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Comprehensive Guide to the Citi ThankYou Rewards Program

Old Mar 4, 15, 10:42 am
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: dukerau
Citi ThankYou Rewards Program Information Guide

This wiki is intended to be a comprehensive guide to the most frequently asked questions regarding the ThankYou Rewards program offered by Citi. For ongoing discussions regarding the different ThankYou Credit Cards and their benefits, please refer to the specific product threads listed at the bottom of this wiki. For the complete ThankYou program terms & conditions, see the TYP website.

Program Overview

Citibank and Citicards offers a joint rewards program called ThankYou. Members can earn ThankYou points that can be redeemed for travel, mortgage payments, student loan payments, gift cards, online purchases, statement credits, or cash.

How to Earn

Banking

IMPORTANT CHANGES COMING THE END OF 2014:

Effective Dec 16, 2014
Only CitiGold and 'The Citibank Account' packages will earn TYP, and at a reduced rate at that. In addition credit card, mortgages and line of credit will no longer count for qualifying balances to waive the monthly fee for these checking accounts. See updated earning rates below.

Citi Basic Banking, Citi Student, etc will no longer earn any TY Points, period.

Effective May 1 2015
In addition, starting May 1 2015, Citi At Work customers (through relationships Citi has with your employer) will no longer automatically qualify for 'The Citibank Account' via direct deposit. This means you'll need to have combined average monthly balance of at least $10,000 to waive the monthly fee.

See here

Short version

If direct deposit is available to you, you can earn as little as 7800 points ($78)/year to as much as 19,200 points ($192)/year without paying fees and without any credit card / debit card spend requirements. Add in a top tier Citi credit card and multiply those numbers by 1.25 (Premier) or 1.6/1.33 (Prestige)* on travel benefits. These benefits are per signer, so adding a spouse can double the benefits.

Long version

Open and maintain a Citibank checking account with monthly direct deposit and bill payment. The complete ThankYou earning chart is located here, but below are some overviews:
  • CitiGold Checking Account ($50K minimum deposit balance)
    -Direct Deposit and Bill Pay: 650 points/mo
    -Auto Save: +125 points/mo
    -Saving Account: +200 points/mo
    -Credit Products: up to +625
    -Max without Credit Products: 975 points/mo
    -Max with Credit Products: 1600 points/mo


    - There's a separate earning scale altogether if you don't have direct deposit available that involves 1 debit/credit transaction per month. See the earning chart for the full list.
  • CitiBank Checking Account ($10K minimum deposit balance)
    -Direct Deposit and Bill Pay: 450 points/mo
    -Auto Save: +75 points/mo
    -Saving Account: +150 points/mo
    -Credit Products: up to +325
    -Max without Credit Products: 675 points/mo
    -Max with Credit Products: 1000 points/mo


The Citigold checking account carries a $30/mo service charge unless at least 1 of the following 3 conditions is met:
  • $50,000+ average daily balance in all linked deposit accounts (checking, saving, money market, CD)
  • $100,000+ in investment account (401K/Citi Personal Wealth Management) OR Home Equity Line/Loan + average daily balance in all linked deposit accounts (checking, saving, money market, CD)
  • $250,000+ mortgage balance + average daily balance in all linked deposit accounts (checking, saving, money market, CD)

The Citibank checking account carries a $20/mo service charge unless at least 1 of the following 4 conditions is met:
  • $15,000+ average daily balance in all linked deposit accounts (checking, saving, money market, CD)
  • $15,000+ in investment account (401K/Citi Personal Wealth Management) OR Home Equity Line/Loan
  • $15,000+ mortgage balance
  • Direct Deposit from one of Citibank's "Citi at Work" corporate partners. This one is tricky if you don't have a contact at the bank that really knows their stuff. If you work for a major corporation in a corporate environment (i.e. Starbucks Corporate, not Starbucks Barista), chances are pretty decent you may qualify. If you have branches, inquire with a banker. If not, huge YMMV on getting this setup correctly.

The Basic Banking checking account carries a $10/mo service charge unless at least 1 of the following 2 conditions is met:
  • $1,500 average daily balance in all linked deposit accounts (checking and saving only)
  • One Direct Deposit per month and one Bill Payment per month

The Student checking account is eligible for the same rewards as the Basic Banking checking, and is completely free for students.

Important: Citi offers what is called "householding." This links multiple deposit accounts together under an umbrella household for the purpose of combining all the balances to meet minimum balance requirements. This is only allowed for people at the same address. However, for a family, this means one member can have $50K, or 4 members can each have $12.5K, and if they're properly household linked, entitles all parties to a Citigold account. This is NOT the case on investments and mortgages, only deposit balances.

FAQs about Earning through Banking

Q: Is there a minimum direct deposit amount to be eligible?
A: No, any amount once per month will work.

