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Redeeming Citi ThankYou Points For Great Gift Card Rewards

Published 2/15/08 (Modified 3/20/14)
By MoneyBlueBook

Redeeming Citi ThankYou Points For Great Gift Card Rewards

Well a year has passed since I started earning and accumulating Citi ThankYou Reward Points using my squadron of Citibank credit cards, and now it's time to redeem them for some well deserved purchase rewards. I own three of them myself.

Pros and Benefits Of Using Citi ThankYou Reward Point Credit Cards

While I like cash back credit card offers as much as the next guy, these days, the highest rebate offers are provided by reward cards, not cash back cards. Card reward programs like Citibank's Thank You Network tend to offer much higher purchase rebate potential than regular cash back cards. Ever since Citibank ended the good ole days of the former 5% cash back Citi Dividend Card, most card companies have followed suit and scaled back their cash rebate offers in favor of reward point cards.

In terms of reward programs, Citi's Thank You Network is one of the better ones since they offer a pretty wide selection of redeemable rewards. The program offers everything from your standard cash reward to electronic merchandise. Other popular rewards include statement credit, student loan money, gift cards, home appliances, and free airline rewards.

Cons and Drawbacks Of Earning and Redeeming Citi Thank You Points

The biggest downside of earning reward points through programs like Citibank's ThankYou Network is that they tend to require a more hands on approach to keep tabs on accumulated points. Unlike cash back cards, the points that reward cards earn usually have an expiration date. When it comes to ThankYou points, the expiration date varies and depends on the specific terms of each card. Despite the extra tracking hassle, I don't really mind the extra management steps needed to earn the higher money back potential.

The other downside of using a card that only provides reward points is the redemption ratio. You have to really pay attention to the conversion ratio when you are redeeming your reward points to make sure you are getting the best deal (this may get a little bit tricky). Let me explain: Firstly, I have to presume the standard base card rebate rate is 1% back, although most Citi ThankYou credit cards do offer 5% back which will allow you to earn points even quicker for certain category of purchases. But with the standard rate, this means for every $100 you spend in real purchases, you should earn the rebate redemption equivalent of $1 in rewards (1% back). Thus you would need to spend at least $1,000 to earn enough to redeem a $10 gift card with a perfect 100% redemption rate of ($100 purchases = 100 ThankYou Points = $1 reward redemption value equivalent).

In general, the more versatile the reward (like cash and statement credit) the worse the redemption ratio. For cash rewards, the current best ThankYou redemption rate is only 16,000 points for a $100 gift card. This comes out to a redemption rate of only 62.5% of what you should potentially get - which is terrible.

For statement credit, the current best ThankYou redemption rate is only 35,000 points for $250 in statement credit. This comes out to a redemption rate of 71.43% - better than the ratio for cash, but still not a perfect 100%, which is what we would strive for if we wanted the perfect 1:1 redemption ratio offered by cash back cards.

How To Get The Most Bang For Your Buck When It Comes To Redeeming Citi ThankYou Points

If you want to get the highest rebate potential, reward point cards that offer Citi ThankYou points is the way to go. But if you want to maximize your reward redemption potential, you must make sure you redeem your points for rewards that offer you the highest 100% redemption rate. You'll need to actively browse around your ThankYou member account to see which rewards offer the best redemption. Avoid the lower value gift cards as they don't offer a good exchange.

Just A Few Examples Of ThankYou Rewards That Offer the Top Redemption Rate:

  • $100 Marshalls Gift Card for 10,000 points - My favorite deal since I love shopping at Marshalls for clothing. They offer some of the best clothing bargains for deal hunters like me.
  • All retail store gift cards $100 or above that allows you to get a $100 gift card for 10,000 points. Store brands offering this deal include Nike, Footlocker, Old Navy, Gap, TJ Maxx, Circuit City, Waldenbooks, Bath and Body Works, Bed Bath and Beyond, Pier 1, Macys, J.C. Penny, Bloomingdales, Sephora, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Zales.
  • All student loan rebate rewards - all of them offer perfect 1:1 ratios. I personally avoid them however because I am trying to delay paying off my student loans.
  • All charitable contributions $50 or above.
  • The ThankYou Points Fixed Flight Option also offers a very good reward redemption rate.

