Citi ThankYou Points may not grab headlines as frequently as Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards, but that doesn’t mean you should disregard them. Many people cash out their points or redeem them through the Citi Travel Portal at 1 cent per point. However, If you have a premium Citi ThankYou card, you can maximize your Citi ThankYou points by transferring them to the program’s airline and hotel partners.
It’s vital to clearly understand the Citi cards that will allow you to enjoy these benefits.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through the transfer partners that Citi ThankYou Points offer, how each card works, the process to make these transfers, and how to combine your points.
Citi ThankYou Transfer Partners: Airlines & Hotels
So, what exactly are the options to transfer your Citi ThankYou points? To take advantage of most of the partners we’ll discuss below, you must own a premium Citi ThankYou card, like the Citi Premier® Card or the no-longer-available Citi Prestige® Card.
The Citi ThankYou Points program currently features 14 airline transfer partners and 3 hotel transfer partners. Not all partners will transfer at a 1:1 ratio, so it’s crucial to check the exact rate before proceeding.
ThankYou Points must be transferred in increments of 1,000 up to a maximum of 500,000.
|Citi Transfer Partner||Transfer Ratio||Transfer Time|
|Air France / KLM Flying Blue||1:1||Instant|
|ALL – Accor Live Limitless||2:1||Instant|
|EVA Air||1:1||2-3 Days|
|JetBlue TrueBlue||1:1 (1:0.8 for non-premium cards)||Instant|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||1:1||Instant|
|Qatar Privilege Club||1:1||2 Days|
|Singapore Airlines Krisflyer||1:1||Up to 2 Days|
|Thai Airways||1:1||4-7 Days|
|Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles||1:1||Up to 1 Day|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1:1||Instant|
|Wyndham Rewards||1:1 (1:0.8 for non-premium cards)||Instant|
If you have other cards like Citi® Double Cash, Citi ThankYou® Preferred, or Citi Rewards+®, you can still transfer ThankYou Points to Wyndham Rewards and JetBlue TrueBlue. However, the rate will be at a 1:0.8 ratio.
Earning Citi ThankYou Points
As mentioned above, if you’re looking to transfer your Citi ThankYou points to most partners, you’ll need a premium Citi ThankYou card. Examples include the Citi Premier or the Citi Prestige® Card (though this one is no longer available for new applications).
But what if you have one of the other Citi cards like Citi ThankYou® Preferred, Citi Rewards+®, Sears Mastercard, Citi Double Cash®, AT&T Universal Rewards World, AT&T Universal Savings and Rewards, AT&T Universal Rewards, AT&T Points PlusSM Card from Citi, or AT&T Access Card? You can still earn basic ThankYou points. While these may not offer the same versatility as the premium cards, they do allow you to transfer ThankYou Points to Wyndham Rewards and JetBlue TrueBlue, albeit at a slightly lower 1:0.8 ratio.
Now, let’s discuss the Citi® Double Cash Card and the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card. With these cards, you’ll earn cash back as “basic” ThankYou points. These are nice and simple; you can redeem them for gift cards at a flat rate of 1 cent each. But remember, with these cards alone, you can’t transfer to most ThankYou travel partners.
But here’s a neat trick: If you also have a Citi Prestige or Citi Premier card, you can combine your basic ThankYou points with those from your premium account. This way, all your points become eligible for transfer to any Citi ThankYou travel partners.
It might sound a bit complex, but it’s really about choosing the right card or combination of cards that fit your needs. With the right strategy, you can start accumulating ThankYou points and then decide how best to use them, whether for travel or other rewards.
Best Citi ThankYou Transfer Partners
While there are many partner options, these are my top six Citi ThankYou transfer partners that provide the best value for most people.
Avianca LifeMiles is renowned for its versatility, particularly when booking flights on Star Alliance carriers. Notable features include mixed cabin ticketing, low taxes, and the absence of carrier surcharges. The program also allows one-way bookings to Europe via Lufthansa at 63,000 miles for business class and 87,000 miles for first class or one-way economy domestic awards on United for as few as 6,500 LifeMiles. Avianca frequently offers promotions with huge bonuses for buying or transferring LifeMiles.
