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

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You have many options for earning Citi ThankYou points, like credit card sign-up bonuses or focused spending on certain types of goods and services.

One of the best aspects of having Citi ThankYou points is having the option to use Citi’s Travel Center. The Travel Center sometimes has greater redemption value on the same flights when compared with transferring points to an airline directly.

Using a Citi ThankYou Credit Card

Citi ThankYou cards and their category bonuses are the best way to earn Citi ThankYou points, so grab a card and start spending!

1. Citi ThankYou Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses

Citibank (Citi) offers a variety of credit cards. However, only some will specifically help you earn ThankYou points, and some offer better sign-up bonus points than others.

Here’s a list of all the Citi cards that you can apply to and start earning ThankYou points with:

Loyalty ProgramCredit Card Review
Citi ThankYou Rewards Loyalty ProgramCiti ThankYou® Preferred Card
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card
Citi Prestige® Card

Hot Tip: Try applying for the Citi Prestige® Card in-person at a Citibank branch to see if you can get a better sign up bonus and even a better annual fee!

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!

Keep in mind that Citibank does not classify balance transfers, cash advances, fees, interest, and items returned for credit as “eligible purchases” for earning bonus points. You have to make your purchases on actual goods and services. Fair enough!

A major bummer with these cards is that Citi doesn’t offer additional bonus points for adding authorized users to the account or referring friends to sign up for the card.

2. Category Bonuses

Citi ThankYou points are extremely easy to earn, especially when you strategize your spending a bit. Citi has some of the rare credit cards that offer bonus points on entertainment (i.e. movie tickets, concert tickets, etc.):

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 actually 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.

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

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 (gas, food, car maintenance services, etc.) will be eligible for the 3x bonus points with the card!

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 one 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.

Perhaps Citi will add another card to this category in the future.

4. Cancel a Citi Card and Keep Your ThankYou Points

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 ThankYou points. Thus, the no-fee Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card is a great card to keep open, sign up for, or downgrade to if you are ready to cancel your Citi ThankYou® Premier Card or Citi Prestige® Card.

You can reap the benefits of the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card or Citi Prestige® Card, and then downgrade to the no-fee Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card to keep the ThankYou points you have earned.

This way, you won’t owe any fees and can keep the points you earned from the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card when you cancel. Citi will simply transfer your earned points over to the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card account.

The only downside is you may be passing up a chance at a sign-up bonus on the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card. A separate application is required in order to earn the sign-up bonus.

Hopefully, you’ll have earned so many points using the other two cards that you won’t miss the sign-up bonus very much!

Alternatively, try applying for and activating the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card separately before canceling your other Citi ThankYou card(s).

5. Earning Citi ThankYou Card Sign-Up Bonuses

You can sign up for multiple Citi ThankYou cards in order to get their sign-up bonus. So, you could sign up for the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, and then apply for the Citi Prestige® Card six months later; you’ll be able to get a sign-up bonus for each if one is available.

However, you must follow the “18 Months Rule.” This means you can only receive the bonus offer if you have NOT opened or closed an account for the same card within the last 18 months.

In other words, if you closed your Citi Prestige® Card account on January 1, 2016, you cannot open it again until July 2, 2017.

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 at, it took away the opportunity to earn extra points on purchases made with partner merchants.

Points earned through the portal used to be earned 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 the favorite of many of you reading this article, and you can earn lots of bonus points for your travel purchases with Citi ThankYou credit cards.

6. Airfare Purchases

earn citi thankyou points for airfare
Two of the Citi ThankYou credit cards allow you to earn additional point for airline purchases.

Luckily, Citi has two cards offering extra miles for airfare purchases. They even offer these extra miles on free tickets purchased with miles!

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 specifically on airfare. Airfare 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).

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

In addition to a $250 credit for air travel, this card offers 3x the points on travel purchases, which includes airfare.

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

What’s extra awesome about these cards is you will still earn extra points for flying on a free ticket. This means you can use points to purchase airfare while earning points at the same time!

