Citi ThankYou Points Expiration – Everything You Should Know
It is nice to see that Citi continues to improve their ThankYou points currency, on the earning and redeeming sides. I enjoy earning lots of these points in bonus categories, and plenty of Citi opportunities exist for those playing a simpler game. The Custom Cash takes the 5% earning card concept to the next level. The ease of cashout via the Premier and the American Airlines transfer capability allows me to (mostly) forget about losing the 25% extra value via direct ThankYou travel bookings. Alas, points expiration is one area Citi lags behind Chase and Amex. But what should you know about Citi points expiration? It’s all here, dear reader. But first, let’s recap why Citi ThankYou points expiration is not the best.
Why Citi ThankYou Points Expiration Is Not Great
Many bank currencies, most prominently Amex and Chase, allow cardholders to keep their bank points currencies from expiring by holding any bank point-earning card. But when a Citi cardholder closes or downgrades any ThankYou point-earning card, the points from the card are subject to expiration. Cardholders have a fairly short period of time to use them.
Citi ThankYou Points Expiration Q&A
I recently had an fruitful chat with a competent rep from the Citi ThankYou Rewards Center. As a fairly new Citi chatter, I’m pleasantly surprised how stable and useful the capability is. Below, I’ll lay out my questions and the answers from my helpful Citi rep.
Closing and Product Changing Citi Cards
If I close or product change a ThankYou point-earning card, when do the points expire?
These ThankYou points expire 60 days from the date of the change. The rep said that this is the case for product changes as well but that is not exactly true.
Does product changing to any Citi card automatically prevent points from expiring?
The rep said that there are no Citi cards that keep the points permanently active (which isn’t accurate – see below). However, the chat rep explained that if a cardholder converts to a card which they currently hold, the points do not expire. She referred to this as a conversion “within the same product.” The rep provided the following example:
Let’s say a cardholder has Citi Double Cash and Citi Premier cards attached to the same ThankYou account. The cardholder can convert the Double Cash to a second Premier account, and the rewards aren’t subject to the 60-day expiration policy. While the rep did offer this exception to the expiration policy, this is the first I’ve heard of it. I recommend you confirm this with your rep prior to closing or product changing a card.
What is the real world experience of this, though?
What the rep said about product changes is not entirely accurate. When you downgrade to a no fee card, like a Premier to a Rewards+, your points will stay active. Well, at least most of the time. If you product change into a Citi Double Cash the points will expire after 60 days, even though the Double Cash can earn ThankYou points. You would need to downgrade to a Rewards+ or ThankYou Preferred, and we believe a Custom Cash would work the same way at this point.
Now, initially you may see an expiration date in your account for 60 days. Don’t worry about this, after a few weeks that should disappear. This could be what the rep was referencing but it doesn’t actually work out that way in the real world. See Mark’s experience below.
How can a cardholder determine how many points are subject to expiration?
When you call to close or product change a card, Citi’s IT system will advise the rep of how many points are expiring. Simply ask the rep how many points are subject to expiration during this call.
Other Citi ThankYou Point Expiration Matters
When a cardholder has points subject to expiration and makes a redemption, which points are used?
The points expiring soonest are the ones used first. If a cardholder closes a card but holds another one, the points expiring from the closed card are used first followed by those from the remaining one.
A cardholder has three cards but decides to close two. The cardholder closes the first card, then a month later closes the second card. When making a redemption, the points from the first card are used, then those from the second, and finally from the third, if necessary.
I’m not closing or product changing a card, and I have multiple cards on one ThankYou account. Which points are used first when I redeem?
The points from the primary card associated with the ThankYou account are used first, followed by the other cards. You can identify the sequence and reorder the cards by calling the ThankYou Rewards Center at 800-842-6596.
When do ThankYou points from checking accounts expire?
The points expire three years from December 31st of the year they were earned. If the checking account is closed, points are subject to the same 60 day expiration policy as credit cards.
A friend or family member transfers ThankYou points from their account to mine. When do they expire?
These points expire 90 days from the transfer date.
I’m confused about how many and/or when my points will expire. How can I get help?
Simply call the ThankYou Rewards Center at 800-842-6596. They can provide all info regarding how many points are expiring when. You can also check points you have expiring in the next 60 days by visiting thankyou.com and looking under My Points Summary in the My Account section.
A Few Considerations
First off, you don’t want to have too many of the above situations occurring simultaneously. Doing so can make things unnecessarily confusing and cumbersome. What’s too many? That varies by individual, but I would only do one of these at a time. Focusing on using up one pot of points with a given expiration is enough for me. This leads me to my next point.
Before doing anything that enables potential points expiration, have a specific, timely redemption in mind. This may seem obvious, but no redemption plan can lead you to keep a card longer than necessary or worse, losing points.
I focus on redeeming all bank point currencies as quickly and routinely as possible. Given their expiration policy, doing so with Citi is even more useful. By regularly redeeming, you’ll be under less pressure to use a significant amount of points in a short time if or when you are subject to points expiration.
Also, consider Citi’s welcome offer and application rules prior to making any card changes.
I wanted to share my (Mark) own experience. I product changed a Citi Premier card to a Rewards+ card after signing up for a second Citi Premier card. Per the Citi rep, my points should have expired by now, since it has been over 60 days since the product change. There is also no notation on my account of my points having an expiration date.
I did have two of the same card but I was product changing out of the second card so that was different than what the rep spoke of. So the rep wasn’t entirely accurate, as we shared above. If you downgrade into a no fee ThankYou point card (but not a Double Cash) you should be fine.
Citi is definitely quirky, but they’re worth putting up with, from my perspective. By more fully understanding the Citi ThankYou points expiration policy, we’re better positioned to maximize their program to our benefit. Indeed, I focus on earning Citi ThankYou points at scale, and I’m stepping on the gas more with each passing day. I also recommend you stay updated on the variety of redemption options. Don’t force yourself into a suboptimal redemption when you’re hit with an upcoming expiration without a plan. Have you been hit hard by the Citi ThankYou points expiration policy? How?
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