Citibank and American Airlines AAdvantage® have been partners and have been offering AAdvantage co-branded credit cards for a long time. However, AAdvantage has never been a part of Citi’s ThankYou® Rewards program. Things changed this July, at least temporarily. A long-desired partnership has finally happened. Now and through November 13, 2021, cardholders of qualifying Citi credit cards can convert ThankYou points to American Airlines AAdvantage miles.
Citi’s ThankYou® Rewards program is one of the few points programs that allow transfers to participating loyalty programs, including frequent flyer programs. There are fifteen airline partners in the ThankYou® Rewards program, including Emirates, Aeromexico, Etihad, Air France and KLM, JetBlue, Qatar, and some other airlines. Now for a few months, Citi ThankYou points can be transferred to American Airlines at up to 1:1 ratio. Hopefully, this partnership will stick around for a long time.
Here are transfer rates based on which Citi ThankYou credit card you have:
- Cardmembers of the Citi Premier, Citi Prestige, or Citi Chairman cards can transfer ThankYou points to American Airlines at a 1:1 ratio.
- Citi ThankYou Preferred or Citi Rewards+ cardmembers can convert ThankYou points into AAdvantage miles at a less optimal 2:1 ratio. Thus, 1,000 ThankYou points will become 500 AAdvantage miles.
There is no cap to the number of points you can transfer, but all transfers should be done in 1,000 point increments.
Great Opportunities to Redeem American Airlines AAdvantage Miles
The most obvious and straightforward way to get the most out of the AAdvantage program is to redeem AAdvantage miles on American Airlines award flights. Additionally, American Airlines is a member of the oneworld® alliance and has more than 20 airline partners, which makes AAdvantage one of the most flexible programs with over 1,000 destinations.
Award flights on American usually start at 20,000 miles each way plus applicable taxes and fees. However, it is possible to get domestic award flights for as low as 7,500 miles in economy or 25,000 miles in business class. Award flights with oneworld and partner airlines start at 12,500 for domestic economy flights and from 25,000 for domestic business class. And you can fly partner airlines between the U.S. and Europe for as few as 22,500 miles each way during off-peak season.
Credit Cards to Earn ThankYou Points
There are several credit cards that earn ThankYou points and are available for online application at the same time. With the Citi Prestige® Card that has become unavailable to new applicants, here’s a list of credit cards you can actually apply online and start earning ThankYou rewards:
- Citi Premier® Card
- Citi Rewards+® Card
- Citi Custom Cash℠ Card.
Plus, cardmembers of the Citi® Double Cash card can convert Cash Rewards to ThankYou points.
The Citi Premier® Card is the most expensive among the three ThankYou credit cards. In fact, it’s the only of the three cards that actually has an annual fee, which is not a surprise as the Premier card comes with elevated cash back in travel and some other categories. Thus, purchases at gas stations, hotels, air travel, supermarkets, and restaurants will earn 3 ThankYou points per dollar spent. All other purchases will earn 1 point per dollar. The welcome bonus offer is all-time high now – 60,000 bonus ThankYou points for spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
The Citi Rewards+® Card replaced the Citi ThankYou Preferred, which is now unavailable for new applicants. The Rewards+ card earns 2X ThankYou points at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 per year. When the annual cap is reached, those purchases will earn 1 point per dollar. All other purchases will always earn 1 ThankYou point per dollar. The card also has a welcome offer of 20,000 bonus points now. To qualify for this limited-time offer, you will need to spend $1,500 in purchases within 3 months of account opening. While the Rewards+ card looks like an ordinary no annual fee credit card, there is one unique feature – it’s the only credit card that rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase. Thus, a $3 purchase will earn 10 points, and an $11 item will earn you 20 points, and there’s no cap on purchases that are rounded up.
The recently-launched Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is a great alternative to category rewards cards. The card will automatically adjust to your spending each month allowing you to earn maximum rewards in your top eligible spend category. Thus, you will earn 5% back (in the form of ThankYou points) in your top spend category each billing cycle, on the first $500 spent. Once you reach the cap, you will continue earning 1% cash back in your current top category. All other purchases will earn unlimited 1% cash back per dollar spent. If you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening, you will earn $200 cash back, which is 20,000 ThankYou points.
While the addition of the American Airlines AAdvantage to the transfer partners is only temporary, it’s still great news for anyone holding a Citi ThankYou credit card. Even if you are only planning to get a ThankYou rewards credit card, you may be able to take advantage of the offer as it will be around through Nov. 13, 2021. Nevertheless, we hope Citi and American Airlines will extend their partnership or even keep it forever.