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If you’re looking for flexible cash-back options or travel rewards, the Citi ThankYou Rewards program is one of the best out there. You’re likely familiar with many of Citi’s airline transfer partners like Turkish, Emirates and Qantas. But there may be one program you’ve overlooked, which is totally understandable because it’s not a travel program at all. It’s Sears, yes, that Sears.
Truthfully, I’d forgotten the company was even still around, but Shop Your Way is the loyalty program of Sears and K-Mart.
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No, we’re not telling you to use your ThankYou points to buy home decor and new towels at Sears. But as the holiday season ramps up, you may need some gift cards for yourself or your family.
Currently, you can transfer ThankYou points to Sears at a 1:12 ratio — that is, one ThankYou point for 12 Shop Your Way points.
Generally, we have advised against redeeming your ThankYou points for statement credit, cash rewards or the Shop with Points program. These will all give you much less than 1 cent per point in value.
For instance, paying directly with ThankYou points at BestBuy.com will give you less than 1 cent per point, compared to redeeming points for 1 cent each for Best Buy gift cards. But if you bought gift cards directly from Sears, you’d save a fair number of points.
Let’s take a look at a $100 gift card for Carnival Cruises. It would cost you 10,000 ThankYou points when purchased directly through Citi, or 100,000 Shop Your Way points. While 100,000 sounds like a lot, you’d only need to transfer roughly 8,400 ThankYou points to Sears.
You’ll need to make a Shop Your Way account to see redemption options, but it’s as easy as registering with your email. Shop Your Way says it has hundreds of gift card options, ranging from merchants like Uber to White House Black Market, in increments as low as $5.
You can redeem points for gift cards directly through Citi at 1 cent per point, but you’ll get 12 cents per point when transferring them to Sears. So while you’re losing a bit of value when redeeming at Sears, this may be a positive if you aren’t traveling soon anyway.
Citi differs from other transferrable currencies like Chase and American Express in that it doesn’t have hotel transfer partners, only airlines and merchants. TPG values Citi ThankYou points at 1.7 cents, but the value of transferring those points to miles varies by airline.
Related: The ultimate guide to Citi ThankYou Rewards transfer partners
Redemptions airlines like EVA Air, Thai Airways, Malaysia Airlines and Qatar Privilege Club give you a poor return. ThankYou transfers to Thai, for instance, can take up to a week to post, which means you can potentially lose out on award space. Eva and Malaysia aren’t much better, with transfers taking up to three days and two days, respectively. To put that into context, transfers to another Citi partner, Avianca, post instantly.
In 2018, Qatar Airways made multiple cuts to its Privilege Club frequent flyer program. The airline restricted lounge access for travelers who upgraded using miles and increased prices for award travel on its planes by as much as 77% with zero notice to customers. We value Qatar miles at a measly 0.8 cents each, and there are better ways to fly its premium products like Qsuite by booking using American AAdvantage miles.
Best Citi ThankYou Rewards cards
Of course, to take advantage, you’ll need a Citi card in your wallet. There are several to choose from.
- Citi Prestige® Card: Best for restaurants, airlines and travel agencies
- Citi Premier® Card: Best for earning full-fledged ThankYou points with a sub-$100 annual fee
- Citi Rewards+℠ Card: Best for supermarkets, gas stations and small purchases
- Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card: Best for students who have a limited credit history
- AT&T Access Card from Citi: Best for online purchases
The information for the Citi Prestige, Citi Rewards+ Student and AT&T Access Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Make sure you check out our guide on how to redeem Citi ThankYou points for maximum value.
Generally, we wouldn’t advise transferring your hard-earned ThankYou points to redemptions that aren’t travel related. But it’s hard to beat buying a $100 gift card for under 10,000 points, and many people don’t have travel plans right now.
As it gets closer to the holiday season, you may need to purchase gift cards for yourself or your family. So you have a ton of ThankYou points in your account from sign-up bonuses anyway, Sears’ Shop Your Way program is a decent option.
Featured photo by George Frey/Getty Images
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.