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How I Would Redeem 70,000 Citi ThankYou Points for Maximum Value

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Ehsan Haque
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Ehsan Haque

Content Contributor

72 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 100U.S. States Visited: 24

Ehsan is an avid traveler who has traveled to 100 countries, diligently using points and miles to fund his journeys. Currently, he holds 32 active credit cards and earns over a million points and mile...
Edited by: Michael Y. Park
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Michael Y. Park

Editor

23 Published Articles 265 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 60+U.S. States Visited: 50

Michael Y. Park is a journalist living in New York City. He’s traveled through Afghanistan disguised as a Hazara Shi’ite, slept with polar bears on the Canadian tundra, picnicked with the king and que...
& Stella Shon
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Stella Shon

News Managing Editor

106 Published Articles 738 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 25U.S. States Visited: 22

With a degree in media and journalism, Stella has been in the points and miles game for more than 6 years. She most recently worked as a Corporate Communications Analyst for JetBlue. Find her work in ...

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Citi recently introduced the brand-new Citi Strata Premier℠ Card, an all-around travel rewards credit card with excellent bonus categories. With the new Citi Strata Premier card, you can get a sizable welcome offer that can be used for exciting adventures:

Earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, redeemable for $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com

Although not as valuable as American Express Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards (Citi’s bank loyalty program) can provide excellent value when redeemed correctly. However, for many, that is easier said than done.

Here’s a quick look at the Citi Strata Premier card and how I would redeem 70,000 Citi ThankYou Points for maximum value.

Citi Strata Premier Card Overview

Besides its generous welcome offer, here’s a look at the benefits on the Citi Strata Premier card:

  • 10x points on hotels, car rentals, and attractions booked through CitiTravel.com
  • 3x points on air travel, other hotel purchases, restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, and EV charging stations
  • $100 annual hotel benefit: Once per calendar year, enjoy $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when booked through CitiTravel.com.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee

Redeeming 70,000 Citi ThankYou Points

We value Citi ThankYou Points at 1.6 cents each, making 70,000 points worth $1,120. However, you can get a lot more value depending on how you redeem these points.

There are numerous ways to redeem Citi ThankYou Rewards points, including gift cards, statement credits, shopping with points, and booking travel through the Citi Travel portal. However, the best way to redeem Citi ThankYou Points is by transferring them to Citi’s airline and hotel transfer partners.

At Upgraded Points, we love getting outsized value with our points and miles. Here are several ways I would redeem 70,000 Citi ThankYou points for maximum value.

Lufthansa First Class Between the U.S. and Europe

Earlier this year, I finally had the opportunity to fly Lufthansa first class, which is something many in the points and miles community consider to be an excellent redemption.

Lufthansa is one of the world’s biggest and most well-known airlines. Known for its extensive route network and complete first class experience, Lufthansa has plenty to offer travelers.

Although the flight did not live up to other first class products I have flown (including with Etihad, ANA, and Japan Airlines), the ground experience in Frankfurt was exceptional (First Class Terminal in Frankfurt and the Porsche transfer to and from the plane) and made up for what the flight lacked. Overall, the experience was incredible, and I look forward to flying it again.

LH F A346 seat 1k 1 1
The old Lufthansa First Class on the A340. Image Credit: Ehsan Haque

Fortunately, as of 2024, Lufthansa has begun flying its new Allegris aircraft to several destinations, with more destinations in the works. The new Lufthansa Allegris product is finally replacing the outdated Lufthansa premium cabins that the airline has flown for the past few decades. The product has a new design and provides a whole new travel experience.

With Lufthansa being part of Star Alliance, there are several different loyalty programs you can utilize for Lufthansa first class awards. Avianca is one Star Alliance partner airline that offers incredible value for Lufthansa awards. Fortunately, the Avianca LifeMiles program is also a Citi ThankYou transfer partner.

Lufthansa first class suite
Lufthansa’s gamechanging Allegris first class product. Image Credit: Lufthansa

Avianca LifeMiles has some of the best rates for partner award redemptions across Star Alliance and does not pass on fuel surcharges on award tickets, making it a great option.

The program also has numerous sweet spots on its award chart. According to the complex award chart, a one-way first class award between Europe and the continental U.S. can be booked for just 87,000 LifeMiles plus taxes and fees. However, there are ways to experience long-haul Lufthansa first class for a bit less.

The LifeMiles program has an incredible pricing quirk in the form of mixed-cabin awards. This is when you fly first class on a long-haul flight and a lower class (business or economy) on a short-haul connection. Unlike nearly every other program, Avianca prices each leg of a journey separately based on the class of service booked.

For example, here is an itinerary from Porto (OPO) to Los Angeles (LAX). To take full advantage of Avianca’s pricing, you can book the Porto-to-Munich (MUC) leg in economy. Flying nonstop from Munich to Los Angeles in Lufthansa first class would cost 87,000 LifeMiles. However, by adding the short-haul Porto to Munich leg in economy, you can save nearly 10,000 LifeMiles.

