I’m Using Citi ThankYou Points to Maintain My Airline Elite Status With This Easily Overlooked Strategy
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I’m not a fan of chasing elite status, even though the perks can be nice. But if there is an opp
ortunity to pick low hanging fruit, I’m all about it.
Recently, my wife and I were both targeted f
orfree American Airlines elite status until May 15th! And if we meet certain requirements, we can extend it through the end of 2019. And I can pull this off easily by paying f
orflights with Citi ThankYou points.
I’ll explain how it w
orks and why I’m using Citi ThankYou points.
orAmerican Airlines Flights With Citi ThankYou Points
I was targeted f or
orAmerican Airlines Platinum Pro status and I’m not going to bother trying to reach the Elite Qualifying Dollar (EQDs) and Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMS) requirement to extend the benefits. But my wife was given American Airlines Platinum status and she only needs $1,500 EQDs and 12,500 EQMs to extend her status until the end of the year. With paid flights we’ve already booked, she’ll get about halfway there and we plan to earn the rest of what we need by using Citi ThankYou points to pay f
ora flight to Glasgow she’s been wanting to take.
We’ll end up using 50,000 to 55,000 Citi ThankYou points f
orthe ticket because we want to avoid Basic Economy. This is comparable to what we’d pay f
orthe cheapest award flights on the same route except we won’t be paying additional taxes and fees. This is huge because she’ll have to fly through London which has some of the w
orst fees f
oraward flights in the w
Because we’re paying f
orthe flight with points we also don’t need to w
orry about finding open award seats. And she’ll have the potential of getting upgraded because of her elite status. On award flights you n
ormally can’t get upgraded (unless you have the top-tier American Airlines status). To top it all off, she’ll also earn American Airlines miles f
orFirst Class flights with points doesn’t make sense. But you can see how the perks of paying f
orcertain flights with points can really add up.
You can use Citi ThankYou points to pay f
ortravel booked through the ThankYou travel center. And when you’re booking airfare, your ThankYou points are usually w
orth 1 cent each. But they are w
orth 1.25 cents each toward airfare if you have the:
- Citi Premier℠ Card – I’ve got this card
- Citi Prestige® Card
or1.25 cents each (the redemption rate will drop to 1 cent each). Paying f
orairfare through the Citi ThankYou center is just like booking flights with Expedia, Kayak, etc. I did a quick price comparison with Google flights and I found the same prices f
orthe flights I found through Citi’s travel center. But it’s always a good idea to double check the prices to make sure you’re getting the best deal because not every airline will show up on the Citi ThankYou travel site.
You can also earn Citi ThankYou points with these cards:
ortravel on ThankYou site f
or1 cent each. But if you have the Citi Premier℠ Card
orCiti Prestige then the ThankYou points you earn with these cards can be redeemed f
or1.25 cents each toward airfare
ortransferred to Citi’s travel partners.
Other Points You Can Use to Pay f
orAirfare I usually prefer to transfer my flexible rewards to airlines to book flights. But, in this case, I earned the Citi ThankYou points I’m using to pay f
ormy wife’s flights to Europe from a targeted Citibank checking account bonus. And the ThankYou points you earn from Citibank checking bonuses can’t be transferred to airline partners. N
ormally, if you prefer to pay f
orairfare with points, I’d suggest earning rewards with the following cards:
- U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card – US Bank Altitude points are w
orth 1.5 cents each toward travel, like airfare, rental cars, and hotels. And with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® – With this card your Chase Ultimate Rewards points are w
orth 1.5 cents each toward travel booked through the Chase Travel P
- Barclaycard Arrival Plus® W
orld Elite Mastercard® – Arrival miles are w
orth 1 cent each toward any eligible travel expense of $100+ made in the previous 120 days. You also get a 5% miles rebate on all redemptions.
- Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Card — Points earned with the card can be redeemed toward airfare booked through the Wells Fargo travel site f
or1.5 cents each. And if you spend $50,000+ per calendar year with the card, they can be redeemed f
or1.75 cents each toward airfare.
orthe Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card, Citi Premier, Citi Prestige, Citi Rewards Student cards has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed
orprovided by the card issuer.
Of course you always have the option of earning cash back and paying f
orflights that way as well. Stay on top of the latest miles & points news by signing up f
orour email newsletter.
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The Citi Rewards+℠ Card – the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase – with no cap.
Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com
0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.49% – 23.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfer fee — either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X ThankYou® Points on All Other Purchases.
The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.49% – 23.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.
0% intro for 15 months on Purchases
13.49% – 23.49% (Variable)
3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
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