Citi ThankYou Rewards can offer massive value if you know how to leverage the extensive list of Citi transfer partners. You can transfer ThankYou points to 14 different airline frequent-flyer programs, 2 hotel loyalty programs, and one retail partner. This gives you tremendous flexibility when it comes time to book award travel.
Although it’s possible to redeem your points for a fixed value toward travel or retail redemptions via thankyou.com, the best way to maximize your Citi ThankYou Points is by transferring to one of the airline partner loyalty programs.
In this guide, we cover everything you need to know about the Citi ThankYou transfer partners.
How to Earn Citi ThankYou Points
Cardholders earn ThankYou points by making purchases with a Citi ThankYou Points-earning credit card. It’s possible to earn thousands of additional points per year by using Citi ThankYou cards that offer extra points on purchases in bonus categories like travel, restaurants, supermarkets, or entertainment. Depending on what categories you spend money in, certain cards will be a better choice than others.
Before we dig into each of Citi’s transfer partners, you should know that many credit cards issued by Citi don’t come with the option to transfer points. For example, co-brand cards like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® earn rewards with a specific loyalty program (AAdvantage miles). Plus, there are several “Citi ThankYou cards” that can’t access transfer partners.
However, if you hold either the Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige® Card (no longer available for new applications), you can pool Citi ThankYou points earned across all ThankYou Points earning cards to transfer to airline partners.
Cards that Can Transfer ThankYou Points to Partners
Cards that Only Transfer to Limited ThankYou Partners
The following cards only transfer to a limited number of transfer partners or at a reduced transfer rate. However, your points can be transferred to all partners at the best rate if you combine points with a Citi Premier or Prestige Card.
Cards that Cannot Transfer ThankYou Points to Partners
Citi Transfer Partners
These are the 17 Citi ThankYou transfer partners. Of those, 14 are airlines and all of which transfer at 1:1 transfer ratio if you hold either the Citi Premier or Prestige Card:
- Aeromexico Club Premier
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- Avianca LifeMiles
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Guest
- EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
InterMiles (formerly Jet Airways JetPrivilege)— removed on March 29, 2022
- JetBlue TrueBlue
Malaysia Airlines Enrich— removed on March 29, 2022
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club
- Singapore KrisFlyer
- Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
- Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Citi has two hotel partners:
- Choice Privileges (1:2 transfer partner)
- Wyndham Rewards
The Citi transfer partners also include one shopping rewards program.
- Sears ShopYourWay Rewards
Below you will find more information about the best redemptions within each program.
Aeromexico Club Premier
For folks not familiar with Aeromexico’s Club Premier program, award prices appear much higher than comparable programs at first glance. Why? Club Premier awards are priced in kilometers rather than miles. Unlike Amex Membership Rewards, which transfer to Club Premier at a rate of 1,000 to 1,600 (factoring in that 1 mile = 1.6 kilometers), ThankYou points transfer at a flat rate of 1:1, making this a relatively poor transfer options for your Citi points. You effectively lose value, even though the transfer ratio is 1:1.
The only circumstances where it makes sense to transfer Citi points to Aeromexico would be:
- To top off your account if you are a few thousand points shy of a specific redemption
- If a substantial transfer bonus was announced, in the realm of 50-60%
Reports show that Citi transfers to Aeromexico take around 6 days. If you have any data to share on transfer times, please reach out in the comments. Check out our comprehensive guide on Aeromexico Club Premier awards and sweet spots for more info.
Air France-KLM Flying Blue
Flying Blue, the mileage program for both Air France and KLM, is one of our favorite Citi transfer partners. Both airlines are part of the SkyTeam Alliance, so you can use Flying Blue miles to book travel on partner airlines like Delta and Korean Air, as well as many other SkyTeam member airlines.
With Flying Blue, there are two main ways to get the most value from your points. The first is with Flying Blue’s Promo Rewards. Each month, award flights to/from specific cities go on sale from 25% to 50%. If you catch the right deal, it’s possible to book economy flights to Europe for as few as 14,500 miles each way.
The second sweet spot is that for specific destinations, Flying Blue offers far better prices than other airlines because they use a region-based award chart with some countries in different regions compared to other airlines’ charts. For example, they consider Algeria, the Canary Islands, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia to all be part of Europe. So, you can fly there in business class for as few as 53,000 miles each way:
Most other frequent-flyer programs consider these countries to be in the Middle East or North Africa, meaning they charge many more miles for these destinations.
