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Citibank has added Choice Privileges as a points transfer partner, at better than 1:1. I value Choice points at around $0.006 apiece, so transferring at 1:2 isn’t unreasonable. In fact, it’s better than you’ll do with most bank transferable currencies moving points to hotels (other than moving points to Hyatt). And it’s possible to get over a penny apiece in value from a Choice point, so there’s certainly a strategic use for moving one Citi point into two Choice points.
The Citi Premier® Card has its biggest-ever initial bonus to earn 80,000 bonus points after $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
Earning on this $95 annual fee card is 3 points per dollar spent at restaurants; supermarkets; gas stations; air travel; and hotels. That’s a broad set of categories for triple points-earning. I could see, then, getting 6 cents per dollar spent in value from a Choice transfer.
Points can be transferred to a variety of frequent flyer programs, now including:
- SkyTeam: Aeromexico Club Premier, Air France KLM Flying Blue
- oneworld: Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Malaysia Airlines Enrich, Qantas Frequent Flyer, Qatar Airways Privilege Club, American Airlines AAdvantage (through November 13, 2021)*
- Star Alliance: Avianca LifeMiles, EVA Air Infinity MileageLands, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus, Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
- Non-alliance: Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, JetBlue TrueBlue, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Hotels: Choice Privileges
Citi lost Hilton as a points transfer partner when Hilton went exclusive in its co-brand relationship with American Express. Choice gives it a hotel transfer partner, and one I value more than American Express transfers to Hilton (because in my view one Choice point is worth more than one Hilton point).
While some of the best deals with Choice will be found at inexpensive hotels costing few points, they have more aspirational redemptions such as in the Ascend Hotel Collection that are often overlooked.
Since Citi Prestige is no longer available for new cardmembers. the Citi Premier® Card is Citi’s primary competitor in the transferable points space, and they’vee ramping up their investment in attracting new customers. 80,000 points is a compelling reason to get the card.
And the transfer partners are strong and in some cases quite unique. Qatar’s Privilege Club has really improved and is compelling especially for QSuites redemptions.
QSuites Business Class, Credit: Qatar Airways
While Virgin Atlantic miles are often less valuable than other currencies they have incredible sweet spots.
Turkish Airlines offers 48 hour award holds so you can lock in an award prior to transferring points. Cancel and redposit fee is just $25. First class to the Caribbean or Hawaii is just 12,500 miles one-way on United. Europe is just 45,000 miles in business class, and India 52,500 miles (plus fuel surcharges).
Singapore Airlines is great for booking awards on Singapore flights themselves in long haul premium cabins. Meanwhile EVA Airways has a really underappreciated program as well.
EVA Airways Business Class
This card pairs really well with a no annual fee Citi Custom CashSM Card which offers 5% return in specific categories that change each month based on what you’re spending the most on. You can move the points into your Citi Premier® Card account and transfer them to frequent flyer programs.
With the Citi Custom CashSM Card your 5x category will be the one you spend the most in out of restaurants; gas stations; grocery stores; select travel and transit; select streaming services; drugstores; home improvement stores; fitness clubs; live entertainment.