What Are the Best Flexible Rewards Points for Free Travel? What Are the Best Flexible Rewards Points for Free Travel?

What Are the Best Flexible Rewards Points for Free Travel?

Bonus Points

AwardWallet receives compensation from advertising partners for links on the blog. Terms Apply to the offers listed on this page. The opinions expressed here are our own and have not been reviewed, provided, or approved by any bank advertiser. Here's our complete list of Advertisers.

Offers for the Chase Freedom Flex℠, The Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card and The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express are not available through this site. All information has been independently collected by AwardWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer. Some offers may have expired. Please see our card marketplace for available offers.

The key to successful rewards travel is flexibility. 

Flexible rewards currencies enable you to transfer points to a variety of travel partners and provide access to dozens of different rewards programs.

When you transfer points to partners, you can book award travel to your chosen destination across a huge array of airlines and hotel brands while extracting maximum value from rewards points.

Flexible rewards offer the cheapest award flights from the mainland US to Hawaii

Determining the best flexible rewards points for travel, however, is highly subjective. It's dependent on your travel goals, where you live, how you spend your money, and maybe above all, how you travel.

If you stay primarily in Airbnb properties and hostels, collecting points that transfer to Hilton and Hyatt is unlikely to provide a good return. You will find more value in a cashback card like the Savor Rewards from Capital One, or a fixed-value currency like points earned on the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card.

Savor Rewards from Capital One
Savor Rewards from Capital One
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Offer $300 Cash Back after you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • $300 Cash Back after you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • 4% cash back on dining, entertainment, and popular streaming services, plus 3% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
  • Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 4% cash back on dining
  • 4% cash back on entertainment
  • 4% cash back on popular streaming services
  • 3% cash back at grocery stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through January 2023

If luxury travel is on your radar, earning a currency that transfers to luxury hotels and several airlines will provide the best value and the most flexibility.

What Are Flexible Rewards Points?

Flexible currencies take a few different forms.

  • Cashback rewards
  • Fixed-value points/miles
  • Transferable points

Ultimately, cashback is the most flexible rewards currency, but it's not the most valuable. You can’t leverage a cashback card for higher value; it’s a straight 1-2% cashback on everything you spend, plus additional cashback on bonus categories if the card features them. 

Fixed-value points and miles like those earned with the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card are very flexible. They can be redeemed for almost any travel purchase. But, again, points are only worth 1.25¢ each when redeemed for travel purchases. The Altitude Reserve earns 5X points prepaid hotels and car rentals booked directly in the Altitude Rewards Center, 3X on eligible travel purchases and mobile wallet spending, 1X on all other purchases, and points are perfect if you’re staying in a hotel that doesn’t belong to a rewards program or purchasing transit tickets like a Eurail Pass. But there are more valuable options.

Transferable Rewards Points Offer Higher Value

The last are transferable points. There are five rewards programs we think offer high-value flexible rewards currencies.

These programs offer flexible points, a variety of high-value transfer partners, and a diverse range of earning options including credit cards, online malls, or with Marriott, via regular stays and promo opportunities.

The Best Flexible Rewards Currencies for Travel

Chase Ultimate Rewards

We consider Chase Ultimate Rewards to be the best flexible rewards currency available today. Chase offers a variety of credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points, with well-thought-out bonus categories and stellar benefits. Ultimate Rewards earning cards include:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Bonus Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Our #1 recommended beginners rewards card featuring a 60,000-point signup bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. This card comes with great benefits and earns valuable Ultimate Rewards points.
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022
  • 5X points on travel purchased through Chase
  • 3X points on dining at restaurants worldwide
  • 3X points on eligible streaming services
  • 3X points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs)
  • 2X points on all other travel
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases

Ultimate Rewards gives members the ability to build a substantial balance of points in a short space of time. These points are both flexible & valuable: Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders can redeem points at a value of  1.5 cents per point through UltimateRewards.com (other cards allow redemptions at a value of 1.0-1.25 cents per point). The golden opportunity, however, is to transfer to partners with a much higher potential value per point.

