The last holdout of the major banks has finally joined the ranks of Chase and American Express in having airline partners – Citibank. While this is a good sign and great for people with a lot of ThankYou points, it is still not as program-friendly as Chase and Amex are.
Citi ThankYou Points Add Airline Partners
A few days ago, Citi made the announcement that they had added airline programs to their Points Transfer program. Here are the programs that have been added:
- Cathay Pacific (Oneworld Alliance)
- EVA Air (Star Alliance)
- Garuda Indonesia (Skyteam Alliance)
- Malaysia Airlines (Oneworld Alliance)
- Qatar Airways (Oneworld Alliance)
- Singapore Airlines (Star Alliance)
- Thai Airways (Star Alliance)
It is great to see them add so many partners added at once, but there is really one great standout – Singapore Airlines. With the addition to the ThankYou Points Transfer program, they have become the number one program for the most transfer partners with American Express (Membership Rewards), Chase (Ultimate Rewards), Starwood Preferred Guest, and now Citi ThankYou points.
The other programs have some nice offerings and sweet spots, but you will be dealing with some heavily devalued charts (Thai) and/or surcharges for some. Since each of those airlines can be booked using miles from US airline programs, it may be the most beneficial to go that route. Still, it is nice to have the option and hopefully, signals more airlines that will join in.
To transfer your ThankYou points, there are some things to know. First, only cardholders of the Citi ThankYou Premier, Citi Prestige, and Citi Chairman cards are eligible for Points Transfer. These points can be transferred to the various airline programs at a 1:1 ratio but must be transferred in 1,000 increments.
To transfer the points, go to the ThankYou website. There is no fee for these transfer partners (Citi says “currently there is no fee”). I do not know if Citi is just covering their bases in case they decide to add fees later on. Or, they may be adding a US-based airline program and instituting a fee similar to the American Express excise fee for US-based programs.
Also, Citi says that transfers can take up to 14 days to appear in accounts. That is much longer than either Chase or American Express and it is hopefully much shorter in real life.
To see more about the details surrounding the Points Transfer program, click here.
Getting ThankYou Points
The Citi ThankYou Premier currently has an offer of 50,000 ThankYou points, but it is a convuluted bonus structure where you receive 20,000 after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months and an additional 30,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months of your second cardmember year. That means that you will need to pay the (hefty) annual fee to get 60% of the sign-up bonus – $125.
Application Link – Citi ThankYou Premier – 50,000 ThankYou points (I do not receive a commission)