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A new transfer partner has just been added to Citi's ThankYou Points program: Emirates Skywards. Effective immediately, Citi ThankYou Rewards members can transfer points to Emirates at a 1:1 ratio. This addition brings the total number of Citi's airline transfer partners to 16.
While Citi hasn't yet announced the addition, Emirates Skywards was added to the list of ThankYou Points partners on Sunday afternoon:
This new partnership comes eight months after Emirates Skywards joined as a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner. Emirates is also a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards (1:1 transfer ratio), Capital One Miles (2:1 ratio), and Marriott Bonvoy (3:1 ratio, with 5,000 bonus miles for transferring 60,000+ points). That means that Emirates is now a transfer partner of all five major transferrable currencies.
Valuable Uses of Skywards Miles
We recently published a comprehensive guide of the best uses of Emirates Skywards miles, and it's worth giving that guide a full read. However, let's review just some of the excellent options on fifth-freedom routes between the U.S. and Europe:
- Newark (EWR) – Athens (ATH): 45,000 miles round-trip in economy
- Newark (EWR) – Athens (ATH): 90,000 miles round-trip in business
- Newark (EWR) – Athens (ATH): 135,000 miles round-trip in first class
- New York City (JFK) – Milan (MXP): 45,000 miles round-trip in economy
- New York City (JFK) – Milan (MXP): 90,000 miles round-trip in business
- New York City (JFK) – Milan (MXP): 135,000 miles round-trip in first class
While these are excellent mileage rates, Emirates Skywards passes along significant fuel surcharges on its awards. Also, these lower Saver mileage rates aren't available on one-way awards, so you will need to book round-trip.
Still, it's hard to beat business class nonstop between New York JFK and Milan, Italy (MXP) for 90,000 miles round-trip—even after factoring in the nearly $1,100 in taxes and fees:
If you're looking to fly Emirate's legendary first-class product, availability is wide open in 2021 for 135,000 miles round-trip:
To cut back your out-of-pocket costs, you'll want to originate in Europe. Instead of over $1,100 for a round-trip award, you'll pay just €448 (US$487) round-trip for the same flights by originating in Europe instead:
Cards That Earn ThankYou Points
If this news leaves you more excited about the Citi ThankYou Point program, here are some Citi credit cards that earn ThankYou Points:
- Citi Premier® Card
- Citi Prestige® Card
- Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card
- Citi Rewards+® Card
- Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card
- Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students
If you're looking to pay down debt or finance a larger purchase, this card also comes with one of the best available introductory APR offers on balance transfers.
- 2% cash back on every purchase - 1% when you buy + 1% when you pay
- 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months. After that, the (Variable) APR will be 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness
- No annual fee
How to Transfer Citi Points to Emirates
If you're interested in taking advantage of this new partnership, log into your Citi ThankYou Points account and browse to Citi's Emirates Skywards transfer point page. Either use the scrollbar or enter the number of ThankYou Points you'd like to transfer to Emirates. Note that transfers must be made in increments of 1,000 points:
Next, scroll down to enter—and then re-enter—your Emirates Skywards member number. If you want to make future transfers easier, click the button for Citi to remember your number. Accept the terms and conditions and click “continue” to move to the next step:
On the next page, you'll have a chance to review the number of points you're transferring and the account number before clicking “transfer now” to initialize the transfer. Note that the terms and conditions state that “point transfers may take up to 14 days.”
Other ThankYou Point Transfer Partners
Emirates joins 15 existing airline partners of ThankYou Points. Points transfer from Citi ThankYou Points to all of these airlines at a 1:1 ratio—with periodic transfer bonuses to help sweeten the deal.
- Aeromexico (Club Premier)
- Air France (Flying Blue)
- Avianca (LifeMiles)
- Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles)
- Etihad Airways (Etihad Guest)
- Eva Air (Infinity MileageLands)
- JetBlue Airways (TrueBlue)
- Malaysia Airlines (Enrich)
- Qantas (Frequent Flyer)
- Qatar Airways (Qmiles)
- Singapore Airlines (KrisFlyer)
- Thai Airways (Royal Orchid Plus)
- Turkish Airlines (Miles&Smiles)
- Virgin Atlantic (Flying Club)
Most ThankYou Point transfers occur instantaneously, with transfers to Etihad Guest and Thai Miles & Smiles being notable exceptions. Based on AwardWallet's Transfer Time Tracker Tool, the average transfer times for each program are as follows:
Citi ThankYou Points isn't known for being the most-valuable transferrable currency. While we would still love to see another US-based airline—such as American Airlines—added as a Citi transfer partner, Citi has built up quite a broad selection of eclectic airline partners.
Many travelers may see Emirates as another niche transfer partner for the ThankYou program, but it's always nice to have more options. And, as we see, this new partnership can be especially valuable for those who want to fly Emirates' fifth-freedom routes between the U.S. and Europe.
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