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As airline miles and hotel points devalue on an all too frequent basis it’s becoming more important for travelers to keep their rewards point balances as flexible as they can to help minimise the damage the next time a hotel chain or airline decides to “enhance” their program.
One of the better ways to maintain as much flexibility as possible is to collect points that can be converted/transferred into a whole variety of loyalty programs – that way, if one of the loyalty programs devalues, you should still have a number of other options with which to work.
The four primary convertible/flexible points currencies are the offerings from Chase, Citi, American Express and Starwood:
- Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Citi ThankYou Rewards
- American Express Membership Rewards
- Starwood Starpoints
This week and next week I’m taking a look at each of those currencies individually and listing out the airline and, where relevant, hotel rewards programs those currencies can be transferred into.
In this post (the second of four) I’m going to take a look at Citi ThankYou Rewards.
Citi ThankYou Rewards Transfer Partners
Airline Loyalty Programs
Citi ThankYou Rewards points transfer over to 14 different airline loyalty programs and, just like with Chase Ultimate Rewards, ThankYou points transfer over to all of Citi’s airline partners at a 1:1 ratio.
Considering the very close relationship between Citi and American Airlines it’s a little surprising not to see AAdvantage on that list of transfer partners but, to make up for that, if you have the Citi Premier credit cards you can use ThankYou points to purchase flights on American Airlines at 1.25 cents/point.
Having the option to transfer points over to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is a nice bonus as Singapore Airlines has a habit of offering better award availability to its own rewards program members than it does to members of its airline partners’ programs (United MileagePlus, Lufthansa Miles & More etc…)
Suites Class On A Singapore Airlines A380
It’s especially nice to have Etihad Guest as a transfer option as there’s a quirk in the Etihad award chart that could be very useful.
Etihad partners with American Airlines and, for reasons I’m not too clear on, the Etihad award chart for travel on American Airlines is more generous than American’s own (click to enlarge):
Etihad Award Chart For American Airlines
North America to Europe in Business Class costs 50,000 miles and First Class costs 62,500 miles….and those are the exact mileage requirement American Airlines used to charge before it began systematically devaluing the AAdvantage program – American now charges 57,500 miles and 85,000 miles respectively for those awards and that makes the Etihad option look pretty good value.
Admittedly this still leaves travelers with the issue that American has been releasing less and less Saver Awards (the ones needed to book Business and First Class awards via Etihad) recently but, should those awards ever come to market, it’s fantastic to still have those rates available.
American Airlines 777-300ER First Class – Bookable to Europe for just 62,500 Etihad Guest Miles
Hotel Loyalty Programs
No, the image below is not a mistake, Citi ThankYou Rewards points really only transfer over to one hotel loyalty program – Hilton HHonors – and as of 13 December 2017 they won’t even transfer there.
As of January 2018 Citi is losing the right to issue Hilton co-branded credit cards to Amex so it looks as if the bank sees no reason to continue allowing us to move our ThankYou points to Hilton Honors.
I can’t say this is a big loss to me as I prefer to use my ThankYou points for other purposes…but others may find this disappointing.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles are a big reason why I collect Citi ThankYou points.
I’m hoping to try out the Singapore Airlines all-premium cabin Airbus A350-900ULR when it comes into service in 2018/2019 and, as I’m unlikely to want to (or be in a position to) part with the amount of cash a Business Class fare between Singapore and New York will cost (that’s the route I’m hoping to book), KrisFlyer miles will be my best option for securing a seat.
But different travelers have different needs and patterns. While I collect ThankYou points for KrisFlyer miles others may find greater use in transferring their balances over to Cathay Pacific or Thai….and Virgin Atlantic isn’t a completely terrible option (despite the surcharges) if you’re happy to book into Premium Economy.
Citi ThankYou Rewards points are getting more and more valuable as Citi keeps adding to its list of transfer partners (Turkish Airlines and Jet Airways are recent additions) and, as rewards currencies go, you could do a lot worse.