I’m sure you’ve heard the news by now. Citi is dropping several of its benefits from their cards. Many Citi cardholders are in a state of panic, remorseful and eager to cancel their card(s). If you’re among this population, you might be wondering how to use up your Citi Thank You points before cancelling. This post aims to help you put together a game plan in the midst of all this upheaval.
In this post we’ll focus on Thank You point-earning cards, namely the Citi Prestige, Premier, and Rewards +. However, co-branded and cash back cards are also subject to this benefit removal. The decision to keep those cards will also depend on other factors, such as annual fees and benefits related to the card’s co-branding partner.
Citi Prestige & Premier
Citi’s premium and mid-tier cards offer the most redemption methods. Their cardholders are also taking the hardest hit from this news.
Check out one or more of these methods to use up your points:
Transfer partners are by far Citi’s most valuable option. They are also the best way to redeem Citi Thank You points. All of their partners are international airlines except for Jet Blue. Citi does not have any hotel partners.
All Thank You points transfer to Citi’s airline partners at a 1:1 ratio.
- Air France / KLM Flying Blue
- Asia Miles
- Eva Air
- Jet Airways
- Jet Blue (2 Thank You points = 1 True Blue points)
- Malaysia Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- Thai Airways
- Turkish Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
Your mileage may vary for each partner. But for most partners, you should be able to easily redeem your points for at least 1.5 cents per point (CPP).
I would normally advise travelers not to redeem transferrable points unless they have a flight or hotel in mind. But for many, these circumstances are exceptional. Find a partner whose points don’t expire and transfer your points there. You can use the partner’s points at any time in the future. That’s the best way to remedy this before cancelling your card(s).
If your preferred partner has points that expire, you can still transfer your Citi Thank You points there. But keep the expiration date in mind and make any necessary travel plans around it.
Transfer partners are not directly available to Rewards + cardholders. You need a Premier or Prestige card to transfer your points. This is just like having either of the Chase Freedom cards without a Sapphire or Ink Business Preferred card.
Mortgage or Student Loan Payment
You can also use Thank You points to help pay down a mortgage or student loan. This method lets you redeem points for 1 CPP, but it can help your finances in certain situations. The mortgage or student loan option could also be a quick way to use Thank You points if you don’t have any upcoming travel plans. It can also be a great way to turn this bad news into an opportunity.
Citi Travel Center
Points can be redeemed via Citi’s Travel Center for 1.25 CPP on the Premier and Prestige. This rate will lower to 1 CPP on September 1, 2019. The Travel Center can also be great for booking hotels, a glaring weakness in Citi’s transfer partners.
Gift Cards values range from 2,500 to 10,000 points per card. Like airfare, each point redeemed is worth 1 CPP. This means that gift cards can be worth between $25 and $100 apiece. You must get multiple gift cards if you have more than 10,000 points and no other way to redeem them.
You can also redeem Thank You points for merchandise or cash back. However, you will receive 0.8 CPP at most when using either method.
This week, Citi also launched a new option called Pay With Points. A similar option is offered by American Express on their Membership Rewards-earning cards. The caveat is that you will receive a value of 0.8 CPP using this method. Therefore, I don’t recommend using this option.
Citi Rewards +
You can redeem points for cash back, gift cards, and travel booked directly with the Citi Rewards +. Points are worth 1 CPP when redeemed all three ways. You also receive a 10% rebate bonus when you redeem points. It doesn’t matter how you redeem them.
Citibank has some interesting ways to redeem their Thank You points. However, not all of them are valuable.
The most valuable method for the Premier and Prestige is transfer partners. These partners should get you at least 1.5 CPP in value. It’s also the way you should redeem most of your points. I suggest redeeming any remaining points directly for airfare, via the Citi Travel Center, or for gift cards. Any of these other methods will net you at least 1 CPP.
The decision to redeem is easier for Rewards + cardholders. Like a cash back card, this is because all methods earn a flat 1 CPP. However, the decision to cancel the card altogether is more difficult because it has no annual fee. This news might not affect Rewards + cardholders as much unless you value Citi’s benefits enough to switch cards.