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Update: The Citi Prestige and Citi ThankYou® Premier now offer 1.25¢ per point towards travel on any airline, versus the previous enhanced redemption rate on American Airlines. The Citi Prestige no longer offers lounge access to American Admirals Clubs. Learn more about the current offers here.
Yesterday I wrote about the increased sign-up bonus being offered on the Citi Prestige Card. The card is offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 ThankYou Rewards points after spending $3,000 on the card within the first three months, which is substantially higher than the usual sign-up bonus of 30,000 points upon completing minimum spend.
As I explained yesterday, the Citi Prestige Card comes with some awesome perks, including the following:
- A $250 annual airline credit
- The most comprehensive Priority Pass membership offered by any card
- A $100 Global Entry fee credit
- A great points earnings structure
- No foreign transaction fees
With the annual airline credit (which can outright be applied towards the cost of an airline ticket) you already come out ahead after the first year, given that you’ll get two $250 airline fee credits with your first year’s annual fee (one for the 2015 calendar year, and one for the 2016 calendar year).
But what I didn’t cover in great detail yesterday was what the points earned with the Citi Prestige Card can be redeemed towards.
There are two best uses for Citi ThankYou Rewards points:
Convert Citi ThankYou Rewards points into airline miles
Much like American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards has both airline and hotel transfer partners.
Altogether they have a dozen transfer partners, including one hotel chain and 11 airline partners, as follows:
|Air France/KLM | Flying Blue||Etihad | Etihad Guest||Malaysia Airlines | Enrich||Thai Airways | Royal Orchid Plus|
|Avianca | Lifemiles||Garuda Indonesia | Frequent Flyer||Qantas | Frequent Flyer||Turkish Airways | Miles & Smiles|
|Cathay Pacific | Asia Miles||Jet Airways | JetPrivilege||Qatar Airways | Privilege Club||Virgin Atlantic | Flying Club|
|EVA Air | Infinity MileageLands||JetBlue | TrueBlue||Singapore Airlines | KrisFlyer|
But I’d argue that converting ThankYou Rewards points into airline miles potentially isn’t the best use of Citi ThankYou Rewards points.
Redeem Citi ThankYou Rewards points towards airfare
Much like American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards points can be redeemed towards the cost of a paid airline ticket. The difference is that this is actually an efficient use of points earned with the Citi Prestige Card.
Ordinarily ThankYou Rewards points can be redeemed for once cent each towards the cost of airfare. That’s definitely not a rate at which I’d recommend redeeming those points.
That being said, the Citi Prestige Card is the “premium” ThankYou Rewards product, and comes with improved redemption rates. Rather than only being able to redeem each point for one cent towards the cost of a ticket, those with the Citi Prestige Card can redeem each ThankYou Rewards point for 1.25 cents towards the cost of a ticket on another airline (25% more value)
For what it’s worth, travel booked using points needs to be booked through Citi’s website, and you don’t need enough points for the entire redemption. In other words, if an American ticket costs $1,000, you could redeem 50,000 points and then pay $200 in cash for the remainder of the ticket.
Also keep in mind that this card offers the following rewards structure for everyday spend:
- 3x points on air travel and hotels
- 2x points on dining at restaurants and entertainment
- 1x point for all other purchases
- For air travel and hotel spend you’re earning a return of 3.75% towards the cost of airfare
- For dining and entertainment you’re earning a return of 2.5% towards the cost of airfare
Combining with the Citi ThankYou Premier Card
The mid-range card which accrues Citi ThankYou Rewards points is the Citi ThankYou Premier Card. Points earned on that card can also be redeemed towards the cost of airfare.
That being said, if you have both the Citi ThankYou Premier Card and Citi Prestige Card you can transfer points from one card to the other, and then redeem those points for travel on any airline at a rate of 1.25 cents per point.
This is potentially a way to maximize the value of ThankYou Rewards points earned through both cards towards the cost of American/US Airways airfare.
Being able to redeem Citi ThankYou Rewards points for 1.25 cents towards the cost of airfare is a great value.
Breaking it down, if you apply for the Citi Prestige Card and pay the $450 annual fee you receive:
- $500 worth of airline credits (one $250 airline credit per calendar year)
- 50,000 points, which can be converted into $625 towards the cost of airfare
- $100 Global Entry fee waiver
- The most comprehensive Priority Pass Select membership offered by any credit card
Would you redeem ThankYou Rewards points earned through the Citi Prestige Card towards the cost of airfare or convert them into airline miles?