Update 5/3/18: It’s been a year since I originally published this Transfer Bonus series, so I’m in the process of updating all three posts with transfer bonuses over the last 12 months. Today… ThankYou Points.
American Express Membership Rewards, SPG Points, and Citi ThankYou Points, three of the four major transferrable point currencies, will periodically run transfer bonuses to loyalty program partners.
For example, if you had transferred ThankYou Points to Virgin Atlantic during the first two months of 2017, you’d have gotten a 25% bonus, which translated to 8,000 ThankYou Points for a one way to Europe.
This post is part two in a series where I will be sharing the histories of transfer bonuses from Membership Rewards, SPG Points, and ThankYou Points. I have never seen a transfer bonus offered between Ultimate Rewards and any Ultimate Reward transfer partner. If I left a transfer bonus out, please let me know in the comments and I will update the post.
When Was the Last Transfer Bonus? Series Index
- When Was the Last Transfer Bonus? Part 1: Membership Rewards
- When Was the Last Transfer Bonus? Part 2: ThankYou Points (this post)
- When Was the Last Transfer Bonus? Part 3: SPG Points
Why Should You Care?
To put it simply, strategy and planning. Want to redeem less points? Have the flexibility to wait to book your award? If you have an idea of when the next transfer bonus is, you could wait until then.
Transfer bonus histories are especially useful if you want to transfer points to a partner that doesn’t normally have a favorable transfer rate, and a bonus would make the transfer feasible.
For example, last year I found a British Airways Avios sweetspot between Brazil and Europe: It only costs 42,500 Avios + taxes to fly Iberia (flat bed) Business Class between São Paulo and Madrid. Unfortunately my only access to Avios was via Membership Rewards, and the transfer rate at the time between Membership Rewards and BA Avios was 250:200, which would make the redemption worse.
I researched when the last transfer bonuses were from Membership Rewards to BA Avios and learned that there had been one bonus offered per year for two out of the prior three years, and each had been in the second half of the year (August or later). That told me I wasn’t likely to see another bonus offered within the period of time I had to book my desired award. Thankfully since then the transfer rate has improved to 250:250 and we’ve even seen a transfer bonus thrown on top! But that’s beside the point. Point is, the more historical info you have, the better you can plan out redemptions.
Transfer Bonus History of ThankYou Points
Information below only concerns transfer bonuses from the last four years. If a transfer partner isn’t mentioned, it’s because there have been no transfer bonuses offered in the last four years. For partners that don’t transfer 1:1, I’ve included a reminder of the rate.
- In mid June through the beginning of July 2017: 10% transfer bonus
- In October of 2016: 20% transfer bonus
- In July of 2016: 25% transfer bonus (note this bonus was not Citibank specific, it applied to transfers in from a variety of hotel partners–excluding SPG–as well)
- In mid November through December of 2015: same as above
There doesn’t really appear to be a pattern, although there has never been a transfer bonus in the first half of the year.
JetBlue (1,000 ThankYou Points : 800 TrueBlue Points), for the Citi ThankYou Premier, Citi Prestige , and Citi Chairman cards, no annual fee cards have a worse rate
- There is a 30% transfer bonus running right now that started in mid March and lasts through May 19, 2018: makes the rate 1,000 ThankYou Points : 1,040 TrueBlue Points
- In the second week of September through the third week of October 2017: 25% transfer bonus that made the rate 1:1
- In March and April 2017: 50% transfer bonus that made the rate 1,000 ThankYou Points: 1,200 TrueBlue Points.
Looks like Spring (March/April/May) is the time to expect transfer bonuses between ThankYou Points and TrueBlue.
- In June of 2016: 15 to 30% tiered transfer bonus (the more you transferred, the bigger the bonus)
Only one bonus in recent history means no pattern.
- In early January through early March of 2017: 25% transfer bonus
- In early March through early April of 2016: 25% transfer bonus
- In early June through three weeks of August in 2015: 25% transfer bonus
Virgin Atlantic transfer bonuses tend to vary, but it’s safe to say there’s at least one per year. We haven’t seen on in a while, so I’d expect another to come around perhaps the beginning of the summer.
Hilton Honors (Normally 1,000 ThankYou Points : 1,500 Hilton Points) Starting the second week of July through third week of September 2017: 33% transfer bonus (.5 bonus points per point transferred, which made the rate 1:2) In mid November of 2016 through early February of 2017: 33% transfer bonus (.5 bonus points per point transferred, which made the rate 1:2) In early December of 2015 through early January of 2016: same as above
The Citi ThankYou program dropped Hilton Honors as a transfer partner on December 14, 2017.
Top ThankYou Point Earning Cards Right Now
Citi ThankYou Premier
The ThankYou Premier comes with 50,000 ThankYou Points after spending $4,000 within three months of opening the card. The annual fee of $95 is waived the first year. You’ll earn 3 ThankYou points for every dollar spent on travel (including gas stations), 2 for every dollar spent on restaurants and entertainment, and 1 for everything else.
Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Credit Cards.
Having a historical reference of when the last transfer bonus occurred can be valuable information if you’re trying to plan an award. Time it right and you can pay even less points.
Bookmark this page for future reference! And let me know below if there was a past transfer bonus I missed.