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 opptunity to pick low hanging fruit, I’m all about it.

Recently, my wife and I were both targeted f free 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 flights with Citi ThankYou points.

I’ll explain how it wks and why I’m using Citi ThankYou points.

Citi ThankYou Points Don’t Transfer to American Airlines but You Can Still Use Them to Pay f

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Their Seats

Pay f American Airlines Flights With Citi ThankYou Points

I was targeted f American 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 a flight to Glasgow she’s been wanting to take.

We’ll end up using 50,000 to 55,000 Citi ThankYou points f the ticket because we want to avoid Basic Economy.  This is comparable to what we’d pay f the 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 wst fees f award flights in the wld.

Because we’re paying f the flight with points we also don’t need to wry about finding open award seats.  And she’ll have the potential of getting upgraded because of her elite status.  On award flights you nmally 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 the flight.

Paying f expensive Business First Class flights with points doesn’t make sense.  But you can see how the perks of paying f certain flights with points can really add up.

You can use Citi ThankYou points to pay f travel booked through the ThankYou travel center.  And when you’re booking airfare, your ThankYou points are usually wth 1 cent each.  But they are wth 1.25 cents each toward airfare if you have the:

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  • Citi Prestige® Card

Note:   Starting on September 1, 2019, the Citi Prestige will no longer allow you to redeem Citi ThankYou points toward airfare for 1.25 cents each (the redemption rate will drop to 1 cent each). 

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1.25 cents each (the redemption rate will drop to 1 cent each).

Paying f

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airfare 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

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the 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:

  • Citi Rewards+℠ Card
  • Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card

The ThankYou points you earn with either Citi Rewards+ card aren’t transferable to airline partners and can be redeemed f

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travel on ThankYou site f

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1 cent each.  But if you have the Citi Premier Card

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Citi Prestige then the ThankYou points you earn with these cards can be redeemed f

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1.25 cents each toward airfare

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transferred to Citi’s travel partners.

Other Points You Can Use to Pay f Airfare

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

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my 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

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mally, if you prefer to pay f

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airfare with points, I’d suggest earning rewards with the following cards:

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th 1.5 cents each toward travel, like airfare, rental cars, and hotels.  And with the

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tal-anym

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e-introducing-real-time-rewards/”>US Bank Real-Time rewards you can instantly redeem points toward eligible travel purchases without having to book through the US Bank travel site.

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th 1.5 cents each toward travel booked through the Chase Travel P

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tal.

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ld Elite Mastercard® – Arrival miles are w

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th 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.

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1.5 cents each.  And if you spend $50,000+ per calendar year with the card, they can be redeemed f

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1.75 cents each toward airfare.

Inf

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mation f

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the 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

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provided by the card issuer.

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flights that way as well.

Stay on top of the latest miles & points news by signing up f

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our email newsletter.

Jason Stauffer is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, he covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

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! :)

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