This post is a therapy of sorts. The sheer aggravation of what I went through trying to transfer my points to miles is probably the worst Citi fiasco to date. Enjoy!
As I’ve mentioned in this post, I decided to transfer my Citi Thank You points to Flying Blue miles. You can only do it if you have certain premium cards, like Citi Thank You Premier Visa. It pays me commission and you can read more on it in my “Best credit card deals for family” page.
The idea was to book my in-laws’ flights from Munich to Rome on Alitalia (Sky Team partner of Air France). I also had an option to transfer my points to Singapore Krisflyer program and then redeem them on Lufthansa. Both flights departed at noon and were non-stop (my requirement).
However, the taxes were about $13 per person lower when redeemed through Flying Blue, and I had 5 tickets to book. Plus, I could redeem this award online through the Air France website, but would have to call Singapore Airlines. Flying Blue program it is.
I had to combine my points with my husband’s, since I didn’t have quite enough for my awards. It can be done at no cost, though the transferred points have to be redeemed within 90 days.
Easy as pie, just put in another account info, and voila. Now, on to the transfer itself.
Once again, super easy. The cost of a one-way ticket was 12,500 miles, but you can only transfer in 1,000 mile increments. So for five people, I had to redeem 63,000 Citi Thank You points.
The wait begins
It said in the terms that the transfer could take up to 14 days. However, I just saw that Scott from Milevalue blog (the one who just toured the Great Wall of China in shorts that looked like an American flag) said his first transfer was rejected, but the second one went through in about 5 days. The same thing happened to me, well, the first part.
My initial transfer got rejected, so I tried it again, expecting to see my miles within roughly a week.
Four weeks later
No miles, no shoes, no points. I called Citi several times within that time period, and the rep kept telling me the miles would show up any day. They didn’t. In frustration, I even called Flying Blue, and a very nice agent told me that it was up to Citi to deliver the “goods.” Indeed. I discovered an interesting thing, though. He told me he could put my award flights on hold for two weeks, until everything was sorted out and the miles got deposited. Which, of course would happen any day. Except it didn’t.
The very next day, I got notification from Citi that my transfer was rejected, a full month later. What? I could feel my blood starting to boil (Citi has that effect on me). I called and the agent had no clue what I was talking about (of course). He kept asking what flights I wanted to book. I finally said I wanted to speak to a supervisor, and after a very long hold, I was talking to a very nice Citi manager who was sympathetic to my plight.
She said that apparently you are supposed to add two zeros at the beginning, and that’s why the transfer didn’t go through. She manually processed it and the wait began…again. I politely asked her if she could give me some points as a courtesy for my troubles, and 5,000 Thank You points were deposited into my account.
Did I ever get my miles?
Yes, I did! And it only took 2 days. Since the awards were already on hold, I had to do it over the phone. I think I was routed to their Paris center, because the male agent had a French accent (hot!). Otherwise, I could have done it online. This particular flight would have cost $630 per person, but instead ended up being 12,500 Thank You points+$89 in taxes. Citi, I forgive you… for now.
I was downright giddy that this month-long saga was over. An interesting fact: I’ve mentioned that we originally planned to redeem United miles from the increased Chase bonus that came out in August. Well, if we waited, we would not have been able to get the noon Lufthansa flight we needed. I checked and that award was no longer available. My bonus hasn’t posted yet, so Citi transfer option came in very handy.
Should you bother transferring Thank You points to Flying Blue?
Maybe. Right now the biggest advantage is the possibility of redeeming these miles for one-way flights on Delta (its partner). The routes within North America (includes Alaska, Mexico, Puerto Rico and US Virgin islands, according to Travel is Free) and Canada cost 12,500 miles one-way.
First, you would have to check availability on Delta.com and do an award search. You would want to look for lowest Saver level. If you find availability, go to AirFrance.com and see if it shows up there (it should). Once you get a free Flying Blue account, here is where you would go to:
Click “use miles” and this screen pops up:
Click “Book an award ticket” at the bottom and search just like you would on any award program. Be aware, the website is very buggy and returned an error a few times. If you can’t make it work, you can always call and do it via service center. The hold time isn’t very long, and the agents are very friendly (and sexy, based on their voice). I wasn’t charged any booking fee, and you should be able to request a waiver if the website isn’t working properly.
If you can find a Delta saver availability from the Continental U.S. to Hawaii or the Caribbean, you should be able to book it for only 15,000 miles one-way in economy. The fact that you can put an award on hold for 14 days without having any miles in your account is a huge plus. By that time, the transfer should go through, as long as you add those 2 zeros … maybe.
All things considered, I’m happy with the ending to this story. But it did make me wonder: How many would be persistent enough to keep bothering with all this nuisance. This sort of thing is what turns people against frequent flyer miles and makes them redeem points for toasters instead.
Readers, have you had any experience with this transfer?
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.