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Citi Adds Virgin America Elevate as Transfer Partner for ThankYou® Points

Sept. 21, 2015
Credit Cards, Travel Credit Cards
Citi Adds Virgin America Elevate as Transfer Partner for ThankYou Points
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  • Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students

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It’s now possible for Citi cardholders to transfer ThankYou® Points to a domestic frequent flyer program — making it easier than ever to use those points to fly within the United States.

The credit card issuer announced Sept. 21 that ThankYou® Points can be transferred to Virgin America’s Elevate points program at a rate of 2-to-1. Citi already has a number of transfer partners in Europe, Asia and Australia, but Virgin America is Citi’s first domestic frequent flyer transfer partner.

Virgin America’s sister airline, London-based Virgin Atlantic, was already an eligible transfer partner for Citi ThankYou® Points. Other transfer partners include Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas and Hilton. Adding Virgin America as a transfer partner gives Citi cardholders easier access to a variety of destinations, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and Cancun. The airline is slated to add Honolulu and Maui to its list of destinations later this year.

As an incentive for cardholders to transfer points to the new partner, Citi is running a promotion that will add 25% more Elevate points when members transfer at least 1,000 ThankYou® Points to Virgin America’s frequent flyer program. The promotion, which will run through October 21, 2015, effectively allows eligible Citi cardholders to earn 1.25 Elevate points for every 2 ThankYou® Points transferred.

What cards are eligible to earn ThankYou® Points?

If you’re a frequent Virgin America flyer who’s now looking to earn some ThankYou® Points, there are plenty of Citi cards to choose from.

For folks who enjoy a night out on the town but don’t want to pay an annual fee, the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card will net you 2 points per dollar spent on restaurants and entertainment. The Citi Prestige® Card also earns 2 points per dollar on restaurants and entertainment, plus 3 points per dollar on airfare, hotels and travel agencies. But the higher rewards rate comes with an annual fee of $450.

Students can earn ThankYou® Points, too, with the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students. Aligned with its cousin the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, this card also earns 2 ThankYou® Points per dollar on restaurants and entertainment, with an annual fee of $0. 

All cards mentioned above earn 1 ThankYou® Point per dollar on non-bonus purchase categories, and each includes its own unique sign-up bonus. Be sure to do your research to find out which card best fits your needs.

Kevin Cash is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: Twitter: @kevin_cash.

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