Citi ThankYou points have long been the most average of bank transferrable currencies, with American Express’s Membership Rewards and Chase’s Ultimate Rewards being a tier or two above and Capital One being below. Citi has done a lot to up its game in the last 30 days, and it’s really due to two changes:
- They made the transfer ratio from ThankYou Points to Choice Hotel Points 2:1 about a month ago, and while many of Choice’s brands are complete and utter dumpster fires, that’s not always the case. Many hotels in the Choice Ascend collection are rather nice, and occasionally you can book into a suite for the same redemption price as a normal room. Side note — I stayed at one over the weekend and got about 2.05 cents per ThankYou point versus the cash rate, which is in Hyatt territory for value per point. This worked especially well because I was in a smaller city that didn’t have any real Hyatt options but did have an Ascend hotel.
- Yesterday, they added Wyndam as a 1:1 transfer partner. At first blush, that’s a big meh, but at second blush there’s a lot of value to be had here, thanks to the Wyndham relationship with Vacasa. (Vacasa is basically just another version of airbnb.) With Vacasa, the nightly rate is 15,000 points per bedroom in the unit, regardless of location or cash price. With strategic booking, Citi ThankYou Points can be used at a value of 2-4 cents per point on Vacasa properties. The bad news though? You have to book these over the phone.
Between the two new options you can find your way to getting 2-4 cents per point in value out of the ThankYou program, which means I’m much more interested in earning those points. Does this mean I like them more than Ultimate Rewards or Membership Rewards? No, I don’t — but I’m getting closer, and I no longer think of a ThankYou point as being roughly equivalent to a penny. Good show Citi, and your move, hotel transferless Capital One.
Now, let’s all say goodbye to calling Citi for a mortgage payment cash-out for a bank that mysteriously has the same name that you do.