Strategy For Up to 30% Bonus Offer Transferring Citibank Points to Qantas Through June 30

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Qantas Frequent Flyer will top off transfers from Citibank this month with a bonus of up to 30%.

The bonus is tiered and it takes transferring a million points to get the full bonus.

The offer comes from Qantas, so they’re bonusing transfers rather than Citi.

  • You have to complete transfers by 11:59pm Australian Eastern Standard Time June 30.
  • You cannot transfer more than 500,000 points every 24 hours

I’m racking up tons of points with my Citi Prestige Card thanks not just to the 50,000 point signup bonus (after $3000 spend within three months, offer expired) but also the triple points on air and hotel and double points on restaurants and entertainment. (The entertainment category is surprisingly broad.)

But I don’t have enough points where I’d pre-emptively transfer to Qantas for a bonus like this. I’d only do it as part of a clear plan… especially because Qantas award seats in premium cabins between the US and Australia are sparse and because the program adds fuel surcharges to awards (even to award travel originating in Australia where paid fares don’t include the surcharges!).

The program is strategically useful, though, for instance:

  • If you’re going to book British Airways where you’d pay fuel surcharges anyway
  • For intra-Asia flying where the fuel surcharges are low and distances are shorter than transpacific — just note that while Cathay Pacific awards show up on the Qantas website, for Japan Airlines awards you’ll have to call.
  • American Airlines flights to South America, where there are no fuel surcharges and availability has gotten much better in premium cabins.
  • Shorter Emirates flights. New York JFK – Milan for instance is 60,000 points each way in business or 90,000 in first.

Here’s the distance-based award chart for Qantas, American, and Emirates flights:

I love to see Citibank continuing to run transfer bonuses, though. They’ve been adding mileage transfer partners, and running promotions, and all-around building a very healthy program.

I’d rather save the points than take advantage of this offer unless I was looking for short haul travel or Emirates business class across the Pond. ThankYou Rewards transfer partners are:

  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue
  • Asia Miles
  • Etihad Airways Guest
  • EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
  • Garuda Indonesia GarudaMiles
  • Hilton HHonors
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Virgin America Elevate
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

I tend to favor Singapore Airlines and Etihad transfers myself, and though we haven’t seen Citi transfer bonuses to Singapore, we’ve seen them to Etihad. Etihad doesn’t just let you redeem for their own flights, but myriad partners — including American Airlines at American’s old mileage chart prices and Brussels Airlines at under 37,000 miles roundtrip New York – Brussels in business class.

(HT: Timothy O.)

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, 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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  1. I was wondering about the possibility of using qantas miles to upgrade on their flights. I got in on a sale though AA for a flight from lax-syd-cns-mel-syd-lax and was looking to upgrade either the lax to syd or syd to lax segments or both. This entire itinerary is code shared with AA flight numbers but all but one of the segments is on qantas metal. Is it possible and how many miles would it cost?

  2. @Gary,

    Slightly off the main topic, but related to Buddy’s question above, I used lots of AA miles to book award travel on:
    British Airways (economy) IAD-LHR
    Qantas (first) LHR-DXB-SYD
    Qantas (first) SYD-LAX

    I now have a decent pile of BA Avios points from the Chase British Airways Visa card. Is it possible to use Avios to upgrade the economy seats from IAD-LHR?

  3. This would be a good replacement for AA shorthauls in the US, no? 16,000 Qantas points r/t on AA under 600 miles. With the 15% bonus, you’d only have to transfer 14,000, and i assume there would be no YQ for domestic flights. Small 1000 points savings vs avios but better than nothing…

  4. @Matt and of course American is doing sub-500 mile flights for 7500 each way now, but yes you can do this. If you have a prestige card worth comparing to buying the AA ticket outright at 1.6 cents per point in value. But yes it will work for some and there’s no YQ on domestic US tickets [or domestic Aussie tickets for that matter]

  5. @Luke Vader you can only upgrade one class of service and only on a paid ticket. So if you were flying BA *paid* economy you could upgrade to premium economy. But you cannot use BA miles to upgrade an award ticket issued with AA miles.

  6. @Gary. Thought so, thanks. I know AA is doing the new 7500 short hauls, but for someone like me who really only flies on award tickets (or on low-level fare classes every now and then), AA miles are precious because there’s no way for me to earn them in meaningful amounts. There are no transfer partners besides starwood, and there are only so many AA cards I can open, so trying to save AA miles when i can.

  7. @Gary

    Kinda what I figured, but worth asking/confirming with an expert. Thanks. 🙂

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