Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Kellie Jez
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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 Citi’s travel portal can be a convenient option. And the updated Citi Travel with Booking.com portal makes that process even easier and more robust.
In this guide, we will show you exactly what the Citi Travel with Booking.com portal is, who can use it, how to use it, and whether or not you should use it.
Ready? Let’s go!
Like other online travel agencies, users have the option to book flights, hotels, rental cars, cruises, activities, and more. 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.
Unlike other travel portals, like AmexTravel.com, you can only use the Citi Travel with Booking.com portal if you have a Citi credit card that earns 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:
Frequent flyers will enjoy 3x ThankYou Points at restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, air travel, and hotels.
The Citi Premier® Card is an excellent option for anyone looking for an all-around travel rewards credit card. The card helps you earn points fast with great 3x bonus categories such as restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, airfare, and hotels. Plus, it offers access to airline and hotel transfer partners, doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, and has a reasonable annual fee!
This no annual fee card rewards cardholders for everyday purchases. Earn bonus points at supermarkets and gas stations, plus your points are rounded up on every purchase.
Great card for the average spender with no specific focus category; worry-free cash-back earning on everything!
The Citi Double Cash® Card has long been one of the top cash-back credit cards on the market, and the card now has the ability to earn Citi ThankYou Points!
This means that cardholders of the Double Cash card will now earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. Cash back is earned in the form of ThankYou Points. This means each billing cycle, you will earn 1 ThankYou point per $1 spent on purchases and an additional ThankYou point for every $1 paid on your purchase balance as long as there is a corresponding balance in your Purchase Tracker.
Citi has turned the Double Cash card into a top choice for those who are looking for an everyday, no-fuss credit card.
Earn big on purchases in your top eligible spend category, up to the first $500 each billing cycle, with no annual fee!
The Citi Custom Cash® Card is inventive when it comes to cash-back credit cards. Instead of earning a set amount of cash-back on predetermined bonus categories, the Citi Custom Cash card earns 5% cash-back on your highest eligible spend category each billing cycle, without an annual fee.
Thanks to that unique perk, you’ll never need to worry about whether you’re using the right card for the right purchase, as your Citi Custom Cash card will always pay you 5% back on whichever category you end up spending the most on each month.
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 to some people.
For a lot of people, booking through an OTA, like the Citi Travel with Booking.com 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 Travel with Booking.com portal as well …
To kick off the launch of the new portal, Citi is offering up to 10 ThankYou Points per $1 spent on hotels, car rentals, and attractions if you hold a Citi Prestige® Card or Citi Premier card. If you hold a Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card or the Citi Rewards+ card, you can earn up to 5 ThankYou Points per $1. This promotion is valid through June 30, 2024.
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 Travel with Booking.com portal, if you see a flight, you can book it.
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.
If you are a little short on 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.
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 Travel with Booking.com portal comes in handy. You can use your ThankYou Points to book hotels that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible.
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.
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.
As part of the new travel portal, Citi is gradually introducing 2 new programs for hotel bookings; Luxury Collection and Hotel Collection.
These programs offer unique benefits at select hotels, although the number of hotels is still quite limited. However, you can expect the following if you book:
Luxury Collection Benefits (Citi Premier Card and Citi Prestige Card members):
Hotel Collection Benefits (All eligible cardmembers):
Hot Tip: It’s not all positive — if you book a chain hotel via the Citi Travel with Booking.com portal you are typically ineligible to receive any elite night credits or elite benefits during your stay.
Accessing the Citi Travel with Booking.com portal is pretty straightforward. You can simply visit Citi Travel with Booking.com and log in with your Citi credentials.
From there you will have options to choose Hotels, Flights, Cars, and More. Let’s start with booking flights …
Once you are logged in and click on Flights, you will be directed to the online search tool — which may look familiar if you have used Booking.com before.
Searching for a flight using the Citi Travel with Booking.com portal is pretty straightforward.
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:
Citi will even break down the results into 3 categories: Cheapest, Fastest, and Best overall — which is a combination of low price and short duration.
By default, the results are shown by price per person, but you can also sort them by:
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 and adding the passenger information, click the Continue to payment button 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 a combination of both. From here, 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 confirming the information, simply click on Complete Purchase 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 Travel with Booking.com portal.
While prices are often similar, it is always a good idea to double-check prices on Google Flights.
As an extra data point, American Airlines was charging 11,500 miles for that flight, so that was slightly less than the 12,790 Citi ThankYou Points needed.
Once logged in, click on the Hotel tab to start the booking process through the Citi Travel with Booking.com portal (the default landing page may already be set to hotels).
Searching for a hotel is pretty straightforward and similar to many other OTAs.
If you have a Citi Prestige complimentary 4th night free available, there will be a message displaying that information.
Once you have started a search, the results will populate and you will have additional options to filter through hotel options.
