At those rates, why wouldn’t you?
As many of the most beloved “loopholes” in the points game dry up, it’s the limited time bonuses and opportunities which get travelers excited. For those looking to achieve superb value for their Citi ThankYou credit card points, there’s an opportunity right now which adds adventure and comfort to your next trip, particularly for those on the West Coast (and even if you’re not, we’ve got other options). Here’s how to score business class between the U.S. and Europe, in either direction for 24,000 points and $250 bucks…
Air France offers monthly “promo awards” which are a great deal in themselves. These monthly promotions discount the number of points needed for select routes by either 25% or 50% off. Business class that would usually require 62,500 points would go for just 43,375 or less. Seats in economy which go for 22,000 points or more go for just 11,000 one way. But we can take it even further, thanks to another promotion.
The Other Offer
Citi is offering a 30% bonus when you convert ThankYou rewards points into Flying Blue miles, the loyalty program of Air France & KLM. They’re also offering a 30% bonus to Virgin Atlantic, which brings great options for travel to Asia, but that’s another story. With the 30% bonus from Citi ThankYou to FlyingBlue, you can take the 25-50% discounts even lower. In fact, Edmonton was already discounted at 50% off, and with the bonus, you’re taking it further.
If you want to pay 25,000 points one way, you’ll need to fly between Amsterdam and Edmonton. Edmonton is reasonably close to Vancouver, and easily accessible via direct flights from much of the West Coast. If you’re starting on the other end, Amsterdam is accessible from virtually everywhere, and a great place to start or end a trip. These flights, thanks to the bonus will only require 23,000 Citi ThankYou Points and $250 one way. If you want greater flexibility, Vancouver and Calgary are available for 34,000 Citi Points and $250, when factoring in the two bonuses.
The Big (Little) Catch
To make this work you’ll need to book for travel in October. Now, if October is not the month you were hoping for, you can take some calculated risk, and use the transfer bonus from Citi to Flying Blue now, while it’s available. The bonus is available until August 29th. These flight routes are commonly discounted at 25%, so even if you don’t get the 24,000 pointer, you could still lock in 34,000 points the next time Vancouver or Calgary are put on sale. And again – you can start in either direction. For 43,000 Citi Points transferred to Virgin Atlantic, that 30% bonus would give you the 50,000 points needed for business class from the U.S. to Europe, with no surcharges at all.
Don’t transfer your Citi Points until you’ve found flights you can use, unless you’re going the speculative route. The FlyingBlue promo awards end August 30th, so the 29th and 30th are the two dates to remember. To book, make a FlyingBlue account if you don’t already have one. Next, search for flights here, and select “around these dates”. You’ll get an entire month long calendar showing which dates are available at what rates using points. If you see flight dates available for 30,250 in the case of Edmonton, or 43,375 in the case of Vancouver or Calgary, those are the promo deals. You can then call FlyingBlue, place those tickets on hold and transfer your Citi Points using the bonus to score a phenom deal. Again, if Canada isn’t for you, the Virgin/Delta transfer route is a good one.