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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Citi ThankYou Premier
Citi ThankYou Points may now be redeemed for Hilton HHonors points. It appears that 1,000 Citi ThankYou Points will transfer to 1,500 Hilton HHonors Points – the same ratio that they transfer from American Express Membership Rewards. However, Hilton is currently the only transfer partner of Citi, which makes this much more compelling versus Amex, which offers over 20 other airline and hotel options.
To exchange points from your Citi ThankYou Rewards account to your HHonors account, you must be a registered Citi ThankYou Rewards Premium card member. Though the terms on the landing page don’t explicitly state so, the FAQ about transfers when you’re logged into ThankYou’s site state that only ThankYou Members with the Citi ThankYou Premier, Citi ThankYou Prestige, Citi Prestige or Chairman credit cards are eligible to use ThankYou Points Exchange. However, if you have the Premier and either or both the Preferred and Forward, Citi will allow you to combine your points balances. So this could be a good opportunity to stock up on Citi ThankYou points by getting one of the cards you don’t already have.
“Receive 1, 500 HHonors Bonus Points for Every 1,000 Citi ThankYou Points. Transfers must be in increments of 1,000 ThankYou Points with a minimum of 1, 000 ThankYou Points. To make an exchange, visit thankyou.com or call ThankYou Rewards at 1-800-842-6596 (toll-free in the United States).
So, what’s worth more, using ThankYou points for air travel or transferring them to Hilton HHonors? When you have a premium Citi ThankYou card like the Premier, you’re able to redeem those points at a value of 1.33 cents each toward air travel. I value Hilton HHonors points at .7 cents each, so when you transfer ThankYou Points at a ratio of 1: 1.5 per, you’re getting just over 1 cent in value each. However, depending on where you redeem those Hilton points – I might redeem mine at Conrad Maldives where they could be worth much more than that – you could still be getting some great value here. However, I wouldn’t race to empty your ThankYou accounts right this minute.
I hope this is the start of strengthening of Citi’s ThankYou program by giving these points the flexibility of partner transfers. In the past, I’ve focused on building up my balances with Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest. But now that I’m a Hilton Diamond member, and if this ends up being more than a rumor, I will start to consider more Citi cards as part of my points portfolio, especially because I haven’t dipped too many toes into that pool yet. In March of 2012 there were rumors swirling around the blogosphere about Citi adding British Airways and Singapore Airlines as transfer partners (and they were actually confirmed by some Citi reps), however that didn’t end up happening.
Double Down on ThankYou Now?
I’m not rushing to do anything right away – I might hold off and wait for better offers on the ThankYou Premier, Preferred and Forward cards (come on 50,000!) before making a big strategy decision.
Overall, once this is confirmed, I think it is great news for us points enthusiasts because the more transferable points programs the better in my opinion.
Hat tip: FlyerTalk.