Hi Travel Junkies,
There are many different kinds of points in the travel game, which can make things a bit confusing and complicated. So today I want to break down one of the most overlooked points currency, Citi ThankYou Points, and talk about how to use them for maximum value without making your head spin.
Let’s get right to it.
How to Earn Citi ThankYou Points
By far the fastest and easiest way to earn Citi ThankYou Points is to take advantage of one of Citi’s credit card offers.
The Citi Prestige Card – Citi Prestige is currently offering a signup bonus of 40,000 points after you spend $4,000 in your first 3 months. Prestige earns 3x points on travel, 2x points on dining and entertainment, and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
Citi Prestige has an annual fee of $450 that is not waived for the first year. It does however come with a $250 annual airline credit, which can be applied to flight-related expenses such as airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades, and more.
Prestige also comes with a number of other premium benefits, including Priority Pass membership and a $100 Global entry application fee credit.
The Citi ThankYou Premier Card – The Citi ThankYou Premier card earns 3x points on travel (including gas), 2x points on dining and entertainment, and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. It currently does not have any sort of signup bonus.
ThankYou Premier also has no foreign transaction fees and a $95 annual fee, which is waived for the first year.
The Citi ThankYou Preferred Card – The Citi ThankYou Preferred earns 2x points on dining and entertainment, and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. Like the Premier, it currently does not have any sort of signup bonus.
ThankYou Preferred does not have an annual fee.
How to Get Maximum Value from Your Citi ThankYou Points
Citi ThankYou points are similar to Chase Ultimate Rewards points – they can be redeemed to book travel directly but the best value is had by transferring them to Citi’s transfer partners.
Here is a list of transfer partners:
Citi’s transfer partners aren’t as valuable as Chase Ultimate Rewards in my opinion, but there are still a number of great redemption options available. Mainly through transferring to partner airlines.
Here are 4 great ways to redeem your Citi points.
1) Transfer to FlyingBlue to Book Flights on Delta
You can transfer Citi ThankYou Points 1:1 to FlyingBlue, which is the frequent flyer mile program of Air France.
Delta is the US-based partner airline (SkyTeam Alliance) and you can search their flights directly from the Flying Blue site.
Here’s a flight from Jacksonville, Florida to Colorado Springs, Colorado for 25,000 Miles and $11.20 round-trip.
The same trip above would cost roughly $419 – $665 if purchased with cash.
Availability is spotty but if you book far enough in advance you should be able to find something that works for your specific trip.
2) Transfer to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer to Book on United Airlines
You can transfer Citi ThankYou points 1:1 to Singapore Airlines Krisflyer Program, just like you can with Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Perhaps the most notable use of Krisflyer miles is to book a flight on Singapore Suites Class, which features a private “suite” complete with a door and standalone bed. These flights typically go for 50,000 to 70,000 Krisflyer miles at Saver level, thanks to the 15% discount offered by Singapore Airlines to customers who book with Krisflyer miles.
Singapore Suites Class = Great Use of Citi ThankYou Points
Singapore Krisflyer miles can also be used to book any United Airlines Saver award seats other than those that are specifically being specifically set aside for United Elite Members. To find availability simply log in to your United account to run an award search.
(Note that transfers to Singapore Airlines can take more than 24 hours to complete, so there is a risk that the award availability disappears during that time)
Once the transfer is complete you’ll need to call Singapore Airlines to complete the booking. Have the specific flight numbers ready to read to the booking agent.
3) Transfer to Etihad to Book on American Airlines:
Citi ThankYou Points can be transferred to Etihad Airways 1:1, but occasionally there are transfer bonuses that can make the exchange rate as high as 1:1.25. Making Etihad a great transfer option for your Citi ThankYou Points.
You can use Etihad miles to book flights on American Airlines at the rates published on Ethiad’s website. Here is their award chart for travel on American Airlines.
You’ll have to book any award tickets by calling Ethiad, which can be a bit of a process. I recommend setting aside at least 30 minutes to complete the booking. Watch out for steep taxes on some routes as well.
4) Redeem Through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center:
Last but not least, you can redeem Citi ThankYou points to book travel on any airline through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center. Usually these types of redemptions aren’t the best move but the flexibility is hard to beat.
The value per point will depend on which Citi card you have and which airline you are flying.
Here’s a breakdown for each card:
If you have the Citi Prestige card:
- 1.6 cents per points on American Airlines flights
- 1.33 cents per points on any other travel (airfare, hotels, rental cars, etc.)
- This means your 40,000 bonus points would be worth $532-$640 in free travel!
If you have the Citi ThankYou Premier card:
- 1.25 cents per point for all travel bookings (airfare, hotels, rental cars, etc.)
If you have the Citi ThankYou Preferred card:
- 1 cent per point for all travel bookings (airfare, hotels, rental cars, etc.)
And there you have it! Hopefully your head isn’t spinning (too much anyway).
As always, feel free to email me with questions.
Photo credit: Singaporeair.com, Citi.com