Citi ThankYou Points Adds Emirates as 16th Airline Partner

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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:

Plus, you can effectively earn 2X ThankYou Points per dollar spent on the Citi® Double Cash Card by converting the cashback earned through this card to a card that earns ThankYou Points.

Citi® Double Cash Card
Citi® Double Cash Card
Annual Fee$0
Welcome Offer 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months. (After that, the (Variable) APR will be 14.74% - 24.74% based on your creditworthiness.)
The Citi Double Cash is a dynamic, no-annual-fee cash-back rewards card that allows you to earn 2% traditional cash back, or convert your rewards to ThankYou Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio (2x ThankYou points per $1). When paired with a premium ThankYou Rewards earning card, the Citi Double Cash is now the best card available for everyday, non-bonus purchases.

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 14.74% - 24.74% based on your creditworthiness
  • No annual fee
This card makes earning rewards simple with no need to worry about keeping track of bonus categories for purchases with specific types of merchants. You'll earn 2% cash back on every purchase—1% when you buy and 1% when you pay. Citi cash rewards now also convert to ThankYou points at 1:1 ($10 = 100 ThankYou points).

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.

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:

Final Thoughts

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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  • Now, Emirates has reduced the award fees and taxes by up to 90%, so another door of opportunity has opened.

  • Great news. It seems to me a good initiative of Citi to provide transfer of points 1 to 1 to one of the best airlines that exist.

  • That is good news , new airlines are always good , the downside is the fuel surcharges but to fly firstclass between europe and US using shower on A380 drinking champagne in Emirates is still a good deal

  • Nice addition to the Citi programme! – It would be nice for them to add AA too.

  • I think Emirates even in economy/coach is very impressive. It is like premium economy in most other airlines. I hope the introduction of premium economy to Emirates doesn’t lead to a drop in standards.

  • Sounds good, but then again you need a ton of Skywards points…

  • I like Emirates, but I don’t find much value in their frequent flyer program. But it’s nice to have another transfer partner.

  • Emirates is now partnering with all major bank credit card point transfer programs. It is just not a good time now for this but it should be easier to get Emirates miles.

  • While I appreciate having more transfer partners, I wish Citi would add more usable partners, and some hotel partners.
    The lack of hotel partners is a big blow to the TY program.

  • I wish they would ad AA as an option.

  • Already heard from Emirates couple of days back.

  • Citi Thank You expanding their partners further is a good thing for us customers. I applaud Citi for doing this.

  • Nice partner, I hope I’ll use them next year. Right now I’m planning next year routes – it helps in isolation time

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    This deal seems to be very good. I plan on travelling to Europe as soon as the silly travel bans are lifted. We need to get back to work. Deals like this can help.

  • Citi is REALLY upping their game and trying to be a contender as of late. This is good. I still say they need a good domestic transfer partner though. Jet Blue just doesn’t cut it for most people.

    • Yes, while I constantly see Jet Blue as a well-regarded airline, I also constantly can’t fly them for the most part because of their limited routing. So, not cutting it for me, unfortunately.

  • Muy buen blog, y hay buenas ofertas.

  • This does improve their offerings somewhat. However, even with the hint about originating in Europe, I’m not sure I would like to pay those type of surcharges for even the best first class product.

  • Pablo Quilis says:

    Excellent, a new way to redeem our point in Citi, but I think I´ll not use it 🙂