Like Amex and Chase, Citi also has a bank rewards program known as Citi Thank You points.
Citi has temporarily added American Airlines as a Thank You points transfer partner. This means that those who have a Citi Premier card can transfer Thank You points to American Airlines AAdvantage at a 1:1 ratio. This is slated to end on November 13, 2021.
I do not have a card that earns Citi Thank You points at this time because while there are some airline partners I find useful, there is some overlap with Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards points. So I never really saw a need to dive into a 3rd ecosystem. But this update is likely going to entice Ryan and I to each open a Citi Premier card! The annual fee of $95 is very reasonable and the welcome bonus of 80,000 Thank You points means we could potentially have 80,000 AAdvantage miles each if we transfer those points to AAdvantage before the November 13, 2021 end date.
Current offer: Earn 80,000 Citi Thank You points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.
The earn rate on this card is also exciting. Earn 3 points per dollar at restaurants and supermarkets, 3 points per dollar at gas stations, 3 points per dollar at hotels and for air travel. Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. The Amex Gold Card has a better earn rate at restaurants and supermarkets (4x), but the annual fee of $95 on the Citi Premier make it a good alternative for earning points that transfer to some of my favorite airline programs such as Avianca and Etihad.
Like Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you have two options for redeeming Citi Thank You points for travel
The first is the pay with points option. You can redeem your points for statement credits on purchases at a fixed value of 1 cent per point. This means that 80,000 points $800.
The other way to redeem Thank You points is to transfer them to airline partners. This has the potential to make points a lot more valuable than 1 cent per point. Like I said earlier, the transfer partners that do excite me such as Avianca and Etihad are also transfer partners of Amex. For that reason, I never felt the need to explore the Citi ThankYou program for myself. But now that Citi has temporarily added American Airlines AAdvantage as a transfer partner, it’s worth considering this card. For at least a few months, I can earn points that transfer 1:1 to AAdvantage miles. This partnership is set to end in November.
The reason this is such a big deal is that while you can redeem points and miles from other airline programs for flights operated by American Airlines, American Airlines AAdvantage is not a transfer partner of Chase, Amex, or Capital One, the other bank points that have airline transfer partners.
While I do not recommend earning AAdvantage miles on everyday spending from an AAdvantage co branded card, AAdvantage miles are definitely useful on certain routes. For example, you can book a one way business class ticket to the Maldives in a Qatar Qsuite for 70k AAdvantage miles each way. AAdvantage also has web specials, which are discounted award tickets on their own flights, that are only available to book with AAdvantage miles (meaning you cannot book them with partner miles such as British Airways). The catch is that any AAdvantage sweet spot like this is subject to availability.
If you only earn AAdvantage miles, you’re limited to the redemption options of AAdvantage. If the route and date you want is not available or costs a ridiculous amount of AAdvantage miles, you’re out of luck. But if you earn transferable points, you have the option to transfer to several other airlines.
The welcome bonus of 80,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months makes this worth considering if you’re over 5/24. If nothing else, this is an easy way to pick up 80,000 AAdvantage miles. You just need to make sure to transfer them to AAdvantage prior to November 13, unless of course the partnership stays in place longer. But even after November, the earn rate on this card makes it a good everyday spending card.
Another benefit that makes the Citi Premier card a nice addition to your wallet:
$100 hotel savings annually: Once per calendar year, receive $100 off of a single hotel stay with a pre-tax total of $500 or more. To receive this benefit, you must book through the Thank You program and you can do that at thankyou.com. If you’re able to use this benefit, it more than offsets the annual fee of $95.
Who is eligible for the Citi Premier card welcome bonus?
Anyone who has not received a bonus from another Citi Thank You product or closed a card in the Citi Thank You family in the past 24 months. It also goes without saying but you must qualify in terms of credit worthiness (to be determined by Citi).
If you have an AAdvantage co branded card from Citi, you can also have a Citi Premier card!
If you do not already have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, I highly recommend opening that first
This is for 2 reasons. First, the welcome bonus is currently 100k Chase Ultimate Rewards points, and those points are worth at least $1250 in travel. Second, the Chase 5/24 rule makes it important to open Chase cards before moving on to cards issued by other banks. You can read about the 5/24 rule here if you are not familiar.
Current offer: 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.
The annual fee is $95.
Earn 5 points per dollar on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 2 points per dollar on other travel purchases, 3 points per dollar on dining (including eligible delivery services and takeout), 3 points per dollar on select streaming services, 3 points per dollar on online grocery purchases (this excludes Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs), and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
Here are Citi’s transfer partners
If you have the Citi Premier card, the transfer ratio is 1:1.
- American Airlines AAdvantage
- Aeromexico Premier Points
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Avianca LifeMiles
- Emirates Skywards Miles
- Etihad Guest Miles
- EVA Air Infinity MileageLands Miles
- Air France and KLM Flying Blue Miles
- JetBlue TrueBlue points
- Malaysia Airlines Enrich Miles
- Qantas Points
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club Qmiles
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles
- Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus Miles
- Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
- Virgin Atlantic Flying club
Here are just a couple examples of redemptions with Citi Thank You partner programs other than AAdvantage. These are subject to availability:
- Redeem 50k Etihad miles each way for a business class seat between the US and Japan, operated by American Airlines. Click here for more info.
- You can redeem 78k Avianca miles each way for a business class seat between the US and Southeast Asia, operated by EVA Airways, ANA, or other Star Alliance airlines. Click here for more info.
- A roundtrip flight on one of Emirates’s US-Europe fifth freedom routes is as low as 90k Emirates miles roundtrip in business class. Click here for more info.
If you do not have an Ultimate Rewards earning card such as a Chase Sapphire Preferred, I suggest starting with that. But if you’re over 5/24 and/or you already have all of the Chase cards you want, the Citi Premier card is definitely worth considering right now. It’s better than the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select offer of 50k miles, plus the 80k Thank You points you earn can be transferred to other Citi Thank You partners in the event that AAdvantage doesn’t have availability. Just remember that the AAdvantage partnership is scheduled to end November 13, 2021.
The current welcome bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred is worth at least $1250 in travel! But the points can also be used for redemptions that are worth twice that if you learn how to utilize transfer partners. Click here for 37 ways to redeem the bonus.
Current offer: Earn 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months.
Earn 5 points per dollar on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 2 points per dollar on other travel purchases, 3 points per dollar on dining (including eligible delivery services and takeout), 3 points per dollar points on select streaming services, 3 points per dollar on online grocery purchases (this excludes Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs), and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
The annual fee is $95, but the welcome offer alone is worth a lot more than that.
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