New Partner: Is It Worth Transferring Citi ThankYou Points to JetBlue?

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There’s a new Citi ThankYou airline transfer partner!  Effective immediately, you can transfer Citi ThankYou points to JetBlue.

The transfer ratio you’ll get depends on which Citi cards you have.  You’ll get a better deal if you have the Citi Prestige, Citi ThankYou Premier, or Citi Chairman (no longer offered) card.

This is also the first time Citi’s allowed folks who only hold no-annual-fee Citi ThankYou cards, like the Citi ThankYou Preferred and Citi Forward, to transfer their points to a travel partner.  But the transfer ratio is less favorable.

Thanks to Twitter user IAD Gr8 for tweeting us about the news!

New Partner Is It Worth Transferring Citi ThankYou Points To JetBlue

Starting Now, You Can Transfer Citi ThankYou Points to JetBlue

I’ll explain the changes and help you decide if it’s worth transferring Citi ThankYou points to JetBlue (hint:  it’s usually NOT).

Transfer Citi ThankYou Points to JetBlue

Link:   Citi ThankYou

Link:   New Citi ThankYou Points Transfer FAQ

JetBlue is Citi ThankYou’s newest transfer partner!  Starting now, you can transfer Citi ThankYou Points to JetBlue when you have certain cards.

1.   Citi Prestige, Citi ThankYou Premier, Citi Chairman

If you’re a Citi Prestige, Citi ThankYou Premier, or Citi Chairman (no longer offered) cardholder, you can transfer Citi ThankYou points to JetBlue at a ratio of 5:4.

Transfers must be in 1,000 point increments, so for every 1,000 Citi ThankYou points you move, you’ll get 800 JetBlue points.

That’s the same ratio you’ll get if you transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to JetBlue.  Although occasionally there are transfer bonuses.

2.   Citi ThankYou Preferred and Citi Forward

Folks with the Citi ThankYou Preferred and Citi Forward (no longer offered) cards can also transfer points to JetBlue.  This is the only travel partner you can transfer points to unless you have one of the cards mentioned in the previous section.

But the transfer ratio is NOT as good.  For every 1,000 Citi ThankYou points you transfer, you’ll earn 500 JetBlue points, or a 2:1 ratio.

That’s not a very good deal, but it opens up a different option for no-annual-fee Citi ThankYou cardholders to use their Citi ThankYou points.

Is It Worth Transferring Citi ThankYou Points to JetBlue?

It’s usually NOT worth transferring Citi ThankYou Points to JetBlue.

JetBlue has a revenue based frequent flyer program, which means the number of points required for an award flight depends on the cash price of a ticket.

JetBlue points are usually worth ~1.4 cents each towards a flight, but this number can vary slightly depending on the route.

If you transferred 1,000 Citi ThankYou points to JetBlue, depending on the cards you have, you’d get:

  • 800 JetBlue points (with premium Citi ThankYou cards) = ~$11 in JetBlue flights
  • 500 JetBlue points (with no-annual-free Citi ThankYou cards) = ~$7 in JetBlue flights

This could be a good deal for folks with no-annual-fee cards, because they do NOT have the option to use Citi ThankYou points to book paid travel at an improved rate.  And JetBlue is their only airline transfer option at this time.

1.   Citi Prestige Cardholders

However, if you hold the Citi Prestige card, you can book paid flights (including JetBlue) through the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal at a rate of 1.33 cents per point (until July 23, 2017, then 1.25 cents per point).

So 1,000 Citi ThankYou points are worth ~$13 toward JetBlue flights if you have the Citi Prestige card.  That’s a better value than transferring those points to JetBlue, because you’ll lose 20% of your points in the 5:4 transfer.

2.   Citi ThankYou Premier

Citi ThankYou Premier cardholders get a rate of 1.25 cents per point towards paid flights.  So 1,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points are also worth ~$13 in JetBlue flights.

Again, you’d be better off using your Citi ThankYou points to book paid flights directly through the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal.

Plus, with either card, you’ll earn frequent flyer miles for your flight.  On JetBlue award flights, you won’t earn anything.

Example:   New York to Buffalo

I searched for a one-way flight between New York (JFK) and Buffalo on April 1, 2017.

1.   Book With JetBlue Points

If you paid cash, JetBlue would charge you ~$64.

New Partner Is It Worth Transferring Citi ThankYou Points To JetBlue

A One-Way Flight From New York (JFK) to Buffalo Costs ~$64

If you used JetBlue points for an award ticket, you’d pay 3,700 JetBlue points plus ~$6.

New Partner Is It Worth Transferring Citi ThankYou Points To JetBlue

If You Booked the Same Trip as an Award Flight, You’d Pay 3,700 JetBlue Points + ~$6

If you transferred Citi ThankYou points to JetBlue for this ticket, you’d need 4,625 Citi ThankYou points (3,700 JetBlue points / 0.8 transfer ratio).

Note that you must transfer in 1,000 point increments, so if you don’t already have JetBlue points in your account, you’d have to transfer 5,000 Citi ThankYou points.

