7 Smart, Unusual Ways to Get the Most Travel From the Increased Citi ThankYou Premier Bonus

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

7 Smart, Unusual Ways to Get the Most Travel From the Increased Citi ThankYou Premier Bonus

Harlan Vaughn7 Smart, Unusual Ways to Get the Most Travel From the Increased Citi ThankYou Premier BonusMillion Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Right now, there’s a best-ever sign-up bonus to earn 60,000 Citi ThankYou points when you open the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card and meet the minimum spending requirements.

That’s worth $750 toward airfare when you book flights through the Citi ThankYou travel portal.  But with a little creativity, can be worth $1,000s more when you transfer points to Citi’s airline partners.

I’ve rounded up 7 creative ways you can redeem the points you’ll earn.  I bet you haven’t heard of at least one of them!  😉

I Used Points to Fly on American Airlines to Spend 4 Glorious Nights in The Bahamas. These Flights Can Cost Hundreds If You Pay in Cash!

Here’s how you can use Citi ThankYou points from the Citi ThankYou Premier for truly Big Travel with Small Money!

Citi ThankYou Premier’s Best-Ever Offer Is Now!

Apply Here:   Citi ThankYou® Premier Card 

Our Review:   Don’t Miss: Citi ThankYou Premier’s Best-Ever Offer Is Worth at LEAST $750 Toward Travel!

When you sign-up for the Citi ThankYou Premier card, you’ll earn 60,000 Citi ThankYou points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.  That’s the best offer we’ve ever seen for this card!  You’ll also get:

  • 3 Citi ThankYou points per $1 spent on travel including gas stations (also including airfare, hotels, car rental agencies, parking, tolls, and much more)
  • 2 Citi ThankYou points per $1 spent at restaurants and on select entertainment (like amusement parks, museums, sporting events, movies, and more)
  • 1 Citi ThankYou point per $1 spent on all other purchases

There’s a $95 annual fee, but it’s waived the first 12 months.  Here’s our full review of the Citi ThankYou Premier card.

Get $750 in Travel, or Much More When You Transfer Citi ThankYou Points

Link:   How to Transfer Citi ThankYou Points to Airlines

You can use the points to book travel through Citi’s ThankYou travel portal, where they’re worth 1.25 cents each.  That means this sign-up bonus is worth – at a minimum – $750 (60,000 points X 1.25 cents per point).

And, the points you earn are transferable, which gives you more flexibility with Citi’s airline partners.

Currently, you can transfer Citi ThankYou points to:

  • Avianca
  • Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific)
  • EVA Air
  • Etihad Guest
  • Flying Blue (Air France / KLM)
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Jet Airways
  • JetBlue
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Thai Airways
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

Citi ThankYou points transfer at a 1:1 ratio with all of the above partners except JetBlue (5:4 ratio).   All transfers must be in 1,000-point increments.

Now, you’ll probably see some unfamiliar airlines on the list above.  Only 1 is domestic (JetBlue)!

Airline Partnerships Put the World – and Big Travel – Right Into Your Hands

One of the biggest travel tricks is to know and use airline partnerships.  For example, you probably wouldn’t think miles from a Middle Eastern airline can get you a flight from the US to Europe or Asia.  But thanks to partnerships, you can do exactly that!

Let’s look at examples of how you can spend 60,000 Citi ThankYou points from the Citi ThankYou Premier to save big.

1.   Fly to Europe or Asia in Business Class With Etihad Miles

When you transfer your Citi ThankYou points to Etihad, you can access incredible deals on American Airlines, like flying Business Class from North America to:

  • Europe for 50,000 Etihad miles each way
  • Japan for 50,000 Etihad miles each way
  • China and Hong Kong for 55,000 Etihad miles each way
I’m in Love With Japan!  You Can Fly There From the US in Business Class for Only 50,000 Etihad Miles

These flights often cost $1,000s!  I’ve flown between Dallas and Tokyo several times, including in American Airlines’ Business Class seat.  And I gotta say, nothing beats arriving in style!

To book a seat, start a search for low level award seats on the American Airlines site.  When you find the flight and date you want, call Etihad at 877-690-0767 to confirm they can book the award seats you found.  Then transfer the number of points you need.  Keep in mind, transfers can take up to a week to complete.

This is by far one of my favorite ways to use Citi ThankYou points!

