Thank You Rewards Network Review and Introduction for Travelers

Since 2006, my wife and I have been part of the Thank You Rewards Network.  We’re now in the process of searching out a more valuable program.

How Do You Earn Points?

There are four ways to earn points through the Thank You Rewards program.

#1. Thank You Rewards Credit Cards by Citi.com

Like most programs, the best ways to earn Thank You Rewards points is by using your credit card associated with the account.

There are eight eligible cards in this category, and they all have different earning opportunities.  For the sake of this post, we’ll assume that you’re trying to maximize points for travel.

Citi ThankYou Premier Card

Earn 20,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months– redeemable for travel rewards, $200 in gift cards or other rewards.

    • You will earn 1.2 ThankYou Points – that’s 20% more points per $1 spent – when you use your card at supermarkets, gas stations, drugstores, commuter transportation, and parking merchants.
    • Earn points for the miles you fly when you purchase a ticket with your Citi ThankYou Premier Card.
    • Travel anywhere, any time, and there are no foreign transaction fees on purchases, as long as you use your Citi ThankYou Premier Card.
    • Share the delights of travel with an annual domestic companion ticket and a 15% discount on all air travel when booked through our travel provider Spirit Incentives.3
    • With no points cap and no expiration of points, there’s no limit to the points you can earn.

The annual fee on this card is $125 (with no annual fee for the first 12 months).  View more details and terms and conditions here.

Citi ThankYou Preferred Card

 

Earn 6,000 bonus ThankYou® Points when you make $300 in purchases within the first 3 months, redeemable for a $50 gift card for select national merchants.

    • 2 ThankYou® Points for every $1 you spend on all purchases during the first 12 months; 1 point for every $1 you spend thereafter.
    • Earn an anniversary bonus on points earned from purchases every year.
    • Earn bonus points when you sign up for Paperless Statements and Account Online.
    • With no points cap, enjoy no limit on the number of ThankYou Points you can earn.
    • Shop through the ThankYou Bonus Center, a network of 400+ retailers you know and love. It’s a great way to earn additional points.

This card has no annual fee.  View more details and terms and conditions here.

Grade Rating for the Citi ThankYou Credit Cards:

Overall, the Citi cards earning potential is very low.

In the future I’ll compare the Citi Thank You Rewards Network with the Membership Rewards Program by American Express.  As a heads up, I like the AMEX Rewards program much better.

With Thank You Points, you can rarely get more than a 1% rate of return on each point.

#2. Citi Bank account

Get various bonuses with different Citi account features.

#3. Online Shopping mall

Depending on the program, you can earn anywhere from 1 to 9 points per dollar spent.  I’ve included a screen shot of some of the travel earning opportunities.

Thank You Rewards

#4. Buy points

The cost is massively expensive.  For example, 1000 points costs $25.00

How Do You Redeem ThankYou Reward Points for Travel?

When you sign into your account, simply click on Redeem –> Travel and Experiences.  Once you sign in, you’ll be taken to a travel booking portal.

What I find frustrating is that their booking system can’t match good deals you find on other websites.  With cash, you might be able to book a certain hotel for $100 per night, but when you book via the Thank You Rewards gateway, you’ll need 220,000 points (or a $220 value of points).

As an example, I did some searching for an upcoming hotel stay in Auckland, New Zealand.  Here’s the best I could get through the booking portal:

Thank You Rewards Network

At a penny value per point, that hotel will cost me $149.00.  However, if I go to Expedia, I can get hotels starting at $73 per night.  Moreover, I can even book a Best Western or Holiday Inn for $30 less than the value of the ThankYou points.

How Valuable are Thank You Rewards Points?

The benefit of the Thank You Rewards points comes from their flexibility.

You can use them on any airline or any hotel, but when booking hotels the rates do seem to be inflated compared to when you pay for them in cash.  Specifically referring to the hotel benefits of the points, they average about a .8 to 1 cent value per point.

For air travel the value seems consistently at one cent per point.  Thus, when booking travel, a $250 plane ticket will cost you 25,000 points.  You also have the option of paying cash and points.

Overall Rating and Final Thoughts on Thank You Rewards Points:

Rating: 2/5

The Thank You Rewards program is not recommend as a good way to earn free travel flights and hotel points for travelers.  Sure, you might take advantage of a credit card sign up bonus, but more points can be earned in other programs, and other programs have more profitable redemption rates.

Concerns:

  • Points are not very valuable.
  • Booking for travel using ThankYou Rewards is not a profitable choice.
  • There are much better programs (like the American Express membership rewards).
  • For credit card usage, you’d be better off using something like a 2% cash back credit card, a Starwood credit card, or an American Express card that earns Membership rewards points.

Good points:

  • Flexibility – can be used across a network of airlines and hotel chains

Do we have any fans of the ThankYou Rewards Network?  What are your thoughts on the program?

 

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.

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