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Now that Citi has made cash back from the Citi Double Cash transferable to ThankYou points at a 1:1 ratio, you can now effectively earn 2 ThankYou points per dollar on all spend, with the optionality of converting to ThankYou points later – or redeeming for the cash whenever you choose.
In this article
The Citi cards in play are:
The Citi Premier: Unlocks 1:1 transfers of Citi ThankYou points to 15 airline partners.The card earns 3x Citi ThankYou points on dining, groceries, air travel, hotels, and gas. That’s a lot of 3X categories!
With a huge 60,000 point bonus for spending $4,000 in your first three months, we definitely recommend starting with the Citi Premier.
The Citi Double Cash card: Earn 2 points per dollar on all spend. Basically, anything that isn’t travel, gas, entertainment or restaurants.
The Citi Rewards+: Gives you a 10% rebate on redeemed ThankYou points up to 10,000 rebated points (on 100,000 redeemed) per year. Also rounds up small purchases to max out earned points on small transactions.
The Citi Prestige: If you value the 4th night free benefit in its current form and/or spend enough to maximize the bonus categories on this card, namely 5x Citi ThankYou points on restaurants and airfare and 3x on hotels and cruises. You could have this card instead of or in addition to a Citi Premier. If you don’t have a Premier, the Prestige similarly allows transfers to all of the airline partners.
Citi Quadfecta or Citi Trifecta?
Now that the Citi Prestige has both a higher annual fee, at $495, and no longer allows concierge bookings, it’s not as much of a “no brainer” card as before. Many will balk at the small signup bonuses on the Citi Double Cash card (generally no bonus) and the Citi Rewards+, but keep in mind that you should be able to product change nearly any open Citi card to either of these. Many of us have older, potentially dormant, Citi cards we stopped using and those are perfect conversion candidates.
So at a minimum, you’d want the Citi Double Cash, for 2X points on all non-bonused spend, and a Citi Premier or Citi Prestige for the ability to transfer these points to airlines (assuming this all pans out such that Double Cash-earned points are transferable. I guess that would simply be a Citi Bifecta.
The Citi Rewards+ will earn you back 10,000 points a year if you max the 100,000 in ThankYou point redemptions each year, which is “worth” about $160 based on my valuations for ThankYou points. That would be the Citi Trifecta.
I don’t think most people would need all four, as the Prestige duplicates much of the Premier earnings and benefits, however there are people that would benefit. If you wanted to have 4th night free and 5X on dining but ALSO want to redeem via the portal for airfare at 1.25 cents per point (rather than transfer to airlines), then you would potentially want all four and complete the Citi Quadfecta. Likewise if you have a ton of entertainment spend (perhaps you buy a ton of tickets for resale). Note that the 1.25 cent redemption rate on the Premier ends April 10, 2021.
Where can you transfer Citi ThankYou points?
|Citi ThankYou Transfer Partners||Last updated: Oct 2020|
|Transfer Ratio||Approximate Transfer Time *|
|Air France Flying Blue||1:1||Instant|
|Cathay Pacific AsiaMiles||1:1||Instant|
|Eva Air||1:1||~1-3 days|
|Malaysia Airlines Enrich||1:1||~1-7 days|
|Qantas||1:1||Instant to 1 day|
|Qatar Privilege Club||1:1||~2 days|
|Singapore Airlines||1:1||~1-2 days|
|Thai Orchid Plus||1:1||~3-7 days|
|Turkish Airlines||1:1||1-2 days|
|Virgin Atlantic||1:1||Instant to 2 days|
What are the best Citi ThankYou partners?
It certainly depends on your personal travel goals. Here are a few of mine:
Turkish Miles&Smiles represents a sort of “hidden” opportunity. It’s part of Star Alliance and offers some incredible deals like 12,500 miles to fly NYC-LAX/SFO in United Business Class or 45,000 miles from the US to Europe in Business Class. The award booking engine online, however, can be buggy and if the trip you want can’t be booked online for whatever reason, you are left trying to email a ticket office which can work – or not work.
Needless to say, it’s also great for booking award flights on Turkish, whose Business Class is highly regarded, especially for the onboard food and service.
The real golden sweet spot, though, is in flying to/from anywhere in North America including Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, Bermuda and even the Netherlands Antilles for 15,000 points or less in Business Class. We’ve got a guide to booking these Turkish Airlines awards here.
Read this post for the best uses of Avianca LifeMiles. In short, 63,000 miles from the US to Europe in Business Class or 87,000 miles from the US to Europe in First Class with no carrier surcharges is why some people love using LifeMiles. That can save several hundred dollars when booking Lufthansa First Class.
Be sure to also read LifeMiles Awards – Changes and Cancellations: What You Need to Know as there are downsides to the program.
Cathay Pacific AsiaMiles
AsiaMiles is the best way to redeem Citi ThankYou points on Oneworld carriers. They have stopped charging carrier imposed surcharges on their own award flights, but they will still pass them on from carriers that charge them like British Airways, Qantas, and Qatar. Much like you can redeem British Airways Avios effectively on short domestic trips on American Airlines, AsiaMiles can do the same for just a drop more miles.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Virgin’s miles can be incredibly useful. My favorite uses are for a round trip in First or Business Class to Japan on ANA (just 90,000 – 120,000 miles round trip) or to fly on Delta-operated flights like US – Europe in Business Class for 50,000 Virgin miles each way (Delta would charge 80,000 Skymiles minimum each way) or a US transcontinental flight from NYC – LAX/SFO in Business Class (Delta One) for just 22,500 miles.
A Reminder About Citi Card Benefits
Bear in mind that Citi has removed the following benefits from all of these cards:
- Worldwide Car Rental Insurance
- Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection
- Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance
- Trip Delay Protection
- Baggage Delay Protection
- Lost Baggage Protection
- Medical Evacuation
- Price Rewind
- 90 Day Return Protection
- Missed Event Ticket Protection
- Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service
- Travel & Emergency Assistance
The Citi Double Cash also lost Extended Warranty and Purchase Protection.
It’s up to you if that moves the needle for you on these cards versus cards that still have them like Chase credit cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
Applying for these cards:
Will this change impact the mix of cards in your wallet?
You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards.
New to all of this? The MilesTalk “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.