One of the things I love about the Citi ThankYou Points program is that they regularly offer transfer bonus promotions with their airline partners. More points = good. These transfer bonuses can get you up to 25% more airline miles when you transfer your credit card points.
From transfer promos with Avianca LifeMiles to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, there have been ample opportunities to get some crazy value out of your ThankYou Points, but only for a limited time.
Well, Citi is back at it with its first promotion of the year, a 25% transfer bonus to Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles. This means you can transfer 1,000 ThankYou Points and get 1,250 Turkish miles and there’s no limit to the number of points you can transfer during the promo period.
The promo runs until February 20, 2019 at 11:59pm ET.
5 Great Ways To Use Turkish Miles & Smiles
I’ll leave the deep dive into the Turkish Miles & Smiles program for another time, but here are 10 fantastic ways to extract some serious value from this transfer bonus. Who doesn’t love a little travel inspiration?
Two things I’ll note before we dive into this. First, Turkish does pass on surcharges so you should weigh that against the redemption rate when deciding if it’s the right program for you to use. Second, Turkish requires you to visit one of their offices to book Star Alliance partner awards, though some have been able to email the Toronto office to get tickets issued.
United Business Class On A Transcontinental Flight
If you can find business class award space on a United transcontinental flight, Turkish is an excellent way to book a lie-flat seat. You’ll need 15,000 Turkish miles for a one-way award which means you’ll only need 12,000 ThankYou Points during the promo.
Keep in mind that Turkish somehow finds a way to charge about $115 on these awards even though United require any surcharges on the flight. It makes no sense, but the redemption rate still makes it a great deal.
Business Class Between USA And Europe
Turkish Airlines divides Europe into two regions but the award rates are the same if you’re flying from the U.S. so you can book a one-way business class award to any part of the continent for 45,000 Turkish miles. That means you’ll only need 36,000 Citi points during the promo.
A round-trip will require double the miles, but you can include one stopover. As with many programs, you cannot include a stopover on a one-way award ticket.
Business Class To Australia Or New Zealand
While it’s rare to find business class award space on Air New Zealand, if you can find it, you can book a one-way business class award for 75,000 Turkish miles — 60,000 ThankYou Points during the promo.
Since award space on Air New Zealand is a tough find, you can also route through Asia on Star Alliance partners such as All Nippon Airways (ANA), Asiana Airlines and EVA Air. If you’re booking a round-trip award, you might as well include a stopover in Asia during your trip to Australia or New Zealand.
Lufthansa First Class From Brazil
Let’s change things up a bit and get outside the U.S. for a second. If you want to avoid surcharges and still fly Lufthansa first class to Europe, hop on down to Brazil where surcharges are a no-no.
Just remember that Lufthansa only allows partners to book first class awards within about two weeks of departure so you’ll need to be able to leave soon after booking.
Unlike award flights from the U.S. to Europe, if you’re departing from South America, the award rates to the two European regions will be different. From Europe 1, you’ll need 85,000 Turkish miles for a one-way first class award which is just 68,000 Citi points.
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If you’re flying to Europe 2 — which I’m guessing will be more popular, you’ll only need 80,500 miles for a one-way first class award. That’s just 65,000 Citi ThankYou Points.
I’m seriously thinking about a way I can make this work for myself. A trip to Brazil followed by a first class trip to Europe complete with Dom Perignon and the Lufthansa First Class Terminal. What’s not to love?
Business Class From The Philippines To Europe
Flying from the Philippines is another way to avoid steep surcharges as the country caps them at ~$190 on international flights. So, after you enjoy a fun scuba diving adventure in the Philippines, you can jet off to Europe in business class for 60,000 Turkish miles plus very reasonable taxes/fees.
During the ThankYou Points promo, you’ll only need to transfer 48,000 Citi points.
Best Cards To Earn Citi ThankYou Points
With the revamped earnings structure on the Citi Prestige, it’s now one of my go-to cards — of course, I’m obsessed with ThankYou Points and on a mission to show people why they should be too. With the Citi Prestige, you can earn 5X on dining and airfare purchases, 3X on hotels and cruises and 2X on entertainment (until August 31, 2019). This card is not currently available for application but we’re hoping it will be again soon.
You might also consider The Citi Premier which earns 3X on travel and at gas stations as well as 2X on dining and entertainment. This card currently comes with a welcome bonus fo 50,000 ThankYou Points when you spend $4,000 in 3 months.
Cit’s latest offering is the Citi Rewards+ Card which earns 2X at grocery stores and gas stations up to $6,000 per year and rounds up every purchase to the nearest 10 points. This means a $1 purchase would earn you 10X ThankYou Points. You’ll also receive a 10% rebate on up to 100,000 points that you redeem each year.
One final option you won’t hear about very often is the Citi Access Card. It’s basically the little brother to the Citi Access More Card which is no longer available. With the Citi Access, you can earn 2X at eligible retail and travel sites. What earns 2X is not clearly defined but I’ve found purchases from popular sites such as Amazon work.
There are certainly some hurdles to booking with Turkish Miles & Smiles, but that shouldn’t scare you away. Whether you’re piecing together a fun around the world booking or just looking to book a simple round-trip, don’t sleep on Miles & Smiles, you might find they’re just what you need. The 25% transfer bonus from Citi is just gravy.