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Last month Citi announced that holders of the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, Citi Prestige Card, and Citi Chairman Card would be able to transfer their ThankYou Points to airline partners.
ThankYou Points for those card holders transfer at a 1:1 ratio to the following airlines:
- Cathay Pacific – Asia Miles
- EVA Air – Infinity MileageLands
- Etihad Guest
- Flying Blue
- Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer
- Malaysia Airlines – Enrich
- Qatar Airways – Privilege Club
- Singapore Airlines – KrisFlyer
- Thai Airways – Royal Orchid Plus
While that’s a lot of programs, for the most part I don’t find them to be especially valuable. The major exception was Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer program, which has extremely reasonable redemption rates for premium cabin travel on Singapore Airlines.
As of today, Flying Blue, the frequent flyer program for Air France and KLM, has been added to the list of transfer partners.
Air France Flying Blue miles can be incredibly useful for SkyTeam redemptions. For one, Flying Blue allows one-way redemptions for half the cost of a roundtrip, which Delta doesn’t (well, at least not until the 2015 SkyMiles program kicks in). So it’s a great way to book one-way award tickets on SkyTeam carriers, be it Air France, Delta, or another partner.
Furthermore, they make more award space available to their own members than to members of Delta SkyMiles, so it’s a good way to lock in transatlantic business class award seats, since they’re pretty good about releasing space.
Redeem Flying Blue miles for one-way travel in Air France’s new business class
On the down side, the Flying Blue site is really glitchy, and doesn’t allow complex bookings. The Flying Blue call center is indescribably poor, so if you can’t book something online I wouldn’t expect to do better with an agent.
Flying Blue also levies fuel surcharges on most award tickets, which aren’t as steep as British Airways or Qantas, but can add up quickly.
Flying Blue does offer seasonal promo awards where certain routes and cabins are offered for a reduced mileage rate. If the routes and date restrictions work with your travel these can be a great value.
The current Flying Blue Promo Awards to North America are as follows:
- Europe to Cancun / Premium Economy / Air France/ 50% off
- Europe to Chicago /Economy / KLM / 50% off
- Europe to Houston / Economy / Air France & KLM / 50% off
- Europe to Washington Dulles / Economy /Air France & KLM/ 50% off
It is worth noting the terms and conditions state “it may take up to fourteen days for the ThankYou Points to post to your participating travel loyalty program member account.” I would assume that’s on the high end of how long transfers will take, though I definitely wouldn’t expect them to ever be instant.
This isn’t earth-shattering news, but it’s good to see that Citi is continuing to add transfer partners and otherwise improve the ThankYou Points program. It looks like they’re slowly trying to compete with the other three major flexible points currencies (American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest). I’ll certainly be picking up the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card in my next round of credit card applications.
While I love the Singapore KrisFlyer program and foresee transferring ThankYou Points there, it certainly is nice to have other useful programs to which points can be transferred. After all, that’s why we call them flexible points currencies.
(Tip of the hat to The Points Guy)