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Last year, Citi introduced points transfer to some airlines, including Singapore Airlines and Flying Blue (Air France / KLM). It’s always good to have more airline partner choices!
That said, I’m not terribly excited by this news. Virgin Atlantic is already a Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner. And they add big fuel surcharges to their award tickets!
But folks who collect Citi ThankYou points might find this useful, especially if they use Virgin Atlantic miles to book award tickets on airlines that don’t add fuel surcharges, like Hawaiian Airlines.
What’s the Deal?
You can transfer Citi ThankYou points to Virgin Atlantic at a 1:1 ratio. Points must be transferred in 1,000 point increments.
There’s no fee to move your points, but transfers can take up to 14 days. They’ll debit your Citi ThankYou account immediately, though.
And some folks like to transfer Virgin Atlantic miles to Hilton hotels. But it doesn’t make sense to transfer points from Citi ThankYou to Virgin Atlantic and then to Hilton. That’s because Hilton is also a Citi ThankYou transfer partner, and the transfer ratio is the same (1 Citi ThankYou point: 1.5 Hilton points).
Is It Worth Transferring Points to Virgin Atlantic?
I don’t generally like using Virgin Atlantic miles for Virgin Atlantic award tickets, because the fuel surcharges are high (up to $500 for round-trip coach class tickets, or $1,300 for Business Class!).
That said, they sometimes have award seat sales where you’ll pay fewer miles (but the same high taxes and fees).
Folks might consider using Virgin Atlantic miles for award flights on Virgin America or Hawaiian Airlines (which don’t add fuel surcharges). And if you can find available award seats, you can use Virgin Atlantic miles on Delta (and pay only the taxes, fees, and fuel surcharges Delta normally adds).
Note: Partner award tickets can NOT be booked online. Call Virgin Atlantic Flying Club at 800-365-9500 to check for available award seats and book a flight.
That said, many folks prefer to save their Chase Ultimate Rewards points for more valuable transfers, like to United Airlines, British Airways, or Hyatt.
But if you’re interested in flying to Hawaii, using Virgin Atlantic miles on Hawaiian Airlines might be worth it for some. That’s because round-trip coach class flights from the US mainland start at 40,000 Virgin Atlantic miles (and no fuel surcharges).
The same trip on United Airlines costs 45,000 miles (also no fuel surcharges). So you might save points by transferring Citi ThankYou points to Virgin Atlantic.
However, if you’re on the west coast, you’ll save points by booking your flights to Hawaii using British Airways Avios points (transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards).
That’s because you can use British Airways Avios points for flights on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and US Airways between the West coast and Hawaii. And those cost 25,000 miles round-trip in coach with no fuel surcharges.
So it’s worth looking at what other points you have, and what your travel goals are, before you transfer Citi ThankYou points to Virgin Atlantic. I wouldn’t do it unless I have a very specific use in mind!
Which Cards Earn Citi ThankYou Points?
Link: Citi ThankYou
So having 1 of those cards in your wallet lets you transfer the Citi ThankYou points you earn with cards such as the Citi ThankYou Preferred or Citi ThankYou Preferred for College Students to partner airlines and hotels too!
With the addition of Virgin Atlantic, you can now transfer Citi ThankYou points to 10 airlines (plus Hilton hotels). And all 3 major airline alliances (Star Alliance, oneworld, and SkyTeam) are represented:
- Cathay Pacific (oneworld)
- EVA Air (Star Alliance)
- Flying Blue (SkyTeam)
- Garuda Indonesia (SkyTeam)
- Malaysia Airlines (oneworld)
- Qatar Airways (oneworld)
- Singapore Airlines (Star Alliance)
- Thai Airways (Star Alliance)
- Virgin Atlantic
That said, I’m looking forward to Citi adding more US-based airlines to this list. Perhaps American Airlines (which has an agreement with Citi to issue their cards) will be next! 🙂
This might be a good option for folks who use Virgin Atlantic miles for award tickets on partner airlines like Virgin America or Hawaiian Airlines, because there are no fuel surcharges. But Virgin Atlantic adds huge fuel surcharges to their own award tickets.
I like that Citi ThankYou is adding airlines to their list of transfer partners. Hopefully they continue to expand their program to include more US-based airlines.
What do you think of the newest Citi ThankYou partner?