Citi Thank You (TY) points are a favorite currency among points and miles enthusiasts. Citi has about as many transfer partners as Chase and Capital One. But it has fewer partners, specifically international airlines, than American Express. However, that does not mean TY points are the best currency for you. This post explains why you should NOT collect Citi Thank You points.
Citi Thank You points are a transferrable points currency that I have considered collecting. But I have never done so because I’m invested in Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) points and I don’t spend enough to diversify. Your mileage may vary as with everything related to points, miles, and credit cards. The intention of this post is not to dissuade you from collecting TY points if they are the right currency for you. Many people love TY points because they align with their travel plans. However, those who fall into the groups mentioned in this post should consider revising their transferrable points strategy.
You Want Travel Perks
Unfortunately, Citi has devalued its entire card portfolio by getting rid of their benefits. The biggest victims of this massacre of benefits are the Citi Prestige and Citi Premier cards. These two cards are still Citi’s best for travelers. But they are way less competitive after September 2019. Citi has cited a lack of knowledge about the benefits as the reason why they have gone away. Nonetheless, prospective cardholders should look at other issuers if they want card benefits.
Chase cards currently have the fewest restrictions when it comes to benefits. The Sapphire Cards also have the best travel insurances in the industry including Trip Delay and Primary Car Rental insurances. Many other card issuers, including Citi, are ridding their cards of such nice perks. Fortunately, Chase is bucking the trend and keeping them.
Conversely, American Express cards have the most (and best) benefits in the industry. But Amex will make you “jump through hoops” to use them. This can be very frustrating for cardholders who want to travel, especially those with premium cards.
You Love to Fly Domestically
Domestic airlines are a weak spot for Citi, whose transfer partners are mostly international airlines. Citi’s sole domestic transfer partner is Jet Blue. But Jet Blue is also partnered with Chase, Capital One, and American Express.
The is one good part about Jet Blue being partnered with Citi. Those who have a no annual fee TY point-earning card can transfer their points to Citi. But doing so only provides a value of 0.8 cents per point (CPP). That’s because Citi and Jet Blue have a transfer ratio of 5 Thank You points to 4 True Blue Points.
Therefore, domestic travelers should look at either Chase UR points or Amex Membership Rewards (MR) points. Both programs have multiple partners each that domestic travelers can transfer points to.
You’ve Recently Gotten a Thank You Point-Earning Card
The 1/24 Rule is Citi’s most difficult application rule. It prevents anyone who has been approved for a Citi TY point-earning card within the last 24 months from getting the sign-up bonus for another one. The rule also prevents anyone who has closed a TY point-earning card within the last 24 months from getting another one.
Only Citi TY point-earning cards are subject to the 1/24 Rule. This include the Prestige, Premier, and Rewards +. It is currently unknown whether the Double Cash will be included in the future.
The 1/24 Rule is a double-edged sword. It gives you incentive to keep their cards open. Otherwise, you will not be able to earn another sign-up bonus for a TY point-earning card for two years. Some travelers may find this rule unfair and dissuading. But its Citi’s twisted way of preventing people from churning their sign-up bonuses.
24 months can be a long time between waiting for cards. And for some travelers, that could be long enough to dissuade them from Citi and earning TY points altogether.
You Want to Redeem Using Citi’s Travel Portal
Citi’s Travel Portal is becoming an increasingly terrible way to redeem points. While redemption is simple, its slowly losing value. TY points are worth a measly 1 CPP when you redeem them through the portal. And this is true for all Citi TY-point earning cards, except for the Citi Premier. You will receive 1.25 CPP when using the Premier until August 23, 2020. Thereafter, the rate will decrease to 1 CPP like the other cards, a 20% devaluation.
Transfer partners are a more valuable and lucrative way to transfer your points. However, transferring can be complicated for some people. These people should probably begin earning another transferrable currency, preferably Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards points.
Citi Thank You Points are a popular currency among travelers. However, their popularity does not mean they are the best currency for you. Those who should collect them are international travelers who do not plan to open or close a TY point-earning card for two years. But even for international travelers, not having any perks or travel insurances could be enough to warrant having other cards.
Moreover, those who love perks, domestic airlines, and hotels, should check out another transferable points currency. Chase (and their UR Points) can be a great place to start while Amex (and their MR points) is better for those who are more established with points and miles.