You Can Now Transfer Citigold ThankYou Points…But Only to Sears

I discovered an interesting point (pun intended) while figuring out the best way to redeem my wife’s 51k ThankYou points from her Citigold account as I’m looking to close the account soon. As you may remember, it was a huge mess earlier this year fighting for my wife’s 50k ThankYou points for opening a Citibank Citigold Account that involved several rounds of messages, phone calls and finally a CFPB complaint. While I succeeded in having the points awarded to my wife’s account, I haven’t had a chance to use them for anything yet until I began looking to redeem them for a flight to St. Lucia next year for a wedding.

Historically, only Citi ThankYou points linked to a Citi Premier or Prestige could be transferred to airlines or hotels. However, with the news that JetBlue is now a transfer partner and no annual fee cards like the Preferred could transfer ThankYou points to JetBlue, I wondered if Citigold ThankYou points could be transferred as well. Alas, the answer is no but I did determine that Citigold ThankYou points are transferable into Sears Shop Your Way points.


I did a little digging into the terms & conditions and sure enough, only a ThankYou Rewards account is required to transfer points to Sears (the language is different for airline/hotel transfers).


The transfer ratio is 1 ThankYou point to 12 Sears Shop Your Way (SYW) points but before you get all excited, that is a value of just 1.2 cents in value per ThankYou point and you are stuck shopping for all the “fine” merchandise at Sears. Unless you an extreme Sears shopper, a reseller who understands the SYW program or looking to top off your SYW account if you are close to some free merchandise, I can’t recommend this transfer option. That said, I still think it’s a positive sign Citibank is adding new partners and hopefully they continue to improve the ThankYou points program.

How to Absolutely Waste 21,000 SPG Starpoints…

…by burning them for a 30 minute chat.


Here are some better uses for 21,000 Starpoints (which is valued at $567 per TPG’s own calculations of 2.7 cents a points). And yes that value is too high. 

  • Transfer 60,000 points to Marriott and book a category 4 Ritz Carlton (or two nights a low level Ritz Carlton)
  • Book several nights at lower level Marriott hotels or one night a higher level Marriott and have points leftover
  • Transfer 20k Starpoints to an airline, get 25k miles and book a roundtrip domestic flight
  • Or book a one way flight to the Caribbean or Hawaii (among other airline redemptions)
  • Book one night at a Category 6 SPG Hotels
  • Book several nights at lower level SPG hotels
  • Literally almost anything else that doesn’t involve a one-time chat with someone about points & miles and effectively paying an hourly rate of $1,134.

If you really want to chat and learn/optimize your miles situation, my consulting services are a much better value.

My thoughts on this redemption…


Here is Yet Another Free 500 Points from Virgin America

Virgin America loves giving away free points and there is yet another offer for 500 free Elevate points if you signup for another email list – this time it is for the “Virgin Produced” Newsletter.


It literally took 20 seconds to fill out the form with my name, email and Elevate number. This is a great way to extend the life of your existing miles if you signup by October 26th. If you took advantage of the last two 500 free mile offers, then you would be halfway to a free Hawaiian inter-island flight all for signing up for a few emails.

As always, use a throwaway email if you don’t actually want to read these newsletters.

(H/T to View From the Wing)

Free Hilton Weekend Night Certificate for Spending $1,000 on Hilton HHonors Amex Card (Targeted)

I just received an email from American Express offering me a free weekend night certificate valid at any almost any Hilton hotel if I spend $1,000 on my Hilton HHonors American Express card by December 15th. The free weekend night is valid from 12 months of issuance so you have potentially almost all of 2017 to use it if you time the spending right. If you have the card, here is the link to try and see if you are targeted.

This is a really good offer – to put it in perspective if I spent the same $1,000 on a 2% cash back card, I would earn $20. So by shifting $1,000 of my spend to this card (which I normally don’t use), I’ll earn a free weekend night at Hilton family hotel. Forgoing $20 bucks for a free hotel night sounds good to me! If you have the offer, I highly recommend enrolling and taking advantage of it.

Here are the full terms of the offer:

