How To Transfer ThankYou Points

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Some time ago, certain Citi ThankYou cards gained the option to transfer points to travel programs.

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This was a significant update to the program, and the value of ThankYou points increased dramatically.

While Ben has written about how to redeem ThankYou points in the past, we’ve never gone over the actual mechanics of how to move points to a travel program. I was explaining this to someone last night, and figured I might as well share the steps here as well.

Now, I need this to have somewhere to point people who have no clue what to do, so if you’ve transferred Citi points in the past (or don’t find things like this particularly challenging), this post isn’t for you. Here’s a porcupine eating pumpkins instead.

First things first: not all Citi ThankYou points can be transferred

There are several ThankYou products out there, but only two of them have points that you can transfer to airline partners. And that’s okay, because those are the two you want anyway.

Prestige-Premier

The Citi Prestige Card is the “premium” card, and has a $450 annual fee. Which is a lot, for sure, but it has tons of perks which help offset that, including:

You also get triple points on air travel and hotels, double points on dining at restaurants and on entertainment, and one point for all other purchases, and no foreign transaction fees, so I think it’s worth it.

Meanwhile the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card has a $95 annual fee (waived the first year), and is great for earning points on daily spend. You earn three ThankYou Points per dollar spent on a broadly-defined travel category (that includes gas!),  double points at restaurants and on entertainment, and one point for all other purchases, and still no foreign transaction fees.

Both good cards, and you need one (or both, like me), in order to transfer ThankYou points to travel partners.

Okay, I have the right cards. But should I transfer ThankYou points?

Maybe not. If you have the Citi Prestige Card you can always redeem your ThankYou points for 1.3¢ per point towards travel on any airline. This can be a pretty good deal, especially for domestic economy. You’ll even earn miles.

Compared to that, the transfer partners aren’t necessarily as compelling. There are some values to be found with Air France FlyingBlue, Singapore KrisFlyer, and Virgin Atlantic, but you’ll definitely want to compare your options and determine the best value for your points.

I definitely want to transfer my points.

Log in to your Citi account. If you have multiple Citi cards, scroll until you see the Prestige or Premier, then click on “Points Summary” on the right side of the screen.

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If you have multiple ThankYou cards, you’ll then be asked to confirm which points you want to view. If you only have one card, you’ll skip this screen.

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At the top of your Points Summary screen, there’s a menu for Travel — mouse over that.

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From the drop-down, click on “Points Transfer”:

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At this point you’ll see a list of the various airline and hotel programs you can transfer ThankYou points to.

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I actually needed to transfer some points to Virgin Atlantic, so scrolled to the bottom of the page and clicked the “Transfer Now” button.

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While this screen is slightly different for each partner, the basics are the same:

  • Program description and transfer limitations
  • Transfer ratio from ThankYou
  • Spaces to enter and confirm your loyalty program account number
  • Terms and Conditions (that you have to agree to)

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Once you’ve chosen the number of points you want to transfer and entered your details, agree to the terms and click the yellow button. You then have a chance to review your transfer details:

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Click “Confirm Transfer” and you’ll receive a message that the transaction is in process.

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Note that while it says transfer to Virgin Atlantic can take 14 days, it took about 14 seconds before my AwardWallet account showed the new balance:

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Easy peasy!

Bottom line

Whether or not transferring ThankYou points to travel partners is a good deal is highly dependent upon your situation, but it’s an easy process. The transfer time to partners is getting better as well, so that’s nice.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the info Tiffany – Who doesn’t love a good porcupine video ??

    Quick question – do the TY Points transferred to a given flyer program count towards that airline’s limit on points that can be transferred/gifted/purchased in a given calendar year ?

  2. I have both the Prestige and Premier thank you cards. I have about 60k pts in each. My prestige card is due for renewal coming up and I can’t justify paying the annual fee for another year. My premier card still has a few months before I want to cancel. Whats the best way to preserve the value of the points? Is there a no annual fee version of thank you card that will still allow me to transfer to airline partners?

  3. Thx Tiffany. I think this has been discussed before(I can’t seem to locate it), but if we transfer TY points to a spouse/partner, does Citi still have the 90 day rule? If so, do they track point “buckets” separately?
    Porcupine was excellent.

