As the coronavirus pandemic continues into late summer, credit card issuers are extending their COVID-specific benefits and even adding new perks.
Now, Citi cardholders can redeem ThankYou points toward their minimum payment due each month. Previously, you could redeem for statement credit but still needed to complete your minimum payment separately.
Citi follows Chase, Capital One, Discover and more in adding redemption options that may better meet the needs of cardholders in the wake of COVID-19.
Redeeming ThankYou points toward a minimum payment: Is it worth it?
Cardholders in a financial pinch who could truly benefit from making their minimum payment with points should do so, says Ted Rossman, industry analyst at Bankrate.
“It’s unusual to see any sort of cash back redemption that covers the minimum payment,” Rossman says, adding he suspects the perk won’t be around for very long.
If you’re interested in utilizing this new redemption option, bear in mind paying off your minimum balance keeps your account in good standing but doesn’t stave off interest charges on your remaining balance.
“Citi could stand to make a lot of money from that over time (assuming the cardholder is able to pay them back),” Rossman says.
What’s the point value for this redemption choice?
Redeeming ThankYou points toward your minimum due payment values them at 0.8 cents per point, which is the same as Pay with Points, according to Rossman. This is in stark contrast to the up to 1.7 cents per point you can get by redeeming and transferring ThankYou points for travel, as determined by The Points Guy’s July point and mile valuations.
Apart from those seeking financial assistance through this perk, cardholders interested in additional redemption options may find more value by redeeming toward minimum payments.
“Another viable use case could be someone who wants cash back and can get a better redemption rate this way than on a traditional statement credit,” says Rossman.
According to Rossman, your ThankYou points have a value of 0.5 cents per piece when redeeming for statement credit and 1 cent per piece for gift cards—making the 0.8 cent value of minimum payments even more lucrative.
For more premium travel credit cards like the Citi Premier® Card and Citi Prestige® Card, Rossman suggests holding onto points for future use when travel has resumed (assuming you’re free from financial burden and can afford to safeguard your points).
An overview of Citi ThankYou point redemption options
In addition to redeeming your ThankYou points toward your minimum payment, you can, in most cases, redeem for:
Shop with points (on Amazon.com or PayPal)
Payment toward student loans and mortgage
Point transfer and sharing
Online bill pay with points
Note: You can now redeem cash rewards toward your minimum due, as well, through 11/07/2020.
Keep in mind that, while the Citi® Double Cash Card allows you to convert your cash back earnings to points, you can’t transfer those points to partner airlines without also owning a Citi travel card.
The bottom line
The addition of a ThankYou point redemption option toward minimum payments is beneficial for cardholders in need of financial assistance or those looking for creative ways to further their points’ value.
If your hardship goes further than what this perk can help you with, consider reaching out to your issuer for assistance.