Citi ThankYou Cyber Monday Analyzed
Citi just sent me an email advertising tomorrow’s ThankYou Cyber Monday sale. During the promotion they are going to be offering catalog redemptions at 30%-50% off their normal prices. Normally catalog redemptions are a TERRIBLE value, but with this discount do they make sense? Let’s take a look.
Pebble Smart Watch
The first product we see is the Pebble Smart Watch. It is advertised as 30% off. When I clicked through it shows the following:
So the normal price for this item is 13,100 points. That means tomorrow they will only be charging 9,170 points. Doesn’t sound to bad. On their website they proudly advertise that electronics are provided by Best Buy. Here is the price for the item from the source.
Uh oh. The valuation is going to be terrible. Basically during the “sale” you will be redeeming 9,170 points for $69.99. That is a value of .0076 or about 3/4 of a cent. You can redeem ThankYou points at $.01 for cash so this is a terrible value. Keep in mind that valuation is also not correct since we didn’t shop around. We may or may not be able to get the product elsewhere.
Galaxy Tab 4 – 7″
This product is described as 50% off the normal price. When I clicked through, here is the price:
This one looks promising. During the promotion it will only be 12,450 points. Surely that is a good value right? Well, it isn’t as bad as the last one. Here is how much it costs at Best Buy:
Ok not terrible. At least we are somewhat close to $.01 a piece. Redeeming 12,450 points for $119.99 comes to a value of $.0096. But what if we shop around? Well it turns out that Best Buy has a decent price since this tablet is on sale. The combination of 50% off along with Best Buy’s cheaper price makes this ALMOST a somewhat ok redemption, but of course it isn’t.
Canyon River Duffle
Life isn’t all about electronics. Citi also offers other products as part of this sale. One of them is the Canyon Outback Leather Little River Duffel. Here is its price:
This is another one that is going to be 50% off. That means the cost will be 11,650 points. Since this doesn’t come from Best Buy, I did a Google search and located the same bag on Amazon and a few other places. Amazon had a very good price for it.
While the name is a little different, the picture and the dimensions are exactly the same. In other words I believe it is the same bag. Now look at that price? Wow! I think we actually have a winner. 11,650 points for $182.12 in value. What was Citi thinking? They are actually offering a catalog redemption at 1.56 cents per point! I may just have to get this one.
I didn’t go through every product, but the truth is that catalog redemptions are almost never a good idea. When it comes to the electronics, you could redeem the points for at least $.01 in cash and buy the product for cheaper with money leftover. I have to admit I was stunned with the value of the handbag and I assume there are probably one or two other products that offer a good value during the sale.
Remember if you hold the ThankYou Premier card that ThankYou points are worth 1.25 cents each when booking travel. If you have the Prestige, then you can get 1.33 cents each for flights or 1.6 cents each for flights on American Airlines. Of course you can also get great value in certain cases for transferring the points to travel partners.
When you see deals like this come to your inbox it is alright to look, because you might find a hidden gem, but don’t expect to. One thing that stands out to me is the terrible lack of value for everyday redemptions. Even with huge reductions, the electronics are still a terrible value. This just re-emphasizes that catalog redemptions are probably very popular. If people didn’t redeem their points for junk, then the loyalty programs would probably offer better value.