The Two Kinds of Citi ThankYou Points: You Need to Know!
I love the Citi ThankYou program. It’s what I refer to as an “advanced program” both because it
only has non-US airline partners, requiring a sort of advanced knowledge to make those work in your favor as compared to using a US airline’s program you are already familiar with, and because some parts of the program are not super-intuitive – at least until you take some time to understand the finer points of it. They also have transfer bonuses with their partners from time to time, like the 30% bonus to Flying Blue (Air France / KLM) on now.
A reader asked me last week about the combinability of Citi ThankYou points earned from credit cards vs. the banking program.
You all know that you can earn Citi ThankYou points from a range of Citi credit cards, such as the Citi Prestige, Citi Premier, the no-fee Citi Preferred, and the Citi AT&T Access More card (among a few others). The Citi Premier card is the only one with a signup bonus currently – 50,000 ThankYou points after $4,000 in purchases in 3 months. Many card categories earn 2x or 3x bonus points so it’s very doable to earn enough for some great redemptions via transfer partners.
You can also earn them from your banking relationship. At present, that means a fixed number of monthly points based on what package you have (i.e. Citigold or Citi Priority) and how many relationship touch-points you have in a given month. Here’s the ThankYou earning chart for earning. I generally earn about 900 points a month from banking.
All of your ThankYou points can be set to combine into one master account and there’s no reason not to do so.
But not all ThankYou points are created equal.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Points earned from these credit cards – Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, AT&T Access Card, AT&T Access More Card, AT&T Universal Rewards World MasterCard, CitiBusiness® ThankYou® Card, Citi Chairman Card, Citi Prestige® Card – never expire as long as you have the card that you earned them with. If you cancel a card, those points will suddenly now expire in 60 days. You can transfer these points to airlines at any time as long as you have a ThankYou Premier or Prestige card.
- Other cards have various expiries (but can still transfer to airlines as long as you have a Premier or Prestige card). Check this chart to see yours.
- Points eared from banking cannot be transferred to airlines. The system knows which is which so it will only show those earned from cards as available when you chose a transfer option.
- Points earned from banking expire on Dec 31st, 3 years from the calendar year earned. If you earned them in January, that means you technically have 3 years and 11 months.
- The system will always automatically spend your expiring points first. So if you had 500,000 credit card points and 125,000 banking points and booked a $1,000 airline ticket through the ThankYou Travel Portal, you’d spend all 125,000 banking points first.
- If you cancel a card, switching those points to the 60 day expiration, you will now use those first, whether booking or transferring, because they expire first now.
- You can share points with anyone. Those points expire 90 days after transferring.
I know, that’s a lot of info! But bookmark this and refer back the next time you want to redeem or make changes to your ThankYou portfolio.
Once nice thing is that the Citi ThankYou site will always let you see what points are expiring. Just look under your Points Summary.
New to all of this? My new “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available now.