Citi and its suite of credit cards that earn ThankYou points often get overlooked in favor of American Express and Chase. But thanks to a big new bonus on the Citi Premier® Card and an exciting new way to use those points, that’s starting to change.
Just like Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou points can be redeemed for travel or on gift cards through the Citi Travel Portal. But the real path where Citi points shine is by transferring them to one of 18 airline transfer partners – including some options you won’t find with other points currencies.
Read on for everything you need to know, and the best ways to use Citi ThankYou points.
Click Here to learn more about the Citi Premier Card.
- Citi’s Transfer Partners
- Best Ways to Use Citi ThankYou Points
Citi’s Transfer Partners
We tend to think of ThankYou points as the clear loser behind both Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find value in the program. Far from it.
There’s plenty of overlap between these programs with transfer partners like Emirates, Cathay Pacific’s AsiaMiles, Virgin Atlantic, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, and Singapore Airlines. Critically, there are not any hotel transfer partners with Citi.
But Citi has addressed one of the longstanding shortcomings of ThankYou points – at least temporarily. Through Nov. 23, 2021, you can now transfer Citi ThankYou Points to American Airlines AAdvantage at a transfer ratio of 1:1. That’s a huge addition, as it opens up a world of possibilities and a great new way to earn AAdvantage miles. And there’s no ruling out whether this addition becomes permanent.
Here’s the full list of Citi transfer partners. Every partner transfers on a 1:1 basis.
|Program||Type||Transfer Ratio||Transfer Time|
|Cathay Pacific||Airline||1:1||12-24 hours|
|EVA Air||Airline||1:1||1-3 days|
|Malaysian Airlines||Airline||1:1||No data|
|Qatar Airways||Airline||1:1||1-2 days|
|Thai Airways||Airline||1:1||4-7 days|
|Turkish Airlines||Airline||1:1||1-2 days|
Best Ways to Use Citi ThankYou Points
Transfer to American Airlines (For Now…)
The newest way to use Citi ThankYou Points just might be one of the best.
Yes, you can now transfer Citi ThankYou points from the Citi Premier Card to American Airlines. With that 1:1 transfer ratio, the 80,000-point bonus (plus another 4,000 points for meeting the spending requirement) could give you up to 84,000 AAdvantage miles to play with – so long as you transfer them before Nov. 23.
So what can you do with 84,000 American Airlines miles? Quite a lot.
American and its AAdvantage program have some serious advantages over other airline programs that make these miles far too valuable to ignore – especially since they’re not just good for booking flights on American airlines. If you ask us, American has some of the best ways to book flights on partner airlines.
From far more spacious seats in economy at the back of the plane to the incomparable service in first class at the front, Japan Airlines is one of the best ways to fly from the U.S. to Asia. You can book these flights from 35,000 miles each way in economy, 60,000 in business class, and 80,000 miles for first class.
That means, with just one sign-up bonus on the Citi ThankYou Premier, you could get a round trip ticket to Japan with points to spare, or completely cover the cost of a first class ticket.
Cathay Pacific is another great AA partner on which you can redeem AA miles, and the Hong Kong (HKG) based carrier is another great way to get from the U.S. to Asia. You can also use AA miles to fly Qantas to Australia, Finnair to Scandinavia, Etihad to the Middle East, and more.
But if you want to fly the best airline in the world, your best bet is … you guessed it, AAdvantage miles. Booking flights on Qatar Airways is one of our favorite ways to use AA miles – especially if you’re flying in their Qsuite business class.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better business class seat or better service anywhere.
Better yet, you’ll need 70,000 AAdvantage miles to book the one-way flight from the U.S. to Qatar’s hub in Doha (DOH), or vice versa. You can continue onward elsewhere in the Middle East and still pay just 70,000 miles. Want to head all the way down to South Africa? It’s just 75,000 AAdvantage miles to do it all in QSuites.
Read our full review of flying Qsuites from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Doha (DOH).
Related reading: 7 Reasons American Airlines AAdvantage Miles Have Huge Value
Transfer to Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles Program
Citi ThankYou points are the only 1:1 transfer partner with Turkish Airlines. And that makes it the best option to earn Turkish Miles & Smiles.
While it will require some work, there is a ton of value in Turkish’s program that makes it a great way to use Citi ThankYou points.
To start with, you can book roundtrip flights from the mainland U.S. to Hawaii for just 15,000 miles roundtrip – or 25,000 miles in business class! That’s because, unlike most other airlines, Turkish’s award chart includes Hawaii and the mainland U.S. in the same North America region.
You’d use your Turkish miles to book a flight out to Hawaii flying United Airlines. Booking these flights can be a challenge, as you’ll need to first find the award availability (likely through a partner airline’s site like United) and then either call or email Turkish to book.
But at these prices, it can be worth the work. You won’t find a cheaper way to get to Hawaii and back.
