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Many travelers tend to focus on earning American Express and Chase flexible points, but doing so often makes them miss out on a valuable opportunity with Citibank. Its travel rewards program is called ThankYou Points, and it offers many of the same benefits you'll find with those other programs, including the option to transfer points at a (mostly) 1:1 ratio to 19 loyalty programs.
While Citi lacks a partnership with a major U.S. airline, it does include valuable loyalty programs in its list of travel partners, including Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Flying Blue.
By taking advantage of airline alliances, you can potentially fly anywhere in the world with one of Citi's partner airlines and stretch your ThankYou points further.
Citi ThankYou partners
As a Citi ThankYou cardholder, you have numerous transfer options for your points. Citi has partnered with 16 airlines, two hotels and one retail brand to allow you to transfer your points without paying any fees.
Most Citi transfer partners give you 1 mile or point for every 1 ThankYou Point that you transfer. However, some programs have different transfer ratios. And three programs have different transfer ratios based on which ThankYou Points credit card you have.
Current list of Citi airline partners
When you search the list of Citi transfer partners, you'll find that, while there are no major U.S. airlines in the mix, all three airline alliances are represented. Plus, there are five airlines that are not confined to an alliance.
For nearly all partners, excluding Choice Privileges, you receive 1,000 miles for every 1,000 ThankYou points that you exchange:
Current list of Citi hotel partners
Citi ThankYou Points can also be transferred to the Sears Shop Your Way loyalty program at a 10:1 ratio. In general, this program is limited and not a good transfer option, so most cardholders do not make use of this transfer partner.
While you generally need a premium Citi ThankYou card to transfer points, you can transfer points from no-annual-fee ThankYou card (like the Citi Rewards+® Card) to a few partners at a lower ratio:
- JetBlue — 1:0.8
- Choice Privileges — 1:1.5
- Wyndham Rewards — 1:0.8
The best Citi ThankYou travel partners
With 19 different transfer partner options, it can be a challenge to figure out which airline and hotel partners offer the best redemption value for your Citi ThankYou Points. Here are a few of the top redemption options:
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Home Country: Hong Kong
Major hubs: Hong Kong, Beijing, Tokyo, among others
Airline alliance: oneworld alliance
Cathay Pacific offers tremendous value for travelers because the airline still uses a standard award chart for redemptions. This offers predictable pricing when booking award flights versus other airlines that use a dynamic award chart.
One-way business-class flights start at just 16,000 miles, which is an absolute steal. Prices are based on the distance of the flight and which cabin you are booking in. And you can book a "Round the World" business class flight that includes partner airlines for 240,000 miles or less with a maximum travel distance of 50,000 miles.
Home Country: France (Air France); Netherlands (KLM)
Major hubs: Amsterdam-Schiphol, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, among others
Airline alliance: SkyTeam
Flying Blue is an excellent choice for redemptions for travelers who wish to fly to Europe from the U.S. You can redeem miles directly through Air France or KLM and any of its SkyTeam partners. What really sets this program apart is the regular promo rewards that Flying Blue offers. Award flights are up to 50% off and new promo reward tickets between a variety of city pairs are released on the first of every month.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Home Country: Singapore
Major hubs: Singapore, Bangkok, Hanoi, among others
Airline alliance: Star Alliance
Singapore Airlines reserves its long-haul business and first-class awards to Krisflyer members, which gives you ample opportunity to book an award flight by transferring ThankYou Points to this program. One of the best redemptions is booking one of the Singapore Suites, a truly luxurious premium flight experience. These awards start at 172,000 miles each way to destinations like Hong Kong, Taiwan and China from the West Coast.
Turkish Airlines Smiles and Miles
Home Country: Turkey
Major hubs: Istanbul, Ankara, among others
Airline alliance: Star Alliance
Turkish Airlines prices its award flights using region-based award charts and regular versus promotional award levels. This provides an opportunity to find hidden gems if you can find seats available for those promo awards. Using its award chart, you can book business class flights from the U.S. to Europe starting at 45,000 miles each way. Additionally, one-way economy tickets within the U.S. (on partner airlines like United) can be booked for just 10,000 miles.
The worst Citi transfer partners
Choice Privileges Hotels
Cardholders receive a favorable transfer ratio when exchanging points to Choice. Citi Premier® Card and Citi Prestige® Credit Card points transfer at a 1:2 ratio, while other cards receive 1:1.5. However, most of the Choice hotel brands are on the budget end of the spectrum, which reduces the value of this benefit. Many travelers prefer to use their rewards to book aspirational travel that they wouldn't otherwise be able to afford, so these redemptions may not be as valuable.
How to transfer Citi ThankYou points
If you're ready to take advantage of Citi transfer partners, here's how to transfer your ThankYou Points to your preferred hotel or airline loyalty program.
Here’s the process for transferring Citi ThankYou points:
- Log in to your account at Citi.com, ThankYou.com or the Citi mobile app.
