A few weeks back PMM created a guide rating each Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner. Today, we’re going to take a look at the new kid on the block, Citi ThankYou Rewards. Over the past few years, Citi has made a big push to join heavyweights American Express and Chase in the transferable currency market. Credit Cards eligible for transferring are the Citi Presitge and ThankYou Premier cards. Much like Chase, Citi ThankYou points are worth between 1.25 and 1.3 cents per point when redeeming directly through Citi. This is convenient for using points at non-chain hotels or cheap domestic flights. If you really want to maximize the value of your points, a partner transfer could be the way to go. For this reason, we’ve created the Citi ThankYou Rewards Transfer Partner Guide. The PMM team has analyzed each transfer partner and rated them as either as either good, bad, or neutral.
Citi ThankYou Rewards Airline Transfer Partners
First we’ll take a look at the airline transfer partners. Keep in mind that most points transfer at a 1:1 ratio. For example: 50,000 Citi Thank You points equals 50,000 Qantas points. The lone exception is JetBlue’s TrueBlue program. Please advise that transfers can take up to a few days, with some exceptions. There’s a great thread on flyertalk that gives up to date time frames on transfers. It’s definitely something to consider if you have your eye on a specific award flight.
Remember, our ratings are solely based on whether this is an attractive transfer opportunity for ThankYou Rewards points. In no way is this reflection on each particular airlines’ frequent flyer program. That being said, TrueBlue just isn’t a great partner for transferring your hard earned ThankYou points. TrueBlue is the only program that isn’t offering a 1:1 transfer. You’ll earn between 500-750 TrueBlue points for each 1,000 ThankYou points. With such an unattractive ratio, you might as well just book JetBlue flights through the Citi ThankYou portal and earn additional TrueBlue points for the flight since it would count as a paid fare.
Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles is probably the most confusing frequent flyer award chart I’ve ever seen. In a nutshell, it’s a distance based award chart. This definitely isn’t the place to look for long haul deals in any class. There are however certain scenarios where this could be useful. Multiple short hops in Europe and Asia come to mind. If you’ve got a few hours to kill, here’s the link to get up to speed with Asia Miles.
If you’re looking at the Etihad Guest program, it’s probably because you want to fly in The Apartment. This first class product is remarkable. It’s your own suite in the sky. Furthermore, you’ll have access to an on-board shower and lobby to socialize. Etihad has a mileage calculator that can tell you how many miles you need for your desired destinations. For example, New York to Abu Dhabi comes in just under 120,000 miles each way in the aforementioned Apartment. Etihad also has a great partner network of airlines including Brussels Airlines which allows you to fly roundtrip in business class from the United States to Brussels for only 36,620 Etihad Miles.
Eva Air Infinity MileageLands
Much like Asia Miles, Eva Air doesn’t bring much to the table with their award chart. There’s just far better options out there for long haul flights. Eva Air is a Star Alliance member, so transferring miles to partners could be of use on short haul flights in regions outside of Asia. In the end though, it doesn’t seem like that’s worth the hassle for 99.9% of fliers.
Flying Blue (Air France & KLM):
Flying Blue is the frequent flyer program of SkyTeam members Air France and KLM. Overall this is a solid transfer option. Business class flights from the West Coast to Europe are only 62,500 and availability isn’t too hard to come by. Flying Blue miles can also be redeemed through partner airlines for flights within the United States. For example, a flight from the mainland US to Hawaii can be had for just 15,000 miles. Furthermore, Flying Blue has a very easy to use calculator here which is greatly appreciated.
Flying Blue does assess fuel surcharges on award flights, however the highest I’ve seen is around $250 for a business class flight to Europe. Redemptions within the US are usually well under $100. What makes Flying Blue unique is that they are a transfer partner of the 3 major points currencies (Ultimate Rewards, Citi Thank You, and American Express Membership Rewards). A couple of credit card sign up bonuses can have you flying in style in no time.