Turkish also charges just 45,000 miles for one-way business class flights from the U.S. to Europe on Star Alliance carriers like United, Swiss, and (of course) Turkish itself. That’s tough to beat. With the 80,000 point offer on the Citi Premier, you would have almost enough points to book a round-trip business class flight to Europe.
Transfer to Qatar to Book QSuites
Although Citi points now transfer to American Airlines, Qatar miles are still a great way to book fantastic Qsuites business class if you can’t get your hands on enough American AAdvantage miles.
Just as with Turkish miles, Citi is the only 1:1 transfer partner with Qatar Airways. Qatar charges a reasonable 70,000 miles (the same amount you’ll pay through American Airlines) and reasonable fees for a one-way flight from the U.S. to the Middle East.
That makes Citi ThankYou points a fantastic way to book Qsuites – especially if the American AAdvantage transfer option disappears in late November 2021, as planned.
Transfer to Virgin Atlantic to Book Cheaper Delta Awards
Delta SkyMiles are almost always a mixed bag. While the constant SkyMiles flash sales allow for great redemptions, it can be difficult to find a decent price on an average flight, especially in a premium cabin.
That’s increasingly true of domestic flights, as the lack of an award chart means these routes can vary wildly in price. However, Citi is a transfer partner with Delta partner airline Virgin Atlantic. And Virgin Atlantic has a far more stable award chart that you can use to book Delta domestic flights and transatlantic flights to Europe.
So anytime Delta wants a boatload of SkyMiles, see if you can snag the flight for less using Virgin Atlantic points instead. While this relationship has taken a hit in recent months thanks to a major devaluation, there are still some major sweet spots to book Delta flights for fewer miles – especially if you’re heading for Europe.
It remains far and away the best way to book Delta One business class.
Virgin Atlantic has three distinct award charts for booking Delta flights. There’s one specifically for booking flights between the U.S. and Virgin’s London-Heathrow (LHR) hub, which comes with huge fees.
Then there are flights between the U.S. and the rest of Europe, where pricing is as stable as can be. There’s one price for economy, and one price for business class – that’s it.
And finally, there’s everything else. Trying to fly Delta within the U.S., to the Caribbean, or out to Asia or Australia? Those rates are governed by this distance-based award chart. And that means long-haul flights will cost you plenty more miles, and will likely a poor value.
But if you are looking to book shorter domestic flights, or even economy or business class flights to Europe, Virgin Atlantic is a phenomenal value.
Take, for example, a business class flight between Minneapolis St. Paul (MSP) and Paris, France (CDG) which can be booked for only 50,000 Virgin Atlantic miles each way.
This same flight booked through Delta instead of Virgin Atlantic would cost a whopping 315,000 SkyMiles for a one-way flight. Woof.
Use Virgin Atlantic to Book ANA Flights to Japan
There are few better ways to get to Japan than on five-star airline All Nippon Airways (ANA). From first class to economy, it’s one of the best airlines out there. And while ANA isn’t a transfer partner of Citi, there’s an even better way to make it happen.
You can book ANA with Virgin Atlantic miles and it is a serious sweet spot. You can fly from the West Coast to Japan for just 60,000 miles round trip, while a Midwestern or East Coast departure point will run you 65,000 points. And thanks to a recent update, you can now book these as a one-way award ticket. Previously, you were required to book a round trip flight with ANA when using Virgin Atlantic miles.
If you have a few more Citi ThankYou points to spare – or Chase or American Express, for that matter – it could be worth it to toss more into your Virgin Atlantic account and splurge for business class. That will run you just 90,000-95,000 Virgin Atlantic Miles round trip, depending on where you depart from. Or for one of the best redemptions in the miles and points world, spend just 20,000 miles more to fly in style in first class.
Read our full review of ANA first class from Chicago to Tokyo!
Related reading: How to Book ANA Flights with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles
Fly in Style with Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines is one of the world’s best airlines. And because the airline partners with all of the major credit card transfer programs, their miles are relatively easy to earn. Better yet? They are easy to use.
Singapore flies from their hub in Singapore (SIN) to Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA), Newark (EWR), and they even run a few fifth freedom routes between Houston (IAH) and Manchester, England (MAN), and New York (JFK) to Frankfurt, Germany (FRA).
Even after a recent devaluation, Singapore remains a solid option for booking premium cabin seats to Asia.
Check out this one-way business class flight between Los Angeles (LAX) and Singapore (SIN) which can be booked for 95,000 miles. Better yet, for just $100 and no additional miles, you can add a stopover in Singapore and then continue on elsewhere in Asia.
Citi isn’t our favorite transferrable currency, as we find Chase and American Express have better partnerships, overall. But there is no question you can find a ton of value when using Citi ThankYou points – especially with the addition of American Airlines through November 23.
And with this enhanced bonus of 80,000 points on the Citi Premier Card, ThankYou points are worth a serious look.
Click Here to learn more about the Citi Premier Card.