How to Maximize the Citi Premier 60k Bonus for Flights Within North America How to Maximize the Citi Premier 60k Bonus for Flights Within North America

How to Maximize the Citi Premier 60k Bonus for Flights Within North America

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Points and miles fans may not be as familiar with the ways of redeeming Citi ThankYou Points as they might be with Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards. And it doesn't help that Citi's 14 airline partners are an eclectic mix of primarily international carriers. Only one Citi ThankYou airline partner is U.S.-based: JetBlue.

But that doesn't mean you can't use Citi ThankYou Points to fly on airlines you're familiar with. Many Citi ThankYou transfer partners allow you to book U.S.-based airlines. Even better, you can book some incredible redemptions on these flights. Let's take a look at some of the best domestic and short-haul international Citi ThankYou Point sweet spots.

Best Way To Get Citi ThankYou Points

The Citi Premier® Card is currently offering new cardholders the chance to earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening Plus, for a limited time, earn a total of 10 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on hotel, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024. This is a great bonus for a credit card that charges an annual fee of just $95.

The Citi Premier is a keeper for the long term, thanks to high earning rates and valuable perks. Just taking advantage of the $100 annual hotel credit can more than offset the annual fee each year. You can read more about this and other perks in our full review of the Citi Premier.

Citi Premier® Card
Citi Premier® Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Offer Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening Plus, for a limited time, earn a total of 10 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on hotel, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024.
The Citi Premier card offers some of the top earning rates of any rewards card with an annual fee under $100. This card is best-in-class for rewards on air travel and hotel spending, and it tops our list of the best cards for gas & fuel purchases with a generous 3X ThankYou® Points.
  • 60,000 point signup bonus worth $800 towards airfare through the ThankYou Travel Center, or potentially much more when transferred to airline partners
  • 3X points per $1 on airfare and hotels and at gas stations, restaurants, and supermarkets
  • Annual Hotel Benefit: Save $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when you book through
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee
  • 3X points per $1 spent on airfare, hotels, and at gas stations
  • 3X points per $1 spent on dining at restaurants, including cafes, bars and lounges
  • 3X points per $1 spent at supermarkets
  • 1X points per $1 spent on all other purchases

JetBlue Award Flights Under 5,000 Points

Citi ThankYou Point collectors can book JetBlue award flights through JetBlue's own TrueBlue program. As a revenue-based award program, there's no limit to how cheap JetBlue award flights can get when using TrueBlue points. As an idea of what's available, I'm currently finding award flights between Los Angeles and Las Vegas for 4,200 points each way:

Screenshot showing JetBlue award prices between Los Angeles and Las Vegas

Or fly between Atlanta (ATL) and Fort Lauderdale (FLL) from 4,500 points:

Screenshot showing JetBlue award prices between Atlanta and Fort Lauderdale

Domestic United Flights From 6,500 LifeMiles

Per the LifeMiles award chart, United award flights within the U.S. start at 7,500 LifeMiles each way. However, certain routes price cheaper than this. The list of over 100 United routes pricing at 6,500 LifeMiles includes:

  • Los Angeles to San Francisco
  • Newark to Pittsburgh
  • Washington D.C. to Detroit
  • Denver to Grand Junction, Colorado

screenshot of LifeMiles award pricing for the flights being discussed

Another reason to keep LifeMiles in mind is its frequent transfer bonuses. In June 2023, you could get a 25% transfer bonus when transferring Citi ThankYou Points to LifeMiles. You can use future transfer bonuses to stretch your Citi ThankYou Points further through LifeMiles.

United Flights to Hawaii for Just 7,500 Turkish Miles

Any list of Citi ThankYou Points sweet spots would be incomplete without mentioning this incredible redemption option: Turkish Miles & Smiles charges just 7,500 miles each way for domestic U.S. flights on United — including Hawaii.

Most airline mileage programs treat Hawaii as a different region. However, Turkish doesn't differentiate Hawaii from the rest of the U.S. That means you can book flights from anywhere in the U.S. to Hawaii for just 7,500 miles:

Screenshot showing example of booking a United flight from Austin to Honolulu for 7,500 Turkish Airlines miles

Booking awards through Turkish Airlines can be a challenge. The website doesn't always show all available awards, meaning you might have to call or email a reservations office. But booking award flights at these rates is worth the hassle. Here are some tips for making this as painless as possible.

