Citi Thank You (TY) points are a favorite currency among points and miles enthusiasts. They are best redeemed towards international airfare and they have the potential to save travelers hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars. I wrote a post about why you should not collect TY points. This post is the counterargument that explains why you SHOULD collect Citi Thank You points.
Your mileage may vary as with everything related to points, miles, and credit cards. One intention of this post is not to persuade you into collecting TY points if they are not the right currency for you. But if you fall into one of the following groups, you should definitely check out Citi TY points.
Citi has re-positioned their cards to make them have huge earning potential. This is evident across their TY point-earning cards from the Prestige to the Rewards +. Furthermore, Citi has enabled Double Cash cardholders to earn TY points. This has opened up the possibility of having a Citi Trifecta that could rival that of Chase or American Express.
The Prestige shines with its generous earning structure. It earns 5x TY points on Airfare and Dining all year round. That beats the Amex Gold, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and all 5x rotating cards based on pure earning potential! But that’s not all. The Prestige also earns 3x TY points on Hotels and Cruises.
Moreover, the Premier is a great all-rounder for travelers because it earns 3x points on General Travel, including Gas. It also earns 2x points on Dining and Entertainment. Citi is changing the Premier’s earning structure on August 23, 2020. Thereafter, the Premier will earn 3x points on Air Travel, Dining, Gas, Grocery, and Hotel expenses. It will no longer earn more than one point per dollar on Other (General) Travel and Entertainment purchases.
The Rewards + earns 2x points on Groceries and at Gas Stations. Plus, it rounds up the amount of points earned to the nearest 10 for all purchases. This makes it the best card in the industry for small purchases.
The Double Cash earns 2x points for all purchases. Rewards earned with this card can be turned into TY Points.
And finally, business owners and entrepreneurs are not left out. Citi offers the no annual fee CitiBusiness Thank You Card (H/T to Doctor of Credit), which also earns Thank You points. This lesser-known Citi card is not available online. You must walk into a branch and apply with a banker. The CitiBusiness Thank You card earns 3x points on rotating quarterly categories as well as an anniversary bonus each year.
You Love to Fly Internationally
Most of Citi’s transfer partners are International airlines. This makes Citi a great issuer for those who want to travel outside of the United States. Furthermore, Citi offers 1:1 transfer ratios for all of their international airline partners.
Despite the ratios, your mileage may vary with redeeming Thank You points. The best way to extract maximum value is to compare your options. You can easily get 1.5 cents per point (CPP) or more for most airfare redemptions because Citi has a plethora of options.
Lucrative Sign-Up Bonuses
Three of the four Citi Thank You point-earning cards have excellent sign-up bonuses. Citi is using these bonuses along with long-term earning potential to attract potential cardholders. The following is a quick rundown of Citi’s current bonuses:
- Prestige: 50,000 points / $4,000 minimum spend
- Premier: 60,000 points / $4,000 minimum spend
- Rewards +: 15,000 points / $1,000 minimum spend
These three bonuses are nice. But they are nearly identical to the bonuses offered from Chase UR point-earning cards. The Prestige’s bonus exactly matches that of the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Citi copied Chase’s bonuses not long after Chase raised the bonus for the Sapphire Preferred. And the bonus for the Rewards + is almost identical to the ones offered with the Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited Cards.
Another reason to collect Thank You points is to diversify your points. Consumers with heavy expenses can take advantage and collect two transferrable currencies. The trick is to find a common transfer partner between the currencies. Just make sure that you like to fly on that airline and that you can get significant value from transferring both currencies.
For example, some people collect TY points and Chase UR points. Both issuers currently have four common airline partners including KLM Flying Blue / Air France and Virgin Atlantic. One large sign-up bonus from each issuer could give you enough points for a plethora of airfare options. You can get multiple economy class seats or splurge on first or business class seats.
Conversely, you can also diversify your points to have access to more transfer partners. Using the same example, Citi and Chase also have several different partners. Chase has hotel and domestic airline partners that Citi does not have. And Citi has international airlines that Chase does not have.
Citi Thank You points are one of the most popular transferrable currencies in the industry. However, their popularity does not mean they are the best currency for you. Those who should collect them are international flyers who are confident they can extract loads of value from them.
Another purpose of this post is to balance and counter the argument posed in the previous post. Your mileage may vary as some people could justify collecting TY points while others cannot. A collection of TY points can be a great tool for the right traveler. But for the wrong traveler, collecting them could be wasted effort, time, and resources.