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When it comes to maximizing your credit card rewards, flexibility is key. Rewards programs that allow cardholders to transfer their points to various travel partners are a credit card enthusiasts’ best friend. In the past year, the Citi ThankYou program has made great strides to improve their rewards program and become real competitors with industry heavyweights like Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards.
The two major things that make these credit card rewards programs valuable are the quality and quantity of their transfer partners. Having access to more airlines and hotels to transfer your rewards and points to will help ensure you get a good value for your points.
Airline Partner & Transfer Details
Until recently, all of the transfer airlines for Citi ThankYou Points were based overseas, and the lack of a U.S. based airlines meant that the ThankYou program was less appealing to travelers who mostly fly within the States. But last week Citi added Virgin America as a transfer partner and now cardholders of the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card and Citi Prestige® Card can transfer their points to their Virgin America Elevate frequent flyer account.
Unfortunately, the transfer rate of ThankYou Points to Virgin America Elevate Points isn’t a one to one ratio; it’s actually substantially worse. When you transfer 1,000 ThankYou points to your Virgin America frequent flyer account, you’ll only get 500 Elevate Points in return. For every other transfer airline (there are currently 11), transfers are at a one to one ratio, so this transfer rate is a bit of a disappointment.
However, to celebrate the new partnership, Citi is offering a limited time 25% bonus on these transfers. As you can see in the picture above, you can receive 625 Elevate points for 1,000 ThankYou Points until midnight on October 21st, 2015.
Cards That Can Transfer ThankYou Points
Citi ThankYou® Premier Card: This credit card got an excellent makeover back in April of this year and it’s now one of the top travel rewards credit cards on the market. Cardholders can earn 3x on travel including gas, 2x on dining & entertainment, 1x on other purchases. This card also comes with a great sign up bonus that allows cardholders to earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening*. The annual fee is $95, but it’s waived the first year.
Citi Prestige® Card: As the name suggests, this is a prestigious credit card that is packed with perks and benefits that travelers will love. There is a $450 annual fee, but that’s largely offset by the fact that cardholders can earn a $250 Air Travel Credit each year. On top of that, cardholders can earn 3X points on Air Travel and Hotel stays, 2X points on Dining and Entertainment, and 1 point on all other purchases. There’s also a sign up bonus of 40,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months of cardmembership. *This offer and/or promotion may have since changed, expired, or is no longer available.
The Bottom Line
Even if the transfer ratio isn’t great, it’s still nice to see that Citi is working to expand their ThankYou Points program. There are definitely numerous ways to get a better value for your ThankYou Points, but if you have a specific award redemption with Virgin America in mind and you just need a few more Elevate points, it might make sense for you to transfer Citi ThankYou Points to Virgin America.
*Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Citibank. 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 Citibank.
*The content in this article is accurate at the publishing date, and may be subject to changes per the card issuer.