Partner ProgramTime for Points to Transfer
Aer Lingus AerClub (Avios)Instantly
Air Canada AeroplanInstantly
Air France/KLM Flying BlueInstantly
British Airways Executive Club (Avios)Instantly
Emirates SkywardsInstantly
Iberia Plus (Avios)Instantly
JetBlue TrueBlueInstantly
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer17 hours
Southwest Rapid RewardsInstantly
United MileagePlusInstantly
Virgin Atlantic Flying ClubInstantly
World of HyattInstantly
IHG One Rewards5 hours
Marriott Bonvoy1 day

Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott now grants members access to the combined Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and SPG hotel chains under a single rewards program, plus more than 40 airline partners nearly all of which transfer at a 3:1 ratio. Points can be a little hard to come by with the new application rules for Marriott co-brand cards, but make no mistake, Marriott is still a program worthy of attention. 

Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood has provided Marriott Bonvoy members some fantastic new sweet spots, and additional methods for earning rewards. Cards that earn Bonvoy points include:

Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card
Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card
Annual Fee$0
Welcome Bonus Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after spending $1,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening with the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card!
  • Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Pay no annual fee with the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card from Chase®!
  • Earn up to 14X total points per $1 spent at over 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® with the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Card.
  • 2X points for every $1 spent on other travel purchases (from airfare to taxis and trains).
  • 1X point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Receive 15 Elite Night Credits annually, qualifying you for Silver Elite Status. Restrictions apply.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Earn unlimited Marriott Bonvoy® points and get Free Night Stays faster.
  • 3X points for every $1 spent at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 2X points on other travel purchases (from airfare to taxis and trains)
  • 1X point on all other purchases

If you want the best chance of getting into first or business class, Marriott offers the largest number of airline transfer partners of any rewards program in the U.S.

Aegean Airlines Miles+Bonus3:1
Aer Lingus AerClub3:1
Aeromexico Club Premier3:1
Aeroplan/Air Canada3:1
Air France/KLM Flying Blue3:1
Air New Zealand Airpoints200:1
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan3:1
All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club3:1
American Airlines AAdvantage3:1
Asiana Airlines Asiana Club3:1
Avianca LifeMiles3:1
British Airways Executive Club3:1
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles3:1
COPA ConnectMiles3:1
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles3:1
Emirates Skywards3:1
Etihad Airways3:1
Frontier Airlines EarlyReturns3:1
Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club3:1
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
Iberia Plus3:1
InterMiles (formerly Jet Airways JetPrivilege)3:1
Japan Airlines (JAL) Mileage Bank3:1
Korean Air SKYPASS3:1
LATAM Airlines LATAM Pass3:1
Multiplus Fidelidade3:1
Qantas Frequent Flyer3:1
Qatar Airways Privilege Club3:1
Saudia Alfursan3:1
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer3:1
Southwest Rapid Rewards3:1
TAP Air Portugal Victoria3:1
Thai Airways International Royal Orchid Plus3:1
Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles3:1
United MileagePlus3:1.1
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club3:1
Virgin Australia Velocity3:1
Vueling Club3:1

American Express Membership Rewards

Amex offers members the most credit card options for earning points. Whether it’s 5x points on airfare for The Platinum Card® from American Express (on up to $500,000 of airfare purchases per calendar year booked directly with airlines) or earning 2x at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1x with Amex EveryDay® Credit Card, Membership Rewards has a huge stable of points-earning cards with options ranging from no-annual-fee cards for everyday purchases to ultra-premium cards that offer the best elite perks and lounge access in rewards travel. Some of our favorite Membership Rewards earning cards include:

The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Apply Now
Rates & Fees
(Terms apply)
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Annual Fee$695
Welcome Offer Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • Get up to $300 back per calendar year on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required. Learn more.
  • Breeze through security with CLEAR® lanes available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership when you use your Card. Learn more.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • Rates & Fees
  • Earn 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 in purchases per calendar year).
  • Earn 5X points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

Membership Rewards points transfer to 17 different airline partners and 3 hotel partners. One of the better redemption strategies for Membership Rewards can be found in updates to the Business Platinum Card. Cardholders get a 35% rebate on points when using Pay with Points on their selected airline, or when booking first or business class with any airline, through the American Express Travel website. This could potentially save thousands of dollars over the long haul.

