Two-plus years ago there was much speculation about Citi introduces points transfer partners to the Thank You Points program.
A year and a half ago they introduces transfers to Hilton HHonors. And that was it.
Now they’ve gone ahead and done it!
Back in the day these were really valuable points.
- You could use them to buy any revenue ticket that met a series of qualifications, and some people forced full fare tickets across the Pacific with a single non-refundable segment. Citi ‘devalued’ the program and the best you could do was three points per dollar.
- But that was still awesome, because you could earn as much as 12 points per dollar on gas and groceries with the Citi Drivers Edge card (6 points for the category bonus, matched by the miles you drove). That meant a 36% rebate on purchases made at grocery stores and gas stations.
- They devalued again. And again. And have since cut back on earning.
But they’ve finally made these better than a poor ‘rebate towards travel’ set of cards with the introduction of several 1:1 points transfer to miles partners (in 1000 mile increments) for Citi Thank You Premier, Prestige and Chairman cardmembers.
- Cathay Pacific AsiaMiles
- EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
- Etihad Guest
- Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
Thai’s devaluation seals the deal on that program for me.
You can redeem Etihad Guest points for their new A380 Residences. And there are a handful of good values like Europe – Middle East in first class.
AsiaMiles has some good short distance-based awards. They’re also an American Express transfer partner.
The Best All-Around Option Here is Singapore Airlines Krisflyer
Singapore Airlines Krisflyer is a surprisingly useful program.
If you book on the Singapore website you get a 15% discount of the prices on the award chart. So, for instance:
- San Francisco – Hong Kong in ‘suites class’ is 70,125 miles one-way.
- Houston – Moscow in first class is 57,375 miles one-way.
- New York JFK – Frankfurt in suites class is 57,375 miles one-way.
You can have one enroute stopover on a roundtrip award.
Singapore adds fuel surcharges to awards (whatever the cost of a fuel surcharge would be on an equivalent paid ticket).
If you want to fly Singapore Airlines, which really has one of the world’s best first class products, the way to do it is with Singapore’s own miles.
There are also strong values redeeming Singapore miles on partners. Singapore’s partner award chart is here. The chart lists roundtrip award prices, but one-way awards are half the cost of roundtrip. These awards have to be booked over the phone.
- US – Hawaii costs 35,000 miles roundtrip in coach, 60,000 miles roundtrip up front (in ‘business class’ — United classifies their domestic first class as business class for award purposes, for experts out there that means United’s domestic first class awards book into “I class”.)
- North America domestic first class awards cost just 40,000 miles roundtrip (again, because United books their domestic first class into “I” which is Star Alliance business).
- North America – Europe is 130,000 miles roundtrip in business class; 160,000 miles roundtrip in first.
- North America – Middle East is 115,000 miles roundtrip in business class, 150,000 miles roundtrip in first.
- South Africa is 145,000 miles roundtrip in business class.
There are no fuel surcharges on US domestic awards (or awards between the US and South America).
Singapore of course is also a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest. So not a ton unique here in this addition.
The increased number of transfer partners though does mean that Singapore is even more useful as a place to pool your miles (but bear in mind that miles expire after three years — not three years of inactivity).
Here’s the bottom-line on Citi’s new transfer partners:
- They’re actually breathing life into the Citi Thank You program.
- They’ve mostly got third-tier transfer partners, but there are transfer partners. And they’ll span the global alliances.
- I value Singapore miles at more than Thank You points are otherwise worth in airfare (except to Citi Prestige cardmembers using their points on US Airways and American).
- More options are good, and these options do increase the value of the points… not enough that I want to focus on the program, but enough that folks who have been earning 5 points per dollar category bonuses should rejoice.
Update: Dan’s Deals says that points can be transferred to Malaysia Airlines Enrich. That got me looking around, and I found the same thing claimed on Flyertalk. But Malaysia is not listed as a transfer partner on the Thank You website. Maybe it was there earlier and then pulled.