If you've been paying attention to credit card rewards programs, you probably think Citi ThankYou Points are kind of a joke. Once a great program, ThankYou points were devalued over and over until the same points that once could sometimes get you across an ocean were all but useless. Until today.
The news broke earlier this week that Citi has finally figured out that long promised airline transfer, adding eight new air and hotel loyalty programs to its (previously light) portfolio - and each of those programs has a whole host of airline partners that they work with. We tallied the numbers and discovered that through those eight programs you now have access to reward seats on 84 different airlines!
We've put together this list so that you can see, at a glance, which program suits you best as an air traveler. Most, if not all, also partner with a whole slew of hotels, but we're focusing on the airlines for this post.
Citi ThankYou Points can be transferred 1:1 in 1,000 point increments to the following loyalty programs:
You can use your Citi ThankYou points to book travel on one of Asia Miles' 25 partner airlines:
EVA Air is a member of the Star Alliance, which opens up travel on all 27 Star Alliance member airlines when booking through EVA:
In addition to air travel, Etihad Guest rewards can be used for hotels, car rentals and more.
Exchange your Citi ThankYou Points for GarudaMiles to book travel through Garuda Indonesia on any of 20 partner airlines:
In addition to being part of the Oneworld Alliance, Qatar Airways partners with a handful of other airlines as well. You can also book car rentals and hotels with Qmiles. Of all of the new transfer options, Qatar Airways probably offers access to the best selection of major hotel chains - collecting and using Qmiles for hotel stays means you don't have to be loyal to any particular hotel brand. A few that caught our eye are Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, Wyndham and Radisson Blu.
Oneworld Alliance Airlines:
Other airline partners:
Singapore Airlines is part of the Star Alliance, which means that rewards members here have access to the same airlines as the EVA program, outlined above, plus partner airline SilkAir. Booking with KrisFlyer Miles nets an additional bonus of a 15% miles discount for online bookings. Perhaps the most appealing reason to transfer Citi ThankYou Points to Singapore Airlines, however, is the ability to fly on United to Europe and Hawaii. The only downside to Singapore Airlines is the fuel surcharge imposed on routes outside of the U.S. and South America.
It's also worth noting that Singapore Airlines also partners with Chase Sapphire Preferred, Amex Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programs, so you can funnel points from multiple sources to your KrisFlyer account, making it easier to rack up rewards quickly here.
In addition to the same Star Alliance airlines mentioned above under EVA, members have access to a number of attractive hotel options including Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental, Starwood and many others), plus a handful of car rental services.
Enrich is probably not the most popular program right now given Malaysia's recent run of tragedies, but you can book via Malaysia Airlines on a handful of partners that aren't currently making international news.
You can earn Citi ThankYou Points with Citi ThankYou Premier, Citi Prestige, and Citi Chairman (now Citi Prestige) credit cards, and as with most programs there are a few caveats. Points earned via checking accounts can't be transferred, points must be transferred to your own accounts (no giving them away to someone else!), and transfers can take up to 2 weeks to hit your accounts.
We still like Chase Ultimate Rewards a lot, and Starwood Starpoints' 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred is always going to be really tough to beat, but for those of you sitting on a fat stack of ThankYou Points, this development finally makes it worthwhile to cash them out.
What do you think of Citi's new ThankYou Points transfer partners?