9 Best Ways to Redeem Citi ThankYou Points for Air Travel

As far as credit card points go, Amex and Chase tend to get the most attention, but there are definitely a few advantages that Citibank ThankYou points can offer. With 1:1 transfer rates to many of the same programs as the other points currencies, and a few unique to Citibank, ThankYou points can take you far away for fewer points than you think.

As with all credit card points, the Citi Travel Center allows you to redeem your points by basically trading in your points for cash and purchasing the current cash-priced ticket. Some cardholders may even get a small bonus, but if you’d like to unlock the most valuable redemptions, it's best to transfer ThankYou points to its airline partners and redeem the miles for true award seats on flights.

Here are nine of the best ways to redeem Citi ThankYou points for flights.

Business Class to Europe on American Airlines 100k Points Round-Trip

ruins in Rome, Italy

If you want to fly on a certain American Airlines flight over to Europe, the lowest points rate you’ll find with AAdvantage miles will be 57,500 miles each way for Business Class seats. Enter Etihad Guest miles and you can reduce the number of points you need to spend. Transfer Citibank points to Etihad Guest miles and redeem them for American Airlines Business Class flights across the pond for just 50k miles each way.

You’ll need to find the saver space available by searching American’s website, note down the flight numbers, and then call the Etihad Guest call center to book the flights. This could take a bit of trial and error so be patient with the agents when calling.

How to Redeem Citibank Points for Flights to Europe

  • Recommended transfer partner: Etihad Guest
  • Points needed for Business Class: 100,000 round-trip
  • Operating airline: Brussels Airlines

Related: Booking Award Travel on the Major US Airlines

Business Class to Hawaii 25k Points Round-trip

surfer in hawaii

A bucket-list redemption for many points and miles enthusiasts is to fly Business Class on United flights to Hawaii for just 25,000 points round-trip. Let me premise by saying that this is an extremely difficult award to book, but if you have flexible travel plans and can find the space available, you’ll be enjoying a few drinks in a premium seat on your way to paradise for fewer points than it costs to fly in economy with other programs.

You’ll need to transfer Citibank points to Turkish Airlines for this deal. The tricky part is finding saver award space on United flights — and then getting Turkish Airlines to find these seats bookable as well.

First, search the United site for saver award space and note down the flight numbers. You’ll rarely see these seats available at the saver level far in advance, but you may have some luck within three months of travel. You can then try to double check on the Turkish Airlines Star Alliance search tool or call the call center and feed them the flight info by segment. Be prepared to try several different Turkish Airlines agents in order to get this dream trip booked.

How to Redeem Citibank Points for Flights to Hawaii

  • Recommended transfer partner: Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
  • Points needed for Business Class: 25,000 round-trip
  • Operating airline: United

Related: How to Fly Business Class to Hawaii for Just 25,000 Miles

First Class to Europe 87k Points One-Way

Lufthansa A380 at gate

First Class cabins are becoming a thing of the past across many airlines. Although Lufthansa isn’t currently flying any First Class between the U.S. and Europe at the time of writing, it has plans to resume this service once travel resumes to a more normal level, and it is currently on the flight schedule for later in the summer.

One of the most affordable ways to get a seat in one of Lufthansa’s First Class cabins is to redeem Avianca LifeMiles. It’s just 87,000 miles one-way and you won’t need to pay any ridiculous surcharges that some other programs charge. The caveat is that you’ll need to be a fairly spontaneous traveler since Lufthansa doesn’t release First Class seats to partner airlines any earlier than 14 days in advance of travel. 

Citibank points transfer to LifeMiles at an even 1:1 exchange and there are often bonus promotions so you can usually get an even better rate of exchange. This makes Avianca LifeMiles one of the best programs to use with your Citibank points.

How to Redeem Citibank Points for First Class Flights to Europe

  • Recommended transfer partner: Avianca LifeMiles
  • Points needed for First Class: 87,000 one-way
  • Operating airline: Lufthansa

Related: Where Can I Fly in First Class Using Miles?

Business Class to India 160k Points Round-Trip

indian spices at market

Fly in Qatar’s luxurious Qsuites to India for only 80,000 points each way. These flights can be redeemed for even fewer points if you happen to have AAdvantage miles, but if all you have is Citibank points, transferring them to Qatar Airways Qmiles is a great way to fly in one of the best Business Class products out there.

Since Qatar Airways won’t charge hefty fuel surcharges when redeeming its own miles for these flights, you’ll save a ton of cash over booking with other programs such as British Airways Executive Club or Cathay Pacific Asia Miles. And if you want to venture further, such as to the Maldives, it’s only and extra 5,000 miles each way.

How to Redeem Citibank Points for Flights to India

  • Recommended transfer partner: Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Points needed for Business Class: 160,000 round-trip
  • Operating airline: Qatar Airways

Related: Top 5 Business Class "Suites" to Book Using Reward Miles

First Class to Japan 55k Points One-Way

Tokyo Tower in Japan

If you’ve ever dreamed of flying First Class, you can do so with All Nippon Airways on nonstop flights from the West Coast for only 55,000 points one-way when redeemed through partner Virgin Atlantic Flying Club. Flying from Central or Eastern US? It’s only slightly more at 60,000 miles points one-way. 

