Emirates Skywards Added As Citi ThankYou Partner

Filed Under: Citi, Emirates
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Citi ThankYou is one of the most popular transferable points currencies, which is generally the type of rewards I recommend earning for your credit card spending. This is the points currency earned on cards like the Citi Prestige and Citi Premier® Card (review), and in conjunction with either of those cards, on the Citi Double Cash (which is my favorite card for everyday spending).

For those collecting ThankYou points, you now have access to a new partner airline.

Emirates Added As Citi ThankYou Partner

Emirates Skywards has just been added as a Citi ThankYou transfer partner. Points can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio, in 1,000 point increments.

At this point the Citi ThankYou transfer partners include the following:

Aeroméxico Club PremierN/A
Air France/KLM Flying Blue
Avianca Lifemiles
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Emirates Skywards
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
Etihad Guest
Jet Airways JetPrivilege
JetBlue TrueBlue
Malaysia Airlines Enrich
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Qatar Airways Privilege Club
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
Turkish Airways Miles & Smiles
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Citi ThankYou is the last of the major transferable points currencies to partner with Emirates Skywards, as Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Capital One also partner with them.

Emirates 777-300ER

Don’t Get Too Excited About Emirates Skywards

While I love flying Emirates, the Skywards program as such isn’t among my favorites. They have high redemption rates, and they also impose steep surcharges on many flights.

In general the best use of Emirates miles is for upgrades, but even that isn’t an amazing value most of the time.

Redeem miles to upgrade to Emirates’ A380 business class

I hate to say it, but the Skywards program does have limited value — redemption rates are outrageously high, surcharges are high, and Emirates has limited partners you can redeem miles on.

Just to give an example, if you wanted to book an award ticket from New York to Dubai roundtrip you’d pay 145,000 miles in business class or 217,500 miles in first class, plus an outrageous $1,700+ in carrier imposed surcharges and taxes.

Redeem miles for Emirates’ A380 first class

One value that maybe isn’t too awful is that you could fly one-way from New York to Milan or from Newark to Athens in first class for 85,000 miles plus about $500 per person in taxes and carrier imposed surcharges. That’s still steep, but it is a special experience.

Emirates’ 777 first class

Bottom Line

I’m always happy to see transferrable points currencies add more partners. However, Emirates Skywards is a low value program, and I just can’t see many situations where this represents an efficient use of points.

I wish we’d see more unique partners added to these programs, but I fear that’s not happening due to lack of interest from airlines. I’m sure the major programs have approached all kinds of airlines in hopes of getting an exclusive, without much luck.

Anyone plan to transfer Citi ThankYou points to Emirates?

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

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  1. If there were ever a time for Citi to try and get American Airlines as a transfer partner it would be now.

  2. Not sure you are aware (or care) but Citi Thankyou partners are different by geography. Emirates is not a transfer partner for those of us in Asia.

  3. @Alex

    I agree, Citi should take advantage of this situation to buy more miles and make AA transferable.
    I don’t think exclusivity matters much as Chase-UA and AMEX-DL seems to coexist just fine with the airline cards.

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