The Citi Premier® Card, from our partner Citi, happens to be one of the most rewarding credit cards for travel.
The card earns 3X points on dining, gas, air travel, hotels and grocery stores – with no earning limit. That’s incredibly impressive for a card with a $95 annual fee.
Even more impressive? The card’s current welcome bonus, which has been elevated to 80,000 Citi ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening.
Secure application on issuer’s website.
Annual Fee: $95
Bonus: 80,000 ThankYou Points
APR: Variable APR Between 17.49% – 25.49%
Rewards Rate: 1X-3X ThankYou Points
Details: Full Review
Terms and restrictions apply
Annual Fee: $95
APR: This card features a 17.49% – 25.49% variable APR based on creditworthiness.
Rewards Rate: The card offers 3x ThankYou Points per $1 spent at supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants, air travel and hotels. Beyond that, the card awards 1x ThankYou Points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
Sign-Up Bonus: New account holders can earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou Points after making $4,000 worth of purchases during the first three months of account opening.
Who Should Use This Credit Card? People who want to maximize rewards in multiple spending categories and welcome transferring points to airline partners.
Why We Like the Citi Premier® Card
The Citi Premier Card, from our partner Citi, is worth considering if you’re looking for accelerated travel rewards, but don’t want to pay a huge annual fee. It earns 3X points per dollar on air travel, hotels and spending at gas stations. You’ll also earn 3X points per dollar at supermarkets and restaurants and 1X point on everything else.
It’s easy to quickly rack up lots of points on this card. While you can redeem ThankYou points for gift cards, you’ll get more value when you redeem points for flights and hotels, and potentially even better value when you transfer points to travel partners.
Citi has dramatically improved the ThankYou Rewards program in recent years as well as the cards that earn those points, especially the Citi Premier Card. To compete with American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi has onboarded new airline partners like Avianca LifeMiles and JetBlue TrueBlue.
But how much are 80,000 ThankYou Points worth and what can you do with this bonus?
When it comes to transferable rewards, the Citi ThankYou Points program is one of the most underrated out there. With 16 airlines and hotel loyalty transfer partners, there are many great ways to put this welcome bonus to good use.
Here are ten of the best ways to redeem 80,000 ThankYou Points for travel:
Fly the Family to Hawaii
If you have a trip to Hawaii on your travel bucket list, Turkish Miles&Smiles offers the cheapest way to get there on ThankYou Points. Turkish is a 1:1 ThankYou Points transfer partner and a member of the Star Alliance. As such, you can redeem just 15,000 miles for a round-trip economy class ticket to Hawaii on United Airlines.
Getting five round-trip tickets to Hawaii from a single credit card bonus with a $95 annual fee is one of the best deals in travel right now. With 80,000 ThankYou Points, you can book up to five round-trip economy class tickets – enough to bring the whole family along. This is an incredible deal considering a United MileagePlus economy award to Maui can top 50,000 miles each way.
Other legacy carriers aren’t much better. American Airlines charges 20,000 miles each way for an off-peak economy class award ticket to Hawaii. 15,000 miles for a round-trip Turkish Airlines award is a downright bargain in comparison. You’re hard-pressed to find another credit card bonus that will go this far.
Fly Economy Class to Brazil
Etihad Guest has several sweet spots, including economy class flights to Brazil on American Airlines. An off-peak economy class award will set you back just 40,000 Etihad Guest miles. Etihad is a 1:1 transfer partner of the Citi ThankYou Points program. So with 80,000 Citi ThankYou Points, you can book two round-trip tickets to Brazil.
Etihad defines off-peak dates as March 1 – May 31. If you want more flexibility in your travel dates, you can book a regular economy seat for 60,000 miles round-trip.
Turkish Airlines Business Class to Europe
Turkish Airlines has a highly underrated frequent flyer program. Not only is it great for flights to Hawaii, but it also offers low fares to Europe. A one-way business class ticket will set you back just 45,000 miles each way. That’s significantly less than the 70,000+ you can expect to pay with Star Alliance partner United MileagePlus.
Voted one of the Best Airlines in Europe by Skytrax, Turkish Airlines has a wide route network and excellent business class product. One of the most notable features of Turkish Airlines business class is an on-board chef and DO & CO catering, the gold standard in airplane food.
The Citi Premier Card’s welcome bonus won’t cover a round-trip in business class. However, you might be able to earn enough miles through credit card category bonuses to make up the difference. The card earns 3X points on dining, groceries and gas stations. These are substantial spending categories for most people, enabling you to earn enough ThankYou Points for a return fare.
United Domestic First Class With Singapore Krisflyer Miles
Singapore Krisflyer miles are an excellent way to save on domestic United Airlines awards. You can fly between the East Coast and West coast for just 23,000 miles each way. United no longer publishes an award chart. But if you use the calendar function to search for business class seats on the San Francisco – New York route, they’re pricing out at 50,000 miles each way for much of the day. By booking with Singapore Krislfyer miles, you’ll save over 50%.
