Citibank adds Turkish Airlines as a transfer partner…and something fishy is going on

Turkish Airlines has been added to Citibank's rewards portal as a transfer partner, and the transfer rate is...unusual

I was tipped off by Louis that Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles has been added as a transfer partner for Citibank, and there’s something funny afoot.

If you use the Citibank Rewards card, you’ll know that points transfers are typically in blocks of 25,000 Thank You points= 10,000 miles (as you see below with Royal Orchid Plus). But look at TK- 10,000 points= 10,000 miles!

Now I’m pretty certain this is a bug because when you try to redeem Premiermiles, you get a rate of 10,000 Premiermiles= 10,000 TK miles

But it says very clearly in black and white on the Thank You points portal that 10,000 Thank You points= 10,000 TK miles. And I’d feel pretty confident about getting Citibank to honor that, given that it’s stated in black and white when you click through

Here’s TK’s award chart. Singapore is part of the Far East region.

Here are some sample one-way prices in business/first class from Singapore

  • To Europe: 45,000/67,500
  • To North America: 67,500/100,000
  • To Far East (including Japan): 35,000/55,000

I’ve not played around enough with the TK award engine to know how good space is, but it appears you can only book TK awards online. I believe you need to call in to book Star Alliance partner tickets

I was really tempted to give this a shot and called up the hotline to get them to pool my ThankYou points together (I have 47K on the Visa rewards card and 3K on the Mastercard) before transferring. Unfortunately, Citibank’s CSO told me there is no way to combine points across different credit cards, even if they’re both earning Thank You points. He mentioned that it used to be possible but they’ve since been instructed not to. (This is another article for another time, but it is infuriating that Citibank has two rewards currencies (Premiermiles and Thank You points) does not pool points even among similar currencies (eg Citibank Prestige / Citibank Rewards). There is no logical reason for refusing to do so, other than being customer unfriendly)

I’ve not quite decided what I want to do- it is mighty tempting to transfer over 40,000 Thank You points to 40,000 miles and redeem a one-way business class ticket to Japan for what is essentially 16,000 miles opportunity cost (40,000*2/5; I only need 35,000 miles but I must transfer in intervals of 10,000 which means I’m going to waste 5000 if I do this), but I’m still on the fence about this.

In the meantime, I wanted to alert the rest of you about it so you can decide whether you want to gamble with Citibank honoring this. Like I said, it’d be hard for them to argue otherwise given that the rate is printed in black and white, but still…

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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lifeonthego_k

Great news that TK is now a transfer partner of Citibank in Singapore! I had heard about this recent development but thought it only applied to the US. Having used Turkish Airlines quite a few times in the past (and also being a past frequent flyer with them) I can say that award availability is pretty good. I just upgraded myself on a LHR-SIN flight for mid-October.
One of the things I like is that TK has the same award chart for whether you are booking on TK metal or Star Alliance partners.

Eddie

The main question to be answered is: How willing is either SQ or ANA to provide award redemptions to TK for Star Alliance business class awards ?
If both SQ and ANA are tight fisted, there’s really no point in doing so.

Don’t even think of using TK miles to redeem for SQ tickets to Australia / NZ. It won’t happen as these are considered as premium routes.

invisible

The URL about award chart does not work.

I assume that numbers in the chart refer to round trip awards? If so, does anyone has an experience redeeming awards from Turkey to South Africa and what routing/stopover rules TK has?

Tim

what are the YQ charges that TK charges like, on both TK and non TK metal?

invisible

That’s good question. I have award flight coming SIN-IST-SIN in Nov, booked with SQ on SQ miles. A week ago I called in to check if there were other dates available. I was offered to use *A award chart (with 10K miles more) and flight with TK, but YQ on that flight was $280 more than on my award flight. I declined.

lifeonthego_k

YQ is high, on TK metal atleast, but on the other hand I’ve found availability on TK much better than SQ. So that’s one of the trade-offs you have to consider when booking an award ticket. A free stopover is allowed only when booking a return trip. No stopover, free or paid, is allowed on a one way award.

G

Thanks for the info, finger cross no drama from citi.

Anonymous

great tip! looking forward to flying 1st class to japan.

Peter

I tried some locations (Jakara / Taipei) and dates (Feb/June) and keep getting “No flights can be found for the route and date you have selected.” Is there a way to check if there are flights to those places to begin with?

Peter

Alternatively, could I transfer to Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles and ask to redeem SQ flights to Jakarta or something?

lifeonthego_k

On TK’s website you can only search for award availability on TK. So as TK’s hub is Istanbul, the routing you are trying from Singapore is obviously not allowed.

Peter

I see, so basically it won’t work for SIN-ASIA routes as I need to fly through Istanbul first?

lifeonthego_k

Yes, if you want to fly TK. But they have the same award chart for Star Alliance partners. So try one of them for an Intra-asia trip.

Athen

Converted 90k points to miles. Thank you for the article!

G

Just converted worth 2F/3C return Europe

Anonymous

Can help to breakdown with some info? Thanks

G

The email acknowledgement show 270 typ for 270 miles

Athen

90000 points converted to 90000 miles. Still yet to sight those miles yet (message say will be done within 14 days)

Anonymous

Mine says up to 5 working days

Athen

I misread. The email i receive says 5 days too.

