Citi ThankYou points are a flexible, transferable points currency that can be redeemed for high-value travel rewards. While ThankYou points can be used to book travel within the Citi Travel Center or even used for shopping rewards, you’ll get the best value by making use of the Citi transfer partners.
If you’re new to miles and points, it’s important to understand who the Citi ThankYou transfer partners are and how to earn and use your Citi ThankYou points for maximum value. The more you learn, the better you’ll be able to redeem your points effectively.
In this guide, let’s start at the beginning.
Which credit card(s) do I need to earn and get access to the Citi ThankYou points transfer partners?
Citi offers a range of credit cards, but you must have one or more cards that earn ThankYou points and have access to the Citi airline transfer partners. These cards include:
- Citi ThankYou Premier
- Citi Prestige
- Citi Chairman
While the Citi ThankYou Premier and the Citi Prestige transfer partners are the same, the Citi ThankYou Preferred earns ThankYou points but only has access to JetBlue. Similarly, ThankYou points earned from a Citibank checking account do not have access to any Citi transfer partners.
Who are the Citi transfer partners?
There are 15 Citi ThankYou airline partners. Unfortunately, Citi ended its partnership with Hilton and now has no hotel transfer partners. Hopefully, this will change in the near future! The Citi airline partners are:
- Asia Miles
- Eva Air
- Flying Blue- Air France/KLM
- Jet Airways
- Malaysia Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- Thai Airways
- Turkish Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
What is the transfer ratio for Citi ThankYou points to their partner airlines?
All ThankYou points transfer to Citibank airline partners at a 1:1 ratio, except for JetBlue.
For JetBlue, ThankYou points transfer at a 1000:800 point ratio if you have the Citi ThankYou Premier or the Citi Prestige card(s). Citi ThankYou Preferred cardholders can transfer their ThankYou points to JetBlue at a 1000:500 point ratio.
Luckily, Citi has offered transfer bonuses in the past which have improved upon the JetBlue transfer ratio. Transfer bonuses for other airline partners like Etihad and Virgin Atlantic have also been offered.
These bonuses can be quite beneficial when combined with other promotional offers and award chart sweet spots, like during JetBlue fare sales.
How long does it take for Citi ThankYou points to transfer?
Ideally, all Citi ThankYou transfer partners would process point transfer requests instantly. However, this isn’t the case. Each Citi airline partner has its own length of time for transfers to go through and appear in your airline loyalty account.
According to Citi, transfers can take up to 2 weeks (14 days) to show up in your airline account. As anyone who has booked an award flight knows, a lot can happen in 2 weeks, including the award space you’d like to book disappearing.
Luckily, many Citi ThankYou point transfers take between 1-3 days, with some happening instantly. A couple of partners like Etihad and Thai Airways have reportedly been the outliers taking a longer period of time.
Please note, I have not tested every transfer partner’s processing time. The information above is compiled from my own experiences, data points on Flyertalk, and a consensus from miles and points blogs. These transfer times are not a guarantee and as always, your mileage may vary.
So, what happens if a transfer takes too long? How can you protect against stranding miles and points in airline accounts where the award space you need has disappeared?
- It never hurts to ask an airline to place the award you’d like to book on hold to allow for a points transfer to process. Not all airlines will do this, but some will.
- Always have a backup plan. Are you flexible in your dates, airport, and/or destination? Are there dates within a few days of your desired departure date with availability?
- Can the points be used for another trip you have in mind in the future?
Can I share my Citi ThankYou points with others?
You can transfer your Citi ThankYou points to the Citi accounts of family and friends. The caveat is any points transferred to another Citi account must be used within 90 days. For this reason, transfers to other Citi accounts must be backed up with a plan for immediate use or else the points will be lost.
Remember, to only transfer your points to another account which also has access to Citi ThankYou transfer partners.
And, keep in mind, you can only transfer Citi ThankYou points to your own airline loyalty accounts. Your name must match on both accounts. So, if a spouse needs more points to book an award flight, transfer the points to your spouse’s Citi ThankYou account. Then, she/he can proceed to transfer the points to one of the Citi travel partners.
How do I transfer points to Citibank partners?
Similar to transferring points to airline partners in other flexible point currencies like Amex Membership Rewards, you’ll need to select the transfer partner and enter your loyalty program membership details.
ThankYou points can be transferred in 1k point increments. It’s always important to check to see if the award availability you need is there before you transfer any ThankYou points. Transfers cannot be canceled or reversed.
You can transfer up to 500k ThankYou points per transfer to an airline. And, only Qantas and Virgin Atlantic limit transfers from Citi ThankYou points to 1 transfer per 24 hour period.
Why not just earn miles or points for the airline I want to use instead of earning ThankYou points?
Transferable points offer flexibility that miles and points of a single program don’t. American Airline miles are always American Airline miles. Yes, they can be used with their airline alliance partners, but they’ll always be subject to American Airlines availability, award chart, and booking rules. ThankYou points can be used across any of the 15 Citi ThankYou travel partners.
Flexible points currencies like Citi ThankYou points or Chase Ultimate Rewards also offer a reasonable amount of protection against any one airline or hotel devaluing its loyalty program. For example, if Singapore Airlines devalues its mileage currency, you can choose to transfer your ThankYou points to a different airline partner. Your Citi ThankYou points retain their value and avoid the newly devalued airline loyalty program.
Who are the best Citi ThankYou transfer partners?
Citi ThankYou points may not be as sought after as SPG points, but there are plenty of incredible options for booking award travel.
The ideas below are just a couple of examples of what’s possible. The more you learn, the more skilled you’ll become at maximizing your Citi ThankYou points and getting the most from each airline transfer partner.
Avianca LifeMiles can be a cheaper way to book Star Alliance award flights and help you save other flexible points currencies for future redemptions. For anyone over 5/24, Avianca can also help with Star Alliance bookings if Ultimate Rewards points are dwindling.
Virgin Atlantic is notorious for their high taxes and fees. However, there are still gems to be found in their award charts. One-way economy award flights to Europe from several east coast cities can be booked for 10k Citi ThankYou points + taxes and fees. While Virgin Atlantic’s premium redemptions on partner ANA offer amazing value, especially when timed with a transfer bonus.
It’s also worth noting, in addition to the value that each program offers, Singapore Airlines and Flying Blue (Air France/KLM) are transfer partners for all 4 flexible points currencies. If you’re low on Chase UR points, Amex MR points, or SPG points, you could transfer Citi ThankYou points to these airline loyalty programs to add to your overall mileage balance.
So, which Citi ThankYou transfer partner would you like to use?
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