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Last July, Citi dramatically improved its ThankYou Rewards points program by adding a number of new airline transfer partners, including Etihad Guest Rewards. ThankYou points normally transfer at a 1:1 ratio in increments of 1,000, so 1,000 ThankYou points = 1,000 Etihad Guest miles.
However, Etihad is currently offering a 25% bonus on miles when you transfer from ThankYou Points. While the Citi ThankYou Rewards website makes no mention of a bonus, but this Etihad page does, so it seems to be originating from Etihad. The promotion runs now through May 15, 2015. The bonus miles should post within about a week of your transfer.
ThankYou Rewards is the points program of cards like the Citi Prestige and Citi ThankYou Premier, both of which are currently offering higher-than-usual sign-up bonuses of 50,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months of account opening.
As for Etihad Guest, it’s an interesting program given the airline’s expanding route network – including on its new super-jumbo A380’s, which feature the airline’s new ultra-premium first and business class cabins, including the First Class Residence and Apartments, and the Business Class Studios.
While redemption levels for those cabins tends to be higher than the miles Etihad’s airline partner American Airlines would require for the lowest-level “Guest” award space, the 25% bonus, Etihad’s redemption levels come more into line with those of American.
Before you transfer your ThankYou points, though, check Etihad’s redemption calculator to see how many miles you will need for the award you want (though sometimes the numbers it generates are incorrect). You can also search for award availability here without even having an Etihad account.
The award space you’re looking for is “Guest” level since that is the saver level with mileage numbers that are more tenable. The rest of Etihad’s award space levels can get rather high, especially on international and long-haul routes, where some can get up in the millions of miles.
Just for a quick example, here is Etihad’s flight from Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles in August. It’s over 16.5 hours, so you’ll probably want to fly business or first class. Business awards start at 108,321 miles.
That’s 86,657 ThankYou points with this promo. And a first class award is 135,855 miles:
Just 108,684 miles with this promo – the same as a regular business class award would cost you.
If you wanted to try out the airline’s new first class aboard the A380, you could do so on flights to London and Sydney (and New York starting in December). This first class award from Abu Dhabi to London on the A380 is 55,371 miles.
But with this promo, you would only need 44,297 ThankYou points – a pretty great value.
Because long-haul premium award availability at the lowest Guest levels can be scarce, I wouldn’t speculatively transfer a ton of ThankYou points to Etihad Guest without doing my homework and researching availability on specific routes you are interested in. However, if you were planning to try to fly Etihad and use its own miles anyway, this could be a great way to score some awards at a discount.
For more information on Etihad Guest rewards, check out these posts:
- The Basics of the Etihad Guest Programme
- New Super First Class Cabins on Etihad and Emirates and How You Can Use Points to Book Them
- Booking Etihad Award Flights with Guest Rewards and Partners
For more information on Citi ThankYou Rewards, check out these posts:
- Citi ThankYou Rewards Adds New Transfer Partners
- Citi ThankYou Rewards: Earning, Redeeming and More
- New 50,000 Points Bonus Offer for Citi ThankYou Premier Card
- 50,000 Points For the Citi Prestige Card
- Citi Prestige Changes Coming: Free Hotel Nights and More
While Citi announced some negative changes to this card back in July — including a lower sign-up bonus, the elimination of Admirals Club access and the end of the free rounds of golf benefit — one of its most valuable perks still remains, which is the 4th Night Free perk. This benefit alone can save you thousands of dollars a year if you use it to its full advantage.