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Ask any points and miles enthusiast for their travel rewards wish list, and you’d probably hear them hope that Citi ThankYou Rewards would add American Airlines as a transfer partner. After all, Citi offers several American Airlines credit cards, so it seems like a natural pair-up.
That transfer partnership has never materialized — until now. From July 18 to November 13, 2021, eligible Citi ThankYou Rewards members can transfer their points to American Airlines, but the transfer ratio varies by card.
This is exciting news for American Airlines flyers, because AA miles aren’t otherwise easy to earn. American Airlines doesn’t partner with any other major transferable bank rewards programs (like Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards), and the only other transfer options are from Marriott Bonvoy or the recently launched Bilt Rewards.
Here’s an exclusive look at this limited-time transfer partnership between Citi and American Airlines.
Citi and American Airlines transfer partnership
15.99% – 23.99% Variable
Good to Excellent
80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
ThankYou Rewards is Citi’s loyalty program, and its points are already very flexible. You can redeem rewards for cash back, travel booked through the Citi portal, gift cards, merchandise, and even student loan and mortgage payments.
Read more: How to earn, redeem, and maximize Citi ThankYou points
However, the most valuable way to use ThankYou points is by transferring them to Citi’s partners, which include JetBlue (its sole US airline partner), Air France-KLM, and Cathay Pacific. Depending on the partner and the award you book, it’s possible to get outsized value from your points — and these transfer opportunities are in large part why Insider values Citi points as worth, on average, 1.6 cents each.
The addition of American Airlines as a transfer partner — even temporarily — offers a significant value boost for Citi ThankYou credit card holders. Until now, redeeming ThankYou points for American Airlines flights involved either transferring points to one of American’s partners (like Etihad or Cathay Pacific) to book award flights, or using points directly toward paid airfare via the Citi ThankYou travel portal.
The new option to transfer Citi points to American eliminates the need to jump through these hoops. “Citi continues to prioritize innovative new offerings that help our customers use their points when and where it matters most,” said Chris Fred, Managing Director and Head of Proprietary Cards and Loyalty at Citi, in a statement. “With this limited time offer, we are so pleased to provide our ThankYou cardmembers with a hyper-relevant redemption option as customers are eager to take to the skies.”
Which cards are eligible to transfer Citi points to American?
There’s another unique angle to this promotion that makes it accessible to more travelers. Normally, to transfer points to the full list of Citi partners, you’d need either a Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige® Card
(not currently open to applications). With other Citi cards, the only airline transfer option is JetBlue, and the ratio is reduced (1,000 Citi points to 800 JetBlue points instead of 1:1).
The limited-time American Airlines transfer option is available to more cardholders. Along with the Citi Premier® Card and Citi Prestige® Card, the Citi Rewards+® Card and Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card (not available to new applicants) also offer the ability to make AA transfers.
Read more: These 3 Citi cards are the best combination to earn maximum points on every purchase
However, you’ll only get a 1:1 transfer ratio if you have a Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige® Card. The other Citi cards included in the promotion offer a 2:1 transfer, or 1,000 ThankYou points to 500 American Airlines miles. A 2:1 ratio isn’t great, but a transfer could make sense in some cases — for example, if you’re short miles for an award flight and need to top-off your account.
Keep in mind any Citi ThankYou points transfer is irreversible — after you move your points to an airline partner, you can’t transfer them back. Once points are in your American Airlines account, they become subject to American’s AAdvantage loyalty program rules — including its expiration policy. American Airlines miles expire after 18 months of account inactivity, although due to the pandemic, the carrier has paused points expiration through December 31, 2021.
How to transfer Citi ThankYou points to American Airlines
If you have an eligible Citi card and want to transfer ThankYou points to American Airlines, the easiest method is through your Citi account online. The process works just like any other airline transfer.
1. Sign in to your Citi account with your username and password
2. Under “Rewards,” find your eligible card and select “Redeem”
3. On the ThankYou menu page, find “Travel” in the menu bar, then select “Points Transfer” in the drop-down
4. Find American Airlines in the list of transfer partners — it should be right at the top
Remember, Citi Premier® Card and Citi Prestige® Card members receive a 1:1 transfer ratio, but for Citi Rewards+® Card and Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card cardholders, the ratio is 2:1.
5. Choose the number of points you want to transfer and enter your AAdvantage member number
Transfers must be in increments of 1,000 Citi ThankYou points, and there’s a maximum of 500,000 points per transfer.
6. Accept the terms and conditions and review the transfer details before clicking “Transfer Now” (you may be asked to enter a text confirmation code received on your phone)
7. You’ll receive an email from Citi confirming the transfer
Transfers to American Airlines can take up to five business days. I just did a test transfer of 1,000 Citi points and the AA miles haven’t appeared in my account as yet, but Citi says you’ll receive another confirmation email when the process is complete.
Read more: The best Citi credit cards in 2021
With the (temporary) addition of American Airlines, there are now 17 Citi airline transfer partners to choose from. Here’s the full list:
How to use American Airlines miles
American Airlines is a member of the Oneworld alliance, so you can use its miles to book more than just award flights on its own planes. You can redeem American Airlines miles for flights on these Oneworld partners:
- Alaska Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Japan Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Royal Air Maroc
- Royal Jordanian Airlines
- S7 Airlines
American also partners with a number of other airlines that aren’t part of the Oneworld alliance, including:
- Air Tahiti Nui
- Cape Air
- China Southern Airlines
- Etihad Airways
- Fiji Airways
- GOL Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Seaborne Virgin Islands
There are other redemption options, such as flight upgrades, vacation packages, hotel stays, and car rentals — though you usually won’t get as much value from these options as you would from booking award flights.
The number of miles you’ll need for an award ticket on American Airlines varies, depending on the route, time of year, and demand. You can estimate the number of miles required by having a look at the American Airlines award chart for its own flights and for partner flights.
This dynamic pricing means it can be hard to predict your award costs, but the upside is there are sometimes incredibly cheap deals to be had — especially through the carrier’s Web Specials program, which has priced awards for as little as 5,000 miles one-way in economy.
Good to Excellent
3 Free Nights (valued up to 50,000 points each) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months, plus 10x total points per $1 spent on up to $2,500 in combined purchases in select categories within your first 6 months
Good to Excellent
$200 after spending $500 in the first three months from account opening
Good to Excellent