Related: The Best Points and Miles for Free Flights to Hawaii

Delta Flights Starting at 7,500 Virgin Points

To use Citi ThankYou Points to book Delta award flights, utilize the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club program. While the Virgin award chart for Delta flights was even more lucrative in the past, there's still plenty of value to be found. The new distance-based award chart prices Delta's nonstop flights at the following rates:

  • 0–500 miles: 7,500 points
  • 501–1,000 miles: 8,500 points
  • 1,001–1,500 miles: 11,500 points
  • 1,501–2,000 miles: 12,500 points

The flight distance is the only factor when pricing Delta awards through Virgin Atlantic. That means the shortest flights are going to be the lowest priced. And travelers have no shortage of options! AwardWallet dug into this sweet spot and found 382 Delta award routes that you can book for just 7,500 Virgin points — including some routes over 500 miles in distance, such as Detroit to New York-JFK.

Screenshot showing Virgin Atlantic award search results from Detroit to New York Kennedy

Other sweet spots include short-haul international flights — as these are typically priced higher through region-based award charts. For example, you use just 8,500 Virgin points to fly from Atlanta to Montreal, Canada; Nassau, Bahamas; or Cancun, Mexico:

Screenshot showing example of booking a Delta flight from Atlanta to Cancun for 8,500 Virgin points

Or you can fly from Los Angeles to Cabo for just 8,500 Virgin points:

Screenshot showing example of booking a Delta flight from Los Angeles to Cabo for 8,500 Virgin points

The downside to the Virgin program is that each flight segment is priced individually. That means connecting itineraries generally don't provide good value. You'll want to stick to nonstop flight options.

American Airlines Flights From 8,000 Qantas Points

Australian-based Qantas uses a distance-based award chart for flights on its partners. For flight routes up to 600 miles, you'll pay just 8,000 Qantas points. Flights between 601 and 1,200 miles jump to 12,000 Qantas points.

600 flight miles may not seem like very far. However, this sweet spot can come in handy on certain routes that wouldn't be fun to drive. For example, driving from Phoenix to Denver would take more than 12 hours. But you can book this two-hour flight for just 8k Qantas points:

Qantas award example on American Airlines from Phoenix to Denver for 8,000 points

Qantas only looks at the total flight distance of the route. You can book connecting itineraries and/or flights to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean at the same rates.

Bottom Line

As you can see, Citi ThankYou Points can be used to book a wide variety of domestic and short-haul international flights on many U.S. airlines. Maximizing the Citi Premier 60,000-point sign-up bonus becomes a case of choose-your-own-adventure.

Will you use the 60,000 points to book 14 JetBlue flights or eight Delta flights? Or perhaps you'd rather book four round-trip flights to Hawaii on United via Turkish Airlines. You can even mix and match between these ThankYou point sweet spots. The choice is up to you.

How do you plan to use 60,000 ThankYou points?

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  • Any way to fly to puerto Vallarta with this points system ?

  • Peter Davis says:

    I’ve had a horrible experience trying to book Delta flights through Virgin. I’ve spent weeks trying to book SFO-MSP and constantly get one of four error messages on the Virgin website, either saying that there is no availability (even in 2023 or 2024), or that their system is down.

    • Well, you shouldn’t be able to book any awards in 2024 yet. But yeah, Delta can be very stingy in releasing award availability on some routes.

  • Freddy S. says:

    Can anyone comment on availability of American Flights on Emirates, Virgin, Quantas, Etihad?
    Do any of these have very limited American flight offerings?

    • JT Genter says:

      You will only be able to book AA flights through Qantas and Etihad. Qantas is easier because it allows online award bookings, but the value is only found on short flights. Etihad is best for long-haul AA flights, but you have to find award availability and then call Etihad Guest to book.

  • matt ward says:

    We are trying to get to Tokyo in the spring, so the Ethiad Guest TK for 50K business got me interested. AA shows lots of availability LAX-NRT as low as 75K miles one-way, but the cheapest flight using Ethiad Guest is over 2 million miles! What am I doing wrong? TIA

    • JT Genter says:

      Unfortunately you need to call Etihad Guest to check availability and book AA award flights. Generally you need to find 60k awards on AA’s website (that’s the saver-level price for biz class awards) for there to be partner award availability.

      • Thanks JT!

      • Thanks JT. There is only one day in the next year showing a 60K ticket (6/20/23) on AA. Do you know why that would be?

        • JT Genter says:

          Ugh! Even worse than I thought. There’s two main drivers behind this (and they kinda sound basic): supply and demand. AA is short a few dozen international aircraft that Boeing was supposed to deliver over the past couple of year. But travelers (including me) are still hellbent on traveling after a couple of years of reduced travel.

      • Hi JT,

        Since the pandemic I’m unable to find any AA Saver Awards on the routes I need (DEN-EZE and DEN-MVD).

        I search from DFW and MIA to increase my chances of using my Etihad miles to book these routes on AA.

        What will happen when AA eliminates the saver awards next year?

        Thank you,
        Jennifer from DEN

        • That’s the question we are all wondering! My guess is that AA will continue to have saver award availability that’s released to partners. However, AA just won’t price these awards at any set rate for its own members.