Credit Cards That Earn Citi ThankYou Points (and Now Transfer to Flying Blue and 8 Other Airlines!)

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I’ve written you can now transfer Citi ThankYou points to airline partners (as well as Hilton hotels).

Citi has just added Flying Blue (the frequent flyer program for Air France and KLM) as a transfer partner, which is great news for folks who like to book Flying Blue Promo Awards or use their miles on Delta (1 of their SkyTeam partners).

So now that there are even more options for transferring points to airlines, do you know which credit cards earn Citi ThankYou points?

There are a number of Citi credit cards that earn ThankYou points, but only 3 earn points that can be transferred directly to airline and hotel partners.

I’ll show you the 3 Citi cards that enable you to combine the ThankYou points you’ve earned with ALL your cards.  And then allow you to transfer your points to partner airlines.

Credit Cards That Earn Citi ThankYou Points And Now Transfer To Flying Blue And 8 Other Airlines

You Can Now Transfer Citi ThankYou Points to Airline Partners, Including Newest Partner Flying Blue, but Only Some Cards Qualify

Which Cards Allow You to Directly Transfer Points?

Link:   Citi ThankYou Points

You can only transfer points earned from the Citi ThankYou PremierCiti Prestige, and Citi Chairman cards directly to airline partners.

Note:   The Citi Chairman card is no longer available, but existing cardholders can still transfer points.

If you have 1 of these cards, you can transfer points from other ThankYou points earning cards (like the Citi ThankYou Preferred, Citi ThankYou Preferred for College Students, or CitiBusiness ThankYou card) to your Citi Prestige, Citi Premier, or Citi Chairman account.  And then transfer them to airline and hotel partners!

Only Points Earned From the ThankYou Premier and ThankYou Prestige Cards (and the Citi Chairman Card, Which Is No Longer Available) Can Be Transferred to Airline Partners

1.   Citi ThankYou Premier

Link:   Citi ThankYou Premier

Link:   My Review of the Citi ThankYou Premier

With the Citi ThankYou Premier card you can earn 50,000 bonus Citi ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.  (EXPIRED.)  That’s worth $625 for airfare or $500 in gift cards.

There is an annual fee of $95 that is waived for the 1st year.

With this card, you get:

  • 3 Citi ThankYou points per $1 you spend on travel including gas
  • 2 Citi ThankYou points per $1 you spend on dining and entertainment
  • No foreign transaction fees

I like the 2 points per $1 on entertainment, because according to Citi, that includes:

  • Live sporting events and sports stadiums
  • Live theatrical productions, concerts, ticketing agencies
  • Zoos, circuses, aquariums, carnivals, amusement parks
  • Establishments that sell CDs and related items, including online record stores (I wonder if that includes Amazon.com?)
  • Merchants that rent DVDs or games and related equipment for consumer use including online video rentals
Credit Cards That Earn Citi ThankYou Points And Now Transfer To Flying Blue And 8 Other Airlines

You Get 2 Points per $1 Your Spend on Live Theatrical Productions

There are a lot of great opportunities to earn 2X points!

The 50,000 point sign-up bonus is worth $625 in airfare if you book tickets through the Citi ThankYou travel portal, because each point is worth 1.25 cents.

And Citi ThankYou points are worth potentially more now if you transfer them to airline partners!

2.   Citi Prestige

Link:   Citi Prestige

The Citi Prestige is Citi’s premium ThankYou points earning card.  You’ll get 50,000 Citi ThankYou points after you spend $3,000 in the 1st 3 months of opening your account.  (EXPIRED.)  But there’s a $450 annual fee that’s NOT waived for the 1st year.

There are no foreign currency fees.

Citi is in the process of changing the terms and conditions on this card, so some perks will change effective October 19, 2014.

