representative. This will speed up the process for you and everyone else waiting on hold to cancel tickets and ensure that you get the refund you're due.
Feature photo by Song_about_summer/Shutterstock.