While it recently raised award rates to Asia, it still offers sweet spots, like business class to Europe for 63,000 miles one-way. Hidden discounts like TAP Air Portugal business class from JFK to Lisbon for 35,000 miles one-way add to its appeal. Avianca LifeMiles is considered one of the best programs for business class bookings globally and offers opportunities through other transfer partners like American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One, and Marriott Bonvoy.
Air France-KLM Flying Blue
Air France-KLM’s Flying Blue is another popular Citi transfer partner. It allows business class travel between the U.S. and Europe starting at 55,000 Flying Blue miles one-way, although fuel surcharges can be hefty. Monthly Promo Rewards on its website offers up to 50% discounts on award tickets, and Flying Blue’s recurring promo rewards provide 25-50% discounts on specific routes, thus extending the value of your ThankYou points.
Redemptions range from 15,000 to 30,000 miles for a one-way economy flight from the U.S. to Europe. Flying Blue allows easy combination of points balances from different programs and offers economy awards to Europe for as low as 11,000 miles one-way. Favorites include business class to Europe & North Africa from 53,000 miles one-way, Virgin Atlantic Upper Class to London from 61,000 miles one-way, and Delta flights to Hawaii for 35,000 miles roundtrip.
Emirates Skywards program is best utilized for booking Emirates’ high-end business and first-class awards. Although award prices can be high (e.g., a one-way flight from JFK to Dubai in first class typically costs 138,000 miles and $838), opportunities exist on carrier’s fifth freedom routes between the U.S. and Europe, such as New York-JFK to Milan (A380) and Newark to Athens (777-300ER), starting at 87,000 miles plus around $100 in taxes.
Roundtrip, saver-level awards can drop the total price to 108,000 miles. Despite the recent devaluation and fee increase, sweet spots remain, like flights to Europe for 45,000 miles in economy or 108,000 miles in business class. While first-class cabins are outstanding, other mileage programs may offer better value, especially since Emirates has reduced fuel surcharges on Skywards award tickets.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Singapore Airlines is a member of Star Alliance, allowing travelers to utilize KrisFlyer miles for booking with partner airlines like United, Air Canada, and Lufthansa. It offers cost-effective bookings for U.S. flights to Hawaii and has a partnership with Alaska Airlines. KrisFlyer miles can also be used for ultra-premium Singapore Suites first class on certain routes.
If you wish to book long-haul premium-cabin flights on Singapore Airlines, KrisFlyer is usually your best option. The airline also offers monthly discounts through its Spontaneous Escapes program. KrisFlyer miles can be further transferred from various loyalty programs, including American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capital One, and Marriott Bonvoy.
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
The Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles program has become more accessible due to improved online search and booking process. Miles&Smiles offers value when used to book Turkish or Star Alliance-operated flights. The program provides reasonable award flights, but fuel surcharges can be high. An attractive redemption option is on U.S. domestic flights, with economical miles needed for economy and business class.
Turkish’s partnership with Star Alliance enables the Miles&Smiles frequent flyer program to book flights within the U.S. for fewer miles. The online booking site may be complex, but attractive award prices make the effort worthwhile. Some of the highlights include roundtrip to Hawaii for 15,000 miles or business class to Europe for 45,000 miles one-way.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Despite a recent devaluation of its Delta award chart, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club remains an appealing program for booking certain Delta-operated flights to Europe. Award flights between the U.S. and Japan on ANA are particularly noteworthy, with competitive mileage rates for various classes.
Virgin Atlantic also partners with several reward programs like American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Bilt Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy and occasionally offers discounted mileage purchases. The mileage program can sometimes provide better value for U.S. travelers when booking award flights with SkyTeam partners like Delta. Special offers include Delta One business class to Europe for 50,000 points each way and ANA First Class to Japan for 55,000 points one way. While most flights can be booked online, some, like ANA flights, must be booked by calling Virgin.
How To Transfer Citi ThankYou Points
It can be a little tricky to figure out how to transfer your Citi ThankYou points to a travel partner. Follow these steps, and you shouldn’t have a problem.
