9 Best Ways to Earn Lots of Citi ThankYou Points [2017]

Citi ThankYou Points often seem to fly under the radar compared to more well-known transferable currencies such as Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards. Don’t be fooled though—there are some great ways to use ThankYou Points!

Fortunately, you have several options to earn ThankYou Points, which means you can earn points quickly and start thinking about your next great vacation.

Using a ThankYou Points Credit Card to Earn Points

Citi ThankYou Points cards and their category bonuses are the best way to earn Citi ThankYou Points, so grab a card and put your spending on it!

1. Citi ThankYou Points Credit Card Sign-up Bonuses

Citibank (Citi) offers a variety of credit cards. However, only some earn ThankYou Points, and some offer better sign-up bonuses than others.

Here’s a quick list of the Citi cards that can help you earn ThankYou Points:

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
Citi Prestige® Card
  • $250 Air Travel Credit each year
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Card Review
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card
  • 2 ThankYou® Points per dollar spent on dining at restaurants and entertainment
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Card Review
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
  • 3 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on Travel, including Gas
  • Annual Fee: $95 (Fee waived for the first 12 months)
  • Card Review

Keep in mind that Citi does not classify balance transfers, cash advances, fees, interest, and items returned for credit as “eligible purchases” for earning bonus points.To ensure your eligibility and find other tips on submitting credit card applications, check out our post on Credit Cards and Credit Scores Explained to learn more about getting approved!

Unlike the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Citi cards that earn ThankYou Points don’t offer additional bonus points for adding authorized users to the account or referring friends to sign up for the card.

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2. Category Bonuses

Citi ThankYou Points are easy to earn, especially when you put together a simple spending strategy. Citi credit cards even offer bonus points on entertainment purchases (e.g. movie tickets, concert tickets, etc.). Talk about a fun bonus category!

Here are some of the bonus categories on the cards they offer:

CategoryApplicable Credit CardsBonus points
DiningCiti ThankYou® Preferred Card2x
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card2x
Citi Prestige® Card2x
Gas stationsCiti ThankYou® Premier Card3x
EntertainmentCiti ThankYou® Preferred Card2x
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card2x
Citi Prestige® Card2x
All other purchasesCiti Prestige® Card1x

As you may know, some credit card companies place restrictions on what purchases qualify for extra points, but Citi is pretty fair when defining the above categories.

For example, entertainment includes sports, theatrical productions, movie theaters, amusement parks, tourist attractions, record stores, and video rental stores (if you can find one!).

Dining includes any establishment preparing or distributing food, and they even include bars, cocktail lounges, discotheques, nightclubs, taverns and fast food restaurants!

Hot Tip: A huge draw to the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card is the gas stations category, which does not limit you to buying fuel to earn extra points. This means anything you buy at a gas station will be eligible for the 3x bonus points!

Always check out the specific terms and conditions associated with your card to be certain your purchases will qualify for bonus points.

3. Big Spend Bonuses (No Longer Available)

Sadly, there was only 1 Citi card that offered a big spend bonus, and it’s no longer available: the AT&T Access More Card.

Big spend bonuses are different from sign-up bonuses. They involve points rewarded to people who spend over a certain dollar amount in a calendar year or within a set period of time.

Big spend bonuses are most useful for people who know they are going to be using their card frequently or for expensive purchases.

Hopefully, Citi will add another card with a big spend bonus in the future.

4. Keep Your Points Active With Any ThankYou Points Card

cancel a citi thankyou card and keep your points
If you cancel a card, you can still keep your ThankYou points as long as you have another ThankYou card open!

If you don’t keep at least one ThankYou Points-earning card open, you can lose your hard-earned points. Thus, the no-fee Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card is a great card to open or keep open if you don’t think you’re getting enough value from the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card or Citi Prestige® Card.

However, you must have either the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card or Citi Prestige® Card to access Citi’s airline transfer partners.

5. Earning Citi ThankYou Points Sign-up Bonuses

Citi only allows you to earn 1 sign-up bonus every 24 months per card family. The 3 personal cards that earn ThankYou Points are part of a single card family, so decide which sign-up bonus you want and apply for that card.

You can still get more of these cards, but you can only get 1 bonus from this card family per 24-month period. The 24-month clock starts when you open or close one of these cards.

No Earning Points Through the Citi ThankYou Points Shopping Portal

citi thankyou website
There is no longer a shopping portal where you can earn additional points for Citi ThankYou Rewards.

Online shopping portals usually allow opportunities to earn extra points for every dollar spent on a purchase. While Citi still has a shopping portal for using ThankYou points, it took away the opportunity to earn extra points on purchases made with partner merchants.

Points used to be earned through the portal in addition to category bonus points, so you could maximize the points you earned on everyday spending.

However, in 2014, Citi discontinued the “earn miles” section of the portal. Similar to Amex’s reason for ending their online shopping portal, Citibank discontinued the earn miles section of their portal because not enough people were using it.

Earning Points With Travel Purchases

Travel purchases are a favorite for many of our readers, and you can earn lots of bonus points for your travel purchases with credit cards that earn Citi ThankYou Points.

6. Airfare Purchases

earn citi thankyou points for airfare
There are 2 Citi ThankYou credit cards that allow you to earn additional points for airline purchases.

