There are four major transferable points currencies — Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest. Of those, I consider Starpoints to be the most valuable, followed by Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, followed by Citi ThankYou.
To me Citi ThankYou points are worth slightly less than the rest, not because of the number of transfer partners they have, but because of the quality of them. Up until now, ThankYou points have transferred to the following airline and hotel partners (along with how long those transfers usually take):
|Citi ThankYou Transfer Partner||Transfer Ratio||Transfer Time|
|Air France KLM FlyingBlue||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Avianca LifeMiles||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||1000 : 1000||~ 1-2 days|
|Etihad Guest||1000 : 1000||~ 3-6 days|
|EVA Air Infinity MileageLands||1000 : 1000||~ 1-2 days|
|Garuda Indonesia GarudaMiles||1000 : 1000||~ 1-2 days|
|JetBlue TrueBlue||1000 : 500||Instant|
|Malaysia Airlines Enrich||1000 : 1000||~ 1-2 days|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||1000 : 1000||~ 1-2 days|
|Qatar Privilege Club||1000 : 1000||~ 1-2 days|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||1000 : 1000||~ 1-2 days|
|Thai Royal Orchid Plus||1000 : 1000||~ 3-6 days|
|Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles||1000 : 1000||~ 1-2 days|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1000 : 1000||~ 1-2 days|
Well, it looks like Citi ThankYou has just added their newest transfer partners. Citi ThankYou points now transfer into Turkish Miles & Smiles miles at a 1:1 ratio.
More transfer options are always a good thing, and there are things to love about Turkish’s program, as well as big downsides. On the plus side, they have very reasonable redemption rates. While they don’t have an easy to use online award chart, last I checked some of their premium cabin redemptions departing North America were priced as follows (the pricing is roundtrip, and one-way awards are bookable for half that cost):
- US to Europe — 90,000 miles business, 135,000 miles first
- US to Middle East — 94,000 miles business, 139,000 miles first
- US to Central Asia — 105,000 miles business, 154,000 miles first
- US to South Africa/Far East — 135,000 miles business, 200,000 miles first
Those are good rates, though the downside is that Star Alliance awards have to be booked by phone (which I find to be incredibly annoying in this day and age), and they also add carrier imposed surcharges on award tickets, which are similar to the ones you’d pay on revenue tickets.
Citi ThankYou already has three other Star Alliance transfer partners (EVA Air Infinity MileageLands, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, and Thai Royal Orchid Plus). I’d say Turkish’s program is significantly better than the programs of EVA and Thai, so in that sense the new program addition is useful. I’m still a fan of KrisFlyer for the ability to redeem in premium cabins on Singapore’s own flights, but otherwise there are some instances where Turkish’s award chart is more compelling.
Anyone plan on using Citi ThankYou points for Turkish redemptions?
(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)