Also be on the lookout for Flying Blue rotating promos. Every few months they will offer up to 50% award redemptions throughout the network. This can lead to enormous savings if your city is on sale.
Garuda Indonesia GarudaMiles
For starters, Garuda Indonesia does not fly to North America. The Jakarta based airline does operate several flights to and from Europe and Australia in addition to Asia. Unfortunately, their redemption chart isn’t anything to brag about. As a SkyTeam member, you could try to get creative and use partner awards, but that’s not going to be applicable or worth the hassle to most people.
Malaysia Airlines Enrich
We’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel here. It’s almost as if Citi was just looking to add as many transfer partners as possible, regardless of quality. I don’t want to be too hard on Malaysia Airlines. They’ve had a string of high profile incidents over the last few years which were mostly out of their control. That being said, their award chard is atrocious. I can’t imagine a scenario in which anyone would want to transfer hard earned ThankYou points to the Enrich program.
Qantas Frequent Flyer
While not quite as bad as Malaysia Airlines, a Qantas transfer doesn’t quite add up for a few reasons. Much like British Airways, Qantas levies massive fuel surcharges on award tickets. We’re talking $500+ for round trip flights to and from the United States. Furthermore, the award chart isn’t anything great on it’s own. Sure, if there’s a mileage bonus being offered, you could carve out a strategy as outlined here, but overall I’d take a pass on Qantas transfers.
Qatar Privilege Club
While Qatar Airways operates one of the best business class products I’ve ever seen, they’ve got an award chart that will make you cringe. Fortunately, Qatar Airways is the only one of the major Gulf airlines that is a part of an alliance. In this case, Oneworld. If you’d like to test out that new business class seat, focus on accruing AAdvantage or British Airways Avios instead. A Citi ThankYou to Qatar Privilege Club isn’t a reasonable value.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer:
The real reason you’re going to transfer miles here is to fly in the Singapore Suites product. Your own room in the sky is an amazing experience, especially if flying with a partner. Flights from LAX to Singapore start at 118,000 miles each way with no fuel surcharges. These tickets often retail for well over $10,000, so the value here is enormous.
KrisFlyer is a Star Alliance partner, and awards can be booked within the US. That being said, other SkyTeam options generally present a better value for domestic redemptions.
Like Flying Blue, KrisFlyer is also a transfer partner of the 3 major points currencies (Ultimate Rewards, Citi Thank You, and American Express Membership Rewards). A few signup bonuses can have you into a Singapore Suite in no time.
Thai Royal Orchid Plus
Like Garuda Indonesia, Thai Airways doesn’t fly directly from North America. Additionally, their award chart to other destinations leaves a lot to be desired. In theory, as a Star Alliance partner you could try to find some value. I’d only recommend making this transfer if you already had a bunch of miles Thai miles for whatever reason and just needed to top off your account for an award.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club:
There’s hard to find much to like here. One positive is that Virgin is a transfer partner of the 3 major points currencies (Ultimate Rewards, Citi Thank You, and American Express Membership Rewards). Presumably Virgin can swing this because nobody actually transfers to them. Virgin Atlantic assesses massive fuel surcharges much like British Airways. Miles can be used for short haul redemptions on Virgin America, but the cost usually comes in about 25% higher than British Airways avios. The only time I’d recommend making this transfer is for a short haul flight where using British Airways avios isn’t an option or you just need to top off an account.
Citi ThankYou Rewards Hotel Transfer Partner(s)
Yes, you read that correctly. As of right now, Hilton is the only hotel transfer option for Citi ThankYou points. Spoiler alert, it’s not a good one. Hilton points aren’t nearly as valuable as ThankYou points. Liz recently wrote about how she was able to earn 13,000 on a single night stay. If you’d like to use ThankYou points for a hotel stay, you might as well choose the hotel of your choice through the Citi travel portal. Hopefully Citi makes some progress with their hotel transfer portfolio in the near future.