Over the summer, Citi made a jaw-dropping move by finally allowing travelers with cards like the Citi Premier® Card to transfer their ThankYou points to American Airlines AAdvantage miles on a 1:1 basis. But that move came with an expiration date: It would only be available through this Saturday, Nov. 13.
That means you've got just a day and change left to transfer some ThankYou Points to American before this lucrative limited-time opportunity disappears. Whether you fly American Airlines or not, AAdvantage miles can be incredibly valuable – especially when using them to fly partner carriers like Qatar Airways, Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, and more.
Even if temporary, adding American as a Citi transfer partner was a huge development – and long overdue. Citi has sold some of American's co-branded airline credit cards like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® for more than a decade, yet transferring ThankYou Points straight to American has never been an option until recently. That solved a major gap for Citi, which doesn't otherwise have a major U.S. airline as a transfer partner.
While we had hoped that this temporary transfer partnership would become permanent, it seems all but certain now that this is ending over the weekend. Read on for everything you need to know about how to take advantage before it ends this weekend.
Which Citi Cards are Eligible for Transfers to American AAdvantage?
If you hold the Citi Premier® Card, or even the Citi Prestige® Card (which is no longer available for new applications), you'll be able to transfer points into American AAdvantage at a ratio of 1:1. That means 1,000 Citi ThankYou points gets you 1,000 American Airlines AAdvantage mile.
We think the Citi Premier® Card is criminally underrated. And while it's disappearing soon, this ability to transfer points to American only bolstered that case.
If you hold the Citi Rewards+® Card or even the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card (which is also no longer available to new applicants), you will also be able to transfer points to American AAdvantage – just at a poorer transfer ratio. Transfers with these cards will go to American at a 2:1 transfer ratio. That means 1,000 Citi ThankYou points will get you only 500 American Airlines AAdvantage miles.
Transfers must be in increments of 1,000 points, and there is a limit of 500,000 points per transfer. But keep in mind that transfers from Citi to American Airlines (or any airline, for that matter) are a one-way street. That means once you transfer points to your American Airlines account, they cannot be sent back to your Citi ThankYou points account.
Here's the full list of Citi ThankYou transfer partners.
|Program||Type||Transfer Ratio||Transfer Time|
|Cathay Pacific||Airline||1:1||12-24 hours|
|EVA Air||Airline||1:1||1-3 days|
|Qatar Airways||Airline||1:1||1-2 days|
|Thai Airways||Airline||1:1||4-7 days|
How to Use American Airlines Miles
Yes, you can use these miles to fly American Airlines both domestically and internationally. But if you don't want to fly American, you can still get major value out of your AA miles.
One of the best parts about AAdvantage miles – and all airline miles – is that they’re not just good for booking flights on American Airlines itself. Airline alliances and partnerships open up the world of using your miles, making them far more valuable and versatile. And if you ask us, American has some of the best partners out there.
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.
Cathay Pacific is another great AA partner on which you can redeem AA miles for flights to their hub in Hong Kong (HKG) or elsewhere in Asia. You can also use AA miles to fly Qantas to Australia, Finnair to Scandinavia, and 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.
Read our full review of flying Qsuites from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Doha (DOH).
Better yet, it’s gotten much easier to book many of these partner airlines using your AA miles. Many previously required a phone call to American. In the last few years alone American has added Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Etihad to its online booking engine at AA.com.
One thing to note: American Airlines is planning to do away with its award chart at some point in the future which will likely make certain points redemptions much more expensive. But for now, these amazing redemptions remain intact.
Pair with the 80K Point Offer on the Citi Premier Card
While American Airlines miles are among the easiest to earn, thanks in part to their co-branded credit card partnership with both Citi and Barclays, this new transfer partner news makes it even easier to capitalize on the current offer on the Citi Premier card.
A few months back, Citi rolled out its biggest bonus ever of 80,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months on the Citi Premier Card (this offer is now expired). And while you should be able to get at least $800 in value out of these points, Citi's transfer partners allow you to get much, much more value. And this new transfer ability to American Airlines is no exception.
The 84,000 points you would have after getting the card and spending the required $4,000 in the first three months would be more than enough points for a one-way flight in Japan Airlines first class, or a one-way flight in the Qatar Qsuites, widely considered the world's best business class.
Of course, it's too late to open this card now for the purpose of earning a bonus and transferring those points to American. But it's worth keeping in mind in case this transfer partnership returns at some point down the line.
Related reading: A Qsuite Surprise to the Maldives on Points and Miles
Click Here to learn more about the Citi Premier Card.
It was good while it lasted.
We were rooting for this transfer partnership to become permanent, but it seems all but certain that Citi ThankYou Points will lose American as a transfer partner after Saturday, Nov. 13. Transfer those ThankYou Points to American AAdvantage miles while you still can!