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The Citi ThankYou program offers one of the major transferable currencies in the miles & points hobby but in comparison to at least two of the other four major transferrable currencies, it can be perceived as being a little weak.
Fortunately, an important change that took place in the miles and points world earlier this year had the knock-on effect of making Citi’s ThankYou points a little more valuable and it’s that knock-on effect that I’ll discuss in this article.
Citi transfer partners
If you hold Citi ThankYou points courtesy of a card like the Citi Premier® Card (review), you can transfer those points across to a variety of other travel loyalty programs through which you can get truly fantastic value (if you know what you’re doing!).
At the time of writing, this is the full list of Citi’s travel transfer partners and if you take a close look at all the programs on this list you’ll see that the British Airways Executive Club doesn’t feature.
The reason for this is simple, the British Airways Executive Club is not a Citi ThankYou transfer partner…but that doesn’t mean that you can’t convert Citi ThankYou points into British Airways Avios.
The Qatar Airways change & how it helps
British Airways may not be a Citi transfer partner but Qatar Airways is, and a big change that the Middle Eastern carrier pushed through earlier this year is the key to what this article is all about.
In March 2022 that transition was completed and while on its own, that wouldn’t necessarily have been big news, what *was* big news is what happened next.
On the same day that Qatar Airways transitioned to using Avios as its loyalty currency (22 March 2022), the airline announced that even though it’s not owned by IAG Group (the owner of all the other Avios-using airlines like British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus), all Avios held within its loyalty program could be moved seamlessly into the British Airways Executive Club.
That was a game-changing moment in the miles and points world.
Since then, not only have miles & points fans been able to move Avios from Qatar Airways to British Airways instantaneously, but they have also been able to move them the other way. Avios held within a British Airways Executive Club account can be moved to the Qatar Airways Privilege Club if that’s where they can be put to better use.
Citi to Qatar Airways to British Airways
What this all means is that while British Airways isn’t a Citi ThankYou transfer partner, anyone holding a premium Citi ThankYou card (like the Citi Premier® Card) can move their points across to Qatar Airways, and then, once the points have been converted to Qatar Airways Avios (which can take up to 3 days), those Avios can be moved across to British Airways instantaneously.
Citi ThankYou Points —> Qatar Airways Avios —> British Airways Avios
This may not be the sleekest transfer of all time but it’s not exactly complicated either.
Why this is important
Avios held within a British Airways are a lot more versatile than Avios held within the Qatar Airways Privilege Club and that’s what makes them special.
- British Airways Avios can be moved across to Iberia Plus where they can be used to book lower-cost awards on Iberia (less Avios needed and lower surcharges). Qatar Airways cannot be transferred directly to Iberia Plus – click for more details.
- British Airways Avios can be moved across to the Aer Club where they can be used to book lower-cost awards on Aer Lingus. Qatar Airways Avios cannot be transferred directly to Aer Club – click for more details.
- British Airways Avios can be used to book cheap Economy Class partner awards when traveling short distances within one region (e.g.within the US, within Australia, within SE Asia, etc…). Qatar Airways Avios cannot be used in the same way (e.g LAX-LAS in Economy Class using BA Avios will cost 7,500 Avios while Qatar Airways will charge 12,500 Avios for the same booking).
- British Airways Avios can be used to book great value intra-Europe British Airways awards (Reward Flight Saver awards) that don’t require a high number of Avios and that attract low surcharges. Qatar Airways Avios cannot be used in the same way
British Airway Avios often (and justifiably) get bad press for some of the horrendous surcharges that get attached when you use them to book certain short-haul and a lot of long-haul awards. If, however, you know how and when to use them, they can offer you a fantastic way to save substantial sums of money.
British Airways is not an official transfer partner of Citi’s ThankYou program but thanks to Citi’s relationship with Qatar Airways and thanks to the fact that Qatar Airways Avios can be moved across to the British Airways Executive Club instantaneously, indirectly, it actually is.