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When it comes to transferrable points Chase Ultimate Rewards are my favorite. I think they’re the best option for booking free hotels and they have great airline partners too.
But Citi ThankYou points have one advantage that Chase Ultimate Rewards points don’t – transfer bonuses. When these limited-time bonuses come around you can end up with mind-boggling deals, like getting to Europe for 11,000 Citi ThankYou points one-way in Business Class or flying in one of the world’s best First Class seats round-trip to Asia for 85,000 Citi ThankYou points.
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3 Citi ThankYou Points Transfer Bonuses I Want to See in 2019
If you’re looking to earn Citi ThankYou points, I recommend applying for the Citi Premier℠ Card because it currently has the best bonus of any Citi ThankYou points earning credit card. You can earn 50,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
But the Citi Prestige is supposed to re-open for applications this month (January 2019) and in the past I can recall the sign-up bonus being as high as 75,000 Citi ThankYou points after meeting the card’s minimum spending requirements (it never got as high as 100,000 points…did it?). But at other times, the Citi Prestige card didn’t have an intro bonus at all. So you might want to hold off on applying for either card until we know for sure what the Citi Prestige’s bonus will be.
When you’re looking at these deals remember that Citi ThankYou points transfer to airline partners at a 1:1 ratio in increments of 1,000. So if an award costs 9,001 Citi ThankYou points you’d need to transfer 10,000 points (assuming you don’t already have any points in the account you’re transferring into).
1. Virgin Atlantic Transfer Bonus
Since Virgin Atlantic was added a Citi ThankYou transfer partner 4+ years ago we’ve seen a transfer bonus for them once a year. The last one was in the fall 2018, so I don’t expect to see one again until the 2nd half of 2019. That’s a bit concerning to me because Virgin has announced that they are rolling out a new loyalty program in 2019…and I don’t expect it to be kind to the current award chart. But that is just speculation, so who knows what will happen.
Virgin Atlantic charges outrageous fees on award flights on their own planes, but you can use Virgin Atlantic miles to unlock incredible deals with partners like ANA and Delta. Typically the Citi ThankYou transfer bonus to Virgin Atlantic has been 25% to 30%, which makes these deals awesome.
Normally, it would cost 90,000 to 95,000 Virgin Atlantic miles (depending on which coast you’re flying from) to fly on partner ANA in Business Class from the US to Japan. And you can fly in ANA First Class on the same flights for 110,000 to 120,000 miles round-trip. Last year there was a 30% transfer bonus, that means you could have booked those awards for only:
- 70,000 Citi ThankYou points for a one-way Business Class award on ANA from the West Coast to Japan
- 74,000 Citi ThankYou points for a one-way Business Class award on ANA from the East Coast to Japan
- 85,000 Citi ThankYou points for a one-way First Class award on ANA from the West Coast to Japan
- 93,000 Citi ThankYou points for a one-way First Class award on ANA from the East Coast to Japan
If the Citi Prestige card’s sign-up bonus ends up being as high as I hope it will, you could end up with a round-trip Business Class ticket that can easily cost $3,000 to $7,000+ from just one intro bonus!
And if you’re looking to flying domestically or to Europe, using Virgin Atlantic miles on partner Delta can be a great deal too. Virgin Atlantic doesn’t add fuel surcharges to Delta award tickets and they seem to have access to more Delta low-level award seats than Delta’s other partners.
Here are a few sweet spots:
- One-way domestic awards for 12,500 miles
- US to Europe for 50,000 miles one-way in Business Class
- One-way awards to Hawaii for 20,000 miles
If we see a 30% transfer bonus again, these same awards would only cost the following:
- Transfer 10,000 Citi ThankYou points for one-way domestic coach awards
- Transfer 39,000 Citi ThankYou points for US to Europe one-way in Business Class
- Transfer 16,000 Citi ThankYou points for one-way coach awards to Hawaii
If you’re booking partner Delta awards with Virgin Atlantic miles these prices only apply to nonstop flights. So the price will increase if you have to make any connections.