Until October 18, 2014, you get:

  • 2 points per $1 you spend at restaurants
  • 1 point per $1 you spend on everything else
  • 1 point per mile flown when airline tickets are purchased with the card
  • $200 statement credit for airline incidental fees (only certain airlines qualify)
  • $100 statement credit for Global Entry application fee
  • Access to American Airlines Admirals Club lounges for primary cardholder, immediate family, or 2 guests, as long as you’re flying on American Airlines or American Eagle that day
  • Access to Airport Angel lounges
  • 5% to 30% of your earned ThankYou points paid back to you at the end of your membership year (the percentage depends on the amount you spent and whether or not you have other accounts with Citi)
  • 1 coach class Companion ticket (1-way or round-trip, must originate in the US) each year, as long as the booking is made through Citi’s travel agency, Spirit Incentives
  • 15% discount on airline ticket base fare (when tickets are booked through Citi’s travel agency)
  • Up to a 25% discount on International First Class or Business Class tickets (until December 31, 2014)
  • A complimentary 4th night, twice per year, when you book 4 consecutive nights at any MasterCard World Elite Luxury Hotel and Resort (but it must be booked through Citi Prestige Concierge and paid for in full with your card)
Credit Cards That Earn Citi ThankYou Points And Now Transfer To Flying Blue And 8 Other Airlines

Get the 4th Night of Your Stay Free at Luxury Hotels

From October 19, 2014, onward, you get:

  • 3 points per $1 you spend at airlines, hotels, and travel agencies
  • 2 points per $1 you spend on restaurants and entertainment
  • $250 statement credit for air travel each calendar year (includes airfare, baggage fees, lounge access, and some inflight purchases made directly from airlines)
  • $100 statement credit for Global Entry application fee
  • Access to American Airlines Admirals Club lounges for primary cardholder, immediate family, or 2 guests, as long as you’re flying on American Airlines or American Eagle that day through July 23, 2017
  • Access to Priority Pass airport lounges
  • 15% to 25% of your earned ThankYou points paid back to you at the end of your membership year (only if you have other accounts with Citi, and the percentage depends on the types of accounts)
  • A complimentary 4th night when you book 4 consecutive nights at any hotel (but it must be booked through Citi Prestige Concierge and paid for in full with your card)
  • Up to a 25% discount on International First Class or Business Class tickets (until December 31, 2014)

Phew!  I’m tired just writing that!  😉

So to summarize, after October 19, 2014, cardholders will lose:

  • Access to Airport Angel lounges
  • The points rebate at the end of the year (unless you have other accounts with Citi)
  • The 15% discount on airline tickets
  • The coach class companion ticket

But they’ll gain:

  • More bonus spending categories (3X points at airlines, hotels, and travel agencies; 2X points on entertainment)
  • An extra $50 in statement credits (increases to $250 from $200)
  • Access to Priority Pass lounges
  • A 4th night free at ANY hotel on a minimum 4-night stay (not just MasterCard World Elite Luxury Resorts)

I think the card will be a better deal after October 19, 2014.  The extra statement credit, 4th free night at any hotel, Priority Pass lounge access (they have more lounges than Airport Angel), and more bonus spending options are a great improvement.

There are other perks to the card as well, like concierge services, golf programs, and luxury hotel perks.  You can read all about them in the terms and conditions.

Because of the travel and Global Entry fee statement credits, this is really a card with an annual fee of $100 to $150 (depending on when you get the card, because the travel statement credit is increasing after October 19, 2014).  Plus, you get airport lounge access.  That’s a great deal.

If you have the Citi Prestige card, your ThankYou points are worth more.  When you redeem for travel through the Citi ThankYou Travel portal, you’ll get:

  • 1 cent per point when redeeming for hotel stays
  • 1.6 cents per point when redeeming for flights on American Airlines through July 23, 2017
  • 1.33 cents per point when redeeming for airfare on any other airline through July 23, 2017

So the 30,000 point sign-up bonus is worth $480 in American Airlines or US Airways tickets, $400 in other airline tickets, or $300 in hotel stays.  Plus you still have the option of transferring points to airline and hotel partners.

Which Airlines Can You Transfer Points To?

