Lots of people like to focus their points and miles on airfare. Others (especially owners of cards like the SPG Amex and Chase Marriott Rewards Premier card) like to splurge on hotels. All good choices! But today I want to discuss one of the little known benefits of points that can really be a huge money saver in your vacation itinerary: car rentals using Citi Thank You points!
What are Citi ThankYou points?
In my last post about the new Freedom Unlimited card form Chase, I talked about the Chase Ultimate Rewards platform–well, you can think of Citi Thank You points as a very similar type of rewards currency and platform, just for (you guessed it) Citi. ThankYou points are very similar in that they are very flexible on redemption options, whether you want to book airfare/hotels directly with Citi, transfer your points to travel partners, or, use them for one of my favorites (and lesser known) benefits–car rentals!
How many ThankYou points does a typical car rental cost?
On my very first visit to Honolulu last month, both a friend and myself were able to use our ThankYou points to reserve cars for both ourselves and our travel mates.
The cost for 2 and a half days of unlimited road mileage in Honolulu? 9,504 Citi ThankYou points, or just under 5,000 points/day all in. Not bad!
I have been hard pressed to find car rentals that go over 5,000 points/day.
Pro tip: Enterprise, or whichever car rental agency you go with, will still require you to submit a credit card to authorize in case anything happens. In these cases, it’s always best to go with credit cards that provide primary auto rental coverage. Since the coverage is primary, it provides reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the vehicle for theft and collision damage for most rental cars in the U.S. and abroad. Some of my favorite cards that provide this benefit are the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the American Express Platinum!
How can I get Citi ThankYou points?
Citi has three credit cards that offer ThankYou points and come with lucrative sign up bonuses:
The Citi ThankYou Premier card comes with 40,000 ThankYou points when you spend $3000 in the first 3 months! And its annual fee is waived for the first year. This is the best deal to earning a lucrative amount of ThankYou points without needing to shell out dollars for an annual fee.
The Citi ThankYou Prestige card is one of a kind. It comes with 50,000 ThankYou points when you spend $3,000 on it in the first 3 months. It’s got a super hefty annual fee of $450, but it includes a slew of benefits that, depending on how much you travel, can more than make up for the cost. Such benefits include a statement credit for TSA Precheck/Global Entry, $250 a year in air travel credit (that knocks $250 off right there), comped entry to all American Airlines Admirals Club lounges, and much more. I will talk more extensively about this awesome card in a future post!
Citi also has a straight no annual fee ($0, forever) ThankYou points earning card, The ThankYou Preferred card, however they have recently removed the sign up bonus that this card used to come with. I would not recommend getting this card as there is now no sign-up bonus like the Premier and Prestige cards have.
So–on your next vacation, maximize your ThankYou points by putting them towards booking car rentals. The process is super easy and can all be done through Citi ThankYou’s login portal. A redemption of less than 5,000 points a day can make a real difference to the bottom line on your epic journey!
Cheers and happy travel hacking!