This is a huge plus to having a Citi Prestige® Card or Citi ThankYou® Premier Card in your wallet, especially if you like to use miles to fly all over the world for free.

To take advantage of this perk, log into your Citi ThankYou points account and navigate to shop for flights. The airfare you purchase in points is directly associated with a dollar—or actually cents—amount.

The cents per point transfer is greater when using the Citi Prestige® Card (1.33 on all flights) than the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card (1.25 cents on all flights).

As you use those points, you will also receive 3x points on every $1 you would have spent if you weren’t using points.

In other words, an American Airlines flight costing $480 will earn you 1,440 extra points with your Citi Prestige® Card, whether you pay for the flight with points or not.

 8. Other Travel Purchases

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

Two of Citi’s ThankYou cards offer extra bonus points for travel purchases: the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card and Citi Prestige® Card.

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

In addition to earning you 3x on airfare, these cards will also earn you 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 really useful for earning tons of points!

“Travel” 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.

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

So book that African Safari tour, and you’ll get extra points for using your Citi Prestige® Card!

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

Specialty Earning Opportunity

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.

Here is a chart outlining the offers at the time this article was written:

Account nameBonus points for sign-up
Citigold50,000 points
Citibank20,000 points
Basic Banking10,000 points

*Note that these offers are subject to change

Enter the special offer code and the type of account you want to open.

After you have entered the info for your offer, you’ll have to fill in the details about yourself to finish opening the account:

Fill out your personal details in order to finish opening your account!

Once the account you choose is set up, make two consecutive monthly bill payments and keep the account open for five months to ensure you receive the extra points. You can close the account after five months to avoid additional fees.

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 two months after account opening.

This means you’ll pay $90 over the five months it’ll take to guarantee you get 50,000 points. Paying $90 in fees is definitely worth 50,000 ThankYou points in my book!

See the promotional disclosure to be sure you meet the minimum requirements for this offer.

U.P. Pro Tips!

My favorite way to earn when dining out in a group is offering to pay for the bill on my credit card and then collecting cash from everyone. I earn tons of points this way! Use one of the Citi ThankYou cards that will earn 2x the points on dining purchases (e.g., Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card) to earn even more.


There are only a few credit card options for earning Citi ThankYou points, and Citi’s online shopping portal does not offer extra ways to earn. But these disappointments are balanced by lots of great earning categories and the ability to earn points through establishing a banking relationship with Citi.

All of the Citi card options for earning ThankYou Points have their own individual perks and benefits. Even if none of them are a good fit for you, perhaps opening a banking account is the perfect option to earn you tons of ThankYou Points.

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  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
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What are Citi points?
Citi has two primary rewards points programs—AAdvantage and ThankYou. This post focuses on all of the ways you can earn Citi ThankYou points.

What are Citi ThankYou points worth?
The value of Citi ThankYou points depends on the redemption. A really bad redemption, such as for cash back, will result in a value of about 0.5 cents per point.

There are lots of other Citi ThankYou partners, including travel partners, with which you can redeem points.

That’s like getting a $100 ticket for the equivalent of about 6,250 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

About 10,000 ThankYou points is the equivalent of $80 on Amazon. In other words, you will get a value of roughly 0.8 cents per point by redeeming through Amazon.

How do I transfer Citi ThankYou points to travel partners?
To transfer your ThankYou points to airlines:

  1. You must have a premium Citi ThankYou points-earning credit card such as the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card or Citi Prestige® Card.
  2. Log into your Citi credit card account
  3. Click on the ThankYou from Citi box to go to the ThankYou points site
  4. Hover over “Do More,” then “Points Transfer”
  5. Choose from the list of transfer partners by clicking “Transfer now”
  6. Use the slider to select the number of points you want to transfer
  7. Fill in loyalty program information
  8. Agree to the terms to confirm the transfer

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 an open 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.