LifeMiles mixed cabin award pricing Lufthansa First
Booking Lufthansa first class via LifeMiles. Image Credit: Avianca

Flying between the U.S. and Europe in Lufthansa first class routinely costs north of $8,000 one-way, making this option an excellent way to redeem Citi ThankYou Rewards points.

Hot Tip:

Avianca LifeMiles can be incredibly valuable, particularly on Star Alliance partner airlines. Check out our guide to the best ways to redeem Avianca LifeMiles for maximum value.

ANA Business Class Between the U.S. and Japan

All Nippon Airways, or ANA, is considered one of the world’s best airlines and provides an excellent experience no matter which cabin you fly in.

However, the airline goes above and beyond, particularly in its ANA business class with fantastic inflight catering, comfortable and spacious seats, and hospitable service.

One of the best points and miles sweet spots is redeeming Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points for travel on ANA between the U.S. and Japan. Fortunately, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is a transfer partner of Citi ThankYou Rewards, making this redemption absolutely worth considering if you plan on heading to Japan.

ANA The Room
ANA’s The Room Business Class on the Boeing 777-300ER. Image Credit: Stella Shon

Unfortunately, in May 2024, the Virgin Atlantic award chart had another major devaluation, significantly affecting business class redemptions between the U.S. and Japan. Here is the new round-trip Virgin Atlantic Flying Club award pricing for travel on ANA (one-way awards can be booked for half the cost):

Virgin Atlantic award chart for ANA flights 2024 post devaluation
The new Virgin Atlantic Flying Club award chart for ANA-operated flights. Image Credit: Virgin Atlantic

Despite the major devaluation, this is still one of the best ways to travel to Japan in business class using points. Award pricing is still competitive and significantly less than certain other programs charge for the same award seats.

However, it can be difficult to find award availability through Virgin Atlantic. Your best bet is to look for seats 12 months in advance or within 14 days before departure.

To find award space, go to the United Airlines MileagePlus website and search for saver award space. If you can find award space, call Virgin Atlantic to book the seats.

Air France or KLM Business Class Between the U.S. and Europe

Europe (as a whole) is a dream destination for many, and you can easily travel there in business class with your Citi ThankYou Rewards points.

Air France-KLM’s loyalty program, Flying Blue, offers incredible award pricing, particularly in its premium cabins. The program also has incredible sweet spots on its award charts, with awards between the U.S. and Europe being one of them. Best of all, the Flying Blue loyalty program is a transfer partner of Citi ThankYou Rewards.

Air France Business Class Airbus A350 sest 2A
Air France A350 business class seat. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

Flying Blue uses dynamic pricing for its awards, meaning that award prices change depending on the day, exact route, and even the search date. Despite dynamic pricing, Flying Blue generally provides better award rates than many SkyTeam partners.

For example, this one-way Air France business class award redemption between Boston (BOS) and Paris (CDG) can be booked for just 50,000 Flying Blue miles and $200 in taxes and fees.

BOS CDG award search Flying Blue
A one-way business class redemption between Boston and Paris for just 50,000 Flying Blue miles. Image Credit: Air France

Although you pay slightly higher cash fees on top of your miles when using Flying Blue miles, the lower mileage requirements almost always make up for it. Best of all, finding award availability with Flying Blue is much easier than with many other programs.

Qatar Qsuites Business Class

Qatar Airways Privilege Club is another excellent Citi ThankYou Rewards transfer partner. The program is also part of Oneworld and allows numerous point and mile redemption opportunities.

The program has undergone significant changes over the years, but not all were bad. The program has adopted Avios as its reward currency (the same currency as British Airways and Iberia). Although you can transfer points from the different Avios programs, each uses a different distance-based award chart.

One great redemption is for nonstop Qatar Qsuite flights to Doha (DOH) from many U.S. cities. Even though the product is a couple of years old, Qsuites is still arguably the best business class in the world. The private suites feature doors offering copious amounts of space and privacy. Qatar also offers some of the best inflight cuisine of any airline.

Katie in Qsuites
Qatar Qsuites business class cabin. Image Credit: Katie Seeman

As mentioned, you can book Qsuite flights between Doha and several U.S. cities, including Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Miami (MIA), and New York (JFK), among others. Best of all, these business class awards can be booked for as little as 70,000 miles one-way.

Final Thoughts

There is an endless list of ways to redeem Citi ThankYou Rewards points, from gift cards to statement credits and to travel through the Citi Travel Portal. However, as with many other bank points programs, the real value lies with transfer partners.

Transferring Citi ThankYou Rewards points to partners such as Avianca LifeMiles or Virgin Atlantic Flying Club can get you in premium cabins on some of the best airlines in the world. Best of all, you can experience the luxury from a single credit card welcome offer.

The information regarding the Citi Strata Premier℠ Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Ehsan Haque's image

About Ehsan Haque

Ehsan is an avid traveler who has traveled to 100 countries, diligently using points and miles to fund his journeys. Currently, he holds 32 active credit cards and earns over a million points and miles annually, primarily using them for luxury hotels and long-haul premium cabins.

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