2.   Book Through Citi ThankYou Travel Portal

If you have the Citi Prestige, your Citi ThankYou points are currently (until July 23, 2017) worth 1.33 cents each toward paid airfare.

The same flight between New York (JFK) and Buffalo costs 4,744 Citi ThankYou points including taxes and fees.

New Partner Is It Worth Transferring Citi ThankYou Points To JetBlue

Booking the Same Flight Through the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal Costs 4,744 Citi ThankYou Points Including Tax

You’d pay 5,048 Citi ThankYou points including tax for the same flight if you’re a Citi ThankYou Premier cardholder.  Because your points are worth 1.25 cents each toward paid travel.

New Partner Is It Worth Transferring Citi ThankYou Points To JetBlue

Citi ThankYou Premier Cardholders Would Pay 5,048 Citi ThankYou Points for the Same Flight

3.   Summary

For this one-way flight between New York (JFK) and Buffalo, you could:

  • Transfer 5,000 Citi ThankYou points to JetBlue for an award flight (because you can only transfer in 1,000 point increments) + ~$6
  • Use 4,744 Citi ThankYou points (including taxes and fees) to book a paid flight through the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal if you have the Citi Prestige
  • Use 5,048 Citi ThankYou points (including taxes and fees) to book a paid flight through the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal if you have the Citi ThankYou Premier

Note:   In the last 2 examples, you’d earn ~173 JetBlue points (3 points per $1 of base fare) because it’s a paid ticket.

So in this example, it’s slightly better to use Citi ThankYou points to book a paid JetBlue ticket through the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal, when you include the points you’ll earn from the paid ticket.

That said, if you only need a few JetBlue points to top-off your account for an award ticket, transferring Citi ThankYou points to JetBlue could make sense.

Example:   Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles

I looked for a one-way flight from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles on March 15, 2017.

1.   Book With JetBlue Points

The cash fare for this trip is ~$296.

New Partner Is It Worth Transferring Citi ThankYou Points To JetBlue

It Costs ~$296 for a One-Way JetBlue Flight From Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles on March 15, 2017

If you booked an award ticket, you’d pay 20,300 JetBlue points plus ~$6.

New Partner Is It Worth Transferring Citi ThankYou Points To JetBlue

The Same Flight Costs 20,300 JetBlue Points Plus ~$6

If you wanted to transfer Citi ThankYou points to JetBlue for this ticket, you’d need 25,375 Citi ThankYou points (20,300 JetBlue points / 0.8 transfer ratio).

Again, you must transfer in 1,000 point increments, so if you don’t already have JetBlue points in your account, you’d have to transfer 26,000 Citi ThankYou points.

2.   Book Through Citi ThankYou Travel Portal

Folks with the Citi Prestige could book the same flight through the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal (at a rate of 1.33 cents per point) using 22,225 Citi ThankYou points including taxes and fees.

New Partner Is It Worth Transferring Citi ThankYou Points To JetBlue

You’ll Spend Fewer Citi ThankYou Points for the Same Flight If You Have the Citi Prestige

And Citi ThankYou Premier cardholders would pay 23,648 Citi ThankYou points including taxes and fees (1.25 cents per point).

New Partner Is It Worth Transferring Citi ThankYou Points To JetBlue

Citi ThankYou Premier Cardholders Pay 23,648 Citi ThankYou Points for the Same Itinerary

3.   Summary

For this one-way flight from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles, you could:

  • Transfer 26,000 Citi ThankYou points to JetBlue for an award flight (because you can only transfer in 1,000 point increments) + ~$6
  • Use 22,225 Citi ThankYou points (including taxes and fees) to book a paid flight through the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal if you have the Citi Prestige
  • Use 23,648 Citi ThankYou points (including taxes and fees) to book a paid flight through the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal if you have the Citi ThankYou Premier

Plus, you’d earn ~870 JetBlue points (3 points per $1 of base fare) when you book a paid JetBlue ticket through the Citi Travel Portal.

In this case, it’s much better to use Citi ThankYou points to book a paid JetBlue ticket through the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal, even if you don’t factor in the points you’ll earn from a paid ticket

As always, do the math to decide which booking method is best for you.  And if you need more JetBlue points, remember you can earn them directly from the Barclaycard JetBlue cards.

Bottom Line

JetBlue is Citi ThankYou’s newest airline transfer partner.

Folks with the Citi Prestige, Citi ThankYou Premier, or Citi Chairman (no longer offered) card can transfer Citi ThankYou points to JetBlue at a 5:4 ratio.  So 1,000 Citi ThankYou points = 800 JetBlue points.

And for the first time, if you have a no-annual-fee Citi ThankYou card, like the Citi ThankYou Preferred and Citi Forward, you can transfer Citi ThankYou points to JetBlue at a 2:1 ratio.  Or 1,000 Citi ThankYou points = 500 JetBlue points.

Generally, Citi Prestige, Citi ThankYou Premier, or Citi Chairman cardholders will do better using Citi ThankYou points to book paid JetBlue flights through the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal.  Plus you’ll earn points for your ticket!

It’s typically only worth transferring Citi ThankYou points to JetBlue if you’re a few points short for an award ticket.

What do you think of Citi’s newest transfer partner?

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