Q: Is there a minimum bill payment amount to be eligible?
A: No, any amount once per month will work.

Q: I don't want to set up bill payment; it's inconvenient to change my auto pays. What should I do?
A: Add yourself, a family member, or friend, and set up a recurring automatic monthly payment to them for any amount.

Q: Can I earn these points on multiple accounts?
A: One account is eligible per signer over the age of 18.

Q: Does a Paypal ACH (etc) qualify as a direct deposit?
A: No, only payroll.

Q: Does the direct deposit have to be intended for the account signer?
A: No. Details of the direct deposit are irrelevant.

Q: Can my spouse and I each have an account and earn points?
A: Yes, and you can merge TY accounts if you're married (this action cannot be undone).

Credit Cards

Citi offers numerous credit cards as part of the ThankYou program, listed here, but the most popular are listed below:
  • ThankYou Preferred: No annual fee, 2x on Dining and Entertainment
  • ThankYou Premier: Starting April 19, 2015, annual fee $95; 3x earning on Travel including Gas; and 2x earning on Dining and Entertainment/. For details, see this discussion thread/wiki.
  • Citi Prestige: $450 annual fee, 2x on Dining purchases, $200 statement credit on <$100 airline purchases, flight points, 15% off airfare booked through Citi/Spirit, annual international companion pass booked through Citi/Spirit (This benefit is going away 10/18/14). 1.6x multiplier* on ThankYou points redeemed for US Airways and American Airlines flights. 1.33x multiplier on ThankYou points redeemed for all other flights
  • Citi Forward for Students

FAQs about the Citi Prestige

Q: Why does the authorized user cost $50 per person?
A: Authorized users receive their own annual international companion pass and global entry credit.

Q: How does the annual companion pass work?
A: Once per membership year per card holder and authorized user, you can purchase one airline ticket through Citi's travel partner, Spirit Incentives here, and pay only taxes and fees on the second traveler. Keep in mind, for many international flights, the majority of the final fare cost can be taxes and fees. The annual companion pass only covers the base fair of the companion.

Q: Can I buy any airline ticket with the companion pass?
A: Yes and no. While it is not limited strictly to one airline or one alliance, the Spirit Incentives matrix only pulls the cheapest, bottom of the bucket fares, often giving less-than-optimal routing. Online availability changes, based on what's available.

Q: What are flight points?
A: When you purchase all (or a significant portion: some report >$50) of an airline ticket with your Citi Prestige card, you earn flight points for the physical distance flown, which are accrued into a separate "bucket." These flight points accrue separately from ThankYou points, and you still earn your standard butt-in-seat distance miles with your frequent flyer program. Once you see your flight points on your statement, you can "transfer" them from your flight point bucket to your ThankYou point balance with every dollar you spend. If you have a 10K flight point balance, and you spend $1000 on every day purchases and $500 on dining, you will earn: 1000 (at 1x earning), 1000 (at 2x earning), and 2000 (flight point matching of monthly earning total). You will receive 4000 points into your ThankYou account, and have 8K flight points remaining to be converted.

NB: Flight Points are obsolete.

Q: How does the 1.6x/1.33x airfare redemption multiplier work?
A: See below under How to Use/Travel.

Q: What can I buy with the $200 airline statement credit?
A: Food, drinks, baggage, upgrades, gift cards, etc. Pretty much anything billed from the airline that is $100 or less. Note: You must opt in to this benefit. It only takes a 90-second call to a friendly, US-based CSR and you'll be good to go. My CSR even retroactively credited me when I failed to do this, but YMMV.

Q: Can I use the $100 Global Entry credit every year?
A: T&C state it resets every 5 years, just like the Global Entry membership.

Q: Any other benefits?
A: Three free rounds of golf a year, 15% discount on airfare purchased through Spirit Incentives, access to Airport Angel lounges, no FTF.

How to Use

Travel

When booking travel through the ThankYou website, you get a 1 cent-per-point redemption value on flights, hotels, car rentals, etc. If you have a ThankYou Premier card, you earn a 25% value increase when redeeming for flights, rental cars, or hotels. With a ThankYou Prestige, you receive a 33% value increase when redeeming for flights, rental cars, or hotels, or 60% * for flights on AA. Those bonuses apply to all ThankYou points in your account, not just points earned by the particular card. If you carry both cards, you receive the bonus for the higher one; they do not stack. See note below re: Prestige points value; it now receives a 25% value increase.

Note that travel may be booked using points or a combination of points and cash. Because the latter is classified as travel-related spending ("other travel: travel agency"), it is advantageous to use a credit card with corresponding bonuses.

