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This is the 9th post in my intro series to travel hacking.  For a list of other posts, check out my post on how to travel hack your way around the world.

Citi is the ugly stepchild of bank transfers, and their ThankYou points aren’t nearly as flexible as Chase or American Express. However, if you’re maxed out on Chase and American Express they may be a decent alternative, since all signs points to Citi increasing their transfer partners in upcoming years.

Thank You points typically convert to cash at a 100 to $1 ratio. With Citi Premier you’ll get a 33% bonus on travel, so you can convert 10,000 Thank You points into $133 worth of airfare instead of a $100 gift card.

Transferring ThankYou Points

Citi Thank You points currently only have one transfer partner in Hilton, and transfer into HHonors points at a 1:1.5 ratio. Points can be transferred another person’s account, but the transferred points must be used within 90 days.

Citi ThankYou Cards

There aren’t a lot of Citi ThankYou cards with sign-up bonuses worth getting excited about.  At the moment only the Premiere card looks alright, though my understanding is that the bonus periodically increases to 50,000:

Citi ThankYou Premiere Card: 25,000 ThankYou points after spending $2000 in 3 months. No foreign transaction fees. Annual fee of $125 is waived the first year.

Conclusion

While I wouldn’t rush out and start applying for ThankYou cards willy-nilly, Citi’s ThankYou points program is one to keep an eye on.

Although they only have one transfer partner at the moment, it’s quite likely Citi will try to increase its transfer options if it wants to compete at the same level as Chase and American Express. Couple that with a few cards with bonuses of 50,000 points or more and the bonuses they give on occasion for opening a Citibank account (sometimes upwards of 30,000 TY points!) and I’d consider investing in the ThankYou points program.  Until then, I’d stay away.