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Citi ThankYou points are one of the four big transferable currencies in the miles & points world and can be earned by using select Citi credit cards (e.g. the Citi Premier® Card), and these points can be transferred across to a variety of other travel loyalty programs.
Citi ThankYou Program
At the time of writing, the Citi ThankYou program has 16 travel transfer partners – 14 airline partners and 2 hotel partners – which means that it has more transfer partners than Chase but slightly fewer than American Express and Capital One.
If you have a premium Citi ThankYou card (e.g. the Citi Prestige Card or the Citi Premier Card) you can transfer points to any ThankYou travel partner at a 1:1 ratio, except Choice Privileges, where you get a 1:2 rate.
Most other Citi ThankYou cards earn restricted ThankYou points that are only transferable to three loyalty programs (Choice Privileges, JetBlue TrueBlue, and Wyndham Rewards) and at lower rates.
Airline transfer partners
Note: The transfer ratios shown above are for the transfer of points from accounts linked to a premium Citi ThankYou card. Most other ThankYou cards can only transfer points to JetBlue TrueBlue at a ratio of 5:4.
The list of Citi ThankYou airline transfer partners covers airlines across all three major alliances (which should keep most people happy) and includes favorites like Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer (useful for great quality premium cabin awards and good value awards via the Spontaneous Escapes program), Etihad Guest (great for excellent redemptions on American Airlines), and Flying Blue (useful for discounted deals via Flying Blue’s monthly Promo Awards).
Citi’s ThankYou program offers a number of transfer options that you won’t find offered by Chase or American Express and these include the Qatar Airways Privilege Club (great for generating Avios which can then be used through British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus), Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles, EVA Air, and Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus…but it’s the partners that the ThankYou program shares with other programs that are often the most useful.
The loyalty programs of airlines like Air France/KLM, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, and Singapore Airlines (amongst others) partner with at least one (often more) of the other major transferable currency programs (as well as with Citi’s ThankYou program) so this offers up a great opportunity for miles & points enthusiasts to pool points from more than one source to allow them to build up enough miles & points to book whatever great award they’ve found.
Overall, the value that each person gets from transferring ThankYou points to these airlines will vary depending on what the points are eventually used for (premium cabin awards mostly offer better value than Economy Class awards and some airlines add surcharges to their awards while others don’t), but Citi has more than enough great transfer partners to make it reasonably easy to find a good-value use for its ThankYou points.
Hotel Transfer Partners
Note: The better ratios shown above are for transfers from premium ThankYou cards. The weaker transfer ratios are for transfers from the remaining ThankYou cards.
The list (such as it is) of hotel partners is an obvious weakness of the Citi ThankYou program although as it was only recently that Citi added hotel transfer partners to the ThankYou program, you could say that things are better than they were before.
The fact remains, however, that as I value the ThankYou points that I earn at 1.5 cents each (based on the value that I know I can get out of them with ease), and as I value Choice Privileges points and Wyndham Rewards points at considerably less than that, these transfer ratios do not offer great value.
A transfer to one of these two programs may be fine if you’re looking to top off an account with a few thousand points, but most people will be getting a very poor return on their ThankYou balance if they choose to transfer over a significant number of points to Choice or Wyndham.
As far as transfer times go, the information you see in the tables above is a guideline only – some transfers can be reliably instantaneous while with others, the time taken to transfer Membership Rewards points can vary significantly
I generally avoid moving points across to an airline program that doesn’t reliably offer instantaneous transfers unless I can place the award(s) I want to book on hold – the last thing I want to happen is for award availability to disappear in the time between actioning a transfer and the points arriving in my airline loyalty account.
Unlike American Express, Citi, like Chase and Capital One, doesn’t charge a fee for transfers to any of its partners.
Transfers To Other People’s Loyalty Accounts
Citi prohibits users from transferring ThankYou points into loyalty accounts where the details on the recipient account don’t match with the details on the Citi ThankYou account.
Transfers To Other People’s ThankYou Accounts
Citi allows cardholders to transfer ThankYou points to any other ThankYou account they choose…but there are some important restrictions you should be very aware of:
- A maximum of 100,000 points can be shared with other ThankYou accounts each calendar year.
- A maximum of 100,000 points can be received from other ThankYou accounts each calendar year.
- Points transferred to/from another ThankYou account will expire 90 days after the transfer has taken place and there’s no way to extend their validity period.
- Once points have been transferred to a new ThankYou account they cannot be re-shared.
Transfers to other ThankYou accounts can be useful in circumventing the restriction on transferring points to other people’s loyalty program accounts but, bearing in mind the points will expire within 90 days of a transfer, the recipient of the points should always have a solid plan for the points before a transfer is enacted.
Popular Cards That Earn ThankYou Points
- Citi Prestige® Card (5 points/dollar on dining & on air travel, 3 points/dollar with hotels and cruise lines) – no longer open to new applicants
- Citi Premier® Card (3 points/dollar on dining, air travel & hotels as well as at supermarkets & gas stations)
- Citi® Double Cash Card (No annual fee 2% cash back on all purchases which can be converted to 2 ThankYou points/dollar when paired with a Prestige or Premier Card)*
- Citi Rewards+® Card (No annual fee & 2 points/dollar at gas stations and restaurants)*
*It’s best to pair these cards with a Premier or Prestige card to get the most use out of your ThankYou points (i.e so you can transfer them to all of Citi’s partner programs)
Citi’s ThankYou program may not have the strongest lineup of transfer partners out of the four main transferrable currency programs, but it still has a lot of very good uses.
With various ThankYou cards offering great earnings rates on travel, dining, and gas it can be easy to build up an impressive balance of ThankYou points quite quickly, and with Citi occasionally offering transfer bonuses as well, it doesn’t have to take much effort to earn enough points for a valuable airline award.