Transfers to Flying Blue are generally instant. You can find more itineraries where Flying Blue outshines its competitors in our guide to Air France/KLM award sweet spots.
Avianca LifeMiles is excellent for travel on Star Alliance carriers like United, Lufthansa, and Air Canada. In addition to the main highlight of the program, its competitive mileage pricing for award tickets, Avianca doesn’t pass on fuel surcharges from partner airlines. Most Star Alliance carriers do charge these fees. So, using Avianca miles can save you hundreds of dollars each way.
Another advantage of LifeMiles is that if you book an itinerary that includes both first or business class and economy flights, you’ll pay fewer miles than if the entire trip was in a premium cabin. Most airlines are happy to charge you the full business class price if any part of your journey is in business class — even if it’s only the shortest flight!
For example, Avianca usually charges 63,000 miles each way for business class flights from the U.S. to Europe. As seen above, you can fly SWISS Business Class from the U.S. to Zurich and then economy from Zurich to your final destination (in this case, Barcelona), and the total price drops to 60,240 miles. The exact amount will vary depending on what percentage of your trip is in business class vs. economy, but this is a great way to save miles on flights where being up front doesn’t matter as much.
The biggest challenge with using LifeMiles is Avianca’s website: while it often works as expected, other times, you won’t find seats available with LifeMiles even when they are bookable through other Star Alliance partners. Even more frustrating, you’ll sometimes find that award seats are available segment-by-segment, but not for an entire trip.
Using the same example above, you might find flights available when searching for San Francisco–Zurich and for Zurich–Barcelona, but not when searching San Francisco–Barcelona. In this latter case, it’s possible to request a manual booking by emailing LifeMiles customer service (preferably with screenshots of their website showing your search results).
Still, it can take a couple of days to get a ticket booked this way. That carries the risk of award space disappearing before you can secure a ticket. Fortunately, transfers to Avianca are generally instant.
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Cathay Pacific is a member of the Oneworld airline alliance. That means you can use Asia Miles to book award flights on airlines like American, LATAM, Japan Airlines, and Qantas. Note that Asia Miles passes on fuel surcharges from carriers like British Airways and Qatar, so it’s not a preferred option for those partners. The number of miles required to book a ticket is generally similar to other loyalty programs.
Asia Miles is also an attractive option for more complicated itineraries courtesy of generous routing and stopover rules. If you’re flying all Oneworld airlines, you can have a whopping five stops on a round trip. Award prices are based on your total trip distance (rather than on a flight-by-flight basis). So, this can be particularly useful if you plan to visit several cities on a single trip.
And if you want to experience Cathay Pacific’s own award-winning business class or first class, using Asia Miles will get you access to award seats several weeks earlier than miles from most partner programs. Citi ThankYou Points transfers to Asia Miles are generally instantaneous.
Emirates follows in the footsteps of Air France/KLM Flying Blue and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer as one of the few programs that are transfer partners with all five of the major flexible rewards currencies (Amex, CapOne, Chase, Citi, Marriott).
While Emirates isn’t as highly regarded as better-known international programs, there are a few sweet spots that present top value — including flying business class on Emirates’ 5th freedom routes between the U.S. and Europe. You can also upgrade relatively affordable economy fares to business-class with miles — somewhat negating the hefty fuel surcharges Emirates applies to all awards. We cover plenty of top Emirates redemptions in detail in our post highlighting the best uses of Emirates Skywards Miles.
Booking Emirates awards can take a little creativity as you can’t search all partner awards on the Emirates website. You will need to search via partner sites, then call Emirates (800-777-3999) to book certain partner awards. It’s also worth noting that you can’t book the lowest saver-level awards one-way, you need to book round-trip flights.
Etihad isn’t part of an airline alliance, but it has a diverse network of partners — including some major ones like American and Brussels. Etihad also partners with smaller carriers like Air Serbia, Philippine Airlines, Virgin Australia, and Royal Air Maroc which are hard to book otherwise. While Etihad Guest miles aren’t particularly attractive for booking Etihad flights, there are some advantageous opportunities for partner redemptions.
American Airlines flights are particularly attractive since Etihad charges the same price for American flights that AA used to before its March 2016 devaluation. This includes 25,000 miles one-way for lie-flat business class on transcontinental flights, and 50,000 miles one-way to fly business class from the U.S. to Japan.
Another useful redemption with Etihad Guest miles is for business class flights on Royal Air Maroc and Brussels Airlines. That means you can fly nonstop from New York (JFK) and Washington (IAD) to Casablanca (CMN) or Brussels (BRU) for just 44,000 miles each way.
