Citi ThankYou Point Cashout Options – Not Amazing, But Appreciated
When it comes to bank point currencies and cashing out, Citi ThankYou isn’t the first one that comes to mind. Indeed, Chase, Amex, and Discover all have more noteworthy and lucrative options for cashing out points. I’ve started giving more thought to Citi ThankYou point cashout due to the upcoming loss of the Premier’s 25% bonus point value for ThankYou portal redemptions in April 2021. I don’t have a need for more miles via airline partner transfer, and I’m a bit nonplussed by their partners, anyway. That pretty much leaves cashing out or (gasp) gift cards as the other primary redemption options for Citi ThankYou points in my long term situation. Let’s take a look at Citi ThankYou point cashout options.
The Citi ThankYou site simply touts “Cash Rewards” as the first option for turning your points into cash. For Premier cardholders like me, reward redemption starts at 10k ThankYou points for a $50 cash reward. That’s a value of half a cent per point (ouch). However, Prestige cardholders can redeem 10k points for a $100 cash reward, a not terrible 1 cent per point value. Redemptions are only possible in denominations of $50 or $100, and you can pick multiples of your selected quantity. Obviously, this isn’t the most flexible type of currency to redeem. Also, the reward is provided to a cardholder in the form of a check via snail mail which Citi notes will arrive one to three weeks from the date of redemption. Seriously.
Alternatively, cardholders can receive their cash via statement credits. While cent per point values are the same as Cash Rewards, there are a few more options in terms of denomination. Cardholders can redeem in denominations of: $10, 15, 25, 50, 100, 175, and 250. Thankfully, there are more options on the lower end here than with Cash Rewards. You can select on the ThankYou site which of your Citi cards you would like the statement credit (Prestige, Premier, Rewards+, etc). Citi states that you will receive a letter confirming the redemption within one to three weeks (unnecessary, in my opinion), and the statement credit will appear within two billing cycles of the redemption.
Payment Towards Mortgage
Citi also provides the ability to redeem at a one cent per point value for payment towards a mortgage. Unlike Cash Rewards and Statement Credit, cardholders must call 800-THANKYOU to redeem in order to provide the necessary information. This information includes the bank holding your mortgage and account number. Interestingly, Citi mails the cardholder the check rather than the bank. You simply provide the requested information to Citi, and you receive the check via snail mail within one to three weeks. There appears to be no verification on the Citi end of the information you provide. This effectively gives an individual the one cent per point valuation without needing to hold the Prestige card. I know that avid Citi ThankYou point fans have reliably used this service.
Payment Towards Student Loan
Similar to the mortgage option, Citi allows redemption of ThankYou points for payment towards a student loan. A cardholder needs to call in to redeem via this option, also. Citi doesn’t list the redemption value, but I would imagine it is similar to the value for mortgage redemption.
I’m highlighting this option given it is a viable cashout redemption method to worthy causes, rather than yourself. Redemptions start at 2,500 points for a $25 donation to a variety of organizations, including the American Red Cross, UNICEF, No Kid Hungry, Smile Train, and World Central Kitchen. For many of us who give, anyway, this is a great option, and worthy of consideration for those of you who would like to increase your giving, as well! Like the other redemption methods, cardholders receive a confirmation letter within one to three weeks. Citi sends the payment directly to the selected charity.
Citi ThankYou Point Cashout Analysis
The best standard cashout rate one can generally achieve with Citi ThankYou points is one cent per point. For simple cashout, an individual must have the Prestige to obtain that rate via Cash Rewards or Statement Credit. However, this is not a requirement to obtain a one cent per point value via the mortgage check option. Remember, the mortgage check is sent to the cardholder, not the bank which holds the mortgage!
This effectively makes the Premier an uncapped 3% cash back card for all grocery store and gas station spend. Holding the Prestige makes it a bit easier via Cash Rewards and Statement Credit options, but it’s not necessary.
I’ve also been interested to determine if the cashout options I’ve described are eligible for the 10% points back feature of the Rewards+. With the Rewards+, cardholders get 10% of their redeemed points back into their accounts, up to 100k redeemed points annually. I called the Citi ThankYou Service Center, and the representative confirmed that these redemption options are eligible for the 10% points back. For cardholders of both the Premier and Rewards+, this effectively makes the Premier a 3.3% cash back card for all grocery and gas station spend, up to 100k redeemed points annually. Also, the Rewards+ can become a ~5-10% cash back card for cardholders on small transactions (granted, at a very low scale). I previously described my 2020 Citi Rewards+ spending strategy here.
As I’ve described previously, I’m amassing ThankYou points in the near term and trying to zero out my account by the April 2021 deadline on Disney World redemptions. Beyond that, I’m on the fence regarding my future with Citi ThankYou points. I’ll dive deeper on the bigger considerations at play as I get closer to that decision next year.
Citi ThankYou Point Cashout – Conclusion
Citi ThankYou point cashout options aren’t impressive but are welcomed. As a huge fan of cashing out points, I value that option as a contingency even for currencies where I gain outsized value on direct travel redemptions. I’ll continue to primarily cash out other bank point currencies, and I will consider Citi if or when needed. Have you cashed out Citi ThankYou points? What led you to that decision?