2.   3 Round-Trip Coach Tickets Within the US via Avianca LifeMiles

LifeMiles, the mileage program for Avianca (a South American airline) is another Citi ThankYou transfer partner.  They have a quirky award chart.  And you can score some great deals flying domestically on United Airlines, again, thanks to partnerships.

LifeMiles breaks the US into 3 zones.  Roughly, Western, Central, and Eastern US – although there are a few exceptions.  But it’s those variations that make it interesting!

Here’s a guide on how to book an award ticket with Avianca.

For example, you can fly:

  • Within US Zone 1 for 7,500 Avianca miles each way in United Airlines coach
  • From US Zone 1 to US Zone 2 for 10,000 Avianca miles each way in United Airlines coach
Montana Is One of My Favorite Places on Earth. And Award Flights Are Cheap From Most of the US With Avianca LifeMiles

A couple of interesting routes you can fly for 10,000 Avianca LifeMiles include:

  • Michigan, New York, or Ohio, to anywhere in Florida for a beach vacation
  • Dallas, Houston, or St. Louis, to Charleston for some old-style Southern Charm

Or you could fly from the Deep South (including Texas) to Montana and see the American Rockies for only 7,500 Avianca LifeMiles each way, which is an incredible deal!

Depending on where you want to fly, you can use 60,000 Citi ThankYou points to get 3 or 4 round-trip coach award seats for only the cost of taxes & fees – usually under $20 for each round-trip flight.

And depending on your destination, getting that many award seats can easily save you $100s of dollars for a nice vacation!

3.   3 Round-Trip Coach Seats, or 6 One-Way Seats, to London on Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic is another valuable transfer partner.  During off-peak season, you can get a round-trip award flight from Boston, Newark, or New York, to the UK for 20,000 Virgin Atlantic miles, plus fuel surcharges.

Keep in mind, fuel surcharges are usually more expensive flying out of the UK.  And I don’t recommend paying them unless paid flights are very expensive.

Gasp! I Would Never Pay This Much for a One-Way Coach Flight

For example, I found a one-way coach flight from New York to London selling for ~$1,700+.  You can get the same flight for 10,000 Virgin Atlantic miles and ~$149!

Fly to London Using Virgin Atlantic Miles, Then Get a Cheap Paid Flight to Have a Glass of Wine in Vienna

Remember, London doesn’t have to be your final destination.  You can always fly there for a visit, then head home from another European city to save money on fuel surcharges.  And if paid flights are expensive, you can save a lot of money using miles.

For this example, you could get 6 one-way coach tickets, or 3 round-trip coach tickets using the 60,000 Citi ThankYou points from the Citi ThankYou Premier card sign-up bonus.  And potentially save well over ~$9,300 ($1,714 X 6 – fuel surcharges of $894 for 6 tickets)!

4.   4 Short Round-Trip Flights on American Airlines With Qantas Miles

Did you know you can use 16,000 Qantas miles to book round-trip short-haul flights under 600 miles on American Airlines?

Some of the most expensive flights also tend to be the shortest.  But this is a great trick to fly on American Airlines for cheap.

You can book this award directly on the Qantas site after you transfer your points, which takes ~2 days to complete.  Even better, flights with connections cost the same number of miles, as long as the destinations are under 600 miles from one another.

You Can Fly Between Miami and The Bahamas Round-Trip for 16,000 Qantas Miles

When you meet the minimum spending to earn 60,000 Citi ThankYou points with the Citi ThankYou Premier card, you’ll wind up with at least 64,000 Citi ThankYou points.

And you could book 8 short one-way flights, or 4 round-trip tickets, on American Airlines for 64,000 Citi ThankYou points – perfect!

If each round-trip flight would cost $250 if you paid cash, that’s a potential savings of $1,000 by earning just one sign-up bonus!

5.   $750 Worth of Flights Booked Through Citi

You might be thinking, sure, this sounds great, but I just want to book a flight without thinking about awards or blackout dates.  And that’s totally fair!

The good news is 60,000 Citi ThankYou points from the Citi ThankYou Premier are worth $750 to book flights through Citi’s ThankYou travel portal, which is still a fantastic deal.  That’s because each point is worth 1.25 cents towards flights (60,000 points X 1.25 cents per point).