Membership Rewards Transfer PartnersMinimum Points to TransferTransfer RatioTransfer Time
Aer Lingus AerClub1,0001,000 : 1,000 AviosUnknown
Aeromexico Club Premier1,0001,000 : 1,600 Premier Points1-2 days
Air Canada Aeroplan1,0001,000 : 1,000 Aeroplan MilesInstant
Air France/KLM Flying Blue1,0001,000 : 1,000 Flying Blue MilesInstant
Alitalia MilleMiglia1,0001,000 : 1,000 Alitalia Miles1 day
ANA Airlines Mileage Club1,0001,000 : 1,000 ANA Miles1-2 days
Avianca LifeMiles1,0001,000 : 1,000 LifeMilesInstant
British Airways Avios250250 : 250 British Airways AviosInstant
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles1,0001,000 : 1,000 Asia Miles1-2 days
Delta SkyMiles1,0001,000 : 1,000 SkyMilesInstant
El Al Matmid Club1,0001,000 : 20 Matmid PointsInstant
Emirates Skywards1,0001,000 : 1,000 Skywards MilesInstant
Etihad Guest1,0001,000 : 1,000 Etihad Guest MilesInstant
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles1,0001,000 : 1,000 Hawaiian MilesInstant
Iberia Plus250250 : 250 Iberia AviosInstant
JetBlue TrueBlue250250 : 200 TrueBlue PointsInstant
Qantas Frequent Flyer5001,000 : 1,000 Qantas PointsUnknown
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1,0001,000 : 1,000 KrisFlyer Miles1 day
Virgin Atlantic FlyingClub1,0001,000 : 1,000 Flying Club Miles1 day
Choice Privileges Rewards (Hotel)1,0001,000 : 1,000 Choice Privileges PointsInstant
Hilton Honors (Hotel)1,0001,000 : 2,000 Hilton Honors PointsInstant
Marriott Rewards (Hotel)1,0001,000 : 1,000 Marriott RewardsUnknown

Citi ThankYou Rewards

Citi ThankYou Rewards doesn’t offer anything in the way of hotel transfers, with Hilton no longer a transfer partner as of December 2017. However, ThankYou Rewards' airline transfer partners cover all three major alliances, and most transfers are at a 1:1 ratio. Members can earn Citi ThankYou Points via these credit cards:

Citi Premier® Card
Citi Premier® Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Offer Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
The Citi Premier card offers some of the top earning rates of any rewards card with an annual fee under $100. This card is best-in-class for rewards on air travel and hotel spending, and it tops our list of the best cards for gas & fuel purchases with a generous 3X ThankYou® Points.
  • 60,000 point signup bonus worth $800 towards airfare through the ThankYou Travel Center, or potentially much more when transferred to airline partners
  • 3X points per $1 on airfare and hotels and at gas stations, restaurants, and supermarkets
  • Annual Hotel Benefit: Save $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when you book through ThankYou.com
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee
  • 3X points per $1 spent on airfare, hotels, and at gas stations
  • 3X points per $1 spent on dining at restaurants, including cafes, bars and lounges
  • 3X points per $1 spent at supermarkets
  • 1X points per $1 spent on all other purchases

ThankYou Points are excellent for travel in and around Asia-Pacific, counting Qantas, Singapore, and Cathay Pacific as transfer partners.

Citi Transfer PartnerTransfer RatioTransfer Times
Aeromexico Club Premier1:1Up to 6 days
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles1:1Instant
Avianca LifeMiles1:1Instant
Emirates Skywards1:1Unknown
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands1:1Instant
Etihad Guest1:13 days - 7 days
Air France/KLM Flying Blue
Jet Airways InterMiles (formerly JetPrivilege)1:1Instant
JetBlue TrueBlue1:1Instant
Malaysia Airlines Enrich1:11 day - 2 days
Qantas Frequent Flyer1:1Instant
Qatar Airways Privilege Club1:11 day - 2 days
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1:12 days
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus1:13 days - 7 days
Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles1:11 day
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1:1Instant
Sears Shop Your Way®1:12Unknown

