/How to use the Citi Travel Portal to book flights, hotels, rental cars, and more — and get the most from your ThankYou points

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.
  • Read Insider’s guide to the best travel rewards credit cards.

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.

Although the Citi ThankYou Rewards travel center doesn’t get as much attention as Amex Travel or the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal, it has many of the same benefits:

  • You can book travel with no blackout dates
  • 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):

  • Aeromexico Club Premier
  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • Eva Air Infinity MileageLands
  • InterMiles (formerly Jet Airways JetPrivilege)
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Before you choose between booking through the Citi Portal or transferring points to a partner for an award flight, be sure to compare the number of points required in each case — and verify that an award flight is actually available before you decide on that route.

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.

Regular APR

15.99% – 23.99% Variable

Credit Score

Good to Excellent

Featured Reward

60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening


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  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Strong welcome bonus
    • Generous bonus categories
    Cons
    • 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.

    Citi ThankYou Login Screen

    Sign in with your Citi card info to access the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal.

    Citi


    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.

    Citi ThankYou Flight Booking

    You can search for a flight much like you would with online travel agencies.

    Citi


    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.

    Citi ThankYou Flight Options

    You can filter and sort your results based on price, departure time, airline, and more.

    Citi


     

    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. 

    Citi Flight Booking Final Screen

    On the final booking screen, you can customize how many ThankYou points you want to use for the booking.

    Citi


    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.

    Citi ThankYou Hotel Booking

    The hotel search screen has fields for destination, stay dates, and number of guests.

    Citi


    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. 

    Citi ThankYou Hotel Results Page

    You’ll have lots of sort options and filters to help narrow down your search results.

    Citi


    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.

    Citi Travel Hotel Booking Screen

    Again you’ll have the option of paying with your Citi card, ThankYou points, or a combination of both.

    Citi


    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.

    Citi ThankYou Car Rental

    The car rental search screen gives you the option to pick up and drop off your vehicle at different locations.

    Citi


    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.

    Citi ThankYou Car Rental Results

    You can filter your car search results by brand, vehicle type, and more.

    Citi


    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.

    Citi Travel Car Rental Booking Screen

    On the final booking screen you can choose your payment preferences.

    Citi


    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.

    Citi ThankYou Activity Booking

    Use the activity search function to find tours, excursions, and events at your destination on your travel dates.

    Citi


    Depending on the destination, you’ll get a list of all kinds of activities — from tours and sightseeing tickets to airport transfers and excursions. 

    Citi ThankYou Activity Results List

    You’ll find all kinds of options, from walking tours to day trips.

    Citi


    When you click “Show Details and Pricing,” you’ll have the opportunity to choose dates, times, and the number of participants. 

    Citi ThankYou Activity Details

    Availability will depend on the number of guests and the specific travel date.

    Citi


    Then, you’ll be brought to the final booking screen where you can enter guest details and select your payment method.

    Citi ThankYou Activity Final Booking

    Finalize your booking by selecting your payment method and entering guest details.

    Citi


    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.

    Citi ThankYou Cruise Search Result

    You can search for cruises by destination or cruise line, but not by date.

    Citi


    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.

    Citi ThankYou Cruise Details

    If a cruise catches your eye, you’ll have to call to get more details and book.

    Citi


    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.

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