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Updated March 23, 2015 with the addition of Qantas as a partner
Citi ThankYou Points are now transferable to one hotel and 11 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:
- 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
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 three 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 Rewards Card, which has a huge sign up bonus and big category bonuses.
- Earn up to 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points. Bonus points are redeemable for up to $500 in gift cards, up to $625 for airfare or other great rewards
- Earn 20,000 points after $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Earn an additional 30,000 points after another $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of your second year of being a cardmember
- Annual Fee: $125 (fee waived for the first 12 months). On 4/19/2015, this fee will be reduced to $95 on all accounts
- Points do not expire and earn unlimited Thank You Points
- Travel with ease and enjoy chip based technology
Application Link: Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card
To get the full 50,000 point bonus, you do have to pay part of one annual fee of $95 (the annual fee is waived the first year, but you have to hold the card a second year.) Those 50,000 points would now transfer to Singapore Airlines and be enough for a roundtrip to South America with two free one ways to Hawaii!
For better perks, check out the Citi Prestige® Card:
- Sign Up Bonus: 30,000 ThankYou Points after $2,000 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 for some
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 11 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 over 50,000 ThankYou Points from the Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card, which has a huge sign up bonus and big category bonuses.
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.