[Introduction] US Point-Transfer Rewards Programs: Citi ThankYou Rewards

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Introduction to US Point-Transfer Reward Programs:

1. American Express Membership Rewards (AMEX MR)
2. Chase Ultimate Rewards (Chase UR)
3. Citi ThankYou Rewards (Citi TY)
4. Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints (SPG)

Citi ThankYou Rewards (Citi TY)

In the 3rd article of this point-transfer program series, I’d like to discuss the ThankYou Rewards (TY) from the Citibank. Citi TY had been my least favorite points primarily because they were not transferable until the year of 2014. Before that, they could only be redeemed either as cash or for merchandise. Very few points & miles enthusiasts were interested the Citi TY perhaps before the reasons mentioned above. However, things have taken a turn for the better on 2014 when Citi started a partnership with several airlines.

I think many people may have used their Citi TY through Citi’s Travel Center for the 20% redemption of airlines tickets. This was probably the best way to use the TY for travel in the past, but since Citi added partner airlines on 2014, the game has become much more interesting.

Transfer partner of Citi ThankYou Points

First of all, Citi TY can be transferred to most of airline partners in 1 : 1 ratio, including EVA Air (BR), Cathay Pacific (CX), Thai Airways (TG), and Singapore Airlines (SQ). Unfortunately, these airline transfer partners are known to have a not-so-ideal award chart for round-trip business class ticket redemption.

Long-hual (TPE ~ SFO) round-trip flights award chart in business class
Short-haul flights (TPE ~ NRT) round-trip flights award chart in business class

However, it is worth noting that CX, BR, and SQ reserve significantly more redeemable seats for their own frequent flyer program members. For that reason, having enough TY will allow those who have been earning CX/BR/SQ miles to easily top-off their original account balance. Also worth noting is that the occasional transfer promotional bonus. For example, the 25% additional bonus miles when transferring to Virgin Atlantic promotion that ran some time last year was a great alternative way for business class award tickets on ANA flights.

Now that we have a basic understanding of the Citi TY transfer partners, let's take a look at how Citi TY points can be earned:

Citi have three major TYP-earning credit cards (Prestige, ThankYou Premier, and ThankYou Preferred). Let's take the mid-tier ThankYou Premier for example:

  1. 3x points per dollars for travel including gas.
  2. 2x points per dollars for dining and entertainment.
  3. 1x point per dollar for all other purchases.
  4. No foreign transaction fee. Compared to the AMEX's mid-tier card – AMEX Premier Rewards Gold, the Citi ThankYou premier is superior in that it still earns spending category bonus points when used outside of the US.

Although Citi TY's partners are probably not as attractive as those of Chase UR and AMEX MR, it is still a decent program and may be useful for some people.

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