- Choose which credit card to transfer from.
- Select "Points Transfer."
- Determine the number of points to transfer.
- Enter and confirm your hotel or airline loyalty number.
- Accept terms and conditions and complete the transfer.
A few restrictions to keep in mind:
- There are no fees when transferring Citi ThankYou Points to its transfer partners. However, your first and last name on the receiving loyalty account must match the name on your Citi credit card. You cannot transfer points to another person's account.
- You must transfer Citi ThankYou Points in increments of 1,000 to its airline and hotel partners.
- There is a limit of 500,000 points per transfer to airline loyalty programs. However, there is no limit to the number of transfers you may request. Qantas and Virgin Atlantic are the exceptions because they limit members to one transfer per 24-hour period.
- Points transfers cannot be canceled or reversed.
- Transferred points are subject to the expiration, blackout dates and other restrictions of the receiving loyalty program. The best strategy is to transfer points outside of Citi ThankYou only when you're ready to book an award flight or hotel reservation.
- It can take up to 14 days for your ThankYou Points to post to the receiving loyalty program. However, most transfers are much quicker and some are instantaneous.
Why transfer to Citi ThankYou travel partners?
Transferring your points to airline or hotel partners usually provides the highest value, especially when booking premium cabin tickets or high-end hotels. In comparison, using your points to book travel through the Citi travel portal, or for cash back or gift cards will give you a value of $0.01 per point or less.
Before transferring points to an airline or hotel partner, it is a good idea to compare the cash price versus the award price for that reservation. You may get a better value by transferring points to one of the Citi transfer partners instead of paying cash or booking through the ThankYou Points travel portal.
For the flight option below, it makes the most sense to book using Flying Blue miles. You would transfer 33,000 Citi ThankYou Points to Flying Blue, then pay cash for the $205 in taxes and fuel surcharges. Compared to the next cheapest option for the same flight, you would be getting $0.017 per point value by transferring your points and booking an award ticket
Citi ThankYou travel portal
Flying Blue miles
|Chicago to Paris on Air France (Jan 22-29)||$874.47||$755 or 75,447 points ($0.01 value per point)||33,000 + $205.47 ($0.017 value per point)|
How to calculate the point value for your target redemption option:
Cash price of the redemption option (minus any taxes and fees you still have to pay) / Number of points = Point value
Which cards allow you to transfer Citi ThankYou?
In order to transfer to the Citi points transfer partners, you must have one of the premium Citi ThankYou cards that charge an annual fee. Currently, eligible cards include the Citi Prestige® Credit Card and the Citi Premier® Card.
Premium Citi ThankYou cards
|Citi Prestige® Credit Card||Not available to new applicants||Earn 5x points at restaurants and for air travel purchases, 3x for hotel and cruise purchases, and 1x for all other purchases||$495|
|Citi Premier® Card||For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening||Earn 3X points per $1 spent at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels and 1X per $1 spent on all other purchases||$95|
You also earn ThankYou points with the Citi Rewards+® Card and Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card. Additionally, cash back earned from the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer can convert to ThankYou Points on a 1:1 basis.
While these cards don't allow you to directly transfer points to Citi's transfer partners, you can transfer points earned from these cards to the Citi Prestige® Credit Card or Citi Premier® Card. Once they've been transferred to either of these two premium credit cards, the points become eligible for exchange with one of the 19 Citi transfer partners.
No-annual fee Citi cards
|Citi Rewards+® Card||Earn 20,000 bonus points after you spend $1,500 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $200 in gift cards at thankyou.com||For a limited time, earn 5 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent at restaurants up to $6,000 in the first 12 months and 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent. Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X ThankYou® Points on All Other Purchases.||$0|
|Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer||For a limited time, earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening.||Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.||$0|
Citi Transfer partners FAQs
How do I transfer Citi ThankYou points?
To transfer Citi ThankYou Points, you'll need to log in to your account at Citi.com or ThankYou.com. Choose the account you want to redeem from, then choose "points transfer." Select which partner you want to transfer to. Determine how many points you want to transfer, then enter and confirm your loyalty program number and click continue.
How quickly do Citi ThankYou points transfer?
Citi ThankYou points are deducted from your account immediately. The time to receive points varies by partner. Some transfers post instantly, while others may take up to 14 days to post to your airline or hotel loyalty account.
Do Citi ThankYou points transfer to Marriott?
Can I transfer Citi ThankYou points to United?
No, Citi ThankYou Points do not transfer to United Airlines. However, Citi does partner with several airlines that are members of the Star Alliance. With those Star Alliance partner airlines, you can redeem miles for United Airlines flights.
Can I transfer Citi ThankYou points to Delta?
No, Delta SkyMiles is not a transfer partner of Citi ThankYou Points. You can transfer points to a SkyTeam airline that is one of the Citi transfer partners, then book a flight on Delta Air Lines.
The information related to Citi Prestige® Credit Card and Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.