Citi ThankYou Points are an often underappreciated, yet valuable point currency. Often overshadowed by the bigger players like Chase and American Express, Citi offers cardmembers the opportunity to earn and redeem points with some great travel partners.
While transferring points to partners may often yield better value, using points to book travel via the Citi ThankYou travel portal can be a solid option.
In this guide, we will show you exactly what the Citi ThankYou travel portal is, who can use it, how to use it, and whether or not you should use it.
Ready? Let’s go!
What Is the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal?
The Citi ThankYou travel portal is a third-party online travel agency (OTA) run by cxLoyalty, Inc. that operates very similarly to other OTAs such as Orbitz and Expedia.
Like other online travel agencies, users have the option to book flights, hotels, rental cars, cruises, and activities. However, since it’s linked to your Citi account, you can redeem Citi ThankYou Points towards travel at a rate of 1 cent per point.
Who Can Use the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal?
Unlike other travel portals, like American Express Travel, you can only use the Citi ThankYou travel portal if you have a Citi credit card that carns ThankYou Points.
Cards That Earn Citi ThankYou Points
Some of our favorite travel cards are issued by Citi. The option to earn flexible points with cards that have some great everyday bonus categories is an excellent way to level up your travel game.
If you want to boost your Citi ThankYou Points balance, here are some of our favorite cards:
Why Should You Use the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal?
While many in the travel community prefer to earn points and then transfer them to partners to book award redemptions, that process can be complicated and confusing.
For a lot of people, booking through an OTA, like the Citi ThankYou travel portal, is straightforward and easy — and if that helps you book more travel, then you should absolutely do it.
But there are plenty of other reasons to use the Citi ThankYou travel portal as well…
No Blackout Dates
If there is a seat on the flight you want, you can book it. There are no blackout dates or stress about finding award availability.
With the Citi ThankYou travel portal if you see a flight, you can book it.
Earn Airline Miles
One of the nice things about booking flights through an OTA is the fact that you still earn airline miles and elite-qualifying miles despite not booking directly through the airline.
Use Points and Money
If you are a little short with points or don’t want to use them all, you can use a combination of points and money to pay for your travel.
At checkout, simply select how many points you want to redeem and the difference will be calculated for you to pay in cash.
Book Non-chain Hotels
While points are great for booking hotels from the big chains, your options are limited when it comes to independent, boutique hotels.
That is when booking through an OTA like the Citi ThankYou travel portal comes in handy. You can use your ThankYou Points to book hotels that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible.
Get a Fourth Night Free
One of the many benefits of the Citi Prestige® Card (no longer open to new applicants) is that cardholders are eligible for a fourth night free at select hotels.
Simply select a hotel for 4 or more nights and if the hotel is eligible, the price will reflect the discount.
Pool Citi ThankYou Points
If you are short on points or want to boost your balance, Citi allows members to combine ThankYou Points.
This can be done online or by calling the phone number on the back of your Citi credit card.
Hot Tip: It’s not all positive — if you book a chain hotel via the Citi ThankYou travel portal you will not receive any elite night credits or elite benefits during your stay.
How To Access the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal
Accessing the Citi ThankYou travel portal is pretty straightforward.
You can simply visit ThankYou.com and log in with your Citi credentials.
From there you will have options to choose Gift Cards, Shop With Points, Travel, Cash, and More Ways to Redeem. For this guide, we are going to focus on the Travel section.
How To Book a Flight Through the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal
Once you are logged in and click on Travel, you will be directed to the online search tool — which defaults to the flight tab.
Searching for a flight using the Citi ThankYou travel portal is pretty straightforward.
- Round Trip, One-Way, or Multi-City
- The number of adults, children, and infants
- Economy, Premium Economy, Business Class, or First Class
- Departure airport or city
- Destination airport or city
- Departure date
- Return date (if necessary)
- Show nonstop flights only (optional)
Once you have started a search, the results will populate and you will have additional options to filter through the flights.
