The focus of this paper is on the formulation and assessment of a novel approach for the construction of a thermal basis to be used in coupled nonlinear geometric structural-thermal reduced order modeling efforts. The intent is to have this basis rely as little as possible on the existence of snapshots of the temperature distribution obtained by full order computations, i.e., finite element and CFD solutions, to reduce the numerical effort associated with their determination. To this end, the core of the basis is first constructed from the recently introduced optimum thermal modes which are the temperature distributions that most strongly affect the structural response and thus are independent of the applied heat flux. It is shown that this basis is not sufficient and thus a limited number of enrichments are introduced that do come from such full order computations and which complete the basis. The approach is demonstrated on a representative hypersonic panel in fully coupled aero-structural-thermal interaction.