You Can Now Redeem Citi ThankYou Points in Real Time — but It’s Not a Good Idea

Jun 25, 2019

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If a complicated and confusing redemption process is what was holding you back from reaping in the rewards, things just got a bit easier. Citi has teamed up with Mastercard to be the first major issuer in the US to allow cardmembers to apply their points against purchases in real time.

This new feature will become available in early July for Citi Prestige® Card, Citi Premier® Card, Citi Rewards+® Card and Citi ThankYou Preferred members.

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.      

So how does it work? When you make a purchase with your eligible Citi card (online or in-person), you’ll receive a notification through Citi’s app that will alert you if your purchase is eligible for an instant points redemption. You can then decide whether or not you want to redeem the points then or put it toward something else. There’s no limit to what you can redeem on — you could put it toward your $5 morning coffee or save it for a larger purchase, it’s up to you. Additionally, you can customize the alerts so that you only receive them for set amounts if that’s what you’d prefer.

The rewards will be similar to Citi’s Shop with Points offering with Amazon where cardmembers get 0.8 cents per point in value. Unfortunately, this is a poor redemption option, as TPG values ThankYou points at 1.7 cents apiece. You’re better off transferring to an airline partner and redeeming for flights, think United’s Polaris business class to Europe with Avianca Lifemiles.

If you really do want to redeem your points for straight cash, you’re better off using points for a statement credit, since you’ll get at least 1 cent per point that way if you have the Citi Prestige. However, those with the Citi Premier® Card, Citi Rewards+ Card and the no longer available Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card will only be able to cash them out at .5 cents apiece. So, the new Pay with Points option may not be a good option for those without the Prestige.

Yesterday, Citi announced it would be slashing a slew of benefits like car rental insurance and trip delay protection starting in September.

For additional information to see which Citi card is best for you and to maximize the value of ThankYou points, check out these helpful links:

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

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More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
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