G

Sorry, mean converted 270,000 which can be use for 2 first or 3 business Europe return ticket

Athen

Anyone know turkish airline miles can redeem Round the world ticket? If can, anyone have the link or the amount of miles required and the conditions?

flyingcard

Printed screen for every step taken in the transfer. It will be good for Citi to live up to its name and reputation to honour it. I believe this will not last long. But how many here in SG actually has a ready TK account I wonder? I suspect only a very small % of their members will actually be able to transfer before Citi amends. And it is important to have a good size of Citi Thank You points, else the miles in TK will be orphaned. At least, this is indeed a good promotional material for TK-Citi partnership.… Read more »

G

Thanks for the info, would you suggest to pump in another 500k into tk?

flyingcard

Depends on your risk taking comfort levels.

There is the next problem which little bloggers have covered; dealing with TK call center. Might not be the easiest.

PL

It’s been adjusted back to 25,000–>10,000. All the best to all those who managed to transfer, hope Citi honours the rate!

Anonymous

Gg. Game over

David

Thanks for the tip! Managed to convert 40,000 points in the wee hours of the morning. Ironically, I would have converted these points to Krisflyer miles months ago if Citi had allowed me to pool points from 2 Rewards cards into 1 transfer!

A

Now lets wait for them to honour the redemption.

Anonymous

Normally how many days will it take for the points to be transferred over?

Peter

Wow if those of you get 25,000–>10,000 into TK, I think its GG already.

Anonymous

Nope. Still waiting. But I read on flyertalk, about a guy waited for 13 days.

Anonymous

Mine just got rejected this morning

ding

really? rejected by citi? how did u know? got email notice from citi or TK?

Anonymous

Email from citi. “Your Points Transfer Request Could Not Be Processed.”

Anonymous

No explanation given ? Are you going to clarify with citi ? Or it be data entry error such as wrong membership number ?

ding

I just called citi. they checked the transfer status still shows “fullfilled”. it may take two weeks for TK tofinish posting.

Anonymous

Thanks for the positive news. Hope they did not hint in any way that the transfer may not be fulfilled or reversed

ding

so far the citi rewards system still shows “fullfilled”. if it is reversed, we must fight with citi for hornor this transfer.

Aaron Chew

I converted both my Visa and Mastercard points. Visa points are in. Mastercard points are not in.

Anonymous

When did you convert ?

Anonymous

@ ding, agree, we shall jointly fight it

invisible

And how are you going to ‘fight’? File a small claims count or class action suit? Shame them on FB/Twitter? In Singapore? Get real…

Ding

Before we think about how to “fight”, I still think it is very likely for citi to honor it! since they have corrected this bug for few days, it still shows “fulfilled” in their system and the citi rewards support didn’t mention any about “cancellation” for this transfer from their status check.

Anonymous

If brute force, threats and public shaming is all you can think of in resolving a situation , I think you shall broaden your mindset … and yes, we are real

invisible

/Getting popcorn/

Anonymous

Get some water. Don’t choke

PL

http://www.singaporelawblog.sg/blog/article/65 Some reading that may be of interest to all of you. I didn’t manage to transfer my points in time, but watching this thread with interest. For those too lazy to read: “Section 14 of the Electronics Transaction Act (Cap 88, 2011 Rev Ed) now provides that an electronic communication proposing to conclude contracts and is addressed to the world at large is considered an invitation to make offers, not offers capable of immediate acceptance, unless it clearly indicates the intention of the party making the proposal to be bound in case of acceptance.” So the question is, do… Read more »

A

$25 transaction fee was charged. Would that carry some weights of an acceptance?

ding

Yes, they charged the transaction fee even after they corrected this bug , so I would assume they have already decided to honor it

A

I called the support to enquire on the status, without talking on the redemption details. The support put on hold for 10 mins to check with the processing team, and came back with a positive answer that the miles will arrive next week, as TK has a slightly longer processing period. Basically, the assurance given was that the miles will arrive the owners account. That should lessen the worry of those in the same boat. Let’s update each other once your miles are in next week 🙂

A

You must be joking.
1. Miles & Smiles became ThankYou transfer partner ages ago. Even though Amex and Chase still don’t have them.
2. If you have two or more Citi cards (except American Airlines co-branded cards), points earned will combined to your account automatically.

IDK

Has anyone received the miles?

??

Nope

ding

no worries, it will take at least two weeks

?
G

Didn’t do anything and miles are in

ding

YE!!! they honored! miles all in!

G

Would you suggest 2 return O class or 3 return I class to Europe?

ding

Thanks for your timely info, Arron!

Athen

Miles are in!!! Miles are credited !!

?

I called their office to book but they wouldn’t allow Mixed carriers

ding

have u mentioned to them you are booking with SA partner award, not for TK themselves?

Cindy

HI Guys…trying to make a booking as follows: SIN-LJU-DBV-SIN on business class Dates used: Depart SIN on 14th April, Depart DBV 27th April. Using the united airlines award search function, it shows I need 200K points for the business class trip. This entire trip will be via Turkish airlines and there is one stopover each way at Istanbul to and back to SG. Fuel Cost: $79.3 Searching using Turkish airlines however requires only 90K points for the same trip, same dates. Fuel Cost: USD 384. Tried similar search on SQ to Istanbul round trip and its 90K point, flight from… Read more »

G

IMHO different program have different star alliance sweet spot as everyone not the same.
Used Mileage plus for Australia/NZ prior 1/11
Will be using miles & smile for Europe
Use miles & Bonus for Korea/Japan

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