Capital One Rewards

The latest program to join the ranks of transferrable rewards programs (although you can still redeem Capital One miles using the fixed-value redemption function), Capital One now boasts 15 airline transfer partners. While Capital One currently lacks a big domestic transfer partner, there are some high-value frequent flyer programs on offer that overlap with the other transferable currencies like Membership Rewards and Ultimate Rewards. You can earn transferable Capital One Rewards via four credit cards:

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Offer Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 Miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
Following the revamp of Capital One's rewards program and the addition of airline transfer partners, the Capital One Venture has catapulted into our list of top travel rewards cards. The ability to earn 2X miles on every purchase provides a decent return on spending. Plus the card offers some great perks.
  • Earn 75,000 Miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening; worth $750 in travel if redeemed for a fixed-value, or potentially much more when transferred to airline partners
  • 2 Miles on every purchase
  • Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔® (up to $100)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee
  • 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. 5 Miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. 5 Miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world’s largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023.

With the exception of Singapore KrisFlyer and Emirates Skywards, the majority of partners transfer at 1x Capital One mile to 1x airline mile. When you factor in that the Capital One Venture and Spark Miles both earn 2x miles on non-bonus purchases, you're effectively getting 2x airline miles for each dollar you spend. Not a bad return when used for non-bonus spending.

Transfer PartnerTransfer RatioU.S. partner airlineNotes
Aeromexico Club Premier1:1DeltaTransfer rate improved in April 2021
Air Canada Aeroplan1:1UnitedTransfer rate improved in October 2021
Air France/KLM Flying Blue1:1DeltaTransfer rate improved in October 2021
Avianca LifeMiles1:1UnitedTransfer rate improved in April 2021
British Airways (Executive Club)1:1American and AlaskaAdded as a partner in April 2021. Transfer rate improved in October 2021.
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles1:1American and AlaskaTransfer rate improved in April 2021
Emirates Skywards1:1n/a (partnership with JetBlue ended)Transfer rate improved in October 2021
Etihad Guest1:1AmericanTransfer rate improved in April 2021
Finnair Plus1:1American and AlaskaTransfer rate improved in April 2021
Qantas Frequent Flyer1:1American and AlaskaTransfer rate improved in April 2021
Singapore KrisFlyer1:1United and AlaskaTransfer rate improved in October 2021
TAP Air Portugal (Miles&Go)1:1UnitedAdded as a partner in April 2021
Turkish Airlines (Miles&Smiles)1:1UnitedAdded as a partner in April 2021. Transfer rate improved in October 2021.
Virgin Red1:1DeltaAdded as a partner in April 2022
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands4:3United

Final Thoughts

Flexible rewards points provide one of the best methods of maximizing rewards travel. Offering travelers the chance to leverage sweet spots across multiple programs and the flexibility to change airlines or hotels when award availability is slim or in the case of a program devaluation. 

Our favorite flexible rewards currency and the one we think provides the best value is Chase Ultimate Rewards. With cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Ink Preferred offering up one of the best rewards earning combos available today. Ultimate Rewards can help you take your rewards travel game to the next level.

For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees)

AwardWallet Tip of The Day
Did you know you can see individual transaction history for most of your accounts? Click the + sign next to an account and then view the History tab.
Show me how

The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • I have 13, 357 Flying Blue KLM airmiles, which I will never use.
    They are valid until December 2022.

    I would like to transfer them to my Virgin Atlantic Airmiles account.
    Or can I sell them ?
    Is this possible, and how do I do it.?

  • Tamar Felsteiner says:

    I have just converted 3000 Marriott Bonvoy points into 1000 AAdvantage miles. It seems that one must convert a minimum of 3000 Marriott points for such a transaction.

  • I haven’t had the best experiences with Marriott. Their customer service often leaves much to be desired. It also takes way too long for points to credit and redeem.

  • Scott N Roberts says:

    I love seeing the competition. I think Chase is the easiest to use and has the best redemption rates. Capital One has very unique partners that come in handy in Europe. Amex has the most options, but I don’t like that they charge to transfer.

    Best option, collect all three!