Step 1: Visit ThankYou.com and sign into your account. Make sure you sign in with an account that gets you full access to transfer partners, like the Citi Premier card.
Step 2: After signing in, hover over “More Ways to Redeem” in the top navigation and click “Points Transfer” from the dropdown menu. (Note: If it automatically redirects you to your Citi.com account, just go back to Thankyou.com).
Step 3: You’ll see a complete list of transfer partners from here. Scroll down to the partner you want and click “Continue.”
Step 4: On the next screen, enter the number of points to transfer and your partner account number, accept the terms and click “Continue.”
Step 5: Review your transfer on the next screen and click “Transfer Now.” This will complete the transfer.
Booking Travel With the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal
When booking economy flights, it can sometimes be advantageous to consider using the Citi ThankYou travel portal. This portal allows you to see both the cash price and the cost in ThankYou Points (1 cent per point) for flights. Booking through Citi’s portal is similar to booking directly with an airline, with the distinction of displaying the equivalent cost in points.
Should You Transfer or Book With Citi?
Deciding between transferring points or booking directly with Citi involves some considerations. When booking through the Citi ThankYou travel portal, you will earn airline miles, acting as a small rebate. However, it may cost more points to redeem a flight through Citi than booking an award flight with the airline, making it crucial to compare prices for economy tickets.
Transferring points to airline partners, such as Oneworld or Star Alliance, is also an option, even when direct transfers to airlines like American Airlines or United Airlines are not possible. For instance, points can be transferred to Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles program or Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer program to book respective flights.
The valuation of 1 cent per point in the Citi ThankYou travel portal often makes transferring a favorable option for short economy flights, but booking through the portal might still be advantageous in some scenarios. The optimal choice varies based on the credited airline for the flights and any status with the airline. Comparing award booking options with Citi ThankYou travel portal prices is essential to maximize the value of ThankYou Points without unnecessary expenditure.
Combining ThankYou Points From Different Cards (of your own)
If you hold a Citi Double Cash Card or Citi Custom Cash Card, you can earn cash back as “basic” ThankYou points, redeemable for gift cards at 1 cent each but not transferable to most travel partners. By having a Citi Prestige or Citi Premier account, you can combine these basic points with the other account’s points, allowing transfers to any Citi ThankYou travel partners.
Combining ThankYou Points with Friends & Family
Through the Points Sharing feature in the ThankYou Rewards program, you can transfer ThankYou points to another member at no extra charge, providing a quick way to accumulate more points. These shared points expire in 90 days, with a maximum transfer of 100,000 points per calendar year.
Redeeming ThankYou Points
Redeeming ThankYou Points for travel offers the best value. With 14 airline and 3 hotel transfer partners, there are plenty of options. Citi sometimes runs promotions offering transfer bonuses between 10% and 30%, creating an opportunity to save points on award bookings.
As with all flexible currencies, you can really get outsized value from Citi ThankYou points through transfer partners. By understanding the various ways to combine, transfer, and redeem points, including sharing with friends and family or leveraging multiple cards, you can maximize the benefits of the Citi ThankYou Rewards program.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who are Citi’s transfer partners?
Citi has 14 airline and 3 hotel transfer partners, including Aeromexico Rewards, Air France / KLM Flying Blue, ALL – Accor Live Limitless, Avianca Lifemiles, Cathay Pacific, Choice Privileges, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, EVA Air, JetBlue TrueBlue, Qantas Frequent Flyer, Qatar Privilege Club, Singapore Airlines Krisflyer, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and Wyndham Rewards.
Can you transfer Citi ThankYou Points to another person?
Yes, you can share (in essence, transfer) Citi ThankYou Rewards points to any other ThankYou Rewards member through the program’s Points Sharing feature. But you can only share 100,000 ThankYou Points in a calendar year, and shared points are only valid for 90 days from the date they are received.
Do Citi ThankYou Points expire?
Citi ThankYou Points will not expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing. However, if you transfer points to someone else, those points will expire in 90 days.
How much are Citi ThankYou Points worth?
Citi ThankYou points are worth 1 cent per mile when redeemed through the ThankYou travel portal or 1.8 cents per point if transferred to a travel partner.