At Points Envy, we have in the past redeemed Citi ThankYou points exclusively for steakhouse gift cards. After consuming more than $30,000 worth of steak and fine wine in the last two years, we were just as excited as the rest of the frequent flyer community when Dan’s Deals reported earlier this week that ThankYou points would, starting April 1, transfer to British Airways and Singapore Airlines at a 1:1 ratio. Of course, that rate is before Citi’s vicious tax on points, which effectively reduces the ratio to -3:1. Still, the possibility of redeeming ThankYou points for airline miles was intriguing, and the announcement was met with great celebration here in the office.
The following morning, we were greeted with champagne hangovers and the distressing news that Citi representatives had asked Dan to remove the story from his blog. It has since become clear that there is confusion even within Citi as to whether the points will be transferable to BA and Singapore, with Citi’s PR team denying any transferability while sales representatives continue to tell customers that the points will turn into anything the customers want them to.
If you ask us, we think it is clear that Citi has not been receiving enough applications for its ThankYou Premier card and decided to make up for it by playing an April Fool’s joke on people’s credit. We respect their cunning but will not succumb to their bait-and-switch. Maybe one day ThankYou points will get us a suite on a Singapore Airlines A380, but until then you can find us in the VIP section of our local Ruth’s Chris.
Last week John Clayton flew from New York to Frankfurt on a ticket he originally booked because of a temporary fare blip on Singapore’s website. While tickets to Frankfurt were selling for approximately $850 roundtrip, Clayton was able to purchase a JFK-FRA-SIN itinerary for less than $550. He bought his ticket and planned to simply deplane in Frankfurt, a practice known as point-beyond ticketing. As it turns out, Clayton made a dire mistake in failing to notice a key provision in his ticket’s contract of carriage.
As with most airlines, Singapore’s fare rules forbid point-beyond ticketing, but it is Singapore’s penalties in this area that, like their superior service, go above and beyond those of other carriers. Whereas other airlines will cancel a passenger’s remaining tickets and possibly charge him for the price of the ticket actually traveled, Singapore will do all this and also subject the passenger to caning at the nearest Singaporean embassy. You can of course avoid punishment by avoiding the embassy, but you will then be permanently banned from ever flying Singapore Airlines again, which clearly is not worth it.
Careful with them stopovers, son.
Knowing this, Clayton reported to the embassy in Frankfurt and took his fifteen lashings in stride. Clayton would normally have been subjected to only ten lashings, but a flight attendant reported that Clayton at times chewed gum during the flight, another violation of Singapore’s rules. Although he does not now look back fondly on this experience, Clayton is happy to be able to fly Singapore in the future, particularly because their seats tend to offer the comfort his wounds will require for some time.
Remember, as a passenger you essentially have no rights in the sky. And depending on where you live, you may not have them on the ground either.