Link:   Citi ThankYou Points Airline Transfer Partners

Citi has added 9 airlines as transfer partners, including the latest addition, Flying BlueAll 3 major airline alliances are included:

 Citi ThankYou Points Airline Transfer Partners 
Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific)EVA AirEtihad
Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)Garuda Indonesia Malaysia Airlines
QantasQatar AirwaysSingapore Airlines
Thai AirwaysVirgin AmericaVirgin Atlantic
Credit Cards That Earn Citi ThankYou Points And Now Transfer To Flying Blue And 8 Other Airlines

You Can Transfer ThankYou Points to Singapore Airlines and Other Airline Partners

Citi ThankYou points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to all their airlines.  To make a transfer, log into your account on the ThankYou website or call 800-842-6596.  According to Citi’s ThankYou points FAQ:

  • Points must be transferred in increments of 1,000 points
  • You can only transfer points to your own frequent flyer account (names have to match)
  • There’s no fee to transfer points
  • It can take up to 14 days for points to post to your frequent flyer account, but they’ll deduct the points from your ThankYou account immediately
  • Not all ThankYou points can be transferred (even if you have an eligible card).  For example, points earned from a Citi checking account or for opening a new account can’t be used.

Here are the full terms and conditions of the ThankYou program.

For most folks, Singapore Airlines is probably the most useful transfer partner.  That’s because there are good deals using Singapore Airlines miles to fly on United Airlines to Hawaii, or flying Singapore Airlines from the US to Europe.

But with the addition of Flying Blue, some folks may want to use their points to book Flying Blue Promo Awards, which are discounted award tickets to destinations that change every month.

And you can use Flying Blue miles to book 1-way award tickets on Delta (which Delta currently won’t allow using their own miles until 2015).

Note:   Malaysia Airlines no longer appears on Citi’s transfer partner webpage, but their FAQ still lists them as a transfer partner.  I’m not sure if this is a temporary or permanent change.

Are ThankYou Points a Good Deal?

Maybe.  Folks who already have a lot of ThankYou points or want to have another option for transferring bank points to airlines will be happy with this change.

And even without transferring to airlines, you can still get 1.25 to 1.6 cents per point if you redeem for airfare, which is a good deal!

But if you already collect Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards points, this probably won’t be as interesting to you.  That’s because you can transfer those points to airlines in all 3 alliances, and there are many more North American and European airlines included in those programs.

Credit Cards That Earn Citi ThankYou Points And Now Transfer To Flying Blue And 8 Other Airlines

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Transfer to US and European Airlines

Most folks in the US don’t fly often on the Citi ThankYou airline partners (which are all based in Asia or the Middle East, except Flying Blue airlines Air France and KLM).  That said, once you transfer ThankYou points to an airline, you can use those points for award tickets on any airline within their alliance.

For example, you can transfer points to Singapore Airlines, then use them for United Airlines award tickets (because they’re both part of Star Alliance).  While Singapore Airlines adds fuel surcharges to their own award tickets, they do NOT add them to domestic United Airlines tickets.  You could get:

  • A round-trip, coach class ticket within North America for 25,000 miles
  • A round-trip, Business Class ticket within North America for 40,000 miles
  • A round-trip, coach class ticket from North America to Hawaii for 35,000 miles
  • A round-trip, Business Class ticket from North America to Hawaii for 60,000 miles

Chase Ultimate Rewards points and American Express Membership Rewards points also transfer to Singapore Airlines, so if you collect those points you’ve already got this option.

However, even if you already have Chase Ultimate Rewards points and American Express points, the sign-up bonus for the Citi ThankYou Premier card may still interest you.

That’s because with the Citi ThankYou Premier, after you spend $2,000 in the 1st 3 months, you’ll have 22,000 Citi points (20,000 bonus points + 2,000 from spending $2,000).  So you’ll be just 3,000 points shy of a free round-trip ticket to anywhere in the US and Canada.

And for your 1st year with the card, the annual fee is waived.

Bottom Line

You can now transfer Citi ThankYou points to airline partners, including their newest partner, Flying Blue (Air France and KLM’s frequent flyer program).  All 3 major airline alliances are represented.