Terms and Conditions

1. To qualify for the Free One Weekend Night Certificate, you must make $1,000 in purchases with your Hilton HHonors™ Card from American Express now through December 15th 2016. The Free One Weekend Night Certificate will be sent as an email from Hilton to the email address listed on your Hilton HHonors account, 6-8 weeks after you meet the spend requirement. Purchases to meet the spend requirement of this offer do NOT include fees or interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, purchase of travelers checks, purchase or reloading of prepaid cards, or other cash equivalents. Additional Card Members on your account are not eligible for this offer. A Card Member is only eligible to earn 1 Free Night Certificate during the offer period. To receive the Free One Weekend Night Certificate, your account must not be cancelled or in default at the time of fulfillment. American Express reserves the right to modify or revoke offer at any time. If the HHonors member does not receive the Free One Weekend Night Certificate email within 6-8 weeks after the promotion period ends, the Member should check his/her HHonors account by logging into their profile or by calling 1-800-548-8690 . As a reminder, the Free One Weekend Night Certificate will be delivered in an email from Hilton. To ensure receipt of the certificate, the HHonors member should confirm the correct email address is listed under the Card Member’s HHonors Account file on their profile. The Free One Weekend Night Certificate is valid for one (1) weekend night standard accommodation, double occupancy, subject to availability, at properties in the Hilton HHonors portfolio, excluding those listed at The Free One Weekend Night Certificate applies only to room rate and corresponding taxes, and does not apply to any applicable gratuities, resort fees or incidental charges. The Free One Weekend Night Certificate is valid for 12 months after the date of issuance, as noted on the certificate. You must follow all terms stated on the certificate when redeeming or the certificate may not be honoured. For complete Terms and Conditions that apply to the One Weekend Night Certificate, please refer to the Hilton HHonors Free Night Terms and Conditions. Hilton HHonors™ membership, earning of Points & Miles™ when booking direct and redemption of Points are subject to HHonors Terms and Conditions. © 2016 Hilton Worldwide.

A Different Kind of Anniversary Trip…

Let me preface this by saying this isn’t a normal points/miles/credit card rewards post at PointsCentric. So if you do not care for a personal anecdote, you can skip the rest of this post…

Today is quite a special day for my wife and I as we are celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary and this time of year always brings back amazing memories of our wedding night 3 years ago. In fact, it reminds us of our journey together as we’ve actually been together much longer  – in fact almost 4x as long (since my junior year of high school in fact). And every year around this time, we go on an extraordinary trip to celebrate, always seemingly topping the last amazing “once in a lifetime” trip. It started with our honeymoon to Moorea & Bora Bora in 2013, continued with a surprise trip in 2014 that my wife only found out our destination when we got our boarding passes at the airport and culminated with a Dubai/Maldives mega-trip last year. Of course, trips like these wouldn’t be possible without points & miles and I’ve included a quick synopsis on how we made each trip possible (I have to have some points angle in my posts).

1) 2013 Honeymoon – Moorea & Bora Bora

We used 62,500 American Airlines miles per person to fly business class JFK-LA-Tahiti and back on a combination of American Airlines / Air Tahiti Nui followed by a ferry to Moorea and a short flight to Bora Bora. For hotels, back in the day you could redeem 145,000 Hilton HHonors points for a 4 night stay at top-tier hotels using AXON awards. I redeemed 290,000 Hilton HHonors points total for 4 nights at the Hilton Moorea followed by 4 nights at the Hilton Bora Bora.

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2) 2014 First Anniversary – Bali & Thailand

We used 140,000 United miles to fly first class JFK-Seoul-Bali-Phuket-Seoul-JFK on a combination of Asiana / Thai Airways and my wife had no idea about the destinations or airlines involved. At the time it was only a 10k premium for first class over business each way so it was a no-brainer for a chance to fly Asiana first class suites and on the way home, we had the whole first class cabin to ourselves! For hotels, we were able to get great cash rates at the Conrad Bali and Le Meridien Phuket so it didn’t make sense to redeem points.


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3) 2015 Second Anniversary – Dubai & Maldives

Quite possibly our most memorable trip, I redeemed 90,000 Alaska miles per person to fly first class JFK-Dubai-Maldives on Emirates. For the return, I redeemed 90,000 American miles per person to fly first class Maldives-Abu Dhabi-JFK on Etihad. For the hotels, I used two free Hyatt anniversary nights at the Grand Hyatt Dubai and 150,000 Hyatt points for a 6 night stay at the Park Hyatt Maldives.

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Over a three year stretch, we got to experience several of the most exotic and beautiful locations on Earth that I promise would have never happened without points and miles. However as amazing as those trips were, our lives changed drastically earlier this year to the point where we knew jumping off to some exotic locale for a week wouldn’t be feasible for a while…


Our family now feels more complete with the addition of our little Krista and we wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, do you want to know our big “trip” this year to celebrate our anniversary? A nice 7 minute drive to a local steakhouse where we can enjoy probably our nicest meal in months before returning home and reliving the grandparents of babysitting duties.


I’m sure there will be times we wish we could jump on a plane and vacation for a week at some crazy locale (in fact, that may have happened earlier this week when I saw my buddy fly Emirates first class to Dubai and the Maldives) but my trip planning will now focus on family friendly destinations and resorts (paid with points of course). Suffice to say, this  anniversary trip will be just a bit different than year’s past but coming home to this smiling face makes this “trip” seem the best of them all. And compared to the journey we are currently on watching Krista grow and develop daily before our eyes, I’m not sure anything could top this adventure.