Avoid These Rewards Because They Offer Poor Redemption Ratios:

  • Gas gift cards - The best point conversion works out to be a $50 Shell gasoline card for 6,000 points, which is still only a 83.33% purchase to points conversion. If you're happy with that, then go for it. For me, I insist on shooting for 100%.
  • All product merchandise - I think the retail value of the items are overinflated. You're better off buying products online through another internet source.
  • Cash rewards and statement credit offer poor redemption rates as I mentioned earlier.

 

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9 Responses to “Redeeming Citi ThankYou Points For Great Gift Card Rewards” 

  1. jonas leger says:

    I would like to redeem my points on my Citi Diamond Card. How?

  2. Thank You For ThankYou says:

    Ray,
    Know any more ways to get free Citi ThankYou network points and rewards? I'm trying to compile a list and rack up enough ThankYou points to get something nice and big - like a bike or LCD TV. Getting rewards from sign up bonuses isn't easy. Luckily I have a good FICO credit score to keep it going!

    By the way, in case you're wondering, there are many more Citi credit cards off of the official Citibank website that offer ThankYou Network points for purchases. Here are a few (some you have already mentioned):

    1) Citi Forward Card
    2) Citi Sunoco Rewards Plus Card
    3) Sunoco Rewards Card
    4) Citi Diamond Preferred Rewards Card
    5) Citi PremierPass Card
    6) Citi Diamond Preferred Rewards
    7) American Express Card
    8) Citi Platinum American Express Card
    9) AT&T Universal Savings and Rewards Card
    10) Citi PremierPass Card — Smith Barney Elite Level

    Many of these...like the Citi Premier Pass Elite - offer sign up points as well! Just watch the little credit score dings that you get by submitting hard credit heck applications

  3. Joe says:

    I've been a loyal Citi Thank you credit card user for some time. Recently I came up a way to get free Citi Thank You points with a bit of fancy customer service arbitrage. Simply threaten to cancel your cards and frequently, if you are lucky, the agent will offer you a pile of free Thank You points to get you to stay. This only works if you have a Citibank credit card with the ThankYou Network enabled.

    Here's what you do:

    1. Call Call Citi Customer Service at (866) 834-486

    2. Automated Call: Push #2 to speak with someone and then put in your Citi Card account number and account password (favorite pet, etc)

    3. Service Professional: This guy can't do to much as he just helps with general information etc. Just tell the guy that you want to cancel your card because you do not plan to use it anymore because you just signed up for a new credit card offer. Some have suggested that you have to be more specific in your reason such as - "I am canceling this card because I get more rewards points on a different credit card - like 3x more points for all purchases." The customer service agent will enter a few things and then put you on hold to talk to another person.

    4. Account Specialist: This is the Citi Card representative that gives you free Citi Points. Just explain to him that you are trying to cancel your credit card because you are not planning to use it anymore. He will then ask some random questions like if it's the interest rate or credit card rewards etc that you didn't like. Just tell him you found another card with Bank of America, Chase, DiscoverCard, American Express or Capital One that had a nice sign up bonus.

    5. Wait for a moment: The Citi account specialist guy on the phone will come back and say something along the lines of - "well you have been a good member of Citi Cards for xx amount of years and he will offer you some amount of free Thank You Network points."

    I was able to get 3000 Points just for a 5 minute call. You may be able to get more or maybe less. Points should be added to your account within a few days. I don't know if it was just an isolated event or whether that's Citibank's secret policy

  4. Jennie Platero says:

    How do I find out how many thankyou points I have? I also would like to know who I can redeem them for hotels/motels. Thank you for your response.

  5. Melissa Paggen says:

    Please let me know how many rewards points i have it comes up 0 and on my statement it says over 14,000

  6. JaTT says:

    Jenni Platero and Melissa Paggen u both need to visit www.thankyounetwork.com to keep track of your Thankyou points ( u need to sign up first but it's free)

  7. marie e otarola says:

    i would like to redeem my thank you points, pls give me the right web or tell me how may i redeem them

  8. judith wilson says:

    please guide me to redeem points thank you for your time

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