You can only transfer points earned from the Citi ThankYou Premier, Citi Prestige, or Citi Chairman cards.  But if you have 1 of these cards, you can transfer points to your account from other ThankYou point earning cards (like the Citi ThankYou Preferred), then transfer to airline partners.

All airline transfers are at a 1:1 ratio and there’s no fee, but it can take up to 14 days for points to post to your frequent flyer account.

Chase Ultimate Rewards points and American Express Membership Rewards points generally have better transfer options.  But it’s nice to have a new program in the world of Big Travel with Small Money!

Do you collect Citi ThankYou points?  Which credit cards and airline transfer partners are most interesting to you?

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10 responses to “Credit Cards That Earn Citi ThankYou Points (and Now Transfer to Flying Blue and 8 Other Airlines!)

  1. Matthew Riggieri

    Hey Darius

    I had gotten the Thank You preferred card years ago, and have kept it since it has no annual fee. I applied for the Premier card so I can transfer points to singapore air. Can i transfer points from the Preferred to the Premier card?

  2. I still have the no-longer-available Citi Forward card that gets 5x ThankYou points on dining, books stores, and entertainment. (Who knows how much longer Citi will let us keep this one!) I purchased a Kindle book on Amazon a few days ago and it was categorized as “Record Store” and got the bonus. Generally in the last 6 months, all purchases at Amazon have either been categorized as “Book Store” and got the bonus or “Computer Svcs” and did not get the bonus. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to what it shows up as, regardless of whether it is a direct purchase with Amazon or with an Amazon Merchant, and regardless of what items are actually purchased. Until Q4 when the Chase Freedom card specifically lists Amazon as a 5% category, it’s worth it to me to keep using the Forward at Amazon on the chance I get the bonus. I’d say it happens more often than not. Also, in the past I have seen iTunes purchases listed as “Record Store” and got the bonus there, too. Love your blog!

  3. Are there any Chase or Amex cards that provide bonus points for entertainment? At 3x points, our baseball and theater season tickets, local concerts, and Broadway trips make Thank You Premier a fantastic card for us to have even though we are in the UR & MR world already.

    Is there something I missed to make entertainment costs more lucrative through one of the other programs?

  4. Daraius, any thoughts on the prestige vs the AA Executive card? Both have hefty $450 fees and both offer Admirals Club access. I picked up the Executive during that 100k bonus and looking at options when my yearly fee comes due.

  5. I recently transferred a heap of TY points to Singapore KrisFlyer miles to top off for a 1st Class Suites award from LAX-SIN early next year (I’m SO excited to finally get to visit S.E. Asia & experience Intl. 1st class in the process!). I have about 20K TY left, but want to close my TY Premier acct. this year. Since I’ll be in S.E. Asia, and as @Daraius points out the TY transfer partners are almost all Asian or Mid-East, does anyone have any suggestions on the best selection to transfer the rest to in order to hit a sweet spot on an award chart for intra-Asian travel, or more helpfully for my return from there to the USA? I’d like if possible to return via at least Business class, and had been thinking Cathay Pacific if it was within reach in terms of points (Probably HKG-SFO). But I’m wide open & very flexible during my trip and when & how I return. P.S. I also have about 25K AmEx MR left, and have around 50K SPG and 150K or so Chase UR.

    • @Matthew Riggieri – That should be possible.

      @ Less Antman – You could potentially get 1.5X points with the AMEX EveryDay Preferred

      @Steve | Live Smart Not Hard – I don’t like the Prestige card (at least not until it has a higher sign-up bonus).

      @ Scott – You could try flying on Singapore Air again (perhaps in biz).

  6. Hi Darius! I have the Citi Preferred and my wife has the Premier card. Can I transfer my Preferred points to her and can she then use them to transfer to one of the Airlines or Hotels? Thanks!

  7. Pingback: Best of Million Mile Secrets - August 2014 | Million Mile Secrets

  8. Darius, if I get the Citi Thankyou Premier card and has Thankyou points accumulated from CitiForward and AT&T Universal Card (they both have 5 points earning category and no annual fee), will I be able to transfer points earned from those 2 cards? Thanks.