Singapore Krisflyer is a 1:1 transfer partner of the Citi ThankYou Points program. With 80,000 ThankYou Points from the Citi Premier Card, you can cover up to three transcontinental one-way business class tickets on United.
ANA Business Class to Japan With Etihad Miles
Most airlines charge around 70,000 miles one-way for a business class ticket to Asia. With Etihad miles, you can get to Japan from 54,000 each way. The exact number will vary depending on which city you’re flying out of, but Seattle flyers will redeem just 54,000 miles. With the welcome bonus from the Citi Premier Card, you’ll have enough miles for a one-way business class award. You can even use the remaining miles to cover a return flight in economy class.
Flying Blue to North Africa
Flying Blue is KLM and Air France’s joint loyalty program and offers many sweet spot redemptions. One of the most notable is their award tickets to North Africa, which cost just 22,000-29,000 miles one-way in economy and 53,000 in business class. With 80,000 ThankYou Points, you’ll nearly have enough for two round-trip tickets.
This is an excellent deal for many reasons. For starters, it’s less than what most loyalty programs charge for an award to Europe (a shorter distance), let alone North Africa. It’s also significantly cheaper than what you’ll pay with Flying Blue partner Delta SkyMiles. Delta has a dynamic pricing model and flights to Casablanca start at 35,000 miles in economy class. Meanwhile, business class can go as high as 172,500 SkyMiles each way.
Qsuites to the Middle East
Qatar Airways has arguably the best business class seat in the sky. QSuites are are fully enclosed, resembling some of the most aspirational first-class seats. If you’re traveling with a group, you can book the four seats in the middle section and combine them into one big suite. A seat in this aspirational cabin will set you back just 70,000 Qatar Avios between the U.S. and the Middle East.
Citi ThankYou Points is the only rewards currency that transfers to Qatar Privilege Club. With the welcome bonus from the Citi Premier Card, you can cover a one-way Qsuites award to the Middle East, worth thousands of dollars.
Virgin Atlantic to London
Flying to Europe doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. With Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, you can get to London from the East coast for just 10,000 miles one-way. That’s cheaper than most frequent flyer programs charge for a domestic award. The taxes are a bit higher at $150 on the outbound and $270 on the return. Depending on the time of year you’re traveling, this can still be preferable to paying for a ticket outright. With 80,000 ThankYou Points, you can book up to four round-trip economy class tickets to Europe.
Delta One flights to Europe are another great sweet spot in the Flying Club program. At just 50,000 miles one-way, you can combine one of these awards with the 10,000-mile economy ticket and still have 20,000 miles left over from the Citi Premier Card’s bonus.
Lots of JetBlue Flights
Citi ThankYou Points transfer 1:1 to JetBlue’s TrueBlue loyalty program. Meanwhile, TrueBlue points are worth between 1.1- 1.6 cents each towards airfare. With 80,000 Citi ThankYou Points, you can book upwards of $1,280 worth of JetBlue flights, depending on the fare.
For example, a $849 Mint business class fare requires 77,600 points. At this rate, you’re only getting 1.1 cents in value per point. Meanwhile, a $159 Blue economy fare costing 9,800 miles gets you 1.6 cents per point. With JetBlue, the most aspirational award won’t always translate into the best redemption value.
It certainly helps to book in advance. If you’re flexible with your travel dates, you can use Jetblue’s Low Fare Finder to find the best fare possible.
Book Travel Directly With Citi
Redeeming points with loyalty programs is the best way to maximize value, but it can also be tricky. Some programs limit award space. Others require you to call customer service to book an award. In addition, there are award program rules and blackout dates to be aware of. It can be overwhelming for someone who doesn’t have time to research the best ways to redeem ThankYou Points.
If that’s the case, the Citi ThankYou Travel portal can be an excellent alternative. With 80,000 ThankYou Points, you can book $800 worth of travel. It’s significantly less than you’ll get with Citi’s transfer partners. Still, it’s a straightforward option that plenty of people utilize for the sake of convenience.
It can be especially handy if you’re trying to book an award during high season. If travel demand is high and you have no other way to redeem points, knocking a few hundred dollars off your ticket price by booking through the Citi ThankYou Travel portal can be an attractive option.
There are many different ways to redeem 80,000 ThankYou Points and the value proposition ranges greatly. With the Citi Premier Card’s welcome bonus, you have many options, regardless of your travel goals.
Whether you want to travel domestically in economy class or book a fancy first-class seat for a trip abroad, ThankYou Points can help you get there. More importantly, they can help you get there economically, so you can stretch your points even further.
Featured photo courtesy of Qatar Airways