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We all want to fly-big ticket redemptions like Singapore Suites and Emirates First Class, but accumulating the miles needed to fly premium cabin awards can be tough. The key to redeeming these big-ticket awards is banking flexible rewards currencies like Capital One Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards points. These are programs that partner with other loyalty and rewards programs, allowing you to transfer flexible points to airline and hotel partners.
One of the biggest benefits of transferable rewards is that some mileage programs accept transfers from more than one flexible rewards currency. In fact, there are two frequent flyer programs that accept transfers from all five of the major flexible programs! Why is this such a big deal? Imagine you need 100,000 KrisFlyer miles for a redemption, but only have 30,000 KrisFlyer miles in your account. You can scrape together points in all five transferable points programs and transfer them to KrisFlyer.
Collecting Flexible Rewards Points
Holding points across a range of rewards programs allows you take advantage of award availability as it appears, no matter which program it's in. It also means you’re not locked into one program that may not have award availability to your destination, or coverage in that location in the case of hotels.
Collecting flexible or ‘transferable’ points takes this to the next level. Flexible points can transfer to multiple travel partners, allowing you to bank points in programs that transfer to dozens of travel partners. Of all the loyalty programs available to US travelers, the five transferable currencies we count the most valuable are:
- Chase Ultimate Rewards – The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- American Express Membership Rewards – The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express earns 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners (Terms Apply).
- Citi ThankYou Rewards – The Citi Prestige® Card earns 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within 3 months of account opening.
- Capital One Rewards – The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card earns 50,000 Miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
- Marriott Bonvoy – The Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card – Earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.
Transferring Flexible Rewards Points to Airline Miles
It’s important to know which carriers accept transfers from multiple currencies. If your points are spread thin across all five flexible programs, then airline programs that accept points from multiple transfer partners become more valuable.
|Airline Frequent Flyer Program||Chase Ultimate Rewards||American Express|
|Citi ThankYou Rewards||Capital One Rewards||Marriott Rewards|
|Aegean Airlines Miles&Bonus||3:1|
|Aer Lingus AerClub (Avios)||1:1||1:1|
|Aeromexico Club Premier||1:1.6||2:1.5||3:1|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||1:1||2:1.5||3:1|
|Air China PhoenixMiles||3:1|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue||1:1||1:1||1:1||2:1.5||3:1|
|Air New Zealand Airpoints™||200:1|
|Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan||3:1|
|American Airlines AAdvantage||3:1|
|ANA Mileage Club||1:1||3:1|
|Asiana Airlines Asiana Club||3:1|
|British Airways Executive Club||1:1||1:1||3:1|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||1:1||1:1||2:1.5||3:1|
|China Eastern Miles||3:1|
|China Southern SkyPearl Club||3:1|
|El Al Israel Airlines Matmid||50:1|
|EVA Air Infinity MileageLands||1:1||2:1.5|
|Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings Club||2:1.5||3:1|
|Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles||1:1||3:1|
|Iberia Plus Avios||1:1||1:1||3:1|
|Japan Airlines Mileage Bank||3:1|
|Jet Airways JetPrivilege||1:1||3:1|
|JetBlue TrueBlue||1:1||5:4||1:1 (1:0.8 for Preferred cardholders)||6:1|
|Korean Air SKYPASS||3:1|
|LATAM Airlines LATAM Pass||3:1|
|Lufthansa Miles & More||3:1|
|Malaysia Airlines Enrich||1:1|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||1:1||2:1.5||3:1|
|Qatar Airways Privilege Club||1:1||2:1.5||3:1|
|Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan||3:1|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||1:1||1:1||1:1||2:1||3:1|
|South African Airways Voyager||3:1|
|Southwest Rapid Rewards||1:1|
|TAP Portugal Victoria||3:1|
|Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus||1:1||3:1|
|Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles||1:1||3:1|
|Velocity Frequent Flyer||3:1|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1:1||1:1||1:1||3:1|
Only Singapore Airlines and Air France/KLM let you combine points from all five of the major rewards currencies.
Four carriers allow you to combine points from four flexible rewards programs:
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Guest
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Nine carriers allow transfers from three of the programs:
- Aeromexico Club Premier
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Alitalia MilleMiglia
- Avianca LifeMiles
- British Airways Executive Club
- Iberia Plus
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club
The rest count just one or two transfer partners out of the five. Having fewer transfer partners doesn’t make these programs less valuable, but if the goal is to combine your points from flexible rewards programs into one carrier these programs give you the most options.
The ability to combine points from multiple programs into a single carrier’s miles is a benefit with tangible value. Collecting flexible points also allows you to spread your card application and points strategy across multiple credit providers and rewards programs, somewhat insulating you from the constant devaluation of airline miles. If one transfer partner devalues its program, you can typically find another program within the list of partners offering similar value.
Have a handy tip on transferring from flexible rewards currencies to frequent flyer programs? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
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