How to use the Citi Travel Portal to book flights, hotels, rental cars, and more — and get the most from your ThankYou points
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If you have a credit card that earns ThankYou points, you can book travel through the Citi portal.
Like an online travel agency, you can book flights, hotels, rental cars, activities, and cruises.
You can pay with points (worth 1 cent each), your Citi credit card, or a combination of both.
Citi ThankYou Rewards is a flexible points program that allows you to earn points from eligible Citi credit cards and banking products. You can redeem points in a number of ways, including for travel, cash back, gift cards, and even paying down your student loan or mortgage.
One of the best ways to use points is for travel, either by transferring Citi ThankYou points to airline partners for award flights (only available with certain Citi credit cards), or through an even easier option available to all program members — the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal.
The Citi Travel Portal is an online travel booking platform that works in a similar way to Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) like Orbitz or Expedia. You can search for flights, hotels, cruises, car rentals, and activities based on your destination, travel dates, and other preferences, and you have the option to pay with Citi ThankYou points, cash, or a combination of both.
To access the Citi Travel Portal, you must be a Citi customer with a ThankYou rewards account. Once you sign in at ThankYou.com, you’ll see a “Travel” tab in the menu, and from there you can access the site’s search function for the type of travel you want to book.
There’s no need to worry about loyalty program award charts or availability
Your points are worth a flat 1 cent each toward travel, and you can combine them with cash if you don’t have enough for a booking
You’ll still earn airline miles and elite-qualifying miles when you book flights, even when you pay entirely with points
It’s possible to pool Citi points from different credit cards (or even share with friends and family who have Citi ThankYou accounts)
A downside to using the Citi Travel Portal is you won’t earn points or elite status credit for hotel stays, and you might not have your elite status recognized because it’s considered a third-party booking.
If you’re looking for the easiest way to cash in Citi points for travel, the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal is a better choice for most people. That said, it’s possible to get more than 1 cent per point in value if you skip the Citi Portal and instead transfer your points at a 1:1 ratio to an airline partner for award travel — but that involves more legwork.
The full range of partners is available if you have the Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige® Card (otherwise, JetBlue is the only airline option with a reduced transfer ratio):
Citi offers several different cards that earn Citi ThankYou points, including one card — the Citi® Double Cash Card — which technically earns cash back, but allows you to convert rewards to points if you have a Citi ThankYou account.
If you have the Citi Premier® Card, there’s an additional incentive to book through the Citi ThankYou portal. Once per calendar year, cardholders can get $100 off a hotel stay of $500 or more (before taxes and fees) when they book through the Citi portal — whether the stay is booked with points, charged to the Citi Premier® Card, or a combination of both.
15.99% – 23.99% Variable
Good to Excellent
60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening
Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
Strong welcome bonus
Generous bonus categories
Doesn’t offer much in the way of statement credits or other perks
Citi ThankYou Rewards may not be as convenient as other points for US-based travelers
Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
60,000 Points are redeemable for $600 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
If you are a Citi cardholder, navigate to the Citi ThankYou website and sign in with your login information. From the main menu, you can choose how you want to redeem your points.
After clicking “Travel,” a drop-down menu will appear with options for booking flights, hotels, car rentals, and cruises — as well as a “Deals” tab with discounted travel opportunities. Once you click on these options you’ll also see a tab for activity bookings.
How to book a flight through Citi travel
To search for flights, click the “Flights” tab and enter your departure and destination airport and dates of travel. You’ll also have options to select round-trip or one-way flights, class of service, number of passengers, and if you prefer non-stop flights.
Next, you’ll see a list of flight search results — starting with your outbound flight — which you can sort by price, departure time, arrival time, or duration. There are also filters for the number of stops, airline, price range, and total flight time. To choose a flight, click on the “Select” button, then repeat the process for your return leg if you’ve searched for a round-trip itinerary.
Once you’ve selected your flights, you’ll be presented with options to upgrade to a more flexible fare or higher class of service (most people will skip this step). Then, on the final booking screen, you’ll have the opportunity to select your payment method — either using your Citi card, ThankYou points, or a combination of both.
This is also where you’ll enter passenger details and contact information, then complete the booking.
How to book a hotel through Citi travel
The process of finding a hotel to book through the Citi ThankYou portal is similar to searching for flights. After selecting the “Hotels” option from the main menu, enter your destination, stay dates, and number of guests on the search fields.
The results page allows you to sort by property class, price, distance, hotel name, and recommended results. You can filter by price, class, TripAdvisor rating, amenities, nearby landmarks, and even hotels offering deals. One useful feature is the ability to quickly identify properties that have discounted rates by looking for the “Sale” flag in the corner of the hotel listing.
To find out more about the hotel you’re interested in, click “Choose Room” and you’ll be shown different bed options, rate types with cancellation policies, and available packages (breakfast included, for instance) if applicable. Once you’ve chosen the rate you want, you’ll come to the final booking screen where, again, you can choose your method of payment and enter guest details.
How to book a rental car through Citi travel
Searching for a car rental through the Citi portal is similarly easy. Once you’ve clicked “Cars” on the main menu, enter your pick-up location (you can select a different drop-off location if needed), rental dates, and the driver’s age.
The results list allows you to sort by price, rental company, or car type. There are also filters for these categories, along with options like transmission type and vehicle capacity.
Once you find a car you like, click “Add to Itinerary” to proceed to the final booking screen. Here, you’ll enter the driver’s name and details, and choose your method of payment — again, your Citi card, ThankYou points, or a combination of both.
How to book activities through Citi travel
The “Activity” tab is a little trickier to find — you’ll have to select flights, hotels, or cars to be brought to a menu page that lists activities as an option. Once you click on the tab, you’ll see a search screen where you can enter your destination and travel dates.
Depending on the destination, you’ll get a list of all kinds of activities — from tours and sightseeing tickets to airport transfers and excursions.
When you click “Show Details and Pricing,” you’ll have the opportunity to choose dates, times, and the number of participants.
Then, you’ll be brought to the final booking screen where you can enter guest details and select your payment method.
How to book cruises through Citi travel
Cruise bookings through the Citi Travel Portal work a little differently. After selecting the “Cruises” tab, you’ll have the option to browse through featured cruises, or search by destination or cruise line — but there’s no way to specify a date preference, so you’ll have to scroll through the list to see if anything fits your travel dates.
When you click “View Cruise Details” you’ll come to a summary page that gives you basic information about the cruise, including ports of call, starting price, and promotional details if applicable. From there, you’ll have to call Citi Travel at 800-842-6596 to find out specific details and book your cruise.
While picking up the phone to call is an extra step, it makes sense for cruises because there are so many cabin options and add-on features to navigate. Be sure to shop around if you’re booking a cruise, because prices can vary widely depending on how you book and what promotions are available at the time.
Jasmin Baron is an associate editor at Personal Finance Insider, where she helps readers maximize rewards and find the best credit cards to fit their lifestyles. She has covered credit cards, points and miles, and loyalty programs for over seven years, and she’s a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF).
Katie Oelker is a financial coach, personal finance writer, and podcaster. When not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, practicing yoga, and planning her family’s next adventure.