The Citi ThankYou Rewards program is one of several flexible rewards programs that lets you earn points that can be redeemed directly for travel or transferred to airline partners to book award flights.
Like the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, Citi offers several credit cards that earn ThankYou points, but only a couple of cards that earn fully transferrable points.
If you're ready to start maximizing the value of your Citi ThankYou points — or you want to know the best way to use a Citi welcome bonus — here are the best and worst of the 15 Citi transfer partners and how to use each one.
To participate in the Citi ThankYou transfer program, you'll need a credit card that earns Citi ThankYou points AND allows you to transfer points to a partner program.
While there are five Citi cards that earn ThankYou points, only two credit cards allow you to transfer the points to airline miles: the Citi Prestige and the Citi Premier cards.
If you have one of these cards, you can still earn ThankYou points with a different Citi card and combine your ThankYou accounts.
Citi Prestige Card ($495 annual fee)
While the $495 annual fee is hefty, the perks of the Citi Prestige card more than make up for it if you're a frequent traveler. Complimentary Global Entry and Priority Pass Select memberships are both worth $200 alone plus you get $250 in statement credits every year against travel purchases. The welcome offer is worth $500 if you redeem points through the ThankYou travel portal but they can be worth much more ($1,000+) when transferred to Citi airline partners.
Citi Premier Card ($95 annual fee)
The Citi Premier card comes with a perk over the Citi Prestige card: when you redeem points for airfare through the Citi ThankYou travel portal, your points are worth 25% more. That means points are worth 1.25 cents each. This can be a perk when you need to book a flight and you don't have travel plans flexible enough for award flights or you'll get a better deal booking through Citi rather than transferring your points.
These cards also earn ThankYou points, but they need to be transferred to the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige card before they can be transferred to an airline partner.
Citi Rewards+ Card (No annual fee)
Citi Rewards+ Student Card (No annual fee)
AT&T Access Card from Citi (No annual fee)
There are 15 Citi airline partners. Although this includes the now-grounded Jet Airways, which is no longer operating, however, its rewards program is still active.
Citi has partnerships with airlines in all three major airline alliances — Oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance — to make it easy to reach anywhere in the world.
Citi ThankYou points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to all of these partners except with JetBlue TrueBlue: only Citi Chairman, Prestige, and Premier cardholders get a 1:1 ratio; Citi ThankYou Preferred and Citi Rewards+ cardholders only get a transfer ratio of 1,000 ThankYou points to 800 TrueBlue points.
There are frequent promotions to get a bonus when you transfer ThankYou points to airlines.
For example, recent promotions offered a 25% bonus when you transfer ThankYou points to Qantas or a 30% bonus on transfers to Virgin Atlantic.
Transferring Citi points to airline partners only takes a few minutes. Just follow these simple steps:
Note: You must transfer Citi ThankYou miles in 1,000-point increments.
Transferring Citi rewards points to airline partners is often the best way to maximize the value of Citi ThankYou points.
While you'll get a fixed value of 1.0 cent per point when redeeming points through the Citi ThankYou travel portal (or 1.25 cents with the Citi Premier card on airfare), some transfer partners and redemption options can give you a value of up to 4.0 cents per point or more!
The following are the best Citi ThankYou transfer partners to explore to get the max value from your ThankYou points.
Transfer time: up to 2 days
The changes made to Flying Blue over the years have made the program confusing and overly complicated.
You may pay fewer miles to fly farther sometimes, and they no longer have award charts. They also pass on partner surcharges.
Still, Flying Blue is worth considering, especially if you want to fly to or within Europe.
The best way to use Flying Blue miles is for the program's Promo Rewards which are monthly discounted awards of up to 50% off.
These deals usually apply for certain dates to or from specific cities or regions. You may even find deals to travel from the U.S. to Europe for as few as 10,750 miles!
Transfer time: Almost instant
LifeMiles are among the most valuable airline miles worth around 1.7 cents each -- a great deal with Citi's 1:1 transfer ratio. LifeMiles doesn't add fuel surcharges and there are plenty of opportunities to explore.
For example, economy domestic flights on United are 7,500 miles within Zone 1 or 10,000 miles from Zone 1 to Zone 2. You can get to Europe from the U.S. for 63,000 miles in business class.
You can also book one-way domestic business class transcontinental flights for just 25,000 miles one-way.
Want to avoid Lufthansa's infamously high surcharges? Book first class on Lufthansa with LifeMiles and fly to Europe for 87,000 miles one-way without the fuel surcharge.
Transfer time: within 24 hours
Like most programs, Asia Miles comes with its drawbacks.
Asia Miles has complicated rules to navigate and booking award flights can be challenging, but there are a few redemption options that can be worth the effort.
When you transfer ThankYou points to Asia Miles, you can book round-trip flights to Europe for 100,000 miles in business class or one-way trips for 50,000 with a stopover. Want to explore London and Hong Kong? Fly first-class one-way for 125,000 miles from the U.S. to London with a Hong Kong layover. That's the same price you pay for an award ticket from the U.S. to Hong Kong.
If you want a truly unique experience, consider the Round the World award on Asia Miles. Fly up to 50,000 miles with up to 5 stopovers, 2 layovers, and 2 open jaws on up to three Oneworld alliance airlines to see the world at up to half off the cost of booking the segments separately.
You can transfer Amex Membership Rewards points, Capital One miles and Citi ThankYou miles in combination to make it happen.