  • Steve Popowski says:

    I have owned Chase Ultimate Rewards Cards (Sapphire and Freedom) and for building points, these are definitely the easiest cards to use. I really wish they had more US Domestic Airlines attached to their points system but having United, Southwest and Marriott attached provides more than enough options. I also have a Capital One Venture Card that is more of a dollar reward than miles reward but for someone who travels a lot, was super easy to claim the initial $500 card opening reward as you basically deduct $500 from your credit card statement on travel related purchases. I just opened a Bonvoy card and look forward to the benefits that come with it!

  • I’ve been happy with both Capital One and Bank of America’s mile redemption system. Although I’m interested in switching to a card with lounge access perks.

  • Shmuel A says:

    Anyone have any tops on getting to Mykonos from NY with one stop, flying 1st class using points? Right now I have 500 UR, 500k Bonvoy, 100k BA.

    Any advice would be great!

  • Patrick B. says:

    A little disappointing to not see any major financial institutions.card providers described in this article partnering with American Airlines…

  • Brian G. says:

    I like Citi TY points.

  • Always difficult to compare apples to apples. Thanks for the great writeup!

  • I love UR from Chase, the only thing missing was transfer bonus like American Express had but now they got that too!!! Now they just have to have Chase offers have a possibility of earning UR instead of cashback

    • I hope that the BA transfer bonus is the start of a trend. I’d love to see Chase continuing this.

  • In my opinion Chase UR points has the best transfer deals and partners. Having a Chase Sapphire Reserve card also allows the flexibility of redeeming those points at 1.5 cents each which is an amazing 50% premium.

  • Hands down Chase points are the best of all I can think of.

  • I am from Canada, and unfortunately our credit card deals are not as competitive as the Americans. From the rewards described above, only AMEX Membership Rewards is applicable here. However AMEX is not widely accepted as it charges a higher fee on the merchants. I did manage to collect a good sum of AMEX points, but must carry as Visa or Mastercard as backup if encountered a merchant who refuses to take AMEX.

  • The best thing to do is not to accumulate too many points. These points are good but they are not gold – they will not appreciate in value!

  • We have loved our UR points. We just used them for a few nights in Portugal and it was totally worth it!

  • I’ve been really pleased with UR points and have transferred them to some amazing Business Saver awards. 80k in Business from Chicago to Adelaide with a long enough layover in Singapore that I was able to check out the city. Worth it!

  • Amy Wilkinson says:

    My favorite is the chase ultimate reward points they always seem to be the best transfer deals for me

  • Ulimate Rewards and Membership Rewards have both been pretty good to me.

  • I really like UR points. Best use is for luxury Hyatts around the world. You can use extra points for club lounge access and really up your experience.

  • great breakdown of the different flexible programs. I think most are in favor of UR but I can see utility in having others too.

  • I can transfer points only from American Express and Marriott even though with the new travel package offer the conversion from Marriott is not as favourable as it was in the past.

  • Regrettably we have limited opportunities for flexible rewards programs in Australia compared to those in the US. We have Amex but the devaluation has kicked in and Citi doesn’t seem like a value for money proposition over here.

  • Helene Bard says:

    I somehow figured out that the Chase UR were really good, but until I found Abroaders to help me figure out how to use them, I was using the Chase site to book flights….. Not the best thing!! So glad I found these folks!

  • Sometimes I think of my citicashback card as “travel currency”. I simply use my 2% cash back to offset the price of travel. Probably the most flexible way to go.

  • It is great to have lots of transfer options as it leaves you less at risk of a sudden change or devaluation in a particular program.

  • Benjamin Chang says:

    UR points are clearly the best, as I’ve been able to get crazy good value from Hyatt. I once booked a room at a Hyatt Place in Ann Arbor, MI on a football weekend for 8,000 points a night. The rooms were going for $449 a night (plus taxes!). I’ve also transferred to Hyatt to book the Park Hyatt Maldives for 20,000 points a night (villas go for $1200 a night!). Also, if you happen to be fortunate enough to have earned a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass, you can get amazing value from transfers to Southwest as well.