Citi has 2 cards offering extra miles for airfare purchases:

Card NameBonus points
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card3x on travel purchases including airfare
Citi Prestige® Card3x on airfare

The Citi ThankYou® Prestige Card offers 3x points on airfare, which includes all tickets purchased from a merchant that provides air travel. This means you can purchase directly from an airline or through a travel site selling airfare (e.g., Orbitz, Kayak, etc.).

In addition to 3x points on travel purchases, this card provides a $250 credit toward air travel every calendar year.

Another option for earning 3x points on airfare purchases is the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card.

7. Earning Miles on Free Airfare Tickets (Purchased With Points)

A great perk of using ThankYou Points to purchase flights via the Citi Travel Center is that you will earn miles with the airline you fly (or the airline you choose to credit the flight). In effect, this provides a nice rebate when you use ThankYou Points to book airfare.

As of July 23, 2017, when you redeem ThankYou Points through the Travel Center each point will be worth 1.25 cents. Previously, if you held the Citi Prestige® Card, each point would be worth 1.33 cents (or 1.6 cents when booking flights on American Airlines).

At 1.25 cents per point, a $300 airline ticket would cost you 24,000 points.

 8. Other Travel Purchases

earn citi thankyou points for other travel
Airfare is not the only travel purchase that earns additional bonus points. Subways, taxis, hotels, and many other travel-related items also count!

There are 2 Citi ThankYou cards offering bonus points for other travel purchases:

Card NameBonus points
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card3x on travel purchases
Citi Prestige® Card3x on hotel and travel agencies only

In addition to earning 3x on airfare, these cards will also earn 3x points on some other travel purchases. Though the travel category for the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card is much broader than that of the Citi Prestige® Card, both cards can still be quite useful for earning tons of points!

The travel category on the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card includes all of the following purchases:

  • Airlines
  • Boat rental
  • Bridge and toll road fees
  • Bus tickets
  • Campgrounds and trailer parks
  • Car rental agencies
  • Commuter transportation
  • Cruise lines
  • Gas stations
  • Hotels
  • Limousines
  • Motor home rental
  • Parking lots/garages
  • Passenger railways
  • Taxis
  • Timeshares
  • Travel agencies

As for the Citi Prestige® Card, you will only get 3x points on hotels (including motels and inns) and purchases made with travel agencies.

What’s helpful here is that extra points on hotels are not limited to the room rate. You’ll also earn extra points for goods and services attached to your accommodation and on your total bill with the hotel.

earn citi thankyou points safari
Earn additional points for booking a safari, which will count as a travel purchase!

Additionally, the travel agencies category comprises any merchant providing travel information and booking services, which includes travel aggregators and tour operators.

So go ahead and book that African safari tour—you’ll get extra points for using your Citi Prestige® Card!

Specialty Earning Opportunities

Outside of standard credit card purchases, Citi offers some special ways to earn more points.

9. Citi Banking Relationship Bonuses

Citibank offers some smaller ways to earn points through your banking relationship with them. If you have a Citibank account, all you have to do is enroll your account in ThankYou Rewards, and you can start earning extra points right away.

Use their earning chart (PDF) to identify ways in which you can earn, and then calculate your earnings with their handy calculator.

Don’t have a checking account with Citi? Simply open an account to get started earning as soon as possible.

Unless you meet a minimum monthly balance of $50,000 or more, the CitiGold account has a monthly fee of $30. Luckily, the fee is waived for the first 2 months after account opening.

These checking account offers are not available at all times. If you’re considering opening account, check to see if there is a current offer.

Final Thoughts

There are only a few credit card options for earning Citi ThankYou points, but there are plenty of great bonus categories to help you earn tons of points!

All of the Citi card options for earning ThankYou Points have their own individualperks and benefits. One of these cards is bound to be a good fit for you!

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

FAQ

What are Citi ThankYou Points?
Citi ThankYou Points are points that can be transferred to several airline partners or used to book travel via the Citi Travel Portal.

What are Citi ThankYou Points worth?
The value of Citi ThankYou points depends on the redemption. A very poor redemption (such as for cash-back) will result in a value of about 0.5 cents per point.

Transferring points to airline partners is often the best way to get the most value out of ThankYou Points.

How much are Citi ThankYou Points worth on Amazon?
People who have a Citi ThankYou credit card can use ThankYou Points for purchases on Amazon.

About 10,000 ThankYou Points are worth $80 on Amazon. In other words, you will get a value of roughly 0.8 cents per point by redeeming through Amazon. This is a very poor use of points!

How do I transfer Citi ThankYou Points to travel partners?
To transfer ThankYou Points to airline partners, you must have the Citi Prestige® Card or the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card.

The transfer process is quite easy. Once on the ThankYou Points homepage, just navigate to the travel menu option and select transfer partners.

Once you select an airline partner and enter your frequent flyer account number, you’ll be ready to transfer your points.

Check out our step-by-step guide to transferring ThankYou Points.

Who are Citi ThankYou airline partners?
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Etihad Guest
EVA Infinity MileageLands
Flying Blue AirFrance/KLM
Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer
Malaysia Airlines Enrich
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Qatar Airways Privilege Club
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
Virgin America Elevate
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
JetBlue TrueBlue

When do Citi ThankYou Points update in your account?
Points earned will appear in your ThankYou account at the end of each monthly billing cycle.

When do Citi ThankYou Points expire?
Citi ThankYou points will never expire as long as you have a Citi Prestige® Card, Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, or Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card. You will have 30 days from account closing to use your Citi ThankYou points.