Transfer time: up to 6 days
Depending on how much work you want to put into booking partner award flights, Etihad's Guest Miles program can offer great value if you're willing to navigate partner award charts and book awards over the phone.
Etihad Airways has plenty of unique routes to explore like flights from New York to Casablanca for 44,000 miles one-way in business class on Royal Air Maroc. I was actually able to book an itinerary from Rio de Janeiro--Casablanca (1-month stopover)--New York as a one-way business class award, however, it appears this loophole is closed and Etihad is now pricing these types of tickets as two separate awards.
You can also book partner awards on American Airlines at the pre-devaluation prices, including one-way flights from the U.S. to Europe, South Korea, or Japan for 50,000 miles.
Transfer time: 2 days
The Qantas program has limited value but it's still worth considering in a few circumstances. You may want to transfer Citi points to Qantas to book short-haul flights within the U.S. (on American) or Australia for just 8,000 miles. You can also book a round-trip economy flight from the East Coast to Dubai for just 80,000 miles or 168,000 miles to enjoy Emirates' amazing business class.
Dreaming of a trip to Israel? Qantas is partnered with EL AL, Israel's flagship carrier, and they offer the best way to fly EL AL's business class. You won't even pay fuel surcharges by booking through Qantas. Fly from New York or Boston to Tel Aviv for 78,000 miles in business class.
Transfer time: 2 days
There are some drawbacks to KrisFlyer, including surcharges on award flights and a $25/2,500-mile fee for booking award flights over the phone. Still, you'll find plenty of great options.
For example, transferring Citi ThankYou points to Singapore Airlines is a great way to experience Singapore Airlines' famous first class and business class experience as these awards are next to impossible to get through partner airlines.
You may also want to use Singapore Airlines miles to fly to Hawaii. Book on partner United to fly round-trip in economy from the mainland to Hawaii for just 35,000 miles or 24,000 miles with Alaska Airlines. There are also good deals to fly nonstop from the U.S. to Europe or Asia. You'll pay 27,500 miles on-way to fly economy to Frankfurt from the U.S.
Transfer time: up to 2 days
Miles&Smiles is a challenging airline program but not without its perks. Let's start with the drawbacks: it's challenging to find award space, you'll pay fuel surcharges, and booking an award flight requires visiting a sales office in person.
With that said, it can be worthwhile if you live in a city with a Turkish Airlines sales office thanks to extremely low award rates, open jaws, and one-way awards.
Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles program puts Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and Guam in the same Oceania region. You'll pay just 25,000 miles one-way for business class from Hawaii to Australia on Air New Zealand or pay 15,000 miles for an economy seat. You can even fly business class between Europe and Australia or New Zealand for 52,500 to 55,000 miles -- an absolute steal.
If you book an award flight on a Star Alliance partner, your award ticket will be kept on hold until it can be issued in person at a sales office. Turkish Airlines as sales offices in many major U.S. and UK cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Boston, London, and Edinburgh.
Transfer time: up to 2 days
There is one major drawback to Virgin Atlantic's Flying Club: fuel surcharges on Virgin Atlantic flights can be massive.
In fact, you'll pay $450 or more in surcharges to fly from the the U.S. to Europe roundtrip in economy -- possibly more than the cash price of a seat -- or up to $1,500 to fly Upper Class.
Still, it's a mistake to overlook Flying Club. The best part about Virgin Atlantic's program is its partners and partner award charts.
The best partners include Air New Zealand, ANA, South African Airways, and Delta.
With South African, you can fly from New York to Johannesburg for 75,000 miles one-way in business class.
For flights to Japan, you'll get great redemption values with ANA. You can fly economy round-trip between Japan and Australia or the West Coast for 60,000 miles or 110,000 in first class.
With Air New Zealand, you'll get the best deal on business class awards from the U.S. to New Zealand for just 62,500 miles one-way or between Hawaii and New Zealand for 45,000 miles in business class.
There are also plenty of sweet spots booking award flights on Delta. Virgin Atlantic gets better Delta award space than other partners with the ability to book domestic economy segments for 12,500 or 22,500 in first-class. This works out well for nonstop domestic flights. You can also fly business class in Delta One for 45,000 miles to South America or 60,000 miles to Europe or Asia.
Many of Citi's airline transfer partners aren't worth wasting your ThankYou points on due to poor transfer ratios, high surcharges, high award costs, or an otherwise tricky experience. While some of these programs may offer very limited value, especially if you just need to top off your account, they're usually best avoided.
Despite some lackluster filler partners, the Citi ThankYou program has some excellent airline transfer partners to really maximize the value of your Citi points, especially if you're looking for award flights with international carriers. Just make sure you have a Citi Premier or Citi Prestige to unlock the ability to transfer ThankYou points to airline partners and remember to compare potential awards with the redemption rate you'd get through the ThankYou travel portal.
Yes, you can transfer Citi ThankYou points to another person's ThankYou account (up to 100,000 points per year which are only valid for 90 days) or to airline transfer partners.
Citi ThankYou airline partners include:
When you transfer ThankYou points to airline partners, the transfer may be almost instant or take up to 6 days, depending on the partner.
When used to directly book travel through the Citi ThankYou portal, ThankYou points are worth 1 cent each. You can get a better value transferring ThankYou points to airline partners when points can be worth up to 2-4 cents each.
Several Citi credit cards earn ThankYou points:
If you have more than one Citi card that earns ThankYou points, you can combine points in a single account by choosing "Manage My Account" and "Combine My Accounts."