What are Citi ThankYou Points and How Should You Use Them?

Citibank’s Citi Premier Card has become one of the most sought after cards for travelers, as it has changed its sign-up bonus to a whopping 60,000 bonus points. This reward requires that you spend a minimum of $4,000 within the first 90 days of having the card, but for the frequent traveler this is not a major obstacle. One of the key advantages to having a Citi Premier Card is it allows you to transfer your points between programs, increasing the value of both the points and the card as it gives you additional flexibility and leverage.

Here are a few of the transfer partner participants that may be of value to you, most which have a 1:1 transfer point benefit.

  • Jet Airways – JetPrivilege
  • JetBlue – TrueBlue (which has a 2:1 transfer ratio)
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Singapore Airlines – KrisFlyer
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

But the strategy is to use these and other participating airless as a way to redirect your advantage to other airlines. Here are several examples.

  • Booking American Airlines Business Class through Etihad Guest, and then connecting to the AAdvantage program to fly to Asia from the United States on American. Though this is one of the most useful ways to connect to Etihad Guest, there are a number of other bookings that can save you upwards of 10,000 miles per trip. A problem you may encounter is the availability of flights to Asia using this strategy, so you should be sure to schedule your trip ahead of time with room to spare.
  • Negotiating 4 round trip domestic flights on United Airlines. OK, these are not of the long destination variety and they have to be domestic – and they are Economy class seats. But using Avianca’s LifeMiles program you can make it happen if you understand the LifeMiles program beyond simply knowing its existence.

There are 3 major groupings of U. S. geography according to the program, basically divided into the East-Midwest, South and Plains States, and the West. Traveling between any points within these groupings qualifies as a short trip, saving you many miles points. The important thing to know is each of the define groups have two or more United Airlines hubs, as follows:

  • Newark (EWR) and Washington-Dulles (IAD)
  • Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) and Houston (IAH)
  • Denver (DEN), Los Angeles (LAX), and San Francisco (SFO)

For example, both states of Florida and Minnesota are grouped as United States 2 states, so flying from Florida to Minnesota using Chicago’s O’Hare International (ORD) as a hub means that it is considered to be a short trip even though the total flight time can be as long as 7 hours. Because short trips don’t cost as much as longer hauls (remember, it is by state grouping, not miles or time traveled) you can use LifeMiles to travel more cheaply. With some careful planning you can get as many as 4 domestic short trips with this strategy.

As a final example of the benefits you get for having the ThankYou program, there is the well-known long junket to Japan from the United States. Flight times are long and flying Business Class can be expensive. But you can manage a one way ticket in Business Class by using Virgin Atlantic. Using the airline’s Flying Club program you will be able to navigate around the very high fuel surcharge fees using Delta Airlines. Delta’s SkyMiles program can cost you as many as 300,000 rewards points on a flight from Seattle to Tokyo but by using the Flying Club points via transfer, the same flight only costs you 60,000 points.

Moving forward, you can transfer your ThankYou accumulated points to anyone who is also a member. They do not have to be related to you or even an authorized user. As long as they are a member of the ThankYou program they can receive your point without any charge. There are limitations to each individual transfer, including a maximum annual transfer amount of 100,000 points total, and the person receiving the points must use them within 90 days of receipt. This comes in very handy when several ThankYou members have scattered points that are too few for any trip, but can get other members who are not using points that are sitting around and combine them for an unplanned getaway or some such thing.

There are other strategies you can use to maximize your Citi ThankYou program points, but perhaps the most important feature to recognize is flexibility. You should examine all of your rewards cards and compare the benefits, and see if you can tie in to the ThankYou points. Think of this article as only a starting point to save you rewards miles and points.

With all the advantages of the Citi ThankYou points and rewards, it is equally important to note that any rewards program can change over time. One of the obvious reasons is that once airlines catch wind of these and other published strategies using the ThankYou program they may decide to change their rewards program policies. So the benefits described here may change depending on a variety of factors, so it is important to contact Citibank or your airline’s rewards program center to get the latest information about the exact benefits and rewards of their program.

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