Hi Travel Junkies,
Today we are continuing with my mission to put Hawaii back on the map for you (from a points/miles perspective).
We have already covered two of the most popular types of points programs in weeks past.
Today I want to continue with my quest by introducing you to another very popular rewards program, Citi ThankYou Points.
Being photobombed in Maui
Here we go.
How to Earn Citi ThankYou Points
Citi offers a variety of different cards to suit all needs. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Citi ThankYou Premier Card – Citi ThankYou Premier comes with 40,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in your first 3 months. The card has a $95 annual fee that is waived for the first year.
Citi ThankYou Premier earns 3x points on travel, 2x points on dining and entertainment, and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
Citi ThankYou Premier. Why the magnetic strip is front facing is beyond me.
Citi Prestige Card – Citi Prestige is currently offering a signup bonus of 50,000 points after you spend $3,000 in your first 3 months. Like the Premier, Prestige earns 3x points on travel, 2x points on dining an 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 American Airlines Admirals Club Access (note that access ≠ membership), Priority Pass membership, a $100 Global entry application fee credit, and a complimentary 4th night on any hotel booking.
Citi ThankYou Preferred Card – ThankYou Preferred is currently offering a bonus of 20,000 points after you spend $1,500 in your first 3 months. It earns 2x points on dining and entertainment, 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
ThankYou Preferred does not charge an annual fee.
Between the 3 of those cards it’s not difficult to amass a good amount of Citi ThankYou Points in a short amount of time.
Next, let’s take a look at what you can do with them.
How to Redeem Citi ThankYou Points
Like the other major points programs, Citi ThankYou points can be redeemed to book travel through the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal (1 to 1.6 cents per point), receive cash back (0.5 cents per point, don’t do this), shop online (don’t do this either), or transferred to more than a dozen airline and hotel partners.
Citi’s transfer partners are not as great as those of Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards but there are still some good deals to be had. Mostly by transferring them to book partner flights.
Citi ThankYou Points can be redeemed in many ways
Here is the list of Citi ThankYou airline transfer partners.
Citi ThankYou Airline Transfer Partners
Like before, I am going to focus solely on the transfer options.
Best Citi ThankYou Redemptions for Hawaii
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.
Flights to/from Hawaii cost only 15,000 miles each way (30,000 round-trip), which is an incredible deal. This is definitely your best option for Citi ThankYou Points to Hawaii.
Availability is spotty but if you book far enough in advance you should be able to find something that works.
2) Transfer to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer to Book on United Airlines
You can transfer Citi ThankYou points 1:1 to Singapore Airlines Krisflyer Program and use them to book United Saver Award tickets to Hawaii for just 35,000 miles round-trip.
Use Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles to book United flights to Hawaii
Singapore Krisflier miles can be used to book any United Airlines Saver award seats other than those that are specifically being specifically set aside for United Elite Members.
(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:
You can use Etihad miles to book flights from North America to Hawaii for 17,500 miles during off-peak season (January 12 – March 8, August 22 – December 15) and 22,500 during peak season.
You’ll have to find Saver availability on AA.com before transferring your points to Etihad and booking over the phone.
Transfer ThankYou Points to Etihad to book flights on AA
4) Redeem Through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center:
You can redeem Citi ThankYou points to book travel on any airline through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center. Usually these types of redemptions are a bad move but in this case there is some value to be had here.
The value per point depends on which Citi card you have and which airline you are flying. Here’s a quick breakdown:
If you have the Citi Prestige:
- 1.6 cents per point on American Airlines Flights
- 1.33 cents per point on any other travel (airfare, hotels, rental cars, etc.)
- (Meaning the 50,000 point signup bonus would be worth $665-$800 in free travel.)
If you have the Citi ThankYou Premier:
- 1.25 cents per point for all travel bookings (airfare, hotels, rental cars, etc.)
- (40,000 point signup bonus would be worth $500 in free travel)
If you have the Citi ThankYou Preferred:
- 1 cent per point for all travel bookings (airfare, hotels, rental cars, etc.)
- (20,000 point signup bonus = $200 in free travel)
But best of all, when you have multiple Citi cards your redemptions will be credited at the highest value. So if you have the Prestige and Premier card you’ll be able to redeem all of your points for 1.33 – 1.6 cents apiece.
Which is more than a good enough reason to grab a couple of these cards.
Columbus to Honolulu, a $621.50 flight for 49,720 ThankYou Points
Flights booked through the ThankYou Travel Center count as revenue flights, meaning you would actually earn miles for taking them.
Making ThankYou Points more valuable for anyone who has status with a particular airline.
That’s it! A complete overview of the best ways to use your Citi ThankYou Points to fly to Hawaii.
As always, feel free to email me with questions.
Photo Credit: AA.com, USAToday.com, VirginAmerica.com