Update, 11/13: There are less than 3 hours left to transfer miles to American!
Update, 11/9: Citi tells me that this transfer will be going away on 11/13 at 11:59pm ET. When I asked if it will return in the future, Citi responded saying,
“American is a long-standing Citi partner and we are both continuously exploring ways to add value to our customers.”
That leaves a very tough decision in place for people on the fence that would like to have more American miles:
- Transfer miles to American, where they are subject to potential devaluation.
- Keep them as Citi points, but risk not having American as a future transfer option.
I can’t recall of a limited time transfer bonus like this happening before. We have had airlines leave programs, and I transferred all of my AMEX points to Continental when they ended their relationship, but that was very different than the current situation where airlines massively devalue points on a whim.
I’m hopeful we’ll see Citi points transfer to American at some point in the future, but that remains to be seen. The ability to send over bank points to airlines on demand is why bank points are so valuable. Personally, we still have a stash of millions of American miles, so I don’t think I’ll transfer any more miles there right now. Of course that equation will be different if you’re not sitting on a stash of American miles or if you have a near term plan to use American miles.
So, what will you do?
Originally posted on 7/18:
My points earning strategy revolves around earning hybrid bank points that allow a plethora of paths for redemption, which is a hedge against devaluation.
While you can transfer bank points to most airline miles, American has long been a holdout. AMEX points have been transferrable to Delta and Chase points have been transferrable to United for years.
During the Starwood years, it made sense to earn points on the SPG AMEX at 1 point per dollar and transfer them to American at a 20:25 ratio. But after Marriott took over, card earnings were devalued to 2 points per dollar while the transfer ratio changed to 60:25, making that path too expensive.
I gave some advice for people who wanted American miles, but none of them are as easy as directly transferring bank points.
While there are other OneWorld airlines that can book tickets on American, such as BA, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas, there are times when American will be the cheapest. Plus American Web Special awards can only be booked with American miles and American no longer charges any award cancellation and redeposit fees.
Incredibly though, Citi ThankYou points are now transferrable to American, though Citi has confirmed with me that this will be available for a limited time only, from now through 11/13. Hopefully it will become a permanent part of the ThankYou program, which would add tremendous value to Citi cards!
If you have a Citi Premier Card or discontinued Prestige card, you can transfer points at a 1:1 ratio. If you only have a Citi Preferred or Citi Rewards+ the transfer ratio would be 2:1, with a 10% points rebate if you have the latter card.
If you have a Citi Premier Card or Prestige and a Citi Rewards+ you’ll get the 1:1 transfer ratio and a 10% points rebate on up to 100K points/year, making the effective transfer ratio from Citi to American 0.9:1!
Transferring points to American will also extend your mileage validity, which requires activity every 18 months.
Despite the limited time offer, I wouldn’t advise transferring points to American, where they would be subject to devaluation, without being ready to book an award ticket.
There are plenty of bargains if you do have American miles, ranging from flying American business class from JFK, Miami or Dallas nonstop to Tel Aviv:
To flying the industry’s best business class product, Qatar QSuites:
You can also earn 2 points per dollar everywhere by spending on the Citi Double Cash Card. With the Citi Custom Cash Card you’ll earn 5 points per dollar on your highest spending categories. You can read more about creating a Citi Quadfecta here.
With Turkish Airlines as an incredible Star Alliance transfer option and now American as a great OneWorld transfer option at least for the time being, Citi ThankYou points just became a lot more valuable and versatile.
Will you transfer ThankYou points to American? Do you think this will turn into a permanent addition to the Citi ThankYou program?