Frequent Flyer

Citi Cards Add New Transfer Partner: Flying Blue

Beginning this week, members of Citi’s ThankYou credit-card rewards program can transfer their points into Flying Blue, the loyalty program of Air France and KLM.

Just last month, Citi gave its ThankYou rewards program a significant lift with the addition of eight new airline programs that ThankYou points may be transferred into at a 1:1 ratio.

Unfortunately for U.S.-based travelers, all eight programs are hosted by non-U.S. airlines. So transfers directly into the likes of American, Delta, and United aren’t possible.

Nevertheless, the participating carriers do represent all three of the global airline alliances — oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star — effectively expanding the range of redemption options to include, yes, American, Delta, and United.

This week’s addition to the ThankYou network of transfer partners is Flying Blue, the loyalty program of Air France and KLM. So yes, even more foreign representation. But both airlines are also members of the SkyTeam alliance, so Flying Blue miles may be redeemed for flights on Delta, among other SkyTeam members.

With the new addition, the ThankYou airline transfer roster is as follows:

  • Air France/KLM
  • Cathay Pacific
  • EVA Air
  • Etihad
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Malaysia Airways
  • Qatar Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Thai Airways

The more transfer partners, the better. But in order to compete head-to-head with other convertible-points rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Starwood Preferred Guest, and the American Express cards linked to the Membership Rewards program, Citi will have to negotiate partnerships with at least some of the larger U.S. airlines. If, that is, it wants to be a major player in the U.S. market.

Reader Reality Check

What transfer partners would make Citi’s ThankYou-linked cards viable everyday-spend cards for you?

This article originally appeared on

By Tim Winship

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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