You can now use ThankYou points to meet your minimum payment requirement
Editor's Note: This article has been updated with additional information from Citi.
Citi is a TPG advertising partner.
While we all love the feeling of redeeming points for a premium cabin flight or luxury hotel stay, travel (especially international) will likely continue to be limited for the foreseeable future. Flexibility in redemption options is more important now than ever. Thankfully, multiple credit card issuers have taken steps in recent months to help cardholders get more value out of their points — from Capital One's added redemption categories to Chase's Pay Yourself Back feature.
For more credit card news and advice, sign up for the TPG newsletter.
Citi has now joined the fray with a way to help cardholders utilize points and cash back rewards while staying on top of their credit card bills. Your rewards can now be redeemed as a statement credit that goes toward your minimum payment.
Typically, Pay With Points or cash back redemptions wouldn't negate your requirement to pay your minimum payment. But this new option allows cardholders that might be experiencing financial difficulties the ability to meet their minimum payment requirements when they otherwise might have had to miss a payment (which could mean a ding to your credit score, a pentalty APR applied to your balance and/or a late payment fee).
Citi lists this redemption option as part of its COVID-19 relief program for cardholders, and a representative did confirm that this option will remain available through Nov. 7, 2020.
Related reading: Guide to card benefits during the pandemic
Are you getting good value from your points?
From the looks of it, points are worth just under 1 cent each. For example, one TPG reader has the option of redeeming 2,625 for a $21.00 minimum payment.
TPG values Citi ThankYou points at 1.7 cents each because of the flexibility to transfer to partners, so you won't get as much value as you would from redeeming your points for travel. But if you don't think you'll make your minimum payment otherwise, this is certainly a worthwhile redemption option.
Also keep in mind that you can also use cash back rewards from your Citi Double Cash. Because cash back is always worth the same, you're not sacrificing any value by using your rewards to meet your minimum payment.
Related reading: Are non-travel statement credit redemptions worthwhile?
While I wish it was a better redemption value, it's nice to see Citi taking steps to help consumers by enabling them to utilize points in a way that could help cardholders avoid late payment fees and penalty APRs. To redeem your points toward your minimum payment, log into your account on the Citi app or website and navigate to the redemption portal. From there, you should have the option to redeem your points toward statement credits.