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Welcome back! Let’s continue our series on the types of credit card reward programs frequented by travelers.

In case you’re joining us for the first time, or missed a prior post in this series, please check out the index below:

In this article, we’ll look at the basics of Citi ThankYou points.

As with the other credit card programs we’ve discussed, Citi offers cards which earn transferable points as well as cards earning cash back. Citi points are called ThankYou Points, or TYP for short. While Chase and Amex get the majority of attention, Citi offers valuable airline partners and solid points earning.

Citi Transfer Partners

With Citi, you have the ability to transfer ThankYou Points to 15 airline programs. Once again, the airline partners span all three major alliances – Star Alliance, oneworld and SkyTeam – as well as airlines that are not a part of an alliance.

15 airline transfer partners for Citi TYP, including Qantas

At this time, Citi does not have any hotel transfer partners. And Citi is a little bit unique, or arguably confusing, in that some cards which earn TYP cannot be transferred to airline partners.

The following Citi credit cards earn ThankYou Points which can be transferred to airline partners:

  • Citi Premier
  • Citi Prestige

The following Citi credit cards earn ThankYou Points which cannot be transferred to airline partners:

  • Citi Rewards+
  • Citi AT&T Access
  • Citi® Double Cash Card

The ThankYou Points earned with these three cards can redeemed for travel on (i.e. Citi’s travel portal) or other ways like on gift cards.

*Notable Exception: If you hold the Citi® Double Cash Card as well as the Citi Premier or the Citi Prestige, you can transfer your Double Cash ThankYou Points to your Premier or Prestige account. Doing so would then allow you to transfer those ThankYou Points to airline partners. Andrew Kunesh at Upgraded Points has a step-by-step guide.

While Citi does offer business cards, none of the current offers earn ThankYou Points. Rather, Citi business cards offer earnings with the likes of American Airlines and Costco via the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® and the Costco Anywhere Visa® Business Card by Citi.

Airline Partners

Citi partners with 15 airline programs, and ThankYou Points transfer to all airlines at a 1:1 ratio:

Get a visualization of Citi airline partners by using this Award Map, a tool we discussed in our article, “Four Invaluable Tools for Booking Flights With Miles & Cash.”

K2 Friendly Reminder: When you transfer your points to an airline or hotel, the points then become subject to that program’s terms and expiration. While Citi TYP in your credit card account do not expire as long as your card is open and in good standing, points once transferred to many airline and hotel programs do have an expiration date. 

Transfer Bonuses

Citi has offered a number of transfer bonuses to several airline partners. Bonuses range between 10 and 30%, and have featured airlines including Virgin Atlantic, Qantas, Air France/KLM, Etihad and others.

History of Citi transfer bonuses to Virgin Atlantic

Citi is second to only American Express in the number of transfer bonuses offered, far outpacing Chase and Capital One. This is certainly something to keep tabs on. Be sure to read and follow the details here on MileValue as reported by Sarah Page.

Tremendous Value via Transfer Partners

There are a few airline partners which overlap with those from Chase, American Express and Capital One. Using Citi TYP, you could book one of the high value Singapore Airlines options we shared previously, or Delta One suites for 45,000 points. Transferring TYP to Air France/KLM Flying Blue to fly business class to/from Europe or Tel Aviv and the U.S. for 53,000 points is also on the table. Here on MileValue Scott Grimmer has outlined how to book a trip to/from Hawaii from anywhere in the U.S. for just 7,500 ThankYou Points.

Here is another example using Citi TYP. How about one of the world’s best business class products?

Cathay Pacific flies to 10 cities in North America, making this a great option to get to Asia, the South Pacific and beyond.

Here is New York to Sydney, Australia via Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific. You can get 25 hours of Cathay Pacific business class for just 85,000 miles per person:

One of the cheapest, and arguably best, ways to get to Australia. 28 hours & 5 minutes is the total travel time, not stopover time.

And the out of pocket cost is low as well:

Upon our recent search for mid-January 2021, there we various options available depending on how long of a layover you would like in Hong Kong. You can spend up to 24 hours in Hong Kong without changing the price of the award.

There were plenty of dates with award space for two travelers as well:

Cathay Pacific business class for 2

This pricing works for any Cathay Pacific-serviced city in North America. For example, Los Angeles to Sydney is also 85,000 TYP per person:

Cathay Pacific is a transfer partner of Citi TYP as well as Amex MR and Capital One. You can thus transfer points from any or all of those programs to your Cathay Pacific AsiaMiles account in order to book.