What makes this deal especially great is the fact that ANA’s own frequent flyer program doesn’t even let you book one-way flights. So, if you have Citibank points and only want to fly First Class one-way to get the experience, transferring your points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club at a 1:1 ratio is an amazing way to accomplish this goal. You’ll need to search for availability using United’s search tool, note down flight numbers, and call Virgin’s hotline to book.

Keep in mind that seats often get snatched up well in advance and you’ll almost always only find one seat per flight available in First Class. Consider taking separate routes or flying one passenger in First and one in Business if you’re traveling with a partner. And book these seats early! Virgin has access to ANA flights around 330 days in advance.

How to Redeem Citibank Points for Flights to Japan

  • Recommended transfer partner: Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Points needed for First Class: 55,000 – 60,000 one-way
  • Operating airline: All Nippon Airways

Related: Miles Redemption with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club - How It's Done

Business Class to Europe 45k Points One-Way

Man standing under cave at a beach in Algarve, Portugal in Europe

Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles has some really great rates for one-way flights to Europe. Fly Business Class on Star Alliance carriers for only 45,000 points one-way. You’ll want to be careful with the airlines you choose as Turkish will pass on fuel surcharges for its own flights as well as those in the Lufthansa Group. Look for flights on United, TAP, or Air Canada to avoid high fuel surcharges. Citibank points transfer to Turkish miles at an even 1:1 ratio and is a great partner that Citibank points have over other points currencies.

How to Redeem Citibank Points for Flights to Europe

  • Recommended transfer partner: Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
  • Points needed for Business Class: 45,000 one-way
  • Operating airline: Several (United, TAP, Air Canada, Turkish, etc.)

Related: Why You Should Fly First or Business Class When Redeeming Miles

Business Class to Morocco 88k Points Round-Trip

sand dunes in the moroccan desert

Get in the North African spirit right from the start when flying Royal Air Maroc to Morocco. As a partner of Etihad Guest, you can fly nonstop between New York (JFK) and Casablanca for only 44,000 miles each way in Business Class. Transfer Citibank points to Etihad Guest miles for this redemption. You can use American’s search tool to find availability and then call Etihad to book.

How to Redeem Citibank Points for Flights to Morocco

  • Recommended transfer partner: Etihad Guest
  • Points needed for Business Class: 88,000 round-trip
  • Operating airline: Royal Air Maroc

Related: 8 Best Ways to Spend 200k Amex Points on Flights

Business Class to Southeast Asia 165k Points Round-Trip

buddha statue in Thailand

A great way to take advantage of Cathay Pacific Asia miles award chart is to fly on multiple Oneworld carriers. For instance, you can find some routes to Southeast Asia between 155,000 – 185,000 miles round-trip in Business Class depending on the number of actual miles flown. It can be tricky to get this to work, because you’ll need to make sure you fly on two different Oneworld carriers, such as American Airlines to position to a major hub and then Japan Airlines via Tokyo.

You can also find similar redemptions by just flying Cathay Pacific, but you may need to position to a West Coast hub to get the best rates. Not all partners are bookable online so you may need to contact Asia Miles in order to check on pricing and availability. Either way, Citibank points will transfer to Asia Miles at an even 1:1 exchange and can be a great way to travel to places like Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia in style.

How to Redeem Citibank Points for Flights to Southeast Asia

  • Recommended transfer partner: Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Points needed for Business Class: 155,000 – 185,000
  • Operating airline: Multiple (American, Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Alaska, etc.)

Related: Redeeming Miles with Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: A Complete Guide

Business Class to Taipei 150-160k Points Round-Trip

Taipei, Taiwan landmark

Eva Airways Infinity MileageLands is another unique partner with Citibank. You’ll be able to transfer ThankYou points at an even 1:1 exchange and have a much better chance of scoring Eva Airways Business Class seats than through any other program. Nonstop flights to Taipei go for 75,000 – 80,000 miles each way depending on where you are departing from, with West Coast flights at the lower level.

How to Redeem Citibank Points for Flights to Taipei

  • Recommended transfer partner: Eva Air Infinity Miles
  • Points needed for Business Class: 150,000 – 160,000 round-trip
  • Operating airline: Eva Air

Related: How Airline Rewards Programs Actually Work

Save Time and Money: Use an Award Booking Service

There are several other valuable redemptions using your Citibank points and these just scratch the surface. I didn’t even mention some of the super valuable awards you can redeem through Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer or Emirates Skywards. Instead, I focused more on the award possibilities for Citibank’s unique airline partners that you can’t get with other points like Amex or Chase.

Many of these redemptions can be quite time consuming and difficult to book, so if you’d like some help using your Citibank points for flights, we’re just a chat away to solve your booking needs.

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