I Recently Spent Time in the Faroe Islands, Which Are Nearly Impossible to Reach With Miles & Points

That’s helpful if you want to visit a far-flung or off-the-beaten-path destination.  I was in Iceland and the Faroe Islands recently – and getting to either place isn’t exactly easy using miles.

Of course, sometimes it’s not only easier – but also a better deal – to use your points this way.

I Found Flights From Dallas to Denver for ~16,000 Citi ThankYou Points Round-Trip

For example, I could fly from Dallas to Denver in January to ski in the Colorado mountains.  Tickets are 16,192 Citi ThankYou points round-trip in coach, which is cheaper than most award flights.

Better yet, I could bring a couple of buddies and pay 48,576 Citi ThankYou points, and still have some left over for another adventure!

6.   $750 Worth of Hotels, Car Rentals, or Cruises Booked Through Citi

If you’d rather use your points for travel other than airfare, you can do that with the Citi ThankYou Premier card, too!

When you book hotels, car rentals, or cruises, you’ll get also value of 1.25 cents per point if you’re a Citi ThankYou Premier cardholder.  So 60,000 Citi ThankYou points can get you $750 towards a stay at a boutique hotel or a dream cruise in the Caribbean!

Million Mile Secrets team member Jasmin booked a hotel this way and saved a lot of points – and cash!

If a Cruise Is More Your Style, You Can Redeem 60,000 ThankYou Points for $750 Toward Your Next Overseas Journey

Note:   You must call Citi at the number on the back of your card to book a cruise with your ThankYou points.

I wanted to highlight these options because not many folks know they even exist!  Depending on how you like to book travel, this is another way to save cash and add memorable experiences to a getaway.

7.   Wait for a Transfer Bonus

Occasionally, Citi has special deals when you transfer your points to their travel partners.

For example, you’ll get 30% more miles when you transfer Citi ThankYou points to Flying Blue through August 29, 2018.

Citi Has Transfer Bonuses From Time to Time – and Some of Them Are Pretty Cool!

With this deal, you’d get 78,000 Flying Blue miles for transferring 60,000 Citi ThankYou points (60,000 X 30%).

We write every month about Flying Blue’s promo rewards.  This month, you can get a round-trip coach award flight to or from New York to Paris for 22,000 Flying Blue miles plus ~$240 in fees.

So with this transfer bonus, you’d easily have enough miles for 3 round-trip award flights!

This is just one example.  Past transfer opportunities included partners like JetBlue or Virgin Atlantic.  If you don’t have an immediate use for your points, you could always save them for a bonus promotion.

Bottom Line

The 60,000 Citi ThankYou points you’ll earn when you sign-up for the Citi ThankYou Premier card and meet the spending requirements are more versatile than you might think!

At first glance, the transfer partners can seem intimidating.  But with a little imagination, you can stretch the bonus to get Big Travel that’s easily worth $1,000s like:

  • A one-way Business Class flight to Europe or Asia with Etihad miles
  • 3 round-trip coach seats around the US on United Airlines via Avianca miles
  • 6 one-way tickets to London with Virgin Atlantic miles
  • 8 one-way flights under 600 miles on American Airlines

Or, get:

  • $750 worth of flights booked through Citi’s ThankYou travel portal
  • $750 worth of cruises, hotel stays, or car rentals
  • Transfer bonuses with limited-time promotions

I love using Citi ThankYou points for unique trips.  And if you’ve been thinking about the current offer on the Citi ThankYou Premier card, be sure to check out our full review.

Your turn!  What’s your favorite way to redeem Citi ThankYou points?

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3X Points on Travel, Including Gas Stations
  • Earn 2X Points on Dining Out & Entertainment
  • Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases
  • 60,000 Points are redeemable for $750 in airfare on any airline, anytime with no blackout dates when booked through the ThankYou® Travel Center, or $600 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • Points Transfer allows you to transfer points to participating airline loyalty programs
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases*

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

1comment

by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

My $95 annual fee for my Citi Premier card was due this past July, so I called them to see if they had a retention offer. They sure did! First, they agreed to waive the fee if I spent $95 on my card a mont for the next 3 months. No problem there! Then, for every month I spent $1000 on the card, I’d also receive 1000 bonus points on top of the points I’d get anyway, and this would stay in effect for the next 16 months. Couldn’t pass up that deal!!!