Currently, you can filter hotel results by:
By default, the results are sorted by Best match, but you can sort by lowest price, distance, and top reviewed as well.
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 an option that works for you, click on the hotel to proceed with the booking.
After finding a room that you like, click Add to cart or Check out to be directed to the Review page where you will enter the guest information.
Citi Prestige Card Benefit
On the next page, if you have a Citi Prestige card, you will have the option to apply the Complimentary 4th Night Benefit.
If you don’t have a Citi Prestige card, you can skip ahead.
Citi Premier Card Benefit
If you have a Citi Premier card, you can receive $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more.
This $100 credit is available once per calendar year when booking via the Citi Travel with Booking.com portal, and you will have the option to use it or not.
After filling out the guest information, click on Continue to payment.
Finally, on the Payment page, you will have the option to apply your Citi ThankYou Points towards the total at a rate of 1 cent per point. So, for example, using 10,000 points would reduce the total by $100.
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 Travel with Booking.com portal, our example was actually cheaper than the price on Expedia as well as directly with the hotel, which is great news for Citi cardholders.
The total for 4 nights via the Citi Travel with Booking.com portal was $1,228, before factoring in any card benefits or points. The price for the same room and dates directly with the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort was $1,266.09 — $38.09 more expensive.
Once you are logged in, click on the Car tab to start booking a car through the Citi Travel with Booking.com portal
If you have searched for a rental car using an online travel agency before, you will notice that the layout is quite similar.
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:
By default, the results are sorted by price — lowest price first.
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 price that works for you, select the car to proceed with the booking.
After adding the driver information, 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 confirming all of the information, simply click on Confirm Purchase 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 generous 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 SIXT, but for $22 more for the week. However, Expedia also had several rental car companies that Citi didn’t, many of which were cheaper.
But the good news is, renting via the Citi Travel with Booking.com portal was cheaper than booking directly with SIXT, which was the same price as Expedia, plus you can use points.
One thing to note was the lack of other well-known rental agency options. For example, in Miami, there were many companies that we had never heard of, and the portal was missing big names like Hertz and National. Meanwhile, in Boston, there was only 1 option: Payless. Definitely do your research and don’t rely solely on the Citi search results.
Booking an attraction (think: theme parks) is an awesome feature of the updated Citi Travel with Booking.com portal.
Once you log in, click on the Attractions tab to start the booking process via the portal.
To start, simply type in the city you would like to visit and click Search.
Once the attractions have been populated, you can filter them by:
You can also sort by:
Once you have found an activity that you like, click on it to bring up more details.
Click on See Options to search for availability and additional ticket options.
If there is availability for your request, click the blue Choose button and then add the number of travelers in your party.
You can now use as many or as few Citi ThankYou Points as you would like to cover the cost of the attraction. If you are short on points, don’t worry, you can add the difference to your Citi card.
After confirming the trip information, simply click Confirm Purchase and your ticket will be emailed to you. As a quick note, many attractions are non-refundable.
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.
However, for this example, we chose a 1 day Park-2-Park ticket for Universal Orlando, which sells directly from UniversalOrlando.com for $217.26.
Booking via the Citi Travel with Booking.com portal would be $15 more expensive, per person. That may not be a big deal if you are planning on using your ThankYou Points, but it is something to consider.
Booking a cruise with Citi ThankYou Points was never an easy task, and with the rollout of the new Citi Travel with Booking.com portal, it appears that Citi has decided to move away from that category.
You can still find the occasional river cruise or local boat tour via the attractions search, but weeklong trips to the islands, for instance, are not available at the moment.
Overall, the refreshed Citi Travel with Booking.com portal is a convenient, easy-to-use, and 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 (or earning 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 is non-existent, the booking process for flights, hotels, and car rentals is easy and straightforward, and theme parks are now an option — 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 Travel with Booking.com portal is just a few clicks away.
The information for the Citi Prestige® Card has been collected independently by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information for the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card has been collected independently by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
Yes, Citi has the Citi Travel with Booking.com portal which is an online travel agency (OTA) similar to Expedia and Orbitz.
Most travel like flights, hotels, rental cars, activities, and even some cruises can be booked via the Citi Travel with Booking.com portal using Citi ThankYou Points.
You can often get better value from your points by transferring them to a travel partner, but if there is no award availability or if your desired hotel or airline isn’t a partner, booking via the Citi Travel with Booking.com portal can make sense. Plus, we have found some hotels are even cheaper than booking direct.
There are many ways to use Citi ThankYou Points, including buying gift cards, cashing them out, or redeeming them for travel (our preference). Here we will show you how to use them to book travel via the Citi Travel with Booking.com portal.
No, Disney is not an available attraction, however, you can book Universal tickets with your Citi ThankYou Points.
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UP's Bonus Valuation
This bonus value is an estimated valuation calculated by UP after analyzing redemption options, transfer partners, award availability and how much UP would pay to buy these points.