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The beauty of transferrable points currencies (Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, etc.) is how flexible they are, and that they in many ways hedge you against devaluations, since there are so many ways to redeem the points. As a general rule of thumb I like to redeem these points by transferring them to airline partners, since that’s how I get the most value (there are exceptions, as I’ll explain below).
A majority of people don’t redeem their points that way, however. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing:
- Not everyone values travel rewards as much as we do
- Ultimately the reason we’re able to get such good value is because we’re in the minority with the type of redemptions we try to make
Redeem Citi ThankYou points for e-gift cards
Citi announced a new way you can redeem ThankYou points, which is worth examining. Citi ThankYou Rewards points can now be used to purchase e-gift cards through the Wonder app.
This app (which can be found in the app store under “Wonder Digital Gift Cards”) lets you purchase a variety of gift cards, ranging from local restaurants to national chains. It’s location based, so let’s you see the places nearby where you can instantly purchase e-gift cards through the app.
Here’s how ThankYou points can be redeemed through the Wonder app:
- Download and open the Wonder app for iOS or Android
- Choose your favorite local store or national brand
- Select the amount of points you want to use for a statement credit
- Your eligible Citi credit card will be charged for the full purchase amount
- The selected amount of points will be deducted from your ThankYou member account and you will receive a corresponding statement credit to your Citi credit card account in 24-48 hours
I downloaded the app to have a look at the possible redemption values. Once you get the app, you’ll have to register for an account and link a credit card. To see the possible redemption of Citi ThankYou points, you’ll want to link a card which accrues these points, like the Citi Prestige® Card or Citi ThankYou® Premier Card.
You’ll then get a message allowing you to enroll in the program.
On the main page of the app you can search possible places you can buy gift cards by location, category, etc.
When you select a retailer you’ll be given the option of selecting a gift card amount.
And then on the next page you’ll be given an option to select how many Citi ThankYou points you want to redeem towards the purchase. For example, a $50 gift card would cost 6,250 Citi ThankYou points.
That’s a redemption value of 0.8 cents per Citi ThankYou point, which is not a good deal.
Why Wonder app gift cards aren’t a good use of points
If you’re going for cash redemptions like that, I’d instead recommend going with a card like the Citi® Double Cash Card, which offers the equivalent of 2% cash back (1% on your purchase, and then 1% when you pay for the purchase). The card doesn’t have an annual fee, and is a card most people should be using, in my opinion.
Even if you do want to redeem your points for gift cards, points earned on the Citi Prestige® Card or Citi ThankYou® Premier Card can be redeemed for one cent each towards gift card purchases directly through Citi’s website.
The only advantage of going through Wonder app is that you have access to a wider variety of local stores. But given that most people also make purchases at national retailers, restaurants, etc., there’s no reason to redeem points for 0.8 cents each when you can redeem them for 1.0 cent each.
The best ways to redeem Citi ThankYou points
But even gift card purchases through Citi’s website is a sub-par redemption of ThankYou points. Points earned on the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card can be redeemed for 1.25 cents each towards the cost of a hotel, car rental, cruise, or flight, which is 25% better than a gift card redemption.
Still, a lot of people will consider the best use of ThankYou points to be for transfers to one of their airline partners, which include the following:
|Air France/KLM | Flying Blue||Garuda Indonesia | Frequent Flyer||Qantas | Frequent Flyer||Turkish Airways | Miles & Smiles|
|Cathay Pacific | Asia Miles||Jet Airways | JetPrivilege||Qatar Airways | Privilege Club||Virgin Atlantic | Flying Club|
|EVA Air | Infinity MileageLands||JetBlue | TrueBlue||Singapore Airlines | KrisFlyer||Hilton | HHonors|
|Etihad | Etihad Guest||Malaysia Airlines | Enrich||Thai Airways | Royal Orchid Plus|
For transfers to airlines like Air France/KLM FlyingBlue and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, you can potentially get a lot more than one cent per point of value.
Redeem just 57,375 points for Singapore Airlines Suites Class from New York to Frankfurt
Redeeming points earned on the Citi Prestige® Card or Citi ThankYou® Premier Card towards gift cards through the Wonder app isn’t a good value, at just 0.8 cents per point. If you do want to purchase a gift card using ThankYou points, you’re much better off using them for gift cards from national retailers, where you can redeem points for one cent each.
But even that isn’t how I would redeem these points. I’d be transferring them to Singapore KrisFlyer, Air France FlyingBlue, etc.