To use Etihad Guest miles for flights on American, Royal Air Maroc, and other partner airlines, you’ll need to call the Etihad Guest service center. Transfers to Etihad Guest usually take about 1 hour, and partner awards must be booked at least 24 hours before departure.
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
If you try to research Taiwan-based EVA Air’s Infinity MileageLands program, the most compelling thing you’ll find is that some people really enjoy the program’s name. That’s because when it comes to award tickets, EVA doesn’t have a lot to offer.
You can book virtually all routes that EVA offers for fewer miles with Singapore KrisFlyer miles or Avianca LifeMiles. EVA passes on fuel surcharges from partner airlines. If you do find a good use for them, transfers to Infinity MileageLands are immediate.
JetBlue TrueBlue is by far the most accessible Citi transfer partner to use. Unlike other loyalty programs that make a certain number of seats available for a fixed mileage cost, TrueBlue redemptions are based on the cash price of the flight. This means you’re not going to find a super cheap points ticket on a day when airfares are expensive.
However, JetBlue makes the booking process completely painless: TrueBlue points have no blackout dates. As long as there is a seat for sale, you can book it with your points. In recent AwardWallet user redemptions, TrueBlue points provided about 1.38 cents each in value. The actual value varies from one flight to the next, ranging from as little as 1 cent to as much as 1.5 cents.
Here’s an example flight for $89:
For the same itinerary, JetBlue is charging 5,700 TrueBlue points + $5.60 in taxes.
If you were to book this flight through the ThankYou Travel Portal, you’d pay 8,900 ThankYou points at 1 cent per point. So if you want to use ThankYou points to book flights on JetBlue, it’s usually better to transfer them to TrueBlue first. But, always compare prices before transferring your points.
Transfers to JetBlue are generally instant. Additionally, JetBlue is the only partner you can transfer to without a Prestige Card (no longer available for applications) or Citi Premier. However, if you don’t have one of those cards, you’ll get fewer TrueBlue points (1000 ThankYou Points = 800 TrueBlue points).
JetBlue currently flies to destinations in the U.S., Central America, and the Caribbean. And JetBlue recently started flying to London in 2021. You’ll find more details in our JetBlue TrueBlue points guide.
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Like Cathay’s Asia Miles, Qantas uses a distance-based award chart that calculates the price of your ticket based on the distance between your origin and destination (regardless of intermediate stops). The best use of Qantas Frequent Flier points is usually short journeys: Qantas charges 8,000 points each way for trips under 600 miles and 12,000 points each way for flights between 600 to 1200 miles.
Qantas doesn’t charge any fees for close-in bookings. Changing a ticket will cost you 5,000 miles, and canceling costs 6,000 miles. Transfers from Citi ThankYou points to Qantas Frequent Flyer take 1 day.
Qatar Airways Privilege Club Avios
Qatar Airways Privilege Club doesn’t publish an award chart. However, there’s a calculator on their website that tells you how many Avios they charge for Qatar Airways flights. It’s possible to fly between the U.S. and Doha for:
- 35,000 Avios in economy
- 70,000 Avios in business class
- 105,000 Avios in first class (although first class isn’t currently operating on these routes)
Onward connections to destinations in Asia and Africa aren’t terribly much more. For example, a flight from the U.S. to India will cost you 40,000 Avios in economy or 80,000 Avios in business class. And flights to the Maldives cost just 42,500 Avios in economy or 85,000 Avios in business class:
These prices make Qatar Airways one of Citi’s better transfer partners — but only for Qatar award flights.
The Qcalculator only applies to flights operated by Qatar. Partner awards booked with Avios use an expensive distance-based award chart. Prices start at 12,500 Avios each way for economy flights under 500 Avios in length and climb sharply from there.
Transfers from Citi ThankYou points to Privilege Club take 1 to 2 days.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
KrisFlyer is one of the most accessible Citi transfer partners because you can supplement your balance by transferring points from Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Capital One Rewards, or Marriott Bonvoy. Singapore is part of Star Alliance, partnering with airlines like United, Air Canada, Lufthansa, and Thai Airways.
With Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, there are some great options to use your points, especially if you want to fly in Singapore’s luxury Suites Class on the A380. That’s because Singapore makes more award space available to KrisFlyer members than to members of partner programs like United MileagePlus and Avianca LifeMiles. You can redeem 86,000 miles to fly one way from New York to Frankfurt in Suites Class.
