The 5 Best Citi ThankYou Transfer Partners Are…

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The 5 Best Citi ThankYou Transfer Partners Are…


This site is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such asCardRatings.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. What is written in the article is the editor’s opinion.

Citi ThankYou points are easier than ever to earn.

I plan to put airfare and dining on my Citi Prestige to earn5X pointsper $1 spent, and use my Citi AT&T Access More card (not open to new applicants) to get 3X pointsfor online shopping. Between these 2 cards, I’ll be flush with Citi ThankYou points this year.

And peeps with the Citi Premier can earn3X pointson all travel, including gas, and 2X points on dining.

In that light, I’m giving thought toCiti’s 15 airline transfer partners. But in my eyes,a solid 2/3 of them are total caca.

That meansonly 5 are worthwhile.

Citi ThankYou Transfer Partners

Man, I gotta get back to Hawaii this year. You can use Flying Blue or Singapore miles to get there cheap!

Let’s take a looky loo, shall we?

The 5 Best Citi ThankYou Transfer Partners

Currently, you can transfer Citi ThankYou points to 15 airline loyalty programs:

  • Avianca
  • Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific)
  • EVA Air
  • Etihad Guest
  • Flying Blue (Air France / KLM)
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Jet Airways
  • JetBlue
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Thai Airways
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

Citi ThankYou points transfer at a1:1 ratioto all of their partners.   All transfers must be in 1,000-point increments.

Here are the 5 most valuable – and creative uses.

1. Avianca

To start, there areneverfuel surcharges when you redeem Avianca miles, which is awesome. That alone can save you $100s.

Plus, you can book most Star Alliance partners online. Note you’ll pay$25every time you book an award. That said, there are no close-in booking fees, so depending when you book, it could work in your favor.

Pricing can be wonky. You might pay more – or less – depending what directionyou’re flying. Seriously.

Good deals with Avianca miles include:

  • 87,000 milestoEuropein Lufthansa First Class
  • 63,000 milesfor Business Class toEuropeon LOT, SAS, SWISS, TAP, Turkish Airlines, or United Polaris
  • 25,000 mileswithin theUS(including transcon) in United Business Class
  • 40,000 or 50,000 milesto fly coach to Asia/Australia/New Zealand, or within Asia – sometimes in Business Class!

I loved flying SWISS Business Class from JFK to Zurich

Any time I want to fly on a Star Alliance partner, I check the Avianca site to see how much they’re charging. The deals to Europe alone are just too good.

They also havefunky zone pricingwithin the US. For example, it’s only7,500 Avianca milesto fly United one-way in coach from Texas to Montana. Or10,000 Avianca milesfrom Michigan, New York, or Ohio, to anywhere in Florida. Compare that to the12,500 milesUnited would charge you.

You can also transfer 1:1 from Amex Membership Rewards, so it’s easy to pool your points if you need more. Plus, transfers are usuallyinstant.

2. Etihad Guest

While transfers are slow, and usefulness is limited by availability, there are a couple of gems worth mentioning.

For one, you can fly from Brussels to most of Europe (or to there) for5,000 or 7,000 Etihad mileseach way in coach on Brussels Airlines.

If you find yourself in Brussels, this is an easy way to give yourself more options, like taking the train from Paris or Amsterdam, for example (which is exactly what I did). Plus, Belgium is so cute – take a day trip to Bruges!

Etihad’s Brussels Airlines award chart – I flew Prague to Brussels

Another thing that amazes me is Etihad partners with American, andstill uses their old award chartbefore the last big devaluation. It’s all still there:

  • 50,000 milesin Business Class toJapan or South Korea
  • 20,000 milesin coach toSouth America
  • 17,500 milesoff-peak in coach toHawaii(and only 37,500 miles for Business Class!)
  • 20,000 milesoff-peak in coach toEurope
  • And all the rest!

The issue is, of course,AA’s award space. Well, that and slow transfers to Etihad, which can takeabout a week.

While I wouldn’t hold Etihad miles speculatively, it might be worth keeping a stash in case you find that perfect award. I was able to book over the phone with no problem.

And Etihad miles expireafter 2 yearsfrom the date you transfer them. So that’s a while, but you might not feel comfy having Etihad miles sitting around unused for too long.

Of course, you can also use them for flights on Etihad. Oddly enough, it’s better to redeem American miles for Etihad flights, and Etihad miles for American flights.

I mention this one because I’ve had luck with it in the past – maybe you will, too.

Amex Membership Rewards points also transfer to Etihad, in case you need more.

3. Flying Blue

This one’s worth mentioning even though Flying Blue doesn’t have an official award chart because transfers areinstant.

