Should You Move All Your Citi Points To American AAdvantage While You Can?

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Citi Premier® Card is offering its biggest-ever initial bonus to earn 80,000 bonus points after $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

That’s one of the two best offers for a new consumer rewards card right now. In fact if you’re not eligible for the offer to earn 100,000 points with a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card because of 5/24 or other reasons, this is the second best initial bonus offer out there in my opinion.

And Citibank’s points just got more valuable since they’re transferable at 1:1 into American AAdvantage until November 23, 2021.

Points can be transferred to a variety of frequent flyer programs, 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 AAdvantage (through 11/23/21)

  • 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

A reader asked me, “Is it smart to dump all my Citi Thank You points into AA?” After all, they’re the only one of the largest U.S. airlines partnering with the Thank You program for points transfers, and it’s something slated to end.

  1. I don’t see the rush, this is at least available until mid-November. My guess is it becomes a permanent feature of the program but that’s just a guess. (Perhaps there will be a pause before the feature gets brought back as part of the co-brand deal re-up I expect to come soon.)

  2. At a minimum wait until November to pull the trigger in case new information influences the choice, either about the future of these transfers or other uses for the points (including bonuses to other attractive transfer partners).

  3. It’s also been more than 5 years since partner awards have been re-priced by AAdvantage. We just saw Alaska Airlines introduce Qatar Airways awards for more than AAdvantage charges. So it would not surprise me, either, to see an adjustment to American’s awards. The President of AAdvantage said they’re looking at replacing award charts.

  4. And I like EVA, Turkish and Qatar quite a lot as Citi transfer partners as well.

I’ve redeemed more American miles for my own travels than any other currency. There’s no question this is tempting, especially with the announced end date on the option. I just value transferable rewards enough I’m not sure I’d do the transfer without a specific near-term redemption in mind.

However the offer of 80,000 bonus points after $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening from the Citi Premier® Card is an outstanding one, made even better with the added option to transfer those points to American AAdvantage.

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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Comments

  1. Hi Gary!

    Appreciate the post.

    What if one was not going to Asia, period. Would you still feel the same regarding transfer partners.While turkish might have a good product, seems like the long way to Paris..

    AF seems like the only good alternative, but they expire and I’m getting tired of paying the annual fee on my prestige card.

  2. I’ve thought about this myself. I’ve got roughly 150k TY points and 150k AA points. I’ve been transferring to Turkish for domestic United flights. I have the Rewards Plus card which gives a 10% rebate on transferred points up to 100k I believe. I think the strategy might be to subtract what I’ve already transferred from the 100k limit and transfer that balance to AA.

    For the record I’m Gold for Life on United and currently MVP Gold on Alaska so I get good seat assignments on both UA and AA.

  3. @Beachfan I applied for the Citi Premier and then product changed my Prestige to the Awards +

    It preserves the points and lowers the annual fee a lot.

  4. Its available until November, once the Citi website is functional.

    I’ve tried transferring Thank You points on the Citi website on 2 different days in the last week and each time the website said there was an error and could not process the transfer.

  5. Good points, Gary. But, with its various restrictions, the Citi program is such a PITA to deal with the I may just transfer all my TY points to AA to avoid the hassles.

  6. I only had about 70000 Thank you points and annual fee on my Citi Premier card coming up yet again. Can i downgrade my Citi Premier card and apply for a new one? I see their language on bonus: Must wait 24 months after receiving welcome bonus or closing any ThankYou card account.
    Or, can I open a 2nd account even though I presently have one (if they let me) or should I downgrade my present account first (and that won’t cont as a closure?)
    So many rules….
    any help appreciated. thanks!

  7. Okay, considering this for next year’s home leg AUH-IAD in Etihad 1st Need 167,000 Etihad miles to be transferred from AmEx or City or top off my AA by sending remaining 40K Citi TY. will check if AA see the Etihad First for 115,000 AA

    Other 40K Citi along with 60 Bonvoys got me the necessary QSuite NRT-DOH-AUH

  8. Not sure if it matters what card you downgrade to but when I product changed from a Premier to a DC card it seemed to count as an account closure.

  9. Be very careful about transfers to AA

    Reduced mileage award availability ends on October 1.

    Current availability is minimal. The low mileage “web special” costs associate with some routes might involve overnight layovers and extremely long trip times.

    I feel as if my points have just been devlaued by 25% for domestic RT’s

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