More affordable flight options with KrisFlyer include flying United Airlines in economy from the U.S. to Hawaii for 17,500 Singapore miles or 27,500 miles in economy to fly any Star Alliance member from the U.S. to Europe. There are also some excellent opportunities to use Singapore miles on Alaska Airlines flights, like 12,000 miles each way for economy tickets from the West Coast to Hawaii or Alaska.
Like Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, the KrisFlyer program passes fuel surcharges along to customers. So, your cost can vary dramatically depending on the airline operating your flight. You might find yourself paying anywhere from $5.60 to over $500. (Lufthansa, for example, is known for its high fuel surcharges).
If you find availability on a Star Alliance airline but don’t want to pay fuel surcharges, Avianca LifeMiles may be a better option. Usually, you should be able to book the same flights with LifeMiles for less cash and more miles.
Transfers from Citi ThankYou points to Singapore KrisFlyer usually take 1 day to process. We’ve outlined a few other great deals in our article on Singapore KrisFlyer sweet spots.
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
There’s not much to see here: Thai Airways instituted a significant devaluation of its award program effective October 1, 2019, with many routes seeing considerable increases in the number of miles required.
For example, domestic flights within the U.S. start at 17,500 miles each way in economy — which isn’t terrible but isn’t good either. However, if you want to fly from the U.S. mainland to Hawaii, you’ll pay an eye-watering 65,000 miles each way. Flights from North America to Asia cost 67,000 miles each way in economy and 132,000 miles each way in business class.
In virtually all cases, you’ll pay fewer miles (and avoid fuel surcharges) by booking flights through Avianca LifeMiles or Turkish Miles & Smiles instead. Even worse, transfers to Royal Orchid Plus take 3 to 7 days.
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
For a long time, most people have ignored Turkish Airlines because of its complicated award booking processes. Purchasing a ticket with miles used to require physically going to a Turkish Airlines ticket office. However, Turkish has improved its processes, so booking tickets has become much more manageable.
By far, the most impressive sweet spot of Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles is its domestic flight awards. Flights anywhere within the U.S. cost just 7,500 miles in economy and 12,500 miles in business/first class. That includes flights from anywhere in the U.S. to Alaska and Hawaii on United Airlines.
Turkish Airlines also offers some other sweet redemptions like 45,000 miles one-way between the U.S. and Europe in business class, and 75,000 miles each way for business class flights between the U.S. and Oceania. Check out our post on Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles Award Chart Sweet Spots for more.
You can book some partner itineraries online. Use United Airlines’ website to search for availability (make sure you’re not logged in!), and then try pricing it on Turkish’s website. If the itinerary doesn’t come up, call Miles&Smiles to verify they see the same thing and make your reservation. Transfers to Miles&Smiles take 1 day, so, make sure to put award seats on hold before you transfer.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
In addition to being a Citi partner, Virgin Atlantic is also partners with Amex, Chase, Marriott, and even Capital One (via Virgin Red) making it easy to accumulate a lot of Flying Club miles quickly.
That’s not the only thing that makes Flying Club attractive. Virgin Atlantic offers some exceptional award rates. However, you can often pay far more in taxes and fees when booking on Virgin Atlantic. If you choose flights carefully, it’s possible to avoid those high fees.
In many cases, the taxes and fees are far outweighed by the mileage savings. For example, flights from the U.S. to London can cost as little as 10,000 miles in economy and 17,500 in premium economy. Compare to that to 30,000 or 50,000 miles charged by other airlines for the same class of service. Even when you factor in taxes, you can come out ahead. On Virgin flights, you can expect to pay around $150 in economy, $275 in premium economy, and $725 or more in business class.
Virgin Atlantic is not part of an alliance, but they partner with several other airlines — including Delta, Air France, KLM, Alitalia, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia, and All Nippon Airways (ANA).
Virgin Atlantic also offers a sweet spot on Delta flights from the U.S. to Europe in business class:
Using Virgin Atlantic miles to book flights with ANA offers incredible value. You can book round-trip flights between the U.S. and Japan on ANA for 22,500 to 32,500 Flying Club miles each way in economy, 35,000 t0 47,500 miles each way in business, or 45,000 to 60,000 miles each way in first class. For reference, United charges 110,000 miles for a one-way ticket in first class to Japan. So, by booking the same flights with Virgin Atlantic, you’re paying half the miles! You’ll generally pay around $200 in surcharges and fees.
Most Virgin Atlantic and Delta flights can be booked online at virginatlantic.com. However, not all cities show up on Virgin’s website. If you can’t find your city, or you want to book flights on other partners, you’ll have to call them at 1-800-365-9500. Fortunately, Virgin has knowledgeable and friendly staff.