Discussion thread: TYP flight redemptions: Prestige $0.0133 or $0.016/pt., Premier $0.0125/pt.
* But some Prestige benefits will soon go away, including that 1.6; see: Citi Prestige benefit and reward changes effective July 23, 2017

Gift Cards

There is some variance on the value for Gift Card redemption, depending on what credit card(s) you have tied to your ThankYou account. Generally, as long as there is a credit card tied to the account, it is a 1 cent-per-point redemption value, with $25/$50/$100 denominations.

Cash and Quasi-Cash

You can request mortgage or student loan checks 1 cent-per-point redemption values. Citi also offers statement credits, "select and credit" refunds for specific transactions, and VISA gift cards, at a horrible redemption rate. See below:

Mortgage: $100 = 10,000 TY points
Student Loan: $100 = 10,000 TY points
Select and Credit: $100 = 13,333 TY points
VISA Gift Card: $100 = 14,000 TY points
Cash & Statment Credit: $100 = 20,000 TY points

Point Transfers to Travel Partners

All Airlines below are 1:1 (1000 increments) unless noted otherwise

Avianca Lifemiles
Asia Miles
Etihad Guest
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)
Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer
JetBlue TrueBlue (1:1 for Premier/Prestige, 5:4 for Preferred)
JetPrivilege (Jet Airways)
Malaysia Airlines Enrich
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Qatar Airways Privilege Club
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Hilton HHonors: 1000 TY = 1500 HH ended Dec 14, 2017

Note: Only points earned from Credit Cards are eligible to be transferred. Points from Banking are ineligible as are any "bonus points that may be awarded with no spend requirement."

Discussion thread: Citi ThankYou Points (TYPs): airline/hotel transfer partners

Transfer Bonuses
Citi does periodically offer transfer bonuses.

Etihad Guest:
10% Jun-Jul 2017
20% Oct 2016
**25% Nov-Dec 2015 and Jul 2016 offered by Etihad for all partner earn/transfer (excl SPG)

Flying Blue
30% Jul-Aug 2018

JetBlue TrueBlue:
30% Mar-May 2018 *note - at the time, the transfer rate was 5:4 for Premier/Prestige and 2:1 for Preferred, so the 30% made the ratios 25:26 (or 1000=1040) and 20:13 (or 1000=650) respectively
25% Sep-Oct 2017 *note - at the time, the transfer rate was 5:4 for Premier/Prestige and 2:1 for Preferred, so the 25% made the ratios 1:1 and 8:5 (or 1000=625) respectively
50% Mar-Apr 2017 *note - at the time, the transfer rate was 5:4 for Premier/Prestige and 2:1 for Preferred, so the 50% made the ratios 5:6 (or 1000=1200) and 4:3 (or 1000=750), respectively

Qantas Frequent Flyer
15%-30% Jun 2016 *tiered: 15% for < 100,000 transferred; 20% for 100,000-500,000; 25% for 500,001 to 1,000,000; 30% for 1,000,001+

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
30% Sep-Oct 2018
25% Jan-Mar 2017
25% Mar-Apr 2016
25% Jun-Aug 2015


Sharing Points with Other TYP Accounts

For information on sharing points with other TYP accounts (including the expiration rules and annual cap on shared points), see ThankYou Point Sharing capped at 100,000 points per calendar year.

Points Expiration

For information on points expiration, including the order in which points are used for redemptions, see the wiki at Citi ThankYou points - cancel, downgrade & expiration considerations.

Shop with Points

Amazon: $100 = 12,500 points

Existing Threads

Prestigious Citi Card Tricks [Citi Prestige Card benefits]
How is the Citi ThankYou Rewards system in the current state?
Citi Prestige card companion ticket
Confirmed: Changes to Citi ThankYou and Premier cards 10.20.2013
New Citi Premier & Prestige 15% Off Travel when booked through Spirit Incentives
Innovative ways to earn Citi ThankYou flight points (Flight Points haven't been a thing for years)
Citi Prestige benefit and reward changes effective July 23, 2017
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Comprehensive Guide to the Citi ThankYou Rewards Program

Old Aug 22, 23, 3:35 pm
  #391  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 7,796
Originally Posted by kentchristopher
It looks like it's no longer possible to redeem banking TY points for travel via the ThankYou portal, or for a statement credit. ...
I just redeemed TY points earned from checking for a statement credit, by choosing "direct deposit."
rrgg is offline  
Old Aug 31, 23, 4:38 pm
  #392  
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 42
Originally Posted by rrgg
I just redeemed TY points earned from checking for a statement credit, by choosing "direct deposit."
Is your checking TY account combined with one or more credit card accounts? I'm guessing so. Which card? And did you get one cent per point?

My checking account isn't yet combined with any card accounts, and I definitely don't see an option to redeem for statement credit. Only check by mail at 0.5 cents per point (so 10,000 points would get me $50).
kentchristopher is offline  

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