Currently, you can filter flight results by:
- Number of stops
- Flight times (takeoff and landing windows)
- Price range
- Booking class
You can even search for flight numbers if you are searching for a specific flight or click on Show Flexible Dates if you are looking for the lowest fare.
By default, the results are shown by price — lowest to highest.
Once you have found a flight that works for you, click on the blue Select button to proceed with the booking.
If eligible, you will be prompted with options to upgrade your seat, similar to what airline websites offer.
After confirming your selection you will be directed to the Review and Book Your Trip page where your flight details will be shown alongside your Citi ThankYou Points balance.
You then will have the option to use points, pay with your Citi card, or use Points + Citi card.
You can use as many or as few points as you would like to cover the cost of the flight, and if there is a balance, it will be charged to your Citi card.
After filling out the passenger information, simply click on Complete Booking and your ticket will be issued. As with most OTAs, there is a 24-hour cancellation window.
While it isn’t uncommon for flight prices to fluctuate and be slightly different between online travel agencies and with airlines directly, during our search we found that most prices were the same price on Google Flights as they were through the Citi ThankYou travel portal.
While prices are often similar, it is always a good idea to double-check prices on Google Flights.
How To Book a Hotel Through the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal
Once logged in, click on the Hotel tab to start the booking process through the Citi ThankYou travel portal.
Searching for a hotel is pretty straightforward and similar to many other OTAs.
- Check-in date
- Check-out date
- Number of guests
You can even search for your preferred hotel name or brand and star rating under the Advanced Search section.
Once you have started a search, the results will populate and you will have additional options to filter through the hotel options.
Currently, you can filter hotel results by:
- Price per night
- Property class
- TrustYou score (Traveler score and reviews provided by TrustYou)
- Tripadvisor rating
- Amenities (pool, pet-friendly, etc.)
- Hotel brand/chain
- Show only hotels with deals
By default, the results are sorted by Recommended. Citi recommends hotels based on the hotel’s availability, distance from the city center, and the quality of a property (using a combination of star ratings and Tripadvisor ratings).
Hot Tip: Beware, the prices shown on the first page do not include taxes and fees, so the price may change significantly from one page to another.
Once you have found a hotel that works for you, click on the blue Choose Room button to proceed with the booking.
After finding a room that you like, click Add To Itinerary to be directed to the Review and Book Your Trip page where your hotel details will be shown alongside your points balance.
Just like with flights, you will then have the option to use points, pay with your Citi card, or use Points + Citi card — as well as add any additional credits you might have in your account, like the Citi Premier card hotel benefit.
Citi Premier Hotel Benefit
If you have a Citi Premier card, you can receive $100 off a hotel stay of $500 or more.
This $100 credit is available once per calendar year when booking via the Citi ThankYou travel portal either online or on the phone.
After filling out the guest information, just click on Complete Booking and your confirmation will be emailed to you. Cancellation policies will vary based on the room and rate you selected.
Hotels always want guests to book directly with them in order to avoid paying commission fees to online travel agencies, so it’s not uncommon to see prices be different from site to site.
That is why hotels do not provide elite benefits when booking through an OTA, as an extra incentive to book direct.
In the case of the Citi ThankYou travel portal, our example showed the exact same price on Expedia as well as directly with the hotel, which is great news for Citi cardholders.
How To Book a Rental Car Through the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal
Once you are logged in, click on the Car tab to start booking a car through the Citi ThankYou travel portal.
If you have searched for a rental car using an online travel agency before, you will notice that the layout is quite similar.
- Pick-up location
- Drop-off location (if applicable)
- Pick-up date
- Drop-off date
If you are searching for a one-way rental, select the Drop-off at different location box.
Once you have started a search, the results will be displayed and you will have some additional options to filter through the rental car inventory.
Currently, you can filter rental car results by:
- Car type
- Price per day
- Car options
By default, the results are sorted by price — lowest to highest.
Additionally, you can see the results on a map, which can be helpful if you are picking up somewhere besides an airport.
