There’s been a lot of buzz around Citi in the last couple of weeks and, let’s be honest, it hasn’t all been great news. First, Citi announced what can simply be described as dumb changes to the benefits across all of its cards — including its premium card, the Citi Prestige. Second, it has restricted applicants from receiving a sign-up bonus to once per 48 months with its American Airlines AAdvantage cards — potentially good news, oddly enough.
Now, we’ve learned from Doctor of Credit that Citi is adding the option to move the cash back you earn with the Citi Double Cash (Learn More) to your ThankYou Points account. This is potentially big news that deserves some thought if you like transferring Citi ThankYou Points to airline partners.
Considering Citi transfer partner Avianca LifeMiles might be the best option to book Lufthansa first class, why wouldn’t you like ThankYou Points?
Check out some of the best ways to redeem Citi ThankYou Points for max value.
How Will This Work?
Citi already allows you to pool the ThankYou Points you earn across cards. However, unlike with Chase Ultimate Rewards points, these points can’t be moved between cards unless you link your Citi cards. Additionally, you need to keep the specific account open if you want access to the points you earned with that account. Even if you link accounts, the points earned with the closed account will expire if you don’t transfer them or product change to a different card to keep the points alive.
Currently, if you want to transfer ThankYou Points to airline partners, you need to have either the Citi Premier (Learn More) or the Citi Prestige (Learn More). If you have the Citi Rewards+ Card (Learn More) and/or the AT&T Access Card (Learn More), you need to link them to the Premier or the Prestige to get access to transfer partners.
Additionally, points earned with the AT&T Access More and Citi ThankYou Preferred can be linked to the Premier or Prestige but applications for both have been discontinued.
With the Citi Double Cash, we wouldn’t be surprised if you’ll need either the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige linked to your account if you want access to these transfer partners. This would be consistent with the is other cards with no annual fee — the Rewards+ Access Cards.
Cash Back To ThankYou Points Rate?
At this point, we don’t know what the conversion rate to ThankYou Points will be. The Citi Double Cash (Learn More) earns 2% cash back — 1% when you spend, 1% when you pay your bill. You can see why we’re intrigued. Earning 2% with no annual fee is a solid option. They key, however, is at what rate the cash back you earn will convert to ThankYou Points.
If it’s as a simple as the cash back converting at a 1:1 ratio, that means the Double Cash would earn 2X ThankYou Points on every purchase. That’s right up there with the 2X Membership Rewards points you can earn with the Blue Business Plus Card from American Express (Learn More).
If the conversion rate is 2:1, this article was a waste of my (and your) time. In this case, we can all go back to our previous points earning strategies because 2:1 just isn’t useful.
A third possible option would be something along the lines of the Capital One Venture (Learn More) and Capital One Spark Miles (Learn More) which both earn miles that transfer to airlines at a 2:1.5 ratio. The difference is that these two cards have $95 annual fees — however, the annual fee is waived the first year for each card. At a 2:1.5 ratio, the Double Cash would also similar to the Chase Freedom Unlimited which earns 1.5X points. Ultimate Rewards points transfers at a 1:1 ratio, though.
Will It Make Me Get The Citi Double Cash?
This really comes down to the rate at which the cash back converts to ThankYou Points. It’s no secret that I love ThankYou Points and find them to be rather underrated. If the 2% cash back with the Double Cash becomes 2X ThankYou Points, Citi is getting some more of my spend. It’s that simple.
If the 2% cash back becomes 1.5X ThankYou Points, I’ll consider it but I won’t be rushing to get the card. Of course, if 2% becomes 1X, I won’t even give it a thought since I can earn 1X ThankYou Point on non-bonus category purchases with the other ThankYou Points cards.
Even though Citi made some horrendous changes to its cards’ benefits, that doesn’t mean ThankYou Points aren’t useful. If the Citi Double Cash (Learn More) offers 2X ThankYou Points and you have the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige, the combo could be quite potent. In fact, While the AT&T Access card earns 2X on many online purchases, you could skip that card entirely if the Double Cash starts earning 2X ThankYou Points.
Until Citi makes something official, we’ll just be sitting here hoping for the best. Hopefully, Citi will give us something worthy of excitement!