Citi has just added significant value to their Citi ThankYou cards—you can transfer points to airline programs. ThankYou points now has flexible airline transfer partners, similar to Chase’s Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards. In my opinion this adds tremendous value to Citi’s ThankYou point earning credit cards and makes them much more competitive.
This is a giant step in the right direction for Citi and will certainly be a much larger draw for anyone looking for a new flexible rewards credit card.
New Citi ThankYou Airline Transfer Partners
Current Citi ThankYou cardholders including the Citi Premier, Prestige and Chairmans cards can now transfer ThankYou points to seven new airline partners. The transfer ratio is 1:1 to airline partners, which means for every 1,000 ThankYou points you transfer you will get 1,000 airline miles in the program of your choice.
The 7 airline transfer partners currently available include:
- Asia Miles™
- Etihad Guest
- EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
- Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
It is surprising that there is not even one US or European-based carrier, but with the select airlines on the list all three alliances are covered. You can also find valuable award redemptions with many of these programs—with Asia Miles you can up to five stopovers and Singapore Airlines offers incredible value.
At best this is only the beginning as far as transfer partner options and that in the future we will have many more options available. Either way, this is a great move by Citi and adds much needed value to their ThankYou rewards program.
Note: At first publication Malaysia Airlines Enrich was also listed as a transfer partner, but it looks as though it was pulled. There are claims on FlyerTalk that it is actually possible to transfer to the program.
Previously, the best use of Citi ThankYou points was for fixed value airfare redemptions. Flexibility was great with this redemptions, but you only get a fixed value per point when used for airfare and it was not possible to hit the 2+ cents per mile that can be reached with many airline miles.
Previously Citi ThankYou points could only be redeemed for fixed value airfare:
- Citi ThankYou Chairman: 1 cent per point
- Citi ThankYou Premier card: 1.25 cents per point
- Citi ThankYou Prestige card: 1.33 cents per point (1.6 cent per point when redeemed on American Airlines or US Airways flights.
The redemption value of 1.6 cents per point on American Airlines and US Airways flights is still a considerably good value, and considering the relationship with Citi it is surprising that that American Airlines is not a transfer partner. This would place Citi ThankYou as a major competitor of Chase if offered in the future, and if Alaska was added to the list it would be a dream.
Transferring to Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines is among the most sought after premium cabins in the world, and the program does offer great value with award redemptions. It is likely the most valuable airline program to transfer to and the most versatile since the airline is also part of Star Alliance.
Some of the better uses of Singapore Airline miles include domestic economy class awards within the US for 25k miles on United, economy awards to Hawaii for 35k on United, and also Business and First Class awards (better award space) on Singapore Airlines.
One caveat is that you will pay fuel for surcharges when you use Singapore Airlines (and Asia Miles) miles on many international awards, however you will not pay them for awards within the US or to South America.
On a separate note, now with Amex, Chase and now Citi as a transfer partner with Singapore Airlines, it would not be overly surprising to see a devaluation from the program in the future. With all of the multiple major bank programs offering transfers it is potentially very easy (and quick) to earn Singapore Airline miles.