After racking up a bunch of ThankYou Points on my Citi Premier and AT&T Access More cards, I’m trying to figure out what to do with them. I imagine I’ll be sending most of my TYPs to JetBlue, thereby avoiding the fee incurred when transferring American Express Membership Rewards to a US-based program. It’s not a large fee, but every dollar counts in this hobby! Of course, there are some unique uses of TYPs. While these may not be great redemptions for everyone, the ThankYou program has a few interesting partners.
Citi’s ThankYou program is the only currency that you can transfer to these three airlines:
A member of the Star Alliance, EVA Air is based out of Taiwan, and their route network covers much of the Asia-Pacific region. If you want to fly further, there are long-haul flights to Australia, Europe, and North America. God luck finding a useful sweet spot on EVA’s award chart. For the short hop from Taipei to Hong Kong you”ll pay 20,000 Infinity MileageLands. For a round-trip economy flight from the US to Asia you’ll need 100,000 miles. That same ticket will only cost you 60,000 MileagePlan miles with Alaska or 70,000 on United’s MileagePlus chart.
ThankYou Points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to EVA’s Infinity MileageLands program, and typically take 1-2 business days to transfer. Be careful on last minute redemptions though, as at least some folks have had to wait 1-2 weeks for transfers to clear (sounds like it may be a manual process). If you want to try out EVA’s business class product, you’re better off using All Nippon Airway’s frequent flyer program. ANA will only set you back 95,000 miles. Right now in the United States, you can book EVA Air to Taipei from New York, Houston, Chicago, San Jose, San Fransisco, and Seattle.
(If you need to top off your ThankYou Points, pick up a Citi Premier card with the new bonus!)
Your second unique transfer partner is Garuda Indonesia. Garuda is a SkyTeam member and flies throughout the South Pacific extensively. You’ll only see their colorful blue tailfin overseas right now, with no US flights planned for the moment. GarudaMiles are a distance-based system, part of a dying breed in the frequent flyer world.
Taking a hint from their SkyTeam member Delta, Garuda Indonesia doesn’t publish an award chart. The airline has a mileage calculator instead, so you’ll have to punch in your desired routing to find the award cost. It’s not a very user-friendly system. For those curious, a flight from Jakarta to Abu Dhabi will set you back 40,000 one way in economy. 35,000 GarudaMiles to Tokyo in economy one way, and a whopping 190,000 for a one way first class ticket to Amsterdam!
I don’t know that I’d normally transfer my ThankYou Points to Garuda, but if another 90% off sale comes along, I think I’d be convinced!
The Malaysia Airlines Enrich program rounds out our 3 unique partners. A member of the oneworld alliance, Malaysia offers a separate award chart for their oneworld partners. Like Garuda, the program is distance-based and allows for redemptions within certain ranges. Partner flights on American, Qatar, etc. start at 13,000 Enrich miles one-way for flights under 600 miles. By comparison, you can book one-way flights under 500 miles with oneworld partner British Airways for only 4,500 Avios. Another partner that falls short, in my opinion.
In Citi’s bid to grow their ThankYou Points program over the past few years, it seems they shot for quantity, rather than focusing on quality. For me, the oldies are the goodies, and I’ll probably use my ThankYou Points on some better options: Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, or Etihad Airways. All of which, by the way, you can transfer your other currencies to.
What are you favorite uses for ThankYou Points?
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