  4. how do you transfer between members? nowhere found on its website, perhaps you have to call for it?

  5. @ Chris — Nope, you need to have either the Premier or Prestige to transfer to airline partners. If you really aren’t getting value out of either card, then transferring the points to a partner before downgrading your card is probably the best way to go.

  6. @ Geoff @ Jung — Hmm, I’ve never transferred between members (only asked clients to do it), in which case they’ve used the points immediately. Maybe someone else knows?

  7. Just curious as to why you cover your point balances? Your name and photo are on the site, so it’s not like Citi couldn’t figure out who you are if they wanted to, and nobody reading the post could use that info to compromise your account and/or find you in person.

    Just confused…

  8. Tiffany,

    Do you know the mechanics of preserving points with only one account open? If I have 50k on my premier and 100k on my prestige and want to cancel my premier, can I preserve the points associated with that account? I thought just having one account open would be enough, but a citi rep told me the points would expire after a certain period even with the other card. I downgraded instead to avoid the issue, but I’ve been meaning to fully research the issue. Any thoughts?

    @Justin, Tiffany doesn’t want us to be jealous about her MM point balances! Also, I hope that Citi wouldn’t be able to identify me by my photo!!!

  9. Also another data point. I recently transferred points from my TYP account to a relative’s TYP account and then to their Flying Blue account. Each step was instant which was nice.

  10. @ Justin — Oh, has nothing to do with Citi or concerns about the account being compromised. If I show balances, people get creepy (“How do you have so many points?! What happened to the ___ points you had last time?” and so forth).

  11. @Justin I’d rather not have people know what my points balances are, whether they’re friends or strangers and whether or not they could use the information to find/hack me. I’m sure I’m not alone.

  12. I tried to transfer some thank you pointsfrom an old Sears card. No dice!

    The rep offered to transfer and use them at Amazon, 125 points per dollar.

  13. @Tiffany- you are the best at explaining “how to”

    In regard to the Citi TY points being “shared” from one member to another member. I was told by CITI rep that the points when shared will expire within 90 days, but the account that TYP are deposited will liquidate the points that will expire first.

    Also, you can “combine” permanently accounts from two members into one. I just did that myself. CITI will need to send you an combined account form which needs to be fax/mailed. I had that done this week. This is not considered “sharing” and points do not expire in 90 days.

  14. Word of warning about transferring points from your own Prestige to Premier (to get 1.25 cents/point on hotel redemptions), there was no choice to choose how many points to transfer. So, all my Prestige points got put into my Premier bucket and Prestige disappeared from the thank you portal. It wasn’t my intention to do that, but I ended up using all the points on hotels so it didn’t matter for me. Now, I’ve cancelled the Premier card. I wonder what will happen when I earn points on spending 4th night free on the Prestige.

  15. I think this whole issue of where to park our TY points if we don’t renew one of the cards would make a great article in and of it itself. I’ve asked both Lucky and TPG, but so far no response. I guess the parameters would be expiration date vs. preferred travel region vs. best mile value. Anyone have any ideas?

  16. @ Greg — Hmmm, that doesn’t really have a global answer. It depends on your travel goals, your other mileage balances, etc. KrisFlyer is a great program, and you can get points there from other programs, but they expire every three years. Virgin Atlantic isn’t a great program, but the sweet spots could make it a good transfer option for some people. I guess it depends?

  17. I have a TY Preferred card as well as a TY Premiere. Do those points play well together? My TY Preferred points do not expire ( I don’t think they do). I wanted to transfer all points to the Preferred account when the first free year is up on the Premiere card. Thanks–I’m very new to this!

  18. @ VZ @ Kerri — It’s only the Premier and Prestige points that can be transferred to airlines. If you transfer the Preferred points to the Premier you can then transfer them to an airline partner, but not vice-versa.

  19. Tiffany/Ben,
    Do you know how long will it take to transfer TY points to Asia Miles? Brian of TPG wrote his experience and it only took him > 24 hrs. As for me, I’ve been waiting for almost 48 hours now. I called TY Points and they said it could take up to 14 days. I called Asia Miles and the agent said 4-6 weeks. Is this true?

    Thoughts? So worried my preferred and back up flights are gonna be gone soon..

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