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Citi's ThankYou Points program may not be as well-known as Chase Ultimate Rewards® or American Express Membership Rewards but it's worth giving Citi's eclectic list of transfer partners a closer look for the right points collectors and cardholders.
You can transfer Citi ThankYou points to fly to Hawaii for just 7,500 points, fly to London for as few as 10,000 points or book business class to Europe or Africa for as few as 44,000 points. And, thanks to the high earning rates on the Citi Premier® Card and the Citi Rewards+® Card, you can accumulate ThankYou points quickly to take advantage of these sweet spots.
However, not all Citi ThankYou transfer partners have equal weight. Which are the best Citi ThankYou points transfer partners? And which ones should you ignore? We’ll break it down below.
About the Citi ThankYou point transfer partners
Currently, you can transfer Citi ThankYou points to nearly 20 airline and hotel loyalty programs. Points generally transfer to airline partners at a 1:1 ratio — although some cardholders (including those spending on the Citi Rewards+® Card) get a lower transfer rate for American Airlines or JetBlue. Points transfer to Citi's only hotel partner, Choice Privileges, up to a 1:2 ratio.
Retail-wise, you can also transfer Citi ThankYou points to Sears' Shop Your Way loyalty program. You'll get 10 Shop Your Way points for every 1 Citi ThankYou Point transferred.
New Citi ThankYou points transfer partners
Slowly but surely, Citi has grown its list of transfer partners. Recent additions include:
AeroMexico Club Premier in October 2019.
Emirates Skywards in April 2020.
Choice Privileges in October 2021.
Wyndham Rewards in November 2021.
AeroMexico and Emirates both have niche uses — such as using Emirates Skywards miles to book JetBlue Mint. However, Citi's most recent transfer partner addition is perhaps the most exciting.
On Oct. 18, 2021, Choice Privileges joined as Citi's first hotel transfer partner and the only travel-related transfer partner with a transfer ratio higher than 1:1. Citi Prestige® Card and Citi Premier® Card holders will get 2 Choice Privileges points for every 1 ThankYou Point that you transfer. Cardholders of other ThankYou point cards will get 1.5 Choice points for every 1 ThankYou point transferred.
Wyndham Rewards followed in November 2021, becoming Citi's second hotel transfer partner and offering a 1:1 ratio to Citi Prestige® Card and Citi Premier® Card holders and a 1:0.8 ratio to other ThankYou point cardholders.
Note that American Airlines is a temporary Citi transfer partner
In addition to these new permanent transfer partners, Citi added American Airlines as a transfer partner — but only from July 18 to Nov. 13, 2021. This is a particularly exciting development as American Airlines AAdvantage is one of the largest loyalty programs, yet, it isn't a transfer partner of any major U.S. issuer, such as American Express or Chase.
Many point collectors are hopeful that this temporary partnership will lead to AAdvantage being added as a permanent Citi ThankYou point transfer partner.
» Learn more: The 5 best transferable points currencies from banks
Citi transfer partners that vary by credit card
Citi Premier® Card holders get more value from the following ThankYou transfer partners when compared to some other Citi cardholders.
American Airlines AAdvantage (1:1 versus 1:0.5).
Choice Privileges (1:2 versus 1:1.5).
JetBlue True Blue (1:1 versus 1:0.8).
Wyndham Rewards (1:1 versus 1:0.8).
Understanding the baseline value of Citi ThankYou points
Cardholders can redeem Citi ThankYou points for 1 cent per point through the Citi ThankYou portal or when redeemed for cash back. So, 1 cent per point should be your baseline redemption rate when deciding whether or not you should transfer points to an airline or hotel partner.
The best Citi ThankYou points transfer partners
Here are NerdWallet’s picks for the best Citi transfer partners. In many of these cases, you can get significantly more value than 1 cent per point with these Citi points transfer airlines.
1. Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
We recommend the Citi miles partner Turkish Miles&Smiles program for its spectacular sweet spots across its award chart. Fly to Hawaii for 7,500 miles each way or business class to Europe for just 45,000 miles — one of the cheapest business class awards to Europe.
2. Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
We've covered the many Singapore Airlines sweet spots, but Singapore Airlines also releases more award availability to KrisFlyer members. KrisFlyer miles are the best way to book premium cabins on Singapore — and a good way to get outsized value from your Citi ThankYou points.
3. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
The Virgin Atlantic Fly Club offers excellent value across a spectrum of awards from 10,000-point economy flights to London to 45,000-point ANA first class awards to Japan and 50,000-point Delta business class awards to mainland Europe.
4. Air France/KLM Flying Blue
The combined loyalty program for Air France and KLM, Flying Blue, utilizes a quirky point-to-point award pricing scheme. But, it can be worth digging through for 21,500-mile economy flights or 53,000-mile business class awards to Europe or Northern Africa.
5. Avianca LifeMiles
Use Avianca LifeMiles to book travel on United, Lufthansa and other Star Alliance carriers to Europe from 20,000 miles each way in economy or from 60,000 miles each way in business class. Or fly to southern Africa for 40,000 miles each way in economy or 78,000 miles each way in business class.
» Learn more: The things Star Alliance is doing right
6. Etihad Guest
Etihad’s rewards program offers some shockingly low award rates. For example, you can fly Royal Air Maroc business class to Africa or Brussels Airlines business class to Europe for just 44,000 miles each way. Etihad Guest also still utilizes the pre-2016 award chart for American flights, which includes gems to Europe, Japan, South Korea and South America.
Best of the rest: Other solid Citi transfer partner redemptions
The following Citi transfer partners may provide some value, depending on what airline you're hoping to book and where you want to go.
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: The Asia Miles program can offer solid redemption rates, but only if you have time and patience. The airline will require you to fill out a web form to request a mileage award booking for many bookings — which can make booking flights with Asia Miles frustrating.
Choice Privileges: You can get excellent value from Choice points in Europe and Japan — especially after factoring in the 1:2 transfer ratio. However, hotel redemption rates can change throughout the year, making it hard to find value reliably.
Emirates Skywards: Emirates First Class is no longer bookable through most partner loyalty programs. You'll need Emirates Skywards if you want to book one of the airline's first-class product, which is one of the best around.
Qantas Frequent Flyer: Qantas has a distance-based redemption chart, with flights under 600 miles costing only 8,000 miles to book. That makes Qantas worth considering for short flights.
Qatar Airways Privilege Club: In a rare move, Qatar has slashed redemption rates and fees on awards over the past few years. Now, Qatar is an excellent option for award flights to Doha or onward to India or the Maldives.
» Learn more: How to optimize your rewards
The worst Citi transfer partners that should be ignored
The following Citi transfer partners generally do not offer a great value for Citi ThankYou point redemptions.
If you want to exceed the baseline value of 1 cent per point, you’d be wise to transfer your ThankYou points to one of the other dozen transfer partners and avoid these options. However, for the right flight and in the right circumstances, even some points’ value is better than none.
Make a judgment call on which flights are right for you to book with your ThankYou points, but keep in mind that those same ThankYou points can also be redeemed as cash back at a rate of 1 cent per point.
For instance, if you have 50,000 ThankYou points to burn and want to buy a flight on Thai Airways, you may be better off getting the $500 cash back. Then, simply pay for that same flight in cash. This may be more optimal than redeeming your ThankYou points for a worse rate.
If you're considering transferring Citi ThankYou Points …
Remember that Citi ThankYou Points can be cashed out or used for travel at 1 cent per point. So, make sure that you're getting at least 1 cent per point in value before transferring ThankYou points to an airline, hotel or retail partner.
Thankfully, Citi's wide-ranging airline transfer partners — and now one hotel program — generally provide plenty of value. That said, some ThankYou partners are much more lucrative, while other partners can be safely ignored.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card