The nice thing about this transfer bonus is that AMEX Membership Rewards often has transfer bonuses to Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Atlantic miles transfer from Chase Ultimate Rewards and Marriott. So it’s easy to gather the miles you need even if you’re goal is a more expensive premium award.
2. Flying Blue Transfer Bonus
Flying Blue is the loyalty program for Air France and KLM, so it’s a good option if you’re looking to get to Europe. And last year we saw the first ever Citi ThankYou points transfer bonus to Flying Blue which was a 30% bonus.
What makes this such a potentially special deal is Flying Blue’s monthly promo awards. Every month Flying Blue releases a new list of award flights that are discounted 25% to 50% and these discounts frequent apply to Business Class awards. For example, right now, until January 30, 2019, you can get 25% off Business Class award flights to Europe from:
Flying Blue no longer publishes as official award chart, but in the past, there have been unreal deals to Europe.
Right now, according to the Flying Blue award calculator, you can book a one-way Business Class award from Chicago to Rome for 53,000 Flying Blue miles. With the 25% promo award discount that brings the price down to 39,750 miles. And with a 30% transfer bonus, you’d only need to convert 31,000 Citi ThankYou points to Flying Blue miles for that award.
But that’s not even the best deal. Last year, Frequent Miler dug up one-way Business Class flights from Prague to Seattle for 13,250 Flying Blue miles. If the stars aligned and you had transferred Citi ThankYou points with a 30% bonus to Flying Blue it would only take 11,000 Citi ThankYou points to fly one-way to Europe in Business Class!
This is obviously an absurd deal, and admittedly, it would be tough to pull off since the cheapest Business Class flights have very limited dates. But it is theoretically possible if we end up seeing a Flying Blue transfer bonus again. It’s exceptional deals like this that make me think a Flying Blue transfer bonus is much less likely to happen than the other bonuses.
But even without a transfer bonus, Flying Blue is still a great partner. You can also get Flying Blue miles by transferring points from Chase Ultimate Rewards, AMEX Membership Rewards, Marriott, or Capital One.
3. Avianca Transfer Bonus
In 2017 Citi added Columbian airline Avianca as a transfer partner and because they are part of Star Alliance they are surprisingly useful. But be warned, if you book an Avianca award and for some reason have to end up dealing with Avianca’s call center you can expect sub-par customer service at best. Also, they tack on a $25 booking fee for all award tickets.
That said, you can find good deals and Avianca doesn’t add fuel surcharges to partner awards flights. Here are some deals worth checking out:
- One-way domestic coach flights within the same zone for 7,500 miles
- US Zone 1 to Europe Zone 1 for 20,000 miles one-way in coach
- US to Europe for 87,000 miles one-way in First Class
- US to North Asia for 35,000 miles one-way in coach
Last year there was a 25% transfer bonus to Avianca, which means the same awards would only cost:
- 6,000 Citi ThankYou points for one-way domestic coach flights within the same zone
- 16,000 Citi ThankYou points for one-way coach flights from US Zone 1 to Europe Zone 1
- 28,000 Citi ThankYou points for a one-way coach award from US to North Asia (Japan, Korea, China, etc.)
- 70,000 Citi ThankYou points for a one-way First Class award US to Europe
If you’ve been trying to use miles to get into Lufthansa First Class an Avianca transfer bonus could get you there for only 70,000 miles one-way, although Lufthansa First Class seats are typically only open to partners within 2 weeks of departure.
You can book cheap domestic one-way awards with United Airlines as long as your flights is within the same zone. Here is the way Avianca has divided the Continental US:
And you can book cheap coach flights from the US Zone 1 to Europe 1, which includes Russia, Great Britain, the Scandinavian countries, Ireland, Iceland, and Estonia.
That’s my Citi ThankYou points transfer bonus wishlist, what are you hoping to see this year?
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