Updated April 6, 2016 with the addition of links to my posts on best uses of six of the transfer partners.
Citi ThankYou Points are now transferable to one hotel and 12 airline programs. Folks who have a Citi ThankYou® Premier, Citi Prestige®, or Citi Chairman card can transfer Citi ThankYou Points at a 1:1 ratio to (click links for posts on basics and sweetspots of that program):
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
- Etihad Guest
- Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer
- Qatar Privilege Club
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Thai Airways Royal Orchard Plus
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- Malaysia Airlines Enrich
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Qantas miles
- Virgin America Elevate
You can also transfer 1,000 ThankYou Points to 1,500 Hilton HHonors points.
This is an incredible step forward for Citi ThankYou Points and puts them in the ranks of the big four transferable points programs.
Certainly I would like to see more and better partners added to the transfer possibilities, specifically Citi’s partner American Airlines, but this is a great start and there is value with Citi’s current transfer partners.
- What are the best Citi ThankYou Points transfer partners?
- How can you get ThankYou Points?
- How can you transfer ThankYou Points?
- What are the other ThankYou Points redemption options?
Best Transfer Partners
The best Citi ThankYou points transfer partner is Singapore KrisFlyer. Singapore was already a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest. Now it is even easier to get the most useful Star Alliance miles for travel in the Western Hemisphere.
Singapore Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, so its miles can be used to book flights on any of the 27 member airlines. Singapore miles are also the only miles that can be used to book the ultra-luxurious Singapore Suites.
Singapore Airlines collects fuel surcharges on most award flights, but not those flown by United, Taca, Avianca, and Copa. Here are some of my favorite Singapore Airlines awards (click the links for full posts on them):
- Between the continental United States and Hawaii on United flights for 17,500 miles each way in economy and 30,000 miles in First with no fuel surcharges. United charges 22,500 and 40,000 miles respectively for the same flights! (Get the flat bed in first!)
- Two free one ways to Hawaii plus a roundtrip to South America for 50,000 miles total in economy and 80,000 miles in Business/First with no fuel surcharges. United would charge a ton more miles.
- Two free one ways to Hawaii plus a roundtrip to Central America or two free one ways to Central America plus a roundtrip to Hawaii for 35,000 miles total in economy and 60,000 miles in Business/First with no fuel surcharges. United would charge a ton more miles.
- Booking Singapore Suites, one of the world’s nicest First Class products on the A380. Singapore miles are the only way to book the award, which is pricey in miles and includes a fuel surcharge, but is worth it for lovers of luxury.
Air France Flying Blue
Flying Blue miles are the key to booking Promo awards: 12,500 mile awards to anywhere in Europe or Israel. Flying Blue miles can be used to book any SkyTeam award space, and Flying Blue has a very cheap award chart to many places including Hawaii (15,000 miles one way.)
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Virgin Atlantic miles can book super cheap one way awards to London:
- 17,500 miles in economy
- 27,500 miles in Premium Economy
- 40,000 miles in Upper Class (flat bed Business Class)
These awards have fuel surcharges, but they are so much cheaper in miles than other airlines charge that fuel surcharges may be worth paying.
Virgin Atlantic miles can also be used to book awards on partners like Delta, Virgin America, Virgin Australia, and Hawaiian. You can book a roundtrip to Buenos Aires on Delta for only 45,000 miles and no fuel surcharges!
How to Get ThankYou Points
The easiest way to earn a bundle of ThankYou Points is with the Citi ThankYou® Premier or with the Citi Prestige® Card, which each have huge sign up bonuses and big category bonuses.
- Sign Up Bonus: 50,000 ThankYou Points after $3,000 in spending
- Category Bonuses: 3x on air travel and hotels, 2x on restaurants and entertainment
- Air travel fee credit: $250 annual credit ($500 first year of cardmembership)
- Lounge access: Admirals Clubs lounges and Priority Pass lounges worldwide
- Free hotel nights: Get your 4th night free on all paid hotel stays (no blackout dates)
- Global Entry: $100 application fee credit
- Global Acceptance: Chip technology and no foreign transaction fees
- Annual Fee: $450 not waived, well worth it
Application Link: Citi Prestige® Card
How to Transfer
From thankyou.com, look for the Points Transfer on the Do More tab.
You’ll see the redemption options. I initiated a transfer to Singapore Airlines to see how the process works.
As with Membership Rewards and Ultimate Rewards transfers, you must send increments of 1,000. Interestingly the name on the Singapore Airlines account is already pre-set to the cardholder’s name, so it doesn’t look like you can transfer to anyone else’s account. (Of course, I can book anyone an award from my Singapore Airlines account.)
Other Redemption Options
Before the transfer option to airlines, the best redemption option for Citi ThankYou Points was to redeem for any flight on any airline for 1.25 cents of value per point. Most flights could be booked on thankyou.com and other flights by calling 800-THANKYOU.
That option is still around, but I don’t plan on taking advantage because I know I can get far more than 1.25 cents of value from the points as Singapore miles.
For free economy flights, I’ll continue to use my Arrival miles, since the 40,000 bonus miles earned on the Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard® can also be used for free flights on any airline but cannot be transferred to any airlines.
There are other redemption options for ThankYou Points, like merchandise. Avoid these options like the plague for their low return on ThankYou Points.
Two Final Thoughts
1. This transferability is really nice if you ever want to close the ThankYou card.
With cards that earn bank points, those points disappear when you close the card. (Not so for cards that earn airline miles or points.)
It would have been tough to redeem your balance close to zero before closing the card with the prior redemption options. Now you can always transfer out points until your balance is under 1,000.
2. I really, really hope Citi adds American Airlines as a transfer partner.
Citi has purchased billions of American Airlines miles as part of their partnership with the co-branded American Airlines cards, so it is strange that American Airlines isn’t on the transfer list. Making it stranger: it’s not as if the only way to earn American Airlines miles from a credit card is with the co-branded American Airlines cards. American Airlines miles are a transfer partner of Starwood Preferred Guest points, which you can get from the SPG credit cards.
Citi added 12 airlines as 1:1 transfer partners of ThankYou Points over the last few months. This is a huge addition to the program, but I really want to see American Airlines added also.
You can get 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points from the Citi Prestige® Card after spending $3,000 in the first three months.
The best transfer partner for those ThankYou points is Singapore KrisFlyer. The Singapore Airlines program allows redemption on all 27 Star Alliance airlines including United flights with no fuel surcharges.
There are some amazing gems on the Singapore Airlines award chart, and Singapore miles are the only way to book Singapore Suites, one of the world’s nicest First Class products.------------------------------------------------------------
Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.
Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.