The ultimate guide to Citi ThankYou Rewards

Apr 16, 2020

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.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with current information. Citi is a TPG advertising partner.

Citi offers many different rewards credit cards, including cobranded American Airlines cards and cobranded Costco cards. But only five of Citi’s cards that are currently accepting applications provide access to the company’s valuable ThankYou Rewards program — and only two of these cards give you full access.

Whether you’re applying for your first credit card, are a seasoned pro looking to complement a Citi card already in your wallet, or are a Chase/Amex loyalist exploring what Citi ThankYou Rewards has to offer, one or more of the cards in Citi’s portfolio might be right for you. Let’s take a closer look at the program, including an analysis of each card offering ThankYou Rewards points and how you can redeem ThankYou Rewards points.

New to The Points Guy? Sign up for our daily newsletter and check out our beginner’s guide.

Best Citi ThankYou Rewards cards

In This Post

Comparing the best Citi ThankYou Rewards cards

Sign-up bonus Rewards rate Annual fee
Citi Prestige Card 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. 5x on air travel and at restaurants

3x on hotels and cruise lines

1x on everything else

$495
Citi Premier Card 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening Through August 22, 2020: 3x on travel (including gas stations); 2x points on restaurants and entertainment; 1x on everything else

Starting August 23, 2020: 3x on air travel, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations; 1x on everything else

$95
Citi Rewards+ Card 15,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months of account opening. 2x at supermarkets and gas stations (for the first $6,000 per year, then 1x)

1x on everything else

$0
Citi Rewards+ Student Card 2,500 points after you spend $500 in the first three months of account opening. 2x at supermarkets and gas stations (for the first $6,000 per year, then 1x)

1x on everything else

$0
AT&T Access Card from Citi 10,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first three months of account opening. 2x on purchases made online at eligible retail and travel websites and on products and services purchased directly from AT&T

1x on everything else

$0

The information for the Citi Prestige, Citi Premier, Citi Rewards+ Student and AT&T Access Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

That’s a lot of information, so let’s take a deeper dive into each card and what each one offers.

Citi Prestige Card

(Photo by The Points Guy)
(Photo by The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening. Based on TPG’s valuations, 50,000 ThankYou points are worth $850, thanks to factors such as ease of use, transfer partners and more.

Rewards rate: Earn 5x ThankYou points on purchases at airlines, travel agencies and restaurants (including cafes, bars, lounges and fast food restaurants), 3x points at hotels and cruise lines and 1x points on other purchases.

Annual fee: $495 ($350 for qualifying Citigold clients)

Card benefits: Get a complimentary fourth night up to twice each calendar year when you book your hotel through ThankYou.com, Priority Pass Select membership with up to two guests or immediate family members (spouse, domestic partner and/or children under 18 years of age), $250 travel credit every calendar year and Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit every five years. Plus, no foreign transaction fees.

Who should apply: Admittedly, the Citi Prestige has devalued its perks multiple times while increasing its annual fee. Although the card’s earnings have improved — 5x points for an effective 8.5% return at restaurants is top-notch — some cardholders haven’t been able to justify the card’s annual fee when it’s time to renew. This being said, the Citi Prestige does unlock the capability to transfer ThankYou points to travel partners, and the complimentary fourth-night benefit has the potential to save you enough to more than justify the annual fee — although it’s worth checking other booking options to ensure you’re getting a good deal.

Check out the full card review for the Citi Prestige Card.

Citi Premier Card

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

Sign up bonus: 60,000 bonus points after you make $4,000 in purchases with your card within the first three months of account opening. Based on TPG’s valuations, 60,000 ThankYou points are worth $1,020.

Rewards rate: Currently, you’ll earn 3x ThankYou points on travel including gas stations, 2x points at restaurants and on entertainment and 1x points on other purchases. But, on Aug. 23, 2020, the Citi Premier‘s rewards categories will change completely. Starting Aug. 23, 2020, you’ll earn 3x points on air travel, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations, and 1x on other purchases.

Annual fee: $95

Card benefits: Starting Aug. 23, 2020, you’ll be able to enjoy a $100 annual hotel savings benefit when you book a single hotel stay of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, through ThankYou.com once per calendar year. Plus, the card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.

Who should apply: The Citi Premier Card provides access to all of the Citi ThankYou Rewards program transfer partners for a $95 annual fee. Although I’m sad to see the 3x earning on general travel expenses end this August, it will be nice to earn 3x on air travel, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations. Plus, there’s no fee to add an authorized user, so you can boost your earning power by adding a trusted friend or loved one to your account.

Check out the full card review for the Citi Premier Card.

