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TPG reader Preston tweeted me to ask
@thepointsguy – “Do Citi ThankYou Rewards points transfer to American Airlines miles?”
Sadly, Citi ThankYou Rewards points don’t transfer to American Airlines miles, at least not yet. Citi just released new sign-up bonuses an bumped up earning rates on the Citi Prestige card and the Citi ThankYou Premier card, so you can earn 2x and 3x points in several categories. If Citi added American as a transfer partner, ThankYou Rewards would be extremely valuable, and these two cards would be unstoppable!
The good news is that Citi ThankYou Rewards points do transfer to 12 other partners:
- Cathay Pacific
- Virgin Atlantic
- Flying Blue (Air France, KLM)
- Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific)
- Etihad Airways Guest
- EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
- Garuda Indonesia GarudaMiles
- Hilton HHonors
- Malaysia Airlines Enrich
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
Four of these partners (Qantas, Asia Miles, Malaysia Airlines and Qatar) are in Oneworld, so you can redeem for flights on American Airlines. Etihad is also a partner, and has some reasonable inter-U.S. rates. Depending on the routes you’re interested in, check those partners, their availability, and what taxes and fees they charge.
There is technically one roundabout way to transfer ThankYou points to American by first transferring to Hilton HHonors. ThankYou points transfer to Hilton at a 1:1.5 ratio, so 20,000 ThankYou points would get you 30,000 Hilton HHonors points. However, the transfer ratio from Hilton to American is abysmal, as 10,000 HHonors points only get you 1,500 AAdvantage miles. This means your 20,000 ThankYou points would get you just 4,500 AAdvantage miles, which is not good at all considering there are other transfer partners (like Singapore Airlines) that would give you much more bang for your buck. I suppose you could do worse if you have to top off your account and you don’t want to buy AAdvantage miles outright, but you really aren’t getting a good value.
Starwood Preferred Guest is the clear winner if you want points that transfer to American Airines, since 20,000 Starpoints transfer to 25,000 AAdvantage miles, so consider getting the Starwood Preferred Guest Amex card. If you’re hooked on ThankYou Rewards, your best option is to dig deep into the Oneworld partners and see if you can make it work for the routes you want to fly, or look into Citi Prestige for the ability to redeem points through the ThankYou Travel Center for 1.6 cents apiece on American.