Transfers to Flying Club generally are immediate, but Flying Club agents can put a flight on hold for 24 to 72 hours (depending on the partner). So, you can lock in your award ticket before transferring your ThankYou points.
Choice Hotels (Choice Privileges)
In addition to being a Citi partner, Choice Privileges is a transfer partner of Amex and Capital One. However, those transfers are 1:1, while Citi points transfer to Choice Privileges at 1:2 (meaning you get 2 Choice points for every 1 Citi point transferred). That makes this option much more valuable from the outset.
While this chain isn’t generally known for its luxurious accommodations, its large footprint makes them a convenient option—especially in areas where some of the more high-end brands have no presence. One of the best uses for Choice hotels is for locations outside of the U.S., where Choice options include historic and unique boutique properties via the Ascend Hotel Collection.
Free nights start at just 6,000 points per night in Australia and New Zealand — or 8,000 points elsewhere. Given that points transfer from Citi to Choice Privileges at 1:2, the value can be worthwhile. You’d only need to transfer 4,000 Citi ThankYou Points to book a hotel costing 8,000 points per night. That means it’s possible to find valuations over 2 cents per point.
Wyndham Hotels (Wyndham Rewards)
In addition to being a Citi partner, Wyndham Rewards is a transfer partner of Capital One. Both programs transfer to Wyndham Rewards at 1:1. With more than 9,000 hotels across 20 brands in over 80 countries, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts offer a lot of options for travelers to explore.
The Wyndham Rewards program isn’t the most lucrative. But, it offers some nice earning and redemption options that make it worth a closer look. Through partnerships, Wyndham Rewards members can book free and discounted stays at over 30,000 hotels, vacation club resorts, and vacation rentals around the world.
There are three free night tiers for participating properties:
- 7,500 points per night per bedroom
- 15,000 points per night per bedroom
- 30,000 points per night per bedroom
As always, you’ll need to do some searching to find the redemptions that make sense. But, a beachfront studio at the Wyndham Reef Resort in Grand Cayman for 30,000 points a night sounds nice to me!
A week-long stay runs 210,000 points. The cash price for the same stay is $3,146.08, including taxes and fees. That’s a value of nearly 1.5 cents per point. It’s not a record-breaking redemption but provides reasonable value for Wyndham Rewards points.
Shop Your Way Rewards
In addition to its 14 airline partners, you can also transfer Citi ThankYou Points to Shop Your Way Rewards (SYWR), the loyalty program for Sears and Kmart. Points transfer at a 1:12 ratio, but 10 SYWR points are only worth 1 cent, so that means points transferred to Shop Your Way are worth 1.2 cents each toward Sears and Kmart merchandise. Probably not worth it unless you have a specific use in mind.
[Ended November 13, 2021] American Airlines AAdvantage
American AAdvantage is one of our favorite frequent flyer programs. American miles can be redeemed for travel with 22 different airlines to over 1,000 destinations. In July 2021, Citi announced that transfers to American would be a temporary option for ThankYou points until November 13, 2021. And unfortunately, this partnership wasn’t extended.
[Removed on March 29, 2022] Malaysia Airlines Enrich
Malaysia Airlines Enrich used to be an interesting mileage program with several sweet spots. However, following a 2017 devaluation, it no longer has much to offer. Award prices for Malaysia Airlines flights fluctuate depending on cash fares (and you can’t book the cheapest economy tickets, so you usually get a terrible redemption rate). Distance-based partner award prices are consistently higher than other Oneworld programs.
On March 29, 2022, Malaysia was removed as a Citi ThankYou transfer partner. Citi noted that it periodically removes partners with low utilization. So, it seems that Malaysia got the chop for being underutilized.
Tips for Maximizing Citi ThankYou Partners
- Always make sure flights or hotel nights are available with points before you make a transfer. Where possible, put flights on hold before you transfer.
- Check the cost of booking the same flight through the ThankYou Travel Portal. In some cases, you’ll spend fewer points and less cash booking with ThankYou points directly than transferring to a partner program.
- Remember, each airline partner has its own list of partner airlines. You’re not limited to flights on the airline that owns the program.
- Transfers can’t be reversed: You can never transfer points back to Citi ThankYou. So, plan your transfers carefully.
- Comparison shop: in most cases, the same flight can be booked by several Citi transfer partners. So be sure to compare the points, taxes, and fees required before you decide on a partner program.