Official application link: Citi Premier Card

Citi Rewards+ Card

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)

Sign up bonus: 15,000 bonus points after you make $1,000 in purchases with your card within the first three months of account opening. These points can be redeemed for $150 in gift cards, but TPG’s valuations peg the value of these points at $255 if you also have a premium ThankYou Rewards account.

Rewards rate: Earn 2x ThankYou points at supermarkets and gas stations (on the first $6,000 per year; then 1x) and 1x on everything else. Citi automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase.

Annual fee: None

Card benefits: You’ll get 10% points back for the first 100,000 ThankYou Points you redeem per year, including points earned on other cards if you’ve linked your Citi ThankYou accounts.

The Citi Rewards+ Card also offers a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on balance transfers and purchases to new cardholders. After the introductory period ends, the interest rate increases to a variable APR of 13.49% – 23.49% based upon your creditworthiness — so you’ll want to make sure to pay off the balance during the introductory period. If you already hold a Citi Prestige or Citi Premier and need to finance a larger purchase, picking up a Rewards+ could be a great option, and the ThankYou points earned on those purchases can be transferred to travel partners because you already hold a premium Citi ThankYou card.

Who should apply: If you’re looking for a no-annual-fee card that earns bonus points at supermarkets and gas stations, the Citi Rewards+ Card isn’t a bad option — especially if you also have a Citi Prestige or Citi Premier card. Otherwise, the Citi ThankYou points earned solely via the Citi Rewards+ Card are worth a flat one cent each when redeemed for travel through the Citi portal, gift cards, statement credits and more. The one exception is with JetBlue; if you have the Rewards+, you can transfer points directly to the airline’s TrueBlue program at a 5:4 ratio.

Check out the full card review for the Citi Rewards+ Card.

Offical application link: Citi Rewards+ Card

Citi Rewards+ Student Card

Sign up bonus: 2,500 bonus points after you make $500 in purchases with your card within the first three months of account opening. These points can be redeemed for $25 in gift cards, but TPG’s valuations peg the value of these points at $42 if you also have a premium ThankYou Rewards account.

Rewards rate: Earn 2x ThankYou points at supermarkets and gas stations (on the first $6,000 per year; then 1x) and 1x on everything else. Citi automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase.

Annual fee: None

Card benefits: You’ll get 10% points back for the first 100,000 ThankYou Points you redeem per year, including points earned on other cards if you’ve linked your Citi ThankYou accounts.

Depending on creditworthiness, you could score a 0% introductory APR for seven months on purchases (after the introductory period ends, the variable APR will be 14.49% – 24.49% based upon your creditworthiness). So if you plan on applying for a Citi Prestige or Citi Premier, down the road, and need to finance a larger purchase now, picking up a Citi Rewards+ Student Card could be a great option. By doing so, you’d not only have access to a 0% intro APR, but ThankYou points earned on those purchases could be transferred to travel partners if you also hold a premium Citi ThankYou card.

Who should apply: If you’re entering college and you’re looking to establish your credit history and maximize travel rewards, kudos to you. Be sure to read our collegiate guide for maximizing rewards, top starter cards for college students/graduates, and our guide to paying college tuition on a credit card. Citi’s Rewards+ Student Card largely mimics the conventional Rewards+, but includes a modest sign-up bonus and features that are especially intriguing to those in school.

Related reading: Best credit cards for college students

AT&T Access Card from Citi

Sign up bonus: 10,000 bonus points after you make $1,000 in purchases with your card within the first three months of account opening. These points can be redeemed for $100 in gift cards, but TPG’s valuations peg the value of these points at $170 if you also have a premium ThankYou Rewards account.

Rewards rate: Earn 2x ThankYou points on eligible retail and travel websites as well as on products and services purchased directly from AT&T, including payment of monthly phone, cable or internet bills. Earn 1x points on everything else.

Annual fee: None

Card benefits: No standout benefits.

Who should apply: The AT&T Access Card is the remaining cousin of the previously offered AT&T Access More card, which is no longer open for applications. There’s nothing overly compelling about the card. So it’s likely not a card to add to your wallet unless you have the Citi Prestige or Citi Premier and are looking to earn 2x on eligible retail and travel websites.

Related reading: These are the best cards for online shopping

Earning Citi ThankYou Rewards points

Not all ThankYou points are created equal. TPG values Citi ThankYou points at 1.7 cents each, but this valuation is based on the value that can be obtained by transferring your Citi ThankYou points to one of the program’s airline partners. But to be able to transfer your points to most partners, you must hold a premium Citi ThankYou card such as the Citi Prestige Card or Citi Premier Card.

