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Book American flights for 20% fewer miles using Citi ThankYou transfer bonus

by on Thu April 23, 2015 • 2 Comments


Citi ThankYou is offering a 25% bonus on points transfers you make to its partner Etihad Guest until May 15, 2015. Holders of Citi ThankYou Premier, Citi Prestige Cards, and Citi Chairmans cards in the U.S. are eligible to transfer to Etihad Guest.

That’s helpful if you want to try out Etihad, which has some decent prices for Business and First Class on its own flights.

But you can also find Etihad Guest useful for flights on American Airlines.

That’s because Etihad lets you use Etihad Guest Miles for the same prices that American AAdvantage charges its own members.

So for example…

  • A roundtrip in the U.S. on American with Etihad Guest is the same 25,000 miles it is if you use American AAdvantage miles.
  • A roundtrip to Europe in coach is 60,000 miles, the same as with AAdvantage miles.

You can even redeem at the special off-peak rates AAdvantage offers.

So if you transfer ThankYou points with a 25% bonus, it’s like getting 20% off the usual mile prices for American flights.

Here’s a rundown of how many ThankYou points you’ll need:


All prices above are round-trip, but it’s okay to book one way flights for half the price, and you can view the full award chart here.

What’s the catch?

Booking partner awards with Etihad Guest miles is a little cumbersome. You have to call them on 1 888 8 ETIHAD to process awards and do it at least 14 days in advance of your flight. But the agents are friendly, though not the most informed, so you’re best to go in armed with flights that show availability at the MileSAAver level on

And you can’t mix and match airlines, so all of your travel must be on American Airlines for the direction of your journey.

There is no fee to cancel Etihad reward redemptions – just a 2,000 mile deduction.

You can change dates once for free, after that it’s 200 AED (which works out to about $50 USD) – so after the first date change you’re better off refunding for a 2,000 mile penalty.

Is this better than 1.6 cents per point on American flights?

If you have a Citi Prestige card you can use your ThankYou points to book any American or US Airways flight at the rate of 1.6 cents per point.

So a $300 flight costs 18,750 points.

To get a sense of whether that will cost you fewer points than transferring to Etihad Guest for American Airlines flights, here is a chart with the break even airfare prices:


Basically, this is a really good deal if you plan to fly in Business Class on American Airlines flights and can find dates that have award availability.

For Economy Class flights it can be a good deal if you’re traveling internationally, but keep in mind if you book directly via Citi ThankYou you earn full AAdvantage miles as if you paid for your ticket in cash, which makes the breakeven point even higher, especially for borderline Economy fares.




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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $95

Annual Fee


Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes - transfer to United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Marriott Rewards, and more

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

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2 thoughts on Book American flights for 20% fewer miles using Citi ThankYou transfer bonus

  1. Steve

    “So if you transfer ThankYou points with a 25% bonus, it’s like getting 25% off the usual mile prices for American flights.”

    No. If a ticket is normally 25,000 miles and I transfer 20,000 points to get the 25% bonus (of 5,000 miles) to receive a total of 25,000 miles, then I’ve spent 20,000 points rather 25,000 and received a 5,000 discount. 5,000 is 20% of 25,000. So, a 25% bonus is like getting 20% off the usual mile prices, not 25% off. Same thing when you’re looking at 60,000 miles (transfer 48,000, get 12,000, and 12,000 is 20% of 60,000).


      @Steve – Yes you are absolutely right. It should be NumberOfMilesNormally divided by 1.25. We will update it.


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