November 27, 2013
Citibank has a number of credit card and banking products that earn “ThankYou” points. If you have a Citi ThankYou Premier card, ThankYou points are worth 1.25 cents each towards airfare. In most other situations, ThankYou points are worth 1 cent each towards travel, gift cards, merchandise, mortgage payments, or student loan payments. Then there are ways to get less than 1 cent per point value…
Citi has added a new option to the ThankYou program. You can now request a “Reward Account Number” which is a virtual Visa or MasterCard number that can be used anywhere online that accepts Visa or MasterCard cards. At first I thought that was pretty cool because I could use it to pay my insurance and other bills, and possibly do Amazon Payments for (I thought) 1 cent per point value.
By exploring online, I tried to find out the value you’d get from points through this new option, but I couldn’t find that info anywhere. I then tried to setup a Rewards Account Number so that I could see myself, but I received a “server not available” error. Luckily, I received a press release about this new “benefit” and found this:
Log in to your ThankYou Rewards account to generate a Rewards Account Number for the desired amount of your available ThankYou Points. For example, select 10,000 ThankYou Points to be used for a statement credit of $75.00 towards your purchase.
So, when points are used in this way, you’ll get just 3/4 of a penny per point value. While I applaud Citibank for coming up with an innovative new way to use points, I hate that they’re essentially tricking customers into using points for far less than they’re worth. My advice: don’t do it.