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Over the weekend, Citi gave those of us in miles and points world a very nice surprise when it announced that, for a limited time, its ThankYou Points would be convertible into American Airlines AAdvantage Miles. Considering Citi’s close relationship with American Airlines I had assumed that transfers to AAdvantage would be instantaneous (as they are for a number of other ThankYou partners) but early indications appear to suggest otherwise.
I’ve already jumped on the opportunity to top up my AAdvantage account using my Citi ThankYou balance (I needed more miles to book a Business Class Saver Award) but for reasons that are too boring to get into here, I had to enact the transfer over the phone rather than through the Citi ThankYou portal.
The Citi phone agent that I spoke to and who processed my points transfer suggested that I should “wait about 15 minutes” for the transfer to show in my AAdvantage account but after a couple of hours patiently refreshing my screen every 10-15 minutes, the miles still hadn’t shown up and I decided to get on with the rest of my day.
About 10 hours after my conversation with the Citi agent the transfer still hasn’t gone through but when I next checked my account (around 20 hours after the transfer was enacted), the newly minted AAdvantage Miles were finally sitting in my account.
Initially, I thought that the unexpectedly long transfer time may have had something to do with the fact that I has to make the transfer over the phone and not via the ThankYou portal but since then, a friend of mine has also transferred ThankYou points across to AAdvantage and despite using the portal and not a phone agent, the transfer took somewhere between 11 and 14 hours.
The good news here is that although Citi’s limited-time transfers to AAdvantage are not instantaneous, American Airlines allows customers to place most award bookings on hold for up to 5 days (including award bookings on a number of partner airlines) so unless you need to book a partner award that cannot be placed on hold, the fact that Citi’s transfers to AAdvantage are not instantaneous shouldn’t be an issue.
The first few data points that I have for transfers between Citi and the American Airlines AAdvantage program appear to suggest that transfers are not instantaneous and, instead, take somewhere between 11 and 14 hours to complete. As with a lot of things in the miles and points world, people’s experiences with transfers may vary (the transfer process may even speed up) but for now it’s probably safest to assume that a conversion of ThankYiu Points to AAdvantage Miles will take at least half a day.
If you have any additional data points please let us know if the comments – the more data points we have the clearer the picture will become.