You can use Citi credit card points to book travel, but also to pay student loans and shop online

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  • The Citi ThankYou rewards program lets you transfer points to airlines or book travel through Citi's online portal.

  • You can also opt for non-travel redemptions like gift cards, merchandise, and payments toward your student loans.

  • Popular rewards credit cards that earn Citi ThankYou points include the Citi Premier℠ Card, the Citi Prestige® Card, and the Citi Rewards+℠ Card.

  • See Business Insider's list of the best Citi credit cards »

The Citi ThankYou Rewards program is popular among travel enthusiasts, mostly because the credit cards in this program let you transfer points to Citi airline partners. However, there are several other ways to redeem your rewards. Not only can you cash them in for merchandise or charitable contributions, but you can even turn Citi ThankYou points into payments toward your mortgage or your student loans. 

That's just the tip of the iceberg, but the point is that the Citi ThankYou program can be lucrative and useful for almost anyone. If you're thinking of signing up for a credit card like the Citi Premier℠ Card, the Citi Prestige® Card, or the Citi Rewards+ Card, keep reading to learn more about how you can put your Citi credit card rewards to work for you. 

How to earn Citi ThankYou points

The only way to rack up Citi ThankYou points is through a Citi credit card, which you can easily apply for online. Fortunately, Citi offers several rewards cards geared to different types of spenders and rewards enthusiasts. 

Here are the top Citi credit cards you should consider for this program:

• Citi Rewards+℠ Card: When you sign up for this card, you'll earn 15,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months. You'll also earn 2x points on the first $6,000 spent at supermarkets and gas stations each year (then 1x points) and 1x points on other purchases. There's no annual fee and, interestingly, Citi will round up your rewards to the nearest 10 for each purchase you make. This means that a $23 shopping trip at Walmart would net you 30 points. You'll also get 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, followed by a 13.49% – 23.49% Variable APR. 


Citi Rewards+℠ Card

Citi Citi Rewards+℠ CardCiti Citi Premier℠ CardCiti Citi Prestige® CardCiti Citi® Double Cash Card

Annual Fee
Regular APR
Credit Score
  • A five pointed star
  • A five pointed star
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  • 5 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating

    Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

    Annual Fee

    $0

    Regular APR

    13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)

    Credit Score

    ExcellentA five pointed star

  • A five pointed star
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    Balance Transfer Fee

    Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Details
  • Pros & Cons
    • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
    • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
    • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
    • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
    • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
    • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
    • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
    Pros
    • No annual fee
    • Simple earning structure
    Cons
    • Some cards earn higher rates of cash back on rotating categories

    How to redeem Citi ThankYou points

    While the Citi ThankYou program is geared to people who travel, there are a ton of non-travel options when it comes to cashing in your points. Here are the major redemptions you can choose once you're ready to use your points for travel, merchandise, and more. 

    Transfer your points to airline partners

    Like the Chase Ultimate Rewards program and the American Express Membership Rewards program, the Citi ThankYou program lets you transfer your points directly to other loyalty programs. Each of these programs lets you turn 1,000 Citi points into 1,000 airline miles with one exception:

    • Aeromexico

    • Asia Miles

    • Avianca

    • Emirates

    • Etihad Guest

    • EVA Air

    • Flying Blue/Air France

    • JetBlue TrueBlue (the Citi Rewards+ Card only lets you get 800 miles for every 1,000 points you convert)

    • Jet Privilege

    • Malaysia Airlines

    • Qantas

    • Qatar Airways

    • Singapore Airlines

    • Thai Royal Orchid Plus

    • Turkish Airlines

    • Virgin Atlantic


    While the value you'll get when you transfer points to airlines can vary, you'll get the most bang for your buck if you transfer points so you can book flights in first or business class, or if you focus on itineraries that are unusually expensive to pay for with cash. 

    Book travel through the Citi portal

    The Citi ThankYou program also offers its own travel portal where you can book flights, hotels, cruises, car rentals and even vacation packages. You'll currently get 1.25 cents per point when you have the Citi Premier℠ Card and you redeem your points for airfare, but this benefit ends in 2021. Generally speaking, you'll get 1 cent per point for travel booked through the Citi portal. 

    Cash in your points for gift cards

    You can also redeem your Citi ThankYou points for gift cards to a wide range of retailers, restaurants and more. You will usually get one cent per point with this option, but it depends on the retailer so make sure to check. 

    Make a payment on your student loans or your mortgage

    You can also use your Citi points to make a payment toward your student loans or your mortgage, although some restrictions apply. For example, you'll get 1 cent per point with either option, but you can only redeem in specific increments ranging from $25 to $1,000. 

    Shop with points

    Citi also lets you shop directly with points with retailers like 1-800 Flowers, Amazon.com, Best Buy and Paypal. Just remember that you'll typically get less than one cent per point in value if you choose this option. With that in mind, you may want to opt for a cash reward instead so you can use it for the purchases you want. 

    Get a statement credit or cash rewards

    Finally, the Citi ThankYou program lets you cash in your rewards for cash at a standard rate of 1 cent per point. Note that your cash rewards will come in the mail in the form of a check within one to three weeks of redemption, so you should expect some lag time in between. 

    Other important details about the Citi ThankYou program

    Before you sign up for a Citi credit card, you should also know that the Citi ThankYou program lets you pool points with other members. There is no fee to do so, but you can only share up to 100,000 points with other members within a calendar year.

    Also note that points transferred to a new account expire within 90 days, so you should have a plan to use your points before you let another person pool rewards in your account. 

    Either way, the fact you can share points makes the Citi ThankYou program a popular option among couples who travel together. Both partners can sign up for the same rewards credit cards to earn a big bonus, then you can pool your points in one account to redeem for premium airfare, a vacation package, a cruise and more. 

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    Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they’re subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

    Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

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