Did you know you can use points earned from your Citi Prestige Mastercard on Garuda Indonesia First Class or Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, avoiding expensive plane tickets to South America, or for booking Radisson Blu hotels at a much lower cost than standard rates?
Of course, we’re not recommending you transfer points now while travel restrictions are still in place. However, this guide will highlight the key partners you might not yet be aware of, so you can better plan future travel when the time comes.
Here are some of the more interesting transfer partners and unique ways to use your Citibank Rewards points, for Prestige cardholders.
COVID-19 DISCLAIMER: The situation regarding COVID-19 is constantly changing, and the impacts on travel remain quite fluid. We endeavour to keep our content as up to date as possible in this dynamic environment.
Common transfer partners for travellers from Australia
Citi Prestige Mastercard has a number of transfer partners. The most useful for Australian based travellers are:
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles (2.5 points to 1 Asia Mile)
- Etihad Guest (3 points to 1 Etihad Guest mile)
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer (2.5 points to 1 KrisFlyer mile)
- Virgin Australia Velocity (2 points to 1 Velocity point)
Many reward programs have the above four frequent flyer schemes as transfer partners. There’s a reason for that — wide route availability and generally quite reasonable rates for reward seats.
But the Citi Prestige card also includes a roster of lesser-known or uncommon partner frequent flyer programs, some of which could open up a new way to redeem unique reward seats. We’ve also included the transfer ratio from Citi Rewards to that frequent flyer program.
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue (3 to 1)
- Emirates Skywards (2.5 to 1)
- EVA Air Infinity MileageLands (3 to 1)
- Malaysia Airlines Enrich (3 to 1)
- Qatar Privilege Club (3 to 1)
- Thai Airways Royal Orchid (3 to 1)
- Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles (3 to 1)
- Hilton Honors (2 to 1)
- IHG Rewards (2.5 to 1)
- Radisson Rewards (2 to 1)
We take a further look at five interesting programs below.
Unique Citi Prestige transfer partners from Australia
1. Air France/KLM Flying Blue (3:1)
Flying Blue runs monthly promotions for travel in the upcoming few months. You could find discounts of at least 25% on Business, Premium Economy and Economy Class reward seats on various popular routes.
The promotion focusses mainly on flights within Europe and from Europe to North America, the Caribbean, South America and Asia.
As neither Air France nor KLM flies to Australia, and these promotions apply only to these two airlines and not to their SkyTeam partners, you’ll need to look for awards that link overseas legs of your future post-COVID-19 trip.
Alternatively, if you happen to be based in Europe right now, then you may be able to take advantage of cheaper travel to surrounding countries with the Flying Blue program.
2. Qatar Airways Privilege Club (3:1)
Qatar Airways boasts in impressive Business Class ‘Qsuites’ product, which appears on many of its long-range international flights. The airline is also one of few to be actively flying to more destinations during the pandemic, so it could be an option for those looking for a one-way flight home.
Sydney to Doha one-way will set you back 101,500 miles in Business Class, or 159,500 miles all the way to London. If you do the reverse trip departing from Doha, you’ll get access to the excellent Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge.
Two other advantages of this program are that there are no fuel surcharges and stopovers are permitted.
3. Garuda Frequent Flyer (3:1)
Garuda Indonesia is a bit of an underdog, but it is rated as one of only eight five-star airlines in the world, which is higher than Emirates and Etihad.
The only way to redeem Garuda Indonesia First Class is through their own frequent flyer program. Of course, international first class travel is unlikely to return for the time being.
Still, if you are later island hopping around Indonesia and find a route that is monopolised by Garuda and, therefore, quite expensive, an Economy or Business Class reward seat may represent good value for you.
Now comes the bad news: there is a complicated award booking process, in which you have to phone the call centre to make the redemption, print out and sign a form.
Then, you’ll have to take it in-person to a Garuda sales office and claim your award ticket there. The only sales offices in Australia are in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. See the latest mileage rates here [PDF].
For redemptions on SkyTeam partner airlines, you are better off using another SkyTeam airline program such as Delta SkyMiles or Air France/KLM Flying Blue to avoid the complicated award booking process.
4. Thai Airways Royal Orchid (3:1)
Thai Airways Royal Orchid was previously a great option for Star Alliance redemptions, with very competitive redemptions between Australia and New Zealand, UK, Europe, Los Angeles, New York, Honolulu and South America.
However, Thai Airways significantly devalued its frequent flyer program in 2019, meaning it’s no longer great value for most routes.
We’ve still kept the airline in this guide as it is a unique transfer partner not readily found anywhere else in Australia, and you can upgrade flights with miles.
5. Radisson Rewards (2:1)
Capping off the top five unique transfer partners for the Citi Prestige card is Radisson Rewards. The Radisson Hotel Group operates around 1,300 hotels in about 100 countries, including the Radisson Blu, Park Inn and Park Plaza hotel brands.
This sweet spot for this program is found in lower category hotels in smaller cities with Europe and the US.
This article explored alternative Citi Rewards redemption partners to the ones we tend to focus on here in Australia.
Having said that, the reason we focus more on mainstream programs — KrisFlyer, Asia Miles, Qantas Frequent Flyer and Velocity Frequent Flyer — is because all of them offer great value. Those programs should still be at the top of your research list for the next trip you are looking to book.
However, there are some limited-use cases where it would be worth exploring alternative programs such as Qatar Airways Privilege Club and Radisson Rewards. It’s better to have more partner programs than less, right?
All images courtesy of the respective airlines and hotels.