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Building up your points and miles balances is a great way to unlock fantastic redemptions like first-class flights and luxurious hotel rooms. However, it can sometimes be challenging to earn enough points to redeem them for a premium award. Fortunately, there are a handful of programs out there that allow members to either pool their balances with others (typically family members) or directly transfer them to other members. Today I want to highlight one such program and show you how to transfer Citi ThankYou points directly to other members.
For starters, it’s important to note that the ThankYou Rewards program is among the most generous out there when it comes to this type of functionality, especially when compared to the other major transferable point programs. Chase Ultimate Rewards, for example, only allows you to transfer points between your account and that of one “member of your household” (or “owner of the company” for business cards like the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card), a process I wrote about last year. It’s even more restrictive if you want to transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to someone else’s frequent traveler account; he/she must be a household member or company owner and an authorized user on the account.
American Express Membership Rewards is even more restrictive. You can’t transfer these points to another household member with his or her own Membership Rewards account, and you can only transfer your points to your frequent traveler accounts or those of an authorized user.
So what makes the Citi ThankYou Rewards so much better? Well, it’s quite simple. Through the program’s Point Sharing feature, you can share (in essence, transfer) points to any other ThankYou Rewards member. No need to have them as an authorized user, no need to have them belong to your family… the only requirement is that they have an account with ThankYou Rewards.
However, there are a few important restrictions and limitations to this feature (nothing in this hobby is ever totally straightforward):
- You can only share a total of 100,000 ThankYou points in a calendar year.
- You can only receive a total of 100,000 ThankYou points in a calendar year.
- Shared points are only valid for 90 days from the date they are received.
This last bullet is probably the most important, as it’s something of which both the sharer and the recipient should be aware. As soon as the transfer is completed, the expiration clock starts ticking. If those points are not redeemed within 90 days of receiving them, they will be lost from the recipient’s account. It’s also important to note that you can’t “return” shared points to the sender, and you also can’t share them with another member to restart the 90-day expiration window.
In other words, be certain that your recipient can actually redeem them before confirming the transfer!
How to transfer
Now that you have an understanding of this feature of the ThankYou Rewards program, how can you actually take advantage of this option? Here’s a step-by-step overview of how to share your points with another ThankYou Rewards member:
1. Visit www.thankyou.com and click on Sign On at the top right.
2. Enter your Citi or ThankYou Rewards credentials, then click Sign On.
3. Hover over More Ways to Redeem across the top menu bar, then click on SEE ALL.
4. Use the arrow at the right to scroll through the options until you see the Points Sharing option, then click on it.
5. Review the pop up, then click Share Points on ThankYou.com.
(5a. If prompted, confirm your identify by choosing a phone number to receive an identification code, then click Get My Code)
(5b. Enter your identification code, then click Enter.)
(5c. Click Continue)
6. Review the details of the Point Sharing program, then click Begin Sharing at the bottom.
7. Enter the first name, last name and account number of the recipient.
8. Enter the number of points you want to share, scroll down to read the terms and conditions, check the box, then click Review Share.
9. Review the details of your request, then click Submit to finalize the share request.
The next page should confirm your transfer, and you should also receive a confirmation email.
It’s also worth noting that when I completed this request for a friend who needed some extra points for a redemption earlier in the year, the points posted to his account instantly.
When should you use this feature?
It’s always nice to have flexibility with your points and miles, as it opens up additional options for redemption. But when does it make sense to transfer ThankYou points to another member? Here are a few instances where this is the case:
- When a friend/family member is just short of a specific redemption: If you’re swimming in ThankYou points from cards like the Citi Prestige but a family member is in need of a few thousand additional points for a specific award, this feature is a great way to help them out, especially since the points will transfer instantly (unlike points earned through regular spending, which could take up to a month to arrive, depending on when the recipient’s statement closes).
- When you have an odd number of points left after a redemption: There are many times where you will had a small number of points or miles in your account after a particular redemption. When you transfer ThankYou points to travel partners like Flying Blue or Virgin Atlantic, these must be in increments of 1,000 points. However, sharing points with other members has no minimum and can be done in any amount. If you’ve transferred most of your points to an airline or hotel program of your choice and still have 629 points (or some other small amount), you can send those points to a friend or family member.
- When you’re closing your account: This final scenario may become a reality for many readers after this July, when the Citi Prestige Card loses several key benefits, including Admirals Club access and three free rounds of golf each year. If you’re like me and planning on closing this card, you’ll need to do something with your leftover points. While transferring them to a partner could make sense, you may not have a specific program or redemption in mind. However, if a friend or family member could use them, sharing the points with them before closing your account could be a great option.
Again, just be sure that your recipient is aware that the points you share must be redeemed within 90 days of arriving in his/her account.
The Citi ThankYou Rewards program is unique among the major transferable point programs in that it allows you to freely transfer points to other members (with minimal restrictions) without requiring the recipients to be authorized users or family members. This can be a great way to maximize your redemptions with ThankYou points, as you can pool points from multiple accounts to reach a specific award threshold that would otherwise be out of reach. If you hadn’t been aware of this feature until now, hopefully this will help you plan your next trip utilizing ThankYou points!
Have you shared Citi ThankYou points with friends or family members?
Featured image of Air France business class.