Citi ThankYou Points to be transferable to Singapore Airlines and British Airways

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DansDeals is reporting that starting in April, Citi ThankYou Points will be transferable to both Singapore Airlines Kris Flyer and British Airways Executive Club at a 1:1 ratio.

Back in the day Citi Thank You points were incredibly valuable. They could be redeemed at a fixed amount towards the cost of a revenue ticket, which meant it was possible to earn miles when redeeming points. Many people took full advantage of this by booking tickets in expensive markets that were thousands of dollars, then canceled them, and then applied the credit towards a new ticket (or several new ticket). Unfortunately that was before my days of credit card churning.

For the past few years their points have only been redeemable towards the cost of travel at a value of one cent per point, meaning a $100 ticket would cost you 10,000 points. There’s not a lot of value for me in that, since I’d much rather earn miles that can be redeemed towards international first and business class travel.

However, the points will now be transferable to both Singapore Airlines and British Airways, which makes me rethink the program.

While British Airways miles aren’t nearly as useful as they were before the devaluation, there are still some good redemption opportunities. Nonetheless I’m not especially tempted by them, since their best use is shorthaul economy awards as opposed to longhaul first class awards. Besides, I think British Airways is now officially the sluttiest loyalty program in the industry. They’re now “partners” with Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, Starwood, and Thank You Points.

That being said, I’m very tempted by the prospect of earning Singapore Airlines Kris Flyer miles. As I posted about a few weeks ago, Singapore recently changed their mileage program to make first class awards on them much more attainable. As you can see in the linked post, with the new award chart you can fly first class on Singapore Airlines between San Francisco and Hong Kong for about 140,000 miles.

This makes it tempting to use a Thank You Points co-branded credit card for categories in which they offer bonus points. For example, the Citi Forward Card offers five points per dollar on restaurants. Five Singapore Airlines Kris Flyer miles is more tempting to me than the 2 Ultimate Rewards points I currently earn per dollar on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which is my current “go to” card for restaurant spend.

I actually think the more exciting news is for college students, as there’s a Citi Forward Card for College Students which comes with the same five points per dollar on restaurants. When I first started building my credit I got a Discover card for college students that earned me 1% cashback, which wasn’t really all that exciting. So if you’re just starting to build your credit, I’d say that this card is now easily the most tempting one out there.

Like I said, though, I’m not all that familiar with the ThankYou Points program. Are there any other cards that earn ThankYou points at a more favorable ratio? Either way, this makes the program much more valuable.

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Comments

  1. Interesting AA isn’t a transfer partner. You might think with the long history between the two, Citi would have allowed that.

  2. This would be a good opportunity for you to write a post about Singapore Airlines Kris Flyer miles. I’m heavy on Oneworld and Skyteam points. This may be a good way to get started in star alliance. But I don’t know anything about redeeming for travel using Krisflyer miles.

  3. This is big news. I actually did a decent size app-o-rama last night for myself and my wife and decided against including the Citi 50k TYP offer in favor of one more AA Biz card. Had I have known this I’d have added the TYP card in. Maybe next round. With SIA finally loosening up (and by the sounds of the reviews of their product – getting with reality!) on their award program.

    The BA link is odd. BA partner with Chase so this is in direct competition with that.

  4. Excellent news. I have been waiting for Citi to step up and compete with Chase UR and Amex MR.

    And I sitll find use for the Chase BA due to the companion award and the short haul awards.

  5. The Citi Premier card lets cardholders redeem points at 1.33 cents per point for air travel. Air tickets purchased through this card earn flight points (an amount equal to the actual trip distance from point A to B) that can redeemed once you earn enough purchase points to match them. You can also buy tickets at a 15 % discount (excluding taxes and fees) through their travel provider, Spirit Incentives. Their website is http://www.thankyoucompanion.com. The available flights with a discount is more limited than through the airline’s website. This discount is available for Premier and Prestige cards. This FT thread has more info on the Premier card: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/milesbuzz/1266831-back-better-citi-premier-50-000-ty-bonus-pts-500-worth-fee-free-first-year.html

  6. @ Zzzzzzzz — I’ll have a post on it soon, though generally speaking the only decent redemption values with KrisFlyer are saver awards in first or business class on Singapore Airlines. I outlined the best redemptions in my previous post after the policy change.

  7. Lucky, do you have any thoughts on which Thank You cards will be eligible to transfer their points? Do you think it will be all of them, or only the cards that have annual fees?

  8. @ Brian — To the best of my knowledge all ThankYou Points will be eligible for transfers, regardless of which cards they’re issued through.

  9. Also, the Forward card earns 5x points on books, which includes all Amazon.com purchases (at least for now, and for the past few years). I think it is the single most undervalued card, especially if the points become eligible for airline transfers.

  10. I tried three locations (J awards):
    – SFO to HKG: no availability for most of June
    – EWR to SIN: okay availability for June
    – JFK to FRA: no availability for most of June

    What are the good redemption options for KrisFlyer miles?

  11. Lucky,
    I used the KrisFlyer website to do the search. BTW, I got “0” zero points there. I wonder if that makes a difference. Does Singapore hold an award ticket while waiting for points from Amex (and hopefully Citi TX) to transfer in?

  12. @ Dave — Odd, that shouldn’t make a difference. To the best of my knowledge they don’t allow holds, though transfers should be instant.

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