K2 Top Tip: Do remember that transfers to airline and hotel partners are final! It will not be possible to transfer those points back into your Citi account, even in the event of cancellation. It is generally recommended to only transfer when you have an imminent plan in mind to use the points.

Cathay Pacific to Sydney, Australia – high value Citi TYP partner

If you would like a guiding hand or prefer to leave all the complexities to an expert, we are here to help at MileValue’s Award Booking Service. We know the routes, transfer rules, and all the little details to help you extract maximum value for your trip. Award travel can be booked as far out as 11 months ahead of time, so you can start planning your future vacation well in advance.  

Citi Travel Center

ThankYou Points can also be redeemed via the Citi Travel Center to booked travel. This works much like an online travel agency such as Expedia. You can search and book flights, rental cars, hotels, cruises and activities.

All cards which earn ThankYou Points can be used via the travel center. One ThankYou Point is worth one cent towards travel.

With the Citi Premier or the Citi Prestige, you can often achieve a better value by transferring to airline partners. But as we’ve noted before, always compare with the travel portal to see where the best deal can be found.

Airfares booked through the Citi Travel Portal are eligible to earn airline miles as with other travel portals like Chase and American Express. Include your frequent flyer number when booking or add it to the reservation afterwards.

Citi Premier card holders have until April 9, 2021 to use their TYP through the travel center at a value of 1.25 TYP to 1 cent. After that time, each ThankYou Point will be worth one cent. 

Spend Categories

Citi offers solid bonus categories. And if your spend does not fall into a specific bonus category, there are still choices to maximize your earnings.

The Citi Prestige is one of two Citi cards earning TYP which can be transferred to airline partners. It earns a massive five TYP per dollar spent on airfares and restaurants. The higher annual fee is offset by a $250 annual travel credit and other benefits.

The Citi card most often recommended for travelers is the Citi Premier. It earns three points per dollar spent on gas, airfares, hotels, restaurants and supermarkets.

The Citi® Double Cash Card is a cash back card which earns 2% cash back on every purchase. You can take the cash back, or convert it to ThankYou Points. Use those TYP through the travel portal where one TYP is worth one cent. Or there’s the incredible ability to transfer those TYP to airlines if you have the Citi Premier or the Citi Prestige. You can transfer your Double Cash TYP to one of those accounts in order to transfer to airline partners.

Read more: Double Cash Crowned King of Everyday Spending

K2 Top Tip: A downside of Citi cards is the lack of travel benefits and protections. Last year, Citi eliminated trip cancellation/interruption and lost baggage coverage as well as other similar benefits. That should be a consideration if purchasing airfares or travel with these cards.

Increased Spending Bonuses

Citi has joined other credit card programs in making a couple of COVID-19 appropriate updates.

For Citi Prestige card holders, grocery and restaurant purchases will now count towards the $250 travel credit through the end of this year. Those card holders can also earn 5 TYP per dollar spent on online retailer, grocery, and drugstore orders through August 21, 2020. Your bonus points max out after $1,500 of spending.

Changes to the Citi Premier card were originally slated to take effect in August 2020. Thanks to the current climate, those changes arrived June 2. The card now earns 3 TYP per dollar spent at restaurants and groceries stores. As Stephen Pepper at Frequent Miler reports, grocery spend even includes international grocery stores. That is great news, as most cards, such as the American Express Gold Card, offer such a bonus only at U.S. grocery stores. Though the Citi Premier is increasing two bonus categories, there are also benefits which will be rescinded.

Transfer TYP to other accounts

Unlike Chase and Amex, Citi allows you to transfer ThankYou Points to any other TYP account. It does not have to be a family member or authorized user. Do note – transferred points expire after 90 days. Be sure to transfer those points to an airline partner or use them via the Travel Center before they expire.

If you hold both the Citi Premier and the Citi Prestige, you can link the accounts in order to have access to all your ThankYou Points in one place. The easiest way to link accounts is to call 1-800-THANKYOU.

Airline-branded cards

Citi is a major issuer of American Airlines-branded credit cards, such as the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®. Do keep in mind such cards do not earn Thank You Points. Airline branded cards earn airline miles with their branded program; thus, Citi AA cards earn AA miles which are credited to your AA account after each credit card billing cycle. Check out our article which goes into more detail on airline-branded cards.

Final Approach

Citi is a big player in the credit cards rewards arena. The cards that earn ThankYou Points are fewer in number, but the combination of a Citi® Double Cash Card paired with the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige is one of the best 1-2 punches out there. Add to that 15 airline transfer partners and this program offers solid opportunities for earning and redeeming.

Have you made an airline or travel redemption using Citi Thank You Points? Please share in the comments below!

Cheers and transfer on.

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