As I mentioned previously, over the coming days and weeks you’ll see the occasional post from a fellow reader who has applied to write for OMAAT on an ongoing basis. It’s possible that posts will still be in the publication queue after we’ve announced our decision, so we’ll be publishing these anonymously. We hope you enjoy the different perspectives!
Citi’s ThankYou program is perhaps the most underrated of the major points currencies, in my opinion.
I carry two cards in my wallet for daily spend: a Citi Prestige® Card, for spending in bonus categories, and a Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card, for all of my other purchasing.
We find that this combination provides us with so much value, both when redeeming points and when using the card on day-to-day purchases, that we don’t feel like we’re missing out when compared to Chase Ultimate Rewards or AmEx Membership Rewards (and trust me, we’ve had plenty of cards in those programs!).
Let’s take a quick look at the list of Citi’s ThankYou transfer partners:
|Aeroméxico Club Premier||N/A|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles|
|EVA Air Infinity MileageLands|
|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|
You might look at this list and think that there’s not much value to be had here, other than transferring to KrisFlyer – which you can do with literally any other transferable points currency.
But there are a lot of sweet spots waiting to be taken advantage of, including a few that you won’t find anywhere else – even with Starwood.
For example, you could fly:
- US to Europe in business class on Turkish Airlines, with a stopover, for 45,000 miles
- Europe to Thailand on Thai Airways in first class for 102,000 miles, booked via Avianca
- London to Jakarta on Garuda Indonesia first class for 19,000 miles – if they ever repeat their incredible 90% off promotion; it pays to be prepared!
Yes, Turkish Airlines has fuel surcharges, but it’s a steal compared to American’s price of 57,500 miles, United’s 60,000 miles, or Delta’s 70,000 (and they won’t give you the stopover). And Avianca is also a Starwood transfer partner, but Starpoints aren’t easy to earn!
There are other great features of Citi cards that extend beyond the transferability of points. One thing that I particularly love about the ThankYou program is their incredibly generous allowance of points sharing between friends.
Citi will let you move up to 100,000 points per calendar year to any other ThankYou member, regardless of your relationship with the other member. Shared points expire 90 days after being sent, so be sure to plan accordingly.
This is a benefit that I have taken advantage of several times. For example, in 2016 I planned a trip to Japan with my wife (then-fiancée). I was about 20,000 miles short of having enough points to book two tickets from Los Angeles to Tokyo in Singapore Airlines Suites, and she didn’t have enough points to book her own ticket.
Since we weren’t married, we were limited in our options to get points from most of her accounts into my KrisFlyer account to make the reservation.
Just 20,000 miles short of experiencing a double bed in the sky!
With Citi, though, she simply sent the points to me, and I was able to make the transfer to my KrisFlyer account and book the flight.
We used this benefit again when booking the flights for our upcoming honeymoon. She could have booked separately this time, but we wanted to make sure we’d be kept together in the event of irregular operations with our airline.
Citi’s points sharing option is unmatched by any of the other major transferable points programs:
- Chase only allows points sharing with spouses/domestic partners
- American Express will only allow cardholders to transfer Membership Rewards points into partner program accounts of their authorized users – meaning that when you transfer, you lose the flexibility of the Membership Rewards program
Only Citi will allow you to give full-fledged ThankYou points to anyone.
For married couples, the deal gets even sweeter. If you have a joint bank account with Citi, they will happily combine your and your spouse’s ThankYou accounts together, so that you can pool your points as a household.
Another benefit that I love about Citi cards in general is Citi’s price protection feature, called Price Rewind.
With every personal Citi credit card account (even the ones that don’t earn ThankYou points), cardholders are eligible to be reimbursed up to $2,500 per calendar year for items that dropped in price within 60 days of purchase.
The real value of Price Rewind, though, is in how easy it is to take advantage of the program. All you have to do is register your purchase online with Citi, and they’ll watch for a lower price.
This is, again, a benefit unmatched by any other bank – other price protection policies, if offered at all, require a lengthy, mail-in process to take advantage of the benefit.
Unfortunately, Citi took away Price Rewind in 2019.
Citi’s ThankYou program has a lot more value than people give it credit for. The program has unique transfer partners that have useful redemption options. It’s by far the most shareable currency of any of the major programs. And they make it easy to use the ancillary benefits, like price protection.
If you’re new to the ThankYou program, check out the Citi Premier® Card – and you just might find the same kind of long-term value I have.
As a reminder, this post was guest-written by a fellow reader. Feedback is appreciated, but please keep the comments kind and constructive.