Citibank started out with a small but very rewarding loyalty program called ThankYou Rewards, gradually expanding the number of airline transfer partners even as it pulled back in other areas. Initial feedback from enlightened minds like the Devil’s Advocate was …less than positive.
Today, the program has expanded and become a decent alternative to better known options like Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, especially if you’re having difficulty applying for new Chase or Amex credit cards.
Earning ThankYou Rewards Points
There are two personal credit cards that offer the best way to earn more ThankYou Rewards points if you are a frequent traveler.
The Citi Prestige Card was recently relaunched in early 2019 with several changes from the card you may remember. Putting the detailed benefits to one side, this card has a $495 but earns 5 points per dollar on dining and air travel as well as 3 points per dollar on cruise lines. Other purchases earn just 1 point per dollar.
The Citi Premier Card is still available, though it doesn’t always have a sign-up bonus for new cardholders, which means you might want to wait to apply. It earns 3 points per dollar on travel, 2 points per dollar on dining and entertainment, and 1 point per dollar on everything else. This card has a $95 annual fee.
You can also earn ThankYou points with the Citi Rewards+ Card, the Citi Rewards+ Student Card, and the AT&T Access Card from Citi. Keep in mind that while these cards will let you earn more ThankYou points, you cannot transfer them to another loyalty program unless you also have a Citi Prestige Card or a Citi Premier Card.
(In this way Citi ThankYou Rewards is similar to Chase Ultimate Rewards. The Chase Freedom Unlimited Card is a great way to earn Ultimate Rewards points, but you need to pair it with a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve card if you want to transfer the points to another loyalty program.)
Citi ThankYou Transfer Partners
There are over a dozen airline partners of Citi ThankYou Rewards, letting you transfer your points in about two days in most cases. The minimum transfer amount is 1,000 points.
In all cases the transfer ratio is 1-to-1, but you may find that some other credit card programs offer a better alternative, perhaps earning points more quickly in certain bonus categories. Earning more points faster is only a good deal if you can still transfer points at a good exchange rate. You can find a list comparing most transfer partners by visiting my Points Transfer Calculator.
|Avianca LifeMiles||1,000 : 1,000||Instant|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue||1,000 : 1,000||Instant|
|Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles)||1,000 : 1,000||2 days|
|Etihad Guest||1,000 : 1,000||6 days|
|EVA Infinity MileageLands||1,000 : 1,000||2 days|
|Garuda Indonesia GarudaMiles||1,000 : 1,000||2 days|
|JetBlue TrueBlue||1,000 : 1,000||Instant|
|Malaysia Airlines Enrich||1,000 : 1,000||2 days|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||1,000 : 1,000||2 days|
|Qatar Airways Privilege Club||1,000 : 1,000||2 days|
|Singapore KrisFlyer||1,000 : 1,000||1 day|
|Thai Royal Orchid Plus||1,000 : 1,000||6 days|
|Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles||1,000 : 1,000||2 day|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1,000 : 1,000||2 days|
How to Transfer Citi ThankYou Rewards
You can transfer points easily after logging into your Citibank account by following these steps:
- Look for the “Travel” option at the top of the page. Hover over it to reveal a secondary menu, and then select “Points Transfer.”
- Find your desired loyalty program from the list of options and click on the blue “Transfer Now” button.
- Enter the number of points you want to transfer. You’ll need to enter your frequent flyer account number, too, if you haven’t already saved it. Be aware that you can only transfer points to a frequent flyer account owned by the same person listed as the Citibank cardholder.
- Confirm the transfer on the next page.
Although I’ve provided some typical transfer times in the table above, be aware that transfers can take up to five business days. Transferring points is one-way and cannot be reversed.
I usually recommend waiting until you find award space before transferring points so you don’t get stuck with miles in a program that you can’t use. On the other hand, there is a risk that the award space will disappear before the transfer is completed.