Miles and Points Transfer Options

Miles and Points Transfer Options

One of the most powerful tools you have when it comes to making the most of your miles and points is the strategic use of transfers.

For example: You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to miles in a variety of airline programs, or to points in some hotel programs. The same can be said for Chase Ultimate Rewards points and those from Citi ThankYou. It’s also possible to convert points from many hotel programs to airline miles (though those transfers are usually at inferior rates when compared to the 1:1 ratio that Chase UR offers).

Here’s a handy cheat sheet of some of the best airline loyalty programs and how you can transfer more miles into them.

Air Canada Aeroplan

Why Are These Miles Good? Aeroplan is a good option for travel from the United States to parts of Europe, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain (including Balearic Islands; excluding Canary Islands), Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. A round-trip award in business class is 90,000 miles; it costs 125,000 miles round-trip in first class. The program also allows two stopovers on a round-trip award ticket (or one open jaw and stopover).

Transfer Options:

  • American Express Membership Rewards: 1:1
  • Marriott Rewards: 10,000 points = 2,000 miles
  • Ritz-Carlton Rewards: 10,000 points = 2,000 miles
  • Starwood Preferred Guest: 1:1, plus 5,000 bonus when transferring 20,000
  • Wyndham Rewards: 6,000 points = 1,200 miles

Several of Aeroplan partners are offering programs
Aeroplan has several hotel transfer partners

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Why Are These Miles Good? Alaska Airlines has some pretty generous rules for frequent flyers. The airline allows a stopover on award tickets even one-way awards! And there are no close-in award ticketing fees when you book travel shortly before the departure date. That can definitely save you some money if you tend to plan award trips at the last minute. The award chart is reasonable, and the airline has some really solid partners, such as Emirates, Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Korean Air, Aeromexico, Air France, American, British Airways, Delta, Fiji Airways, KLM, LAN, PenAir and Ravn Alaska.

Transfer Options:

  • Best Western: 5,000 points = 1,000 miles
  • Choice Privileges: 5,000 points = 1,000 miles
  • IHG Rewards Club: 10,000 points = 2,000 miles
  • Marriott Rewards: 10,000 points = 2,000 miles
  • Ritz-Carlton Rewards: 10,000 points = 2,000 miles
  • Starwood Preferred Guest: 1:1, plus 5,000 bonus when transferring 20,000
  • Wyndham Rewards: 6,000 points = 1,200 miles

American Airlines AAdvantage

Why Are These Miles Good? American is part of the oneworld alliance, and so that opens up your ability to redeem AAdvantage miles on a variety of airlines serving global destinations. You can book one-way awards at half the cost of round-trip redemptions, and availability on certain routes is quite good.

Transfer Options:

  • Best Western: 5,000 points = 1,000 miles
  • Choice Privileges: 5,000 points = 1,000 miles
  • Club Carlson: 2,000 points = 200 miles
  • Hyatt: 2.5 points = 1 mile, plus 5,000 bonus when transferring 50,000 points
  • IHG Rewards Club: 10,000 points = 2,000 miles
  • Marriott Rewards: 10,000 points = 2,000 miles
  • Starwood Preferred Guest: 1:1, plus 5,000 bonus when transferring 20,000
  • Wyndham Rewards: 6,000 points = 1,200 miles

British Airways Executive Club

Why Are These Miles Good? While it’s true that British Airways adds a fuel surcharge to its own award tickets as well as to some partner awards, there is one aspect of the program that is a boon to some travelers: its distance-based award chart. This makes it possible for you to travel on some routes on oneworld partners American and US Airways for fewer miles than if you booked directly through those programs. For example, the round-trip from Charlotte to Orlando is just 9,000 British Airways Avios points. You can also fly from Phoenix to Hawaii for just 25,000 points roundtrip.

Transfer Options:

  • American Express Membership Rewards: 1:1
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards: 1:1
  • Club Carlson: 2,000 points = 200 Avios
  • Hyatt: 2.5 points = 1 mile, plus 5,000 bonus when transferring 50,000 points
  • IHG Rewards Club: 10,000 points = 2,000 Avios
  • Marriott Rewards: 10,000 points = 2,000 Avios
  • Ritz-Carlton Rewards 10,000 points = 2,000 Avios
  • Starwood Preferred Guest: 1:1, plus 5,000 bonus when transferring 20,000

Delta SkyMiles

Why Are These Miles Good? I’m struggling to say something nice about Delta here. The fact is, the airline has a terrible online award booking engine and low level awards are getting harder and harder to come by. That being said, Delta has a fantastic route map and is a member of SkyTeam; that opens up your ability to book rewards on airlines such as Alitalia, Air France, KLM, Korean Air, China Eastern, China Southern and several others.

Transfer points with Delta
Transfer points with Delta

Transfer Options:

  • American Express Membership Rewards: 1:1
  • Club Carlson: 2,000 points = 200 miles
  • Hyatt: 2.5 points = 1 mile, plus 5,000 bonus when transferring 50,000 points
  • IHG Rewards Club: 10,000 points = 2,000 miles
  • Marriott Rewards: 10,000 points = 2,000 miles
  • Ritz-Carlton Rewards: 10,000 points = 2,000 miles
  • Starwood Preferred Guest: 1:1, plus 5,000 bonus when transferring 20,000

Frontier Airlines EarlyReturns

Why Are These Miles Good? This is an excellent program if Frontier flies from your home airport and you focus award redemptions on domestic travel. A round-trip domestic flight costs just 20,000 miles.

EarlyReturns transfer partners
EarlyReturns transfer partