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Last Updated: November 29, 2021 to add Choice Hotels and Wyndham Hotels as transfer partners of Citi ThankYou.
Now that Citi has made cash back from the Citi Double Cash transferable to ThankYou points at a 1:1 ratio, you can now effectively earn 2 ThankYou points per dollar on all spend, with the optionality of converting to ThankYou points later – or redeeming for the cash whenever you choose.
In this article
The Citi cards in Play Are the Citi Premier, Citi Prestige, Double Cash, and Rewards+
With a large 60,000 point bonus for spending $4,000 in your first three months, we definitely recommend starting with the Citi Premier.
The Citi Double Cash card: Earn 2 points per dollar on all spend. Basically, anything that isn’t travel, gas, entertainment or restaurants.
The Citi Rewards+: Gives you a 10% rebate on redeemed ThankYou points up to 10,000 rebated points (on 100,000 redeemed) per year. Also rounds up small purchases to max out earned points on small transactions.
The Citi Prestige: If you value the 4th night free benefit in its current form and/or spend enough to maximize the bonus categories on this card, namely 5x Citi ThankYou points on restaurants and airfare and 3x on hotels and cruises. You could have this card instead of or in addition to a Citi Premier. If you don’t have a Premier, the Prestige similarly allows transfers to all of the airline partners. Not to mention the huge 60,000 point signup bonus.
The Citi Custom Cash card, which earns 5% on your top bonus category each month, up to $500 in spend, and features some unique bonus categories like Home Improvement Stores, Drugstores, and Live Entertainment (Concerts ad Shows).
As a bonus offer, you’ll earn $200 in cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back. (Or if you have a Citi Premier or Prestige, these points can be combined as transferable ThankYou Points.)
Citi Quadfecta or Citi Trifecta?
Now that the Citi Prestige has both a higher annual fee, at $495, and no longer allows concierge bookings, it’s not as much of a “no brainer” card as before. Many will balk at the small signup bonuses on the Citi Double Cash card (generally no bonus) and the Citi Rewards+, but keep in mind that you should be able to product change nearly any open Citi card to either of these. Many of us have older, potentially dormant, Citi cards we stopped using and those are perfect conversion candidates.
So at a minimum, you’d want the Citi Double Cash, for 2X points on all non-bonused spend, and a Citi Premier or Citi Prestige for the ability to transfer these points to airlines (assuming this all pans out such that Double Cash-earned points are transferable. I guess that would simply be a Citi Bifecta.
The Citi Rewards+ will earn you back 10,000 points a year if you max the 100,000 in ThankYou point redemptions each year, which is “worth” about $160 based on my valuations for ThankYou points. That would be the Citi Trifecta.
I don’t think most people would need all four, as the Prestige duplicates much of the Premier earnings and benefits, however there are people that would benefit. If you wanted to have 4th night free and 5X on dining but ALSO want to redeem via the portal for airfare at 1.25 cents per point (rather than transfer to airlines), then you would potentially want all four and complete the Citi Quadfecta. Likewise if you have a ton of entertainment spend (perhaps you buy a ton of tickets for resale). Note that the 1.25 cent redemption rate on the Premier ended April 10, 2021.
I don’t know if Quinfecta is a word, but once I add the new Citi Custom Cash card to my wallet, I’ll have 5 cards in the Citi ThankYou ecosystem all working together.
Essentially nothing changes in the Quadfecta above, but by adding in the Custom Cash as my fifth card, I will be able to earn 5X ThankYou points on any of these bonus categories.
- Gas Stations
- Grocery Stores
- Select Travel
- Select Transit
- Select Streaming Services
- Home Improvement Stores
- Fitness Clubs
- Live Entertainment
Just note that it’s whatever category you spend the most on each billing cycle and it’s capped at $500 per month. It’s easy to see why this is a great addition.
Where Can You Transfer Citi ThankYou points?
|Citi ThankYou Transfer Partners||Last updated: November 2021|
|Transfer Ratio||Approximate Transfer Time *|
|Air France Flying Blue||1:1||Instant|
|Cathay Pacific AsiaMiles||1:1||Instant|
|Eva Air||1:1||~1-3 days|
|Jet Airways InterMiles||1:1||Instant|
|Malaysia Airlines Enrich||1:1||~1-7 days|
|Qantas||1:1||Instant to 1 day|
|Qatar Privilege Club||1:1||~2 days|
|Singapore Airlines||1:1||~1-2 days|
|Thai Orchid Plus||1:1||~3-7 days|
|Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles||1:1||1-2 days|
|Virgin Atlantic||1:1||Instant to 2 days|
|Choice Hotels||1:2 (Citi Prestige / Premier / Chairman cards) |
1:1.5 (No fee Citi ThankYou cards)
|Wyndham Rewards||1:1 (Citi Prestige / Premier / Chairman cards) |
1:0.8 (No fee Citi ThankYou cards)
What are the Best Citi ThankYou partners?
It certainly depends on your personal travel goals. Here are a few of mine:
Turkish Miles&Smiles represents a sort of “hidden” opportunity. It’s part of Star Alliance and offers some incredible deals like 12,500 miles to fly NYC-LAX/SFO in United Business Class or 45,000 miles from the US to Europe in Business Class. The award booking engine online, however, can be buggy and if the trip you want can’t be booked online for whatever reason, you are left trying to email a ticket office which can work – or not work.
Needless to say, it’s also great for booking award flights on Turkish, whose Business Class is highly regarded, especially for the onboard food and service.
The real golden sweet spot, though, is in flying to/from anywhere in North America including Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, Bermuda and even the Netherlands Antilles for 15,000 points or less in Business Class. We’ve got a guide to booking these Turkish Airlines awards here.
Read this post for the best uses of Avianca LifeMiles. In short, 63,000 miles from the US to Europe in Business Class or 87,000 miles from the US to Europe in First Class with no carrier surcharges is why some people love using LifeMiles. That can save several hundred dollars when booking Lufthansa First Class.
Be sure to also read LifeMiles Awards – Changes and Cancellations: What You Need to Know as there are downsides to the program.
Cathay Pacific AsiaMiles
AsiaMiles is the best way to redeem Citi ThankYou points on Oneworld carriers. They have stopped charging carrier imposed surcharges on their own award flights, but they will still pass them on from carriers that charge them like British Airways, Qantas, and Qatar. Much like you can redeem British Airways Avios effectively on short domestic trips on American Airlines, AsiaMiles can do the same for just a drop more miles.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Virgin’s miles can be incredibly useful. My favorite uses are for a round trip in First or Business Class to Japan on ANA (just 90,000 – 120,000 miles round trip) or to fly on Delta-operated flights like US – Europe in Business Class (excluding the UK) for 50,000 Virgin miles each way (Delta would charge 80,000 SkyMiles minimum each way).
You might not instantly recognize the value of Choice Hotels as a new part of the Citi ThankYou arsenal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find some significant value here.
Now, of course you can use this to simply book Choice Hotels properties, which include Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn, Quality Inn, EconoLodge, Rodeway Inn, Ascend, and Cambria, among others. And you can find some solid value there on the discount side of hotel offerings.
But if you are like me, you like a bit more upscale for your points. And that is where the Choice Hotels partnership with Preferred Hotels and Resorts comes in.
You can search the above link to see all of the options, but I’ll give you two examples to whet your whistle.
The Excelsior Palace Hotel on the Portofino Coast in Italy can easily exceed 400 Euros per night. But it can be booked for 55,000 Choice Privileges points which is just 27,500 Citi ThankYou points. That’s about 2 cents per point in value.
Closer to home, check out these hotels in California for 55,000 points (27,500 Citi) that can run north of $500 a night.
Another great way to use Choice points is at Nordic Choice Hotels (you can’t book using points here, but you can browse), which operates in Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark. Starting at just 10,000 Choice points (which is just 5,000 Citi ThankYou points from Premier/Prestige cards), you can get rooms that cost over $200. Yes, you can get 4 cents per Citi ThankYou point in value this way!
While this isn’t exclusive to Citi, and Wyndham Rewards isn’t insanely special at a 1:1 transfer rate, it’s worth knowing about. For one, if you are on the Status Match Merry Go Round and need some Caesars Rewards credits (for example, to access Laurel Lounges), you can transfer from Wyndham to Caesars. Just bear in mind this transfer can take up to a week, so you can’t do this once you are on property.
A better use is on Vacassa vacation rentals. While you do need to book by phone (866-996-7937) and you may have trouble finding an agent that even knows how to do it, the value can be pretty sweet. That’s because you will pay 15,000 points per bedroom. That could mean you pay 30,000 points for a nice two bedroom cabin somewhere – or it could mean a house with just one “technical” bedroom could be a huge value at 15,000 points. But you’ll have to also be aware that you cannot cancel a Vacassa reservation within 30 days of travel (yes, that kind of stinks!) and you seem to not be able to book a base rate over about $325 per bedroom (per Frequent Miler).
Lastly, you can book Wyndham properties (of course!) directly online with a range of 7,5000 to 30,000 points per night (all hotels are 7,500, 15,000 or 30,000 points per night).
A Reminder About Citi Card Benefits
Bear in mind that Citi has removed the following benefits from all of these cards:
- Worldwide Car Rental Insurance
- Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection
- Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance
- Trip Delay Protection
- Baggage Delay Protection
- Lost Baggage Protection
- Medical Evacuation
- Price Rewind
- 90 Day Return Protection
- Missed Event Ticket Protection
- Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service
- Travel & Emergency Assistance
The Citi Double Cash also lost Extended Warranty and Purchase Protection.
If you want, you can see which Citi Cards still offer Extended Warranty as a benefit.
It’s up to you if that moves the needle for you on these cards versus cards that still have those benefits like Chase credit cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
Applying for these cards:
Will this change impact the mix of cards in your wallet?
And if this post helped you, please consider sharing it!
You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards.
New to all of this? My “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.