Once you have found a car that works for you, click on the blue Add To Itinerary button to proceed with the booking.
You can now use as many or as few Citi ThankYou Points as you would like to cover the cost of your rental car.
After filling out the driver information, simply click on Complete Booking and your confirmation will be emailed to you. The cancellation policy will vary based on the car and rate you selected.
As a reminder, rental car company-specific credits and benefits will not be available when booking through a third-party travel agency.
Rental car rates are constantly fluctuating, so booking a car with a good cancellation policy is a good idea in case you find a better price later on.
Comparing prices for this guide was an excellent example of that. In our sample search, Expedia had the same car class from Budget, but for $10 more per day. However, Expedia also had a rental car company that Citi ThankYou didn’t that was $10 less per day.
To complicate things further, booking directly with Budget would be $5 less per day — with even more savings if you pay in advance.
Bottom Line: It is always a good idea to compare OTAs as well as directly with the rental car company when searching for a car. See our guide on finding the best websites for finding cheap car rentals for more tips!
How To Book an Activity Through the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal
Booking an activity is a great way to get to know a new city or even a city that you have already visited.
Once you log in, click on the Activity tab to start the booking process through the Citi ThankYou travel portal.
Searching for activity is pretty simple — simply select:
- From date
- To date
Once you have started the search, the activity results will populate and you will have a couple more options to filter through.
Currently, you can only filter activity results by category, but you can also search by name.
By default, results are sorted by price, which will often show many self-guided tour options. You can also click on either the Activity or Category tab to scroll through some additional options.
Once you have found an activity that you like, click on Show Details And Pricing, add any additional information that the activity may require, and click on Show Rates.
If there is availability for your request, you will be presented with an updated total based on your party size. If everything looks good, click the blue Add To Itinerary button.
You can now use as many or as few Citi ThankYou Points as you would like to cover the cost of the activity. If you are short on points, don’t worry, you can add the difference to your Citi card.
After filling out the traveler information, simply click Complete Booking and your itinerary will be emailed to you.
Comparing prices on local activities can be difficult because many of them are run by individuals or small companies who may not be on all booking sites.
But a quick Google search brought up some similar offerings around the same price — though none that you could book with your Citi ThankYou Points!
How To Book a Cruise Through the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal
Booking a cruise through the Citi ThankYou travel portal isn’t as seamless as with flights and hotels.
Once you are logged in, at the top of your screen you will see a tab for Cruise.
There is no typical search function here, instead, it is a list of cruise deals that are available to book.
After scrolling through some offers, you will see a Search For A Cruise box where you can input the destination or cruise name. However, the results seem to be pretty limited as we couldn’t find a single cruise leaving from Miami or even Florida — which is odd.
If you see a cruise that you like from the featured deals, click on See Details to proceed with the booking.
However, that is as far as you can go online, as you need to call 800-842-6596 to book a cruise with Citi ThankYou Points.
Cruise rates vary wildly based on many factors, one of them being how you book your cruise.
Unfortunately, the Citi ThankYou travel portal makes it very difficult to compare prices because they don’t have them available online.
Bottom Line: If you are looking to book a cruise we can show you the best websites to book cruises at the cheapest prices.
Overall the Citi ThankYou travel portal is a convenient, easy-to-use, and potentially valuable travel tool for those who don’t like to deal with transferring points to partners.
Redeeming Citi ThankYou Points at a rate of 1 cent per point won’t get you the greatest redemptions, but if you would otherwise not use the points, using them to book travel through the portal is a solid deal.
There are some unique perks, like being able to use points at non-chain hotels, but there are drawbacks as well, like not receiving elite night credits and other loyalty perks at some of the chain hotels and rental car companies.
While the cruise section could use some work, the booking process for flights, hotels, and rentals is easy and straightforward, which is always a plus in our book.
If you have some Citi ThankYou Points and are looking for an easy way to redeem them for some upcoming travel, the Citi ThankYou travel portal is just a few clicks away.