It’s interesting to see how the value of transferable points currencies can change over time. For a while I think many people wrote off the Citi ThankYou program, but we’ve now seen Citi make several positive changes to the program, and I really think the program is worth getting involved in more than ever.
Best of all, at the moment the Citi Premier℠ Card has its best ever welcome bonus of 60,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 within three months.
So, why should you take another look at Citi ThankYou? Here are some of the top reasons:
Valuable transfer bonuses
One of the great things about credit cards earning transferable points currencies is that you can often earn multiple points per dollar spent. For example, the Citi Premier℠ Card offers triple points on travel and gas, and double points on dining and entertainment.
One way to get even more value is by transferring points to partner programs when there’s a transfer bonus. While Chase Ultimate Rewards virtually never has transfer bonuses, Citi ThankYou has them pretty consistently, and that’s a way to stretch your points even further.
Just to recap, here are some of the transfer bonuses we’ve seen from Citi ThankYou so far this year:
- A 30% bonus on Virgin Atlantic Flying Club transfers
- A 30% bonus on Air France KLM Flying Blue transfers
- A 15% bonus on Cathay Pacific Asia Miles transfers
- A 30% bonus on JetBlue TrueBlue transfers
These are some excellent programs, and when you factor in the transfer bonuses, you could get a lot of value. For example, right now you could transfer just 93,000 Citi ThankYou points to Virgin Atlantic and book a roundtrip ANA first class award ticket from the US to Japan.
Get amazing value with ThankYou points for redemptions in ANA first class
Improved JetBlue TrueBlue transfer ratio
As of Thursday, Citi ThankYou improved the transfer ratio when transferring points to JetBlue TrueBlue.
If you have the Citi Premier℠ Card, points transfer at a 1:1 ratio. Typically TrueBlue points can be redeemed for 1.3-1.5 cents each towards the cost of a ticket on JetBlue, which is solid. But it gets better than that. If you have the JetBlue Plus Card, you get a 10% refund when you redeem points, meaning you’re looking at getting more like ~1.5-1.7 cents per point, which I’d consider to be very compelling.
That makes this card a great option for JetBlue flyers.
Redeem ThankYou points for JetBlue Mint
At the end of last year, the LifeMiles program was added as a Citi ThankYou transfer partner. Citi is the only transferable points currency to partner with LifeMiles, and I consider this to be a valuable option. Being able to transfer Citi points to LifeMiles is an excellent option for Star Alliance redemptions, and can nicely supplement buying miles directly from the program.
LifeMiles is a great program for booking Lufthansa first class
Air France/KLM, Etihad, Singapore, and Virgin Atlantic
Nowadays there’s quite a bit of overlap between the transfer partners offered by the major programs. This is due to some programs losing unique partners (like Chase losing Korean Air SkyPass), and also due to programs adding more common partners.
All three transferrable points currencies partner with Air France KLM Flying Blue, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. Amex and Citi also partner with Etihad Guest. I consider all of those programs to be extremely useful for the redemptions they offer, so having access to them with Citi is great.
The other good thing is that it allows you to pool points from different transferable points currencies towards one redemption. Have Chase points and Citi points, for example? Great, you can transfer those points to several overlapping programs.
While you can of course use those miles to book actual travel on those airlines, there are plenty of interesting partner redemptions this opens up:
- Redeem 12,000 Singapore KrisFlyer miles for an Alaska Airlines one-way economy ticket from the West Coast to Hawaii
- Redeem 44,000 Etihad Guest miles for a Royal Air Maroc business class ticket from the US to just about anywhere they fly
- Redeem 110,000 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles for a roundtrip first class ticket from the US West Coast to Japan
Redeem Etihad Guest miles for travel in Royal Air Maroc business class
Redeem points for 1.25 cents each towards airfare
While this isn’t personally how I’d choose to redeem my ThankYou points, if you have the Citi Premier℠ Card then you can redeem points for 1.25 cents each towards airfare, which is a good minimum value you should get from your points.
This is generally better than the “cash out” value you’d get on airfare with Amex Membership Rewards cards, and it’s in a similar range to what’s offered by most Chase cards (though the Sapphire Reserve gives you 1.5 cents per point towards the cost of a travel purchase).
Redeem points for 1.25 cents each towards the cost of airfare
Easily transferable points
There are pros and cons to each of the major transferable points currencies when it comes to the ability to transfer points to others.
Citi ThankYou is the most generous when it comes to allowing you to transfer points to non-family/household members.
Citi ThankYou lets you transfer up to 100,000 ThankYou points to another member each calendar year. Shared points do expire 90 days after they’re received, though this is great in terms of being able to pool the points earned across multiple accounts towards a single redemption.
A best-ever welcome bonus
If the above aren’t enough reasons, one other reason this is the ideal time to take the ThankYou program for a spin is because the Citi Premier℠ Card is offering its best-ever welcome bonus of 60,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 within three months.
The card has a $95 annual fee, and offers triple points on travel and gas, and double points on dining and entertainment. In terms of return on spend, this might just be the most rewarding card with an annual fee of under $100.
For a while I thought ThankYou points were worth less than Membership Rewards and Ultimate Rewards points, but with the positive changes to ThankYou and with Ultimate Rewards losing Korean Air as a parter, I think ThankYou points are on par with the competition, if not more valuable.
If you haven’t considered this points currency, I highly recommend picking up a card like the Citi Premier℠ Card, given that it’s offering its best-ever welcome bonus.
How are you feeling about the value of ThankYou points compared to other currencies?