Author: Trav

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  • I tend to buy Marriott/Hyatt gift cards with my TY points. No, 1 point = 1 cent isn’t the world’s greatest, but at least you can use the gift cards to pay for hotel stays and earn hotel points in the process for the next free trip if you aren’t in a position to book travel directly.

    • @Becky- That’s a great call. You aren’t getting the 1.33 cents you would with booking directly, but you’re giving yourself some flexibility. I’ll definitely consider that. If only they allowed you to buy airline gift cards, then I’d really be set!

  • You might want to convert your existing Citi TY card to a Citi Forward card, which also earns TY points a 5X for restaurants, books, music, and 1X for other stuff. You wouldn’t get the signup bonus (10,000 TY pts, but would avoid the annual fee and keep your TY points alive.

    • @hoglard1- I never even thought of that. I doubt I’ll get the Citi Forward any other time, since the signup bonus is so low, and this way, I can use the points at a later date. Thanks for the heads-up, brilliant idea!

  • Thanks for your post. Yes Buying Gift cards is one og the best option to redeem in a hurry..once in a while you would get a 50$ gift card for 4500 thank you points which is a better bargain

    • @Ajay- I did see that sometimes, they offered $50 for 4,500. Interestingly enough, the $100 ones were still 10,000, which seems strange. Wonder why that is.

  • I think that you could book a R/T flight to Hawaii from NY on AA for around 700.00 or less this time of year to use your TY points

    • @Tony- Probably true. Only issue for me is that if I went without Heather (my wife), she’d probably be pretty unhappy! If I could get 2 r/t tickets for under $700, then we’d be talking!

  • You have quite a few options that’s true…but….the option i think might work best for you…is gifting the points to others…someone…maybe like me. How bout it? Good idea eh?

  • Ignore Sam…he is my little brother and the truth be told…I need the points more than he does! Not to pump you too full of sunshine or sway your decision in any way,shape or form but i think you look alot like Brad Pitt.

    • @Sarah- Ok, now we’re getting somewhere! Compliments never hurt, and as much as I’d like to fool myself, after seeing Brad Pitt at a train station in Paris once, and being fully in awe of his beauty, unfortunately, I’d have to disagree with you. If only!

    • @Barb- Yeah, they definitely do have the most value. I’ve never actually redeemed points for gift cards, and never thought I would, but with all my trips already planned, and being miles-rich and dollar-poor, I might go the gift card route for Christmas. We’ll see.

    • @Bruce- You make a great point. I don’t have any need really for stuff. I’m thinking the gift cards more for Christmas presents for others.

  • Trav – I recommend the e-gift cards rfedemption, because, they NEVER expire, once transferred to Amazon, and no waiting for the gift card in the mail, as you get an instant gift card # via email, then apply to your Amazon account. Amazon sells just about everything you could need … except that pesky new 6% Pa. sales tax!

    • @Jason- Good call. If I go to the gift card route, I’m definitely going to go Amazon I think for a majority of them. I forgot that you could get them instantly too, a nice little perk! They charge PA sales tax now? When did that start happening?

  • I have the forward card and used to get gift cards with points being worth a penny. but recently the gift cards are worth less than a penny, e.g., 3,500 for a $25 gift card. this devaluation is disappointing.

    • @harv- Which specific cards have been devalued? When I looked, I saw all of them worth a penny, e.g. 10,000 points for $100 gift card.

  • Keep in mind that point redemption values vary depending on which Citi product (card(s)) you have. As an example, I have the Citi Forward card, and travel is at 1c/point (not 1.33) and gift cards are only worth 1c/point if purchased for $100 at a time. That being said, getting and keeping the Citi Forward card (for no annual fee) as an earlier poster said, and getting 5c/$1 back for purchases at restaurants, movies, music, anything at (a bookstore) etc. as an earlier poster said is a great way to keep your points alive for no extra cost for your situation. :)

    • @Dave H.- That’s a VERY good point. Downgrading does have a few disadvantages that people need to be aware of. I’m still deciding whether to take my points and grab gift cards or whether I should downgrade to the Citi Forward but the only have 1 c/point towards travel. That’s the biggest disadvantage of downgrading; you can hold on to your points, but they are devalued.

      Thanks for making me aware of this. The more I think about it, the more sense it seems to just grab the gift cards. I hate to do that, but I already have a pretty big miles balance.

  • I am coming to my annual fee of $125 March 31. I called the retention line and was offered 10K TYP for 3K spend in 6 months. That almost covers the fee even if I redeemed for a gift card. I could put spend on it this month, get the bonus, and THEN buy some gift cards or travel and THEN cancel in March or April for a full or partial refund of the fee. Sneaky but its an option. Main messege – don’t forget to call and see if they offer a retention bonus before cancellilng any card. For example, AMEX just changed reward terms on many of thier products including the gold cards. I was offered a $75 retention bonus for keeping the card and another $75 to spend 1500 in 3 months. This almost covered the $175 fee and give me more time to use the MR points. Of course as above, I could cancel and get a prorated refund of the annual fee. Your own ethcial guidelines should dictate what you do along with the benefits of each card.

    • @Smay- Thanks for the detailed approach and data point as to how you were able to leverage extra points. I completely agree that you should never cancel until you call and at least see what type of retention bonus they offer. Then, from there, decide whether the bonus is worth the time and extra spend you’d have to make or not.

      Great point, and again, thanks for the data point. That’s a really nice retention bonus from both Amex and Citi!

  • Shame that TY doesn’t allow point conversion to other useful programs like UR does. Citi Forward’s 5% on dining beats CSP’s mere 2% hands down.

  • As owner of, I suggest readers to checkout my service. Right now Citi Thankyou Points is taken at 1.2 cents/point. We do serious business and have great reputation. You may search around.