Citi ThankYou Adds Airline Partners, Time for a Second Look

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Transferable point currencies are my favorite type of points as you can use them with various hotel and airline partners, which is key for families who often travel on peak dates and need multiple seats.  Families need more options at their disposal than being limited to one airline or one hotel chain due to availability limitations.  For this reason much of my everyday points earning efforts go toward Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards since their points transfer to multiple hotel and airline partners that I heavily utilize.

Citi ThankYou points earned via cards such as the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card historically were not transferable in the way that Membership Rewards or Ultimate Rewards points are other than to Hilton HHonors.  However, Citi recently added the transferable functionality to their program with multiple new airline transfer partners and now this week they have added another program to the list, Flying Blue, which is the mileage program of Air France/KLM.  I think this means that ThankYou points are worth a new look if they weren’t on your list already.

Citi ThankYou Premier, Citi Prestige, and Citi Chairman cardmembers can transfer to the following programs.

Citi ThankYou transfer partners (all 1:1 ratio except Hilton who is 1:1.5): 

  • Air France-KLM
  • Asia Miles
  • Etihad Airways Guest
  • EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
  • Garuda Indonesia GarudaMiles
  • Hilton HHonors Worldwide
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus

Of course you can then use the miles/points in those programs to book the partner airlines that those programs have, so don’t discount this list just because you may not fly frequently on the airlines listed.  For example, booking United operated flights via Singapore Airlines and Delta operated flights via Air France-KLM can be very helpful, even for domestic travel.  That is a bit confusing at first, but it is how you take your mileage redemptions to the next level by leveraging award chart sweet spots, or at least avoiding bad values.

Two relevant and likely popular examples here are using Singapore Airlines to book United operated flights to Hawaii as I just did in first class (codes as business in two cabin plane) for 60,000 miles round trip.  You could do the same trip in economy for 35,000 miles round trip.  Both of those rates are cheaper than booking the same award with United miles.  You can do the same type of thing with Air France miles to get to Hawaii on Delta operated flights for 15,000 miles each direction in economy (as pointed out by MileValue).

Flights to Europe using Air France miles can start at 12,500 miles in economy via monthly promo awards from select cities.  Those discounted cities currently include Houston, Washington DC, and Chicago.  These awards will have a couple hundred dollars in taxes/fees, but can still be a decent way to get to Europe for a relatively low amount of miles and dollars.

You can also redeem ThankYou points for travel on any airline with no blackout dates at rates that vary based on the type of card and airline selected. 

If you prefer to skip the transferable points option for now (circle back to it eventually since it can be very valuable), you can still use the ThankYou points at fixed values toward airfare at the following rates.

  • 1.25 cents per point toward airfare via the Citi ThankYou Premier Card.
  • 1.33 cents per point toward airfare via the Citi ThankYou Prestige Card.
  • 1.6 cents per point toward airfare on American Airlines or US Airways via the Citi ThankYou Prestige Card.
  • 1 cent per point for other eligible cards.

Earn Citi ThankYou Points via Bonus Categories:

This information has changed.

The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card awards 20,000 points after $2,000 in purchases in the first 3 months and another 30,000 points with another $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of the second year.  It also earns 3x on dining and entertainment, 2x on airfare and hotel charges, and 1x on most other charges.  There is a $0 introductory fee the first year and $125 in subsequent years.  This makes it a very valuable card to earn Singapore Airlines miles, especially if you spend heavily in the bonus categories.

The Citi Prestige card comes with a $450 annual fee, but it has a host of additional benefits such as some lounge access, annual statement credits toward airline fees (much like the Amex Platinum), and more.  The Points Guy has a good summary of some of the changes that are coming to this card in mid-October.

Citi ThankYou Deserves a New Look:

I’m personally going to be paying more attention to the Citi ThankYou program now that the points can be transferred to airline partners since that is how I often redeem my miles and points.  Their list of transfer partners is still not as powerful for me as via some other programs, but it is useful, and I am encouraged that they continue to add partners to the list.

Are Citi ThankYou points already in your points earning wheelhouse, or will you be adding them thanks to their new transferable feature?

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

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    • Nic, for those that got in on now unavailable 5x and of course the flight points program I agree with you. However, adding airline transfer partners is a big deal in my book for sure.

  1. A poison pill for churners?

    50,000 points, transferable to programs where I already have miles saved up, sounded great. Then I got to the small print: only 20K points at first. Then wait an entire year, and pay $125, and spend $3K more, to get the rest. Knowing that, not so much…..

    • Robert, yep, they seem to want activity beyond the first couple months, at least with this offer. How dare they?! 😉 I like bonus categories though for sure!

    • Dave, certainly not as valuable per point, but not terribly behind depending on your use patterns. Also easier to earn in certain categories, harder in others. In other words, if I could only have one I would absolutely pick UR. However, if you have the capacity to manage both then go for it as a companion when you don’t need Hyatt, United, BA, etc. award charts and points.

  2. Also, my dad’s old Citi TY Preferred account has 250K TYP. I’m thinking of applying for the Premier card for airline transfer capability, and then transferring hims 250K to my account. Citi allows free transfer of points, but I’m worried that it’s too many points to transfer, especially to a new account. What do you think?

    • Dave, just be careful as I believe shared points expire 90 days after transfer so be sure you have a plan for use before you move them.

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