Why Qatar’s switch to Avios is huge news for Citi ThankYou points

Mar 25, 2022

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Citi ThankYou Rewards is one of four major flexible points programs, along with Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards and Capital One miles.

We consider these points to be more valuable than airline miles and hotel points because you can transfer your rewards to multiple airline and hotel loyalty accounts. You can effectively earn many different rewards currencies at once.

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Citi ThankYou Rewards currently has 18 transfer partners. But one glaring absence is British Airways — a hyperuseful airline program that is a transfer partner of all other flexible points programs.

However, thanks to Qatar Airways’ partnership with British Airways, there’s now a way to convert your Citi ThankYou points into British Airways Avios. Here’s why you should care.

In This Post

Citi ThankYou acquires 3 new transfer partners thanks to Qatar Airways

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

On March 22, Qatar Airways jettisoned its old award currency and adopted a new one: Avios.

Avios are the points used by British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus. If you earn Avios in one program, you can transfer them freely between all three programs.

Qatar Airways now joins the fun, making the Avios family a foursome — and Qatar Airways is a Citi ThankYou transfer partner. This effectively makes British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus Citi ThankYou transfer partners as well; simply transfer your points to Qatar, and then on to any of the other three airlines.

Note: You can only transfer points to and from Qatar Airways via British Airways. In other words, if you want to transfer Qatar Avios to Iberia, you must first transfer them to British Airways, and then to Iberia.

Transferring Avios between airlines is simple. This extra step will take all of two minutes to achieve. If you’re a Citi ThankYou points collector who values British Airways Avios, this is a massive development. Just link your British Airways Executive Club and Qatar Airways Privilege Club accounts on either airline’s website, and you can transfer Avios freely between the two programs. Check out our full guide to linking British Airways and Qatar Airways accounts for more information.

Transferring Qatar and BA
(Screenshot from exchange.shopping.ba.com)

Related: How to transfer your Avios between British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus accounts

Why would you want to transfer Qatar Airways Avios to British Airways?

Qatar Airways has long been a Citi ThankYou partner — but it’s never been particularly useful. There were a handful of tolerable uses — namely low-cost Qsuite business-class redemptions — but never any truly competitive award prices when compared to other programs.

The ability to transfer Qatar Airways Avios out of the program to a much more useful program is big. British Airways, while it possesses its own foibles, presents lower prices in just about every conceivable situation. For example:

  • A one-way U.S. economy flight under 651 miles costs 12,500 Qatar Avios — but just 7,500 British Airways Avios.
  • A one-way U.S. economy flight from 651 to 1,151 miles costs 15,000 Qatar Avios — but just 9,000 British Airways Avios.
  • A quick one-way hop between Brisbane, Australia, and Sydney costs 12,500 Qatar Avios — but just 6,000 British Airways Avios.

And the list goes on. Plus, you can use British Airways Avios to book Qatar Airways Qsuite business-class prices at the same rate as you would redeem Qatar Airways Avios. Think 70,000 Avios and $101.85 for a one-way ticket from New York to Doha, Qatar. This is great, as you can leverage any existing British Airways Avios, Qatar Avios and Citi ThankYou points to book a single ticket.

JFK-DOH on Qatar
(Screenshot from britishairways.com)

Additionally, you can transfer British Airways Avios to Iberia Avios, which opens up one of the best sweet spots in the points and miles world. You can book transatlantic business-class tickets from Boston, Chicago and New York to Madrid for just 34,000 Avios and minimal taxes and fees on off-peak dates, which span the majority of the year. For more information, check out our full guide to booking off-peak Iberia business-class awards.

Related: 3 versions of Avios: When to use Aer Lingus, Iberia and British Airways

Iberia business class seat on the Airbus A350
(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Earn Citi ThankYou points

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Short on Citi ThankYou points? Consider applying for a Citi Premier® Card, which offers 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. This is more than enough points to book a handful of these sweet spots, and it’s easy to earn more since the card earns 3 points per dollar on airfare, hotels, gas, dining and groceries. And as you’d expect, it earns 1 point per dollar on everything else.

Related: 4 reasons the Citi Premier Card should be on your short list

Bottom line

Citi ThankYou Rewards has 18 transfer partners — but now that you can transfer Qatar Airways Avios to British Airways, Citi effectively has 21 transfer partners. This is immensely valuable since Citi cardholders can now take advantage of all of the sweet spots found on the other Avios programs, like cheap domestic tickets with British Airways Avios and low-cost transatlantic business-class tickets on Iberia.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

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With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

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More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
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