I have 3 solutions.
1. Compelement with Xiaomi own back up feature
First, the one I actually used. This will also be useful if you use titanium backup for moving to another ROM. Just restore completely. And then uses your ROM normal back up feature.A
For no matter what, everything is backed up. That is all I care. So I created xiaomi backup. I found out that I can see the back up files at MIUI/backup/all backups
You can see more explanation here http://en.miui.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=237526&page=2#pid4417978
In general, when in doubt, uses some file explorer that allows you to find large file. I think I am using ES File Explorer but I forget.
Now that I know the location of the "local" backup that will be reflashed when I flash the ROM, I simply copy that to my computer and copy it back after reflash.
2. Backup only apps and not system apps
You can do this too. But then you will not have that security settings and icon placements, and accounts restored. So you can do that and try to figure out latter what exactly you should restore .
The thing is, until today I have no idea, which titanium backup restore settings I want (like security settings, account settings, and icon settings). I also do not know which titanium settings causes those bugs. Perhaps they intersect. Perhaps security settings will cause bugs if you restore but is necessary to restore those settings. This is not the solution I used. So you can ask around.
3. Install only apps. Then tweak your own settings
Settings are easy to reproduce. You can also rearrange icons yourself after backing up your apps.
4. Uses Xiaomi own back up feature from beginning
The reason I used titanium back up is because I have no idea how to move xiaomi backup from my phone to computer. Look solution 1 to solve it. It seems that helium and titanium backup is useful only if you want totally different rom. If you just want to upgrade from MIUI 7.0.x to MIUI 7.1.8 it would make sense to uses xiaomi own backup feature.
Notice that the back up WILL be deleted when you reflash (I didn't know that. I thought it's in some safe partition. Which is why I am left with titanium back up as my only backup). Also notice that xiaomi didn't tell in what directory the back up is. So I got to ask around here. http://en.miui.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=237526&page=2#pid4417978
Actually xiaomi also have MI PC suites to back up your data to computer. My problem is that the MI PC suites is buggy and I cannot connect my phone there. That is even though I can easily moves xiaomi backup using regular file explorer in windows.