    • That’s a really good point. Getting the companion pass doubles the value of your UR points. It could be good to stockpile UR points if you want to make a run at SW CP.

  • I really wish you all would stop promoting the Arrival Plus. It’s not a good card for the long term and the only reason to get it is for the sign up bonus. Beyond that, virtually everyone would do better with a no annual fee 2% cash back card.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Robert. We do our best to cover cards that appeal to different types of goals. For folks that like simplicity, the Barclay Arrival is 5% better than a 2% cash-back card for travel, and the welcome bonus is far better than what you’d find with most cash-back cards.

      • It has an $89 annual fee if I’m remembering correctly though right? So an extra .1% (that’s 0.001) for $89? You have to spend $89,000 a year to come out ahead of a no annual fee 2% cashback card.
        The one and only perk is that it has no foreign transaction fees so if you live overseas, you would them compare to the Quicksilver or a 1.5% cashback card so that’s a difference of .6% (0.006) which would then be a breakeven point of $14,833 of overseas spending.
        Not my cup of tea but situations do theoretically exist where this is a good card for someone.

  • I have them all. The instant transfers are the best.

  • Jack Couture says:

    Recently added Arrival Plus for for more flexibility.

  • Amex seems to have the best transferable points program nowadays.
    Chase really needs to add new partners to stay competitive.

    • Chase should also look to do bonuses like with what they’re doing with BA right now. It’s not been done before but hopefully it continues.

  • i don’t trust Marriott Bonavoy. Maybe because they gutted SPG.

  • Valentina Pelliccia says:

    I personally think UR is the best: I use to move my points either to Southwest or British Airways Avios, which I’ve already used a couple of times to reach Hawaii from the West Coast for 25k (two-way)!

  • I am also a flexible points convert. Since I like to have status with airlines, I tend to “buy” my flights through the travel portal with those points: not the best value on the surface, but when I have status and can change my flights without fees and get home earlier…that is worth a lot. An upgrade to business class here and there isn’t bad either. Since I earn points from my flights, I use those for the expensive long haul business class seats.

    • Same, or similar. It doesn’t make sense to have the United card and earn crap miles when you can have CSP or CSR and transfer your miles if you so choose but you earned more miles on those two cards than the United card would have.

  • Gosh! Excellent summary. I have to get on the Arrival Plus card and maybe a Chase card too.

  • Arguments can be made either way, but I do prefer Ultimate Rewards for flexibility.

  • I think Chase is the one! Able to transfer mostly instant to most airline.

    • That’s a good point. Transfer partners are important but timeliness of the transfer is also valuable.

  • I just got the Amex Everyday. I’m still waiting on my points to come in. I hit the 20 charges and I am eager to see how many points I’ll earn.
    I’m hoping to earn points faster with Amex instead of Chase. Has anyone come across that they earn points faster with Amex than Chase?
    I have the freedom card and sapphire with Chase and my points increase fairly well but need more for a trip I’m planning. I’m hoping that Amex will make up some difference.

  • Citi needs more partners. Amex MR and UR are way better to use than Citi TYP

  • Chase points are great!

  • Chase UR and Amex MR for the win

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    Excellent for European travel, especially when you’re staying in a hotel that doesn’t belong to a rewards program or purchasing transit tickets like a Eurail Pass. Works for me.

  • UR for the win!

  • yes transferable points are the way to go

  • I agree that Chase is the best. I get outsized value just from Hyatt transfers, but when there is no Hyatt I can turn to IHG or Marriott. United’s program has also enabled me to garner huge value with Business class partner flights but that is somewhat of a thing of the past now. Losing Korean Air was a bit of a bummer though. I was able to transfer enough UR points to fly them Business to São Paulo for the 2014 World Cup, which was a huge score.

    • The loss of Korean was a bummer indeed. Still Chase retains the greatest number of loyalty programs that I actively engage with, that’s why they generally remain my first choice when pulling a card out of my wallet.

    • Huge score indeed… both the Business seats and the particular event your trip took you. You got to see the team that’s good enough to have earned the nickname “The Team” win yet another.

  • The best advice is always to diversify one’s portfolio, even when it comes to flexible points. I personally prefer UR and AmEx MR points.