So if a flight is super expensive with Delta miles, you can check here instead. And if it works, book it right away.

For example, a one-way coach flight from Atlanta to Paris is at least37,000 Delta miles:

And they all have connex

Or you could pay29,000 Flying Blue milesinstead:

You’ll pay ~$67 for fuel surcharges, but fewer miles

Plus, they havenonstopoptions.

Any time I want to see about Delta or a SkyTeam partner flight, I peek on Air France prices. Sometimes they’re reasonable. And the monthly Promo Awards are a steal if they work with your schedule.

I’ve actually been meaning to book a Promo Award to Tel Aviv. The second it works, I’m gonna pull the trigger.

Again, limited uses, but when it works, it’s great.

You can transfer Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Flying Blue as well.

4. Qantas

This one’s a hidden gemthanks to distance-based award prices.

Round-trip coach flights under 600 miles on American Airlines (and Qantas) are only16,000 Qantas mileseven if you have to connect. Yes, you’ll pay 15,000 American miles for round-trip domestic coach flights under 500 miles – but American miles are harder to earn.

Save them and use your Citi ThankYou points instead! This also works for near-international flights, like to Mexico or the Caribbean.

Sweet spot! Although the whole chart is reasonable, IMO

I recently flew from Austin to Oklahoma City with a connection in Dallas for8,000 Qantas milesone-way. The flights were otherwise $500+. That would’ve been 15,000 British Airways Avios points (because of the connex) or 7,500 American miles.

The only drawback istransfers can take 2 or 3 days. But if you want to fly on American and don’t want to use British Airways Avios points or American miles, this is an excellent option.

The same pricing works on Qantas flights too, in case you wanna “hop” around Australia. (That was a veiled kangaroo joke, forgive me.)

I had a great experience flying Fiji Airways to Nadi, Fiji

It also works for flights onEmirates and Fiji Airways– in case you want to stop in Fiji on your way back home, or fly Emirates for cheap.

5. Singapore Airlines

If you wanna save your United miles, you can use Singapore miles topay the same priceswithin the mainland US – and get nice discounts on United flights to Hawaii.

Singapore also partners with Alaska, which unlockseven more ways to get to Hawaii(or around the US), and is zone-based. Remember, Alaska also flies toMexico and Central America.

Singapore chargesper segmentfor Alaska flights, sononstops are best. But if a paid flight is expensive, this is an easy way to save.

Of course, you can also use Singapore miles to fly in Singapore Airlines’ magnificent First Class cabin.

Transfers from Citi ThankYou take~1 dayto get to your Singapore account. And if you need more Singapore miles, you can transfer points in from Amex Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards.

What about the 10 other transfer partners?

Here’s my brief take on why I avoid them:

  • Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific) – distance-based, super inflated prices
  • EVA Air – they charge a ridiculous amount of miles to go literally anywhere
  • Garuda Indonesia – inflated
  • Jet Airways – ditto
  • JetBlue – could be useful for expensive flights, like Mint Business Class, but there’s only one JetBlue flight from Dallas, and it’s to Boston. Plus, points have a set value
  • Malaysia Airlines – inflated
  • Qatar Airways – ridiculously high prices, omg
  • Thai Airways – inflated
  • Turkish Airlines – have to book award flights in person, no thanks
  • Virgin Atlantic – fuel surcharges aren’t cute, but some good deals to the UK

Bottom line

The

Top 5 Citi ThankYou transfer partners

are:

  • Avianca– cheap prices to Europe in Business Class, and around the US (depending on zone)
  • Etihad – great deals on Brussels Airlines and American flights, if you can find award space
  • Flying Blue– save on Delta flights, use Promo Awards for cheap flights to Europe
  • Qantas– hidden gem for short flights on American, easy to hop around Australia
  • Singapore– save your United or Alaska miles, or fly in Singapore First Class

The others all have crazy pricing, fuel surcharges, or super niche uses.

And admittedly, the Top 5 have limited uses, too – just not as limited. I’ve personally booked 4/5 of these picks, and have never messed with the ones I excluded. So if I overlooked something great,please share any tidbits of information!

In general, I consider Citi ThankYou points to be 3rd place among the 3 main transferable points programs (1st is Chase Ultimate Rewards, 2nd is Amex Membership Rewards). But there are great deals in there.

I’ll be paying more attention now that Citi Prestige earns5X on airfare and dining. I slipped it into my wallet this week and am sure I’ll give it a workout – and rack up the Citi ThankYou points like never before.

I also just used the 4th night free perk to save$430on an upcoming hotel stay, which nearly covers the card’s entire annual fee. But more on that later.

Do you agree with my Top 5 ranking?

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