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

Jun 25, 2019

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.

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:

The All-New United Quest℠ Card

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CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X miles on United® purchases

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 80K bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 20K bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months
  • $250 Annual Fee
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  • Earn 3X miles on United Airlines purchases
  • Earn 2X miles at restaurants and on select streaming services
  • Earn 2X miles on all other travel
  • Earn 1X mile on all other purchases
  • Each year, receive a $125 credit on United® purchases and two 5k-mile anniversary award flight credits. Terms apply.
Regular APR
16.49% to 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent, Good

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