Book International Flights With Citi ThankYou Points!
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Citi ThankYou points earned from the Citi Prestige card are worth 1.6 cents each toward paid flights on American Airlines through July 23, 2017. But did you know you can fly on ~20 partner airlines at the same rate with NO blackout dates?
I’ll show you how it works. And help you to decide when (and if!) you should book.
About the Citi Prestige Card
Link: Citi Prestige
You’ll earn 50,000 Citi ThankYou points when you sign-up for the Citi Prestige card and spend $3,000 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account. (EXPIRED.)
So if you use your points to fly on American Airlines (or its codeshare partners!) you can get a flight worth up to $800 (1.6 cents per points X 50,000 ThankYou points) through July 23, 2017!
Other perks include:
- 3X Citi ThankYou points per $1 spent on airlines, hotels, and travel agencies
- 2X Citi ThankYou points per $1 spent at restaurants and select entertainment (includes movie theaters, amusement parks, tourist attractions)
- $250 statement credit for airline fees such as airfare and baggage fees appearing on your statement from December to the following December
- $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
- Priority Pass Lounge access for primary cardholder and up to 2 guests (additional guests $27 per person, per visit)
- 4th night free when you book 4 consecutive nights at any hotel (must be booked through Citi Prestige Concierge and paid in full with your card)
- No foreign transaction fees
The $450 annual fee is NOT waived for the 1st year.
Read my review of the card!
Use ThankYou Points on American Airlines Codeshare Partners
Link: Citi Travel Center
American Airlines has codeshare agreements with ~20 airline partners.
With codeshare partners, another airline operates the flight, but American Airlines can sell it as its own. So you’ll have an American Airlines flight number, but fly on a different airline.
And the Citi Travel Center lists these flights as American Airlines flights. That means you can book them using Citi ThankYou points with NO blackout dates.
American Airlines’ codeshare partners include:
- Air Tahiti Nui
- Alaska Airlines
- British Airways
- Cape Air
- Etihad Airways
- Fiji Airways
- Gulf Air
- Hainan Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Jetstar Airways
- Japan Air Lines
- Korean Air
- Seaborne Airlines
- US Airways
This gives you an opportunity to book international flights all over the world with your Citi ThankYou points!
For example, lots of British Airways flights have an American Airlines flight number. So you can book them with Citi ThankYou points.
American Airlines partners with Finnair, so you can fly from Chicago to Helsinki using Citi ThankYou points. You can use ~73,000 Citi ThankYou points on a flight that retails for $1,169.
Award seats are typically hard to find on Qantas to Australia. But with Citi ThankYou points, there are NO blackout dates. So you can book the flights you want without having to worry about finding an award ticket!
American Airlines partners with lots of airlines that are NOT part of any alliance. As long as they have a codeshare agreement, you can book their flights with Citi ThankYou points.
Here’s a flight on Fiji Airways from Los Angeles to Nadi, Fiji, but with an American Airlines flight number. You can book it for ~50,600 Citi ThankYou points even though Fiji Airways is NOT a part of any alliance!
Is This a Good Deal?
Redeeming Citi ThankYou points is a good deal if you:
- Use fewer points than a regular award flight
- Want to earn elite qualifying miles toward airline status
- Don’t have enough miles to book a regular award flight
- Want the flexibility of NO blackout dates
- Can’t find award seats on the flights you want
In the British Airways example above, you can redeem 60,750 Citi ThankYou points for a flight that costs $972.
But, you can book similar flights on American Airlines for only 40,000 American Airlines miles and ~$200.
So it’s up to you if you want a totally free flight or if you want to use fewer miles and pay ~$200.
Keep in mind that sometimes the Citi Travel Center charges more money for certain flights because they do NOT have access to every fare.
Always compare your fare with the airline website. It’s never a good deal for pay more money for the same flights!
You’ll Earn Miles When You Book With Citi ThankYou Points
Also consider if you want to earn miles or elite status on your flights.
Award flights never earn miles or elite status.
But flights booked with Citi ThankYou points will earn both!
In the example above, you can use ~50,600 Citi ThankYou points to fly from Los Angeles to Fiji.
That’s a lot of points! But you’ll also earn 5,519 American Airlines miles (the flight distance from Los Angeles to Nadi, Fiji) on most coach fares. If you’re aiming for status with American Airlines, that’s a lot of miles to earn. Or if you already have status, you’ll earn extra bonus miles each time you fly.
The decision to use Citi ThankYou points or another airline’s miles mostly comes down to how many points you need to redeem, and whether or not you want to earn miles or status with American Airlines.
And for folks who don’t want to fuss with finding award tickets or think about blackout dates, Citi ThankYou points offer much more flexibility!
Bottom LineCiti Prestige cardholders can book American Airlines flights at a rate of 1.6 cents per Citi ThankYou point through July 23, 2017. There are no blackout dates!
And because American Airlines has codeshare agreements with ~20 other airline partners, you have access to those flights, too!
You’ll earn miles and status on flights booked with Citi ThankYou points at the Citi Travel Center. Even if you pay more points, you’ll earn miles when you fly. As always, do the math to make sure you’re getting a good deal.
I love having more travel options, so this is a great perk to have! And it makes the Citi Prestige card and Citi ThankYou points even more valuable.
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! :)