Citi Adds Choice Hotels As Points Transfer Partner At Better Than 1-To-1

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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.

Citi Premier® Cardsing

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of advertisers Citibank, Chase, American Express, Barclays, Capital One or any other advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

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Comments

  1. Interesting that Citi’s 1:2 is better than what Diners Club has offered on Choice transfers which I thought were pretty good compared to 1:1 with Amex. For a number of years Diners transferred at 1250:2400 (1.92) but earlier this year they devalued it to 11459:20000 (1.745).

  2. Are there any good/aspirational or great location properties that belong to Choice Hotels? Or, are they good only for one-night traveling through the boonies?

  3. inner city choice hotels are great spots to score some late night fentanyl laced cocaine or heroin and a cheap date.
    The purge.

  4. @Gary Leff – mentioning Qatar Privilege Club, do they have better availability for their own members, and is there any online way to check that without the miles in your account? I tried various workarounds on their website and app that may have worked at one time; none seem to currently work.

  5. What memories of choice hotels I have when I was younger. They were some of the most horrendous lodging experiences that might be appreciated by the homeless
    Even their so called premium properties don’t seem top rate so well
    Can anyone find a true high quality experience 4 star & up within the Choice portfolio?
    My perception is they compete with Motel 6 Econo lodge Red Roof Inn etc

  6. @Stefan Krasowski (@rapidtravelchai) – I have never seen better availability when helping folks use QMiles than what’s available to partner programs. I cannot guarantee that there’s not better availability for QR’s own members, but I don’t recall anyone claiming that there is and I haven’t observed better availability. Have you seen others suggest this?

  7. @Gary Leff – did not find any claims to that beyond my wishful thinking that, now that my wife might consider a trip to select destinations opening, I see the North America – Doha routes mostly blocked out for business class awards when checking via partners. She might be convinced for Maldvies, though not many sub-30 hour ways back those days. UA has plenty of availability to trip over quad connection over 30-50 hours will one or more stops in India on Air India and Vistara, and the app filters can’t seem to make them disappear.

    I this process I’ve noticed a UL phantom availability showing on AA.com such as CMB-FRA. BA.com seems accurate. First time searching for awards in nearly two years.

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