The Citi Premier® Card is currently offering new cardholders the chance to earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. This is an incredible bonus for a credit card that charges an annual fee of just $95.

The Citi Premier is a keeper for the long-term thanks to high earning rates and valuable perks. Just taking advantage of the $100 annual hotel credit can more than offset the annual fee each year.

Citi Premier® Card

Annual Fee$95
Welcome OfferFor a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

However, points and miles fans may not be as familiar with the ways of redeeming Citi ThankYou Points as they might be with Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards. And it doesn’t help that Citi’s 14 airline partners are an eclectic mix of primarily international carriers. Only one Citi ThankYou airline partner is U.S. based: JetBlue.

But, that doesn’t mean you can’t use Citi ThankYou points to fly on airlines you’re familiar with. Many Citi ThankYou transfer partners allow you to book U.S.-based airlines. Even better, you can book some incredible redemptions on these flights. Let’s take a look at some of the best domestic and short-haul international Citi ThankYou point sweet spots.

JetBlue Award Flights Under 5,000 Points

Citi ThankYou point collectors have two ways of booking JetBlue award flights through ThankYou transfer partners: JetBlue’s own TrueBlue program, or Emirates Skywards.

As a revenue-based award program, there’s no limit to how cheap JetBlue award flights can get when using TrueBlue points. As an idea of what’s available, I’m currently finding award flights between Boston and Washington D.C. for 4,900 points each way:

Screenshot showing JetBlue award prices between Boston and Washington DC

If TrueBlue awards price at more than 8,000 points, consider booking through Emirates Skywards instead. JetBlue’s partnership with Emirates prices JetBlue award flights based on the distance of the flight. Here are the award rates:

As both JetBlue and Emirates are Citi ThankYou point transfer partners, Citi cardholders can simply transfer Citi points to the program that provides the cheapest award price for the JetBlue flight you want to book.

Domestic United Flights From 6,500 LifeMiles

Per the LifeMiles award chart, United award flights within the U.S. start at 7,500 LifeMiles each way. However, certain routes price cheaper than this. The list of routes pricing at 6,500 LifeMiles includes:

  • Los Angeles to San Francisco
  • Newark to Pittsburgh
  • Washington D.C. to Newark
  • Denver to Grand Junction, Colorado

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Another reason to keep LifeMiles in mind is its frequent transfer bonuses. In April 2022, you could get a 25% transfer bonus when transferring Citi ThankYou points to LifeMiles. You can use future transfer bonuses to stretch your Citi ThankYou points further through LifeMiles.

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United Flights to Hawaii for Just 7,500 Turkish Miles

Any list of Citi ThankYou point sweet spots would be incomplete without mentioning this incredible redemption option: Turkish Miles&Smiles charges just 7,500 miles each way for domestic U.S. flights on United—including Hawaii.

Most airline mileage programs treat Hawaii as a different region. However, Turkish doesn’t differentiate Hawaii from the rest of the U.S. That means you can book flights from anywhere in the U.S. to Hawaii for just 7,500 miles:

Screenshot showing example of booking a United flight from Austin to Honolulu for 7,500 Turkish Airlines miles

Booking awards through Turkish Airlines can be a challenge. The website doesn’t always show all available awards, meaning you might have to call or email a reservations office. But, booking award flights at these rates is worth the hassle. Here are some tips for making this as painless as possible.

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Delta Flights Starting at 7,500 Virgin Points

To use Citi ThankYou points to book Delta award flights, utilize the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club program. While the Virgin award chart for Delta flights was even more lucrative in the past, there’s still plenty of value to be found. The new distance-based award chart prices Delta award nonstop flights at the following rates:

  • 0-500 miles: 7,500 points
  • 501-1,000 miles: 8,500 points
  • 1,001-1,500 miles: 11,500 points
  • 1,501-2,000 miles: 12,500 points

The flight distance is the only factor when pricing Delta awards through Virgin Atlantic. That means the best sweet spots are short-haul international flights—as these are typically priced higher through region-based award charts. For example, you use just 8,500 Virgin points to fly from Atlanta to Montreal, Canada; Nassau, Bahamas; or Cancun, Mexico:

Screenshot showing example of booking a Delta flight from Atlanta to Cancun for 8,500 Virgin points

Or you can fly from Los Angeles to Cabo for just 8,500 Virgin points:

Screenshot showing example of booking a Delta flight from Los Angeles to Cabo for 8,500 Virgin points

The downside to the Virgin program is that each flight segment is priced individually. So, connecting itineraries generally don’t provide good value. You’ll want to stick to nonstop flight options.

American Airlines Flights From 8,000 Qantas Points

Australian-based Qantas uses a distance-based award chart for flights on its partners. For flight routes up to 600 miles in distance, you’ll pay just 8,000 Qantas points. Flights between 601 and 1,200 miles in distance jump to 12,000 Qantas points.

600 flight miles may not seem like very far. However, this sweet spot can come in handy on certain routes that wouldn’t be fun to drive. For example, driving from Phoenix to Denver would take more than 12 hours. But you can book this two-hour flight for just 8k Qantas points:

Qantas award example on American Airlines from Phoenix to Denver for 8,000 points

Qantas only looks at the total flight distance of the route. So, you can book connecting itineraries and/or flights to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean at the same rates.

Lie-Flat Business/First Class American Airlines Flights From 25k Etihad Miles

Transfer your Citi ThankYou points to Etihad Guest miles for premium cabin awards on American Airlines. Etihad Guest’s award chart for American Airlines flights matches AA’s published award chart from before its March 2016 devaluation. That means you can still use Citi ThankYou points to book all kinds of sweet spots that many assume were gone for good. These include:

  • Europe: 50,000 miles in business class or 62,500 miles in first class.
  • Japan or South Korea: 50,000 miles in business class or 62,500 miles in first class.
  • Australia and New Zealand: 62,500 miles in business class or just 72,500 miles in first class.

The Etihad Guest award chart for domestic and short-haul international American Airlines flights isn’t overly appealing. However, there’s one special sweet spot: lie-flat American Airlines flights.

If you can find availability on AA’s premium transcontinental routes, Etihad Guest charges just 25,000 Etihad Guest miles each way for Flagship Business Class or Flagship First Class. Either experience includes Flagship Check-in and Flagship Lounge access, lie-flat seats, and excellent food and drinks on board. That’s an absolute steal for just 25k miles.

Bottom Line

As you can see, Citi ThankYou points can be used to book a wide variety of domestic and short-haul international flights on many U.S. airlines. Maximizing the Citi Premier 80,000-point sign-up bonus becomes a case of choose-your-own-adventure.

Will you use the 80,000 points to book 16 JetBlue flights or three luxurious transcontinental flights in American Airlines Flagship First Class? Perhaps you’d rather book five round-trip flights to Hawaii on United via Turkish Airlines. Or maybe you mix and match from these ThankYou point sweet spots. The choice is up to you.

How do you plan to use 80,000 ThankYou points?

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