If you only have the Citi Rewards+℠ Card, the Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card or the AT&T Access Card from Citi, you’ll earn what we call “basic” ThankYou points. They’re worth a flat one cent each when redeemed toward gift cards and other rewards available on the ThankYou.com website, but they can’t be transferred to most of the ThankYou travel partners. However, if you hold either the Citi Prestige or Citi Premier, you can combine the “basic” ThankYou points into your Citi Prestige or Citi Premier account and then transfer to any of the Citi ThankYou travel partners.

If you’re looking to sign up for multiple Citi ThankYou cards, note that under Citi’s application rules you can only receive a sign-up bonus on any card in the same card family (such as the ThankYou Rewards family) if you haven’t received a sign-up bonus or closed a card in that family in the past 24 months. So, you’ll want to time your applications correctly if you’re looking to earn new cardmember bonuses on your cards.

Finally, the Citi® Double Cash Card deserves a special mention. Although this card is not branded as a ThankYou Rewards card, you can convert the cash back rewards from a Citi Double Cash Card to “basic” ThankYou points. These “basic” ThankYou points can then be combined into a full-fledged ThankYou account. So, if you’re looking for a no-annual-fee card to earn “basic” ThankYou points, the Citi Double Cash is a solid option that earns up to 2% cash back on every purchase (1% when you buy and 1% when you pay).

Related reading: The best limited-time credit card offers to sign up for this month

Redeeming Citi ThankYou Rewards points through the Citi Travel Center

All of these credit cards can redeem ThankYou points for statement credits, cash rewards, third-party gift cards and more at a flat rate of one cent per point.

Citi Premier cardholders can currently redeem ThankYou points with a 25% bonus compared to gift cards through the ThankYou Travel Center. This means Citi Premier cardholders can effectively redeem their points at a rate of 1.25 cents per point when booking travel through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center, while cardholders of other Citi ThankYou cards can only get one cent per point. However, Citi announced that this benefit will be eliminated for Citi Premier cardholders effective April 10, 2021.

Related reading: Amex vs. Citi vs. Chase: Which booking portal is best for hotels?

Transferring Citi ThankYou Rewards points to partners

Cardholders of premium Citi ThankYou cards also have another option for redeeming their ThankYou Rewards points: transfers to airline partners. To be able to transfer your points to most ThankYou partner loyalty programs, you must hold either the Citi Prestige or Citi Premier. As long as you hold one of those two cards, you can combine ThankYou points earned from one of the lower-tier cards to transfer those as well.

Unlike Chase Ultimate Rewards, which mostly (with a few exceptions) transfer instantly across its airline and hotel partners, ThankYou transfer times are hit and miss. While some transfer instantly, more than a few require one or more days, so be sure to plan those awards carefully.

Program Transfer Ratio Transfer Time
Aeromexico Club Premier 1:1 Unknown
Air France-KLM Flying Blue 1:1 Instantaneous
Avianca LifeMiles 1:1 Instantaneous
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles 1:1 < 24 hours
Etihad Guest 1:1 7 days
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands 1:1 3 days
Jet Airways JetPrivilege 1:1 Instantaneous
JetBlue TrueBlue 1:1 (5:4 for non-premium cards) Instantaneous
Malaysia Airlines Enrich 1:1 Varies
Qantas Frequent Flyer 1:1 2 days
Qatar Airways Privilege Club 1:1 2 days
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer 1:1 1 day
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus 1:1 7 days
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles 1:1 1 day
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 1:1 Instantaneous

Citi also recently added Emirates as a ThankYou transfer partner at a 1:1 ratio.

With so many transfer partners, your options are plentiful when it comes to maximizing ThankYou points. Here’s a sampling of what you can do with them:

With so many options, you’ll want to review some of our favorite tips and tricks on redeeming Citi ThankYou points:

Related reading: Savvy rewards travelers focus on transferable points for the most flexibility

Bottom line

Citi’s ThankYou points are perhaps the most underrated of the major points and miles currencies. Despite some negatives, they remain a valuable transferable asset, especially for those looking to book award flights on international carriers. It’s vital to have a Citi Prestige or Citi Premier in the mix, as those two enable transfers to partners, which unlock a multitude of aspirational booking opportunities.

If you’re a heavy traveler who tends to book a few expensive stays each year of four nights or longer, the Citi Prestige may be worth the high annual fee — especially now that it has relaunched with 5x earning on air travel and restaurants. If long hotel stays aren’t your thing, the Citi Premier also offers solid bonus earning categories with a comparably low $95 annual fee.

Related guides

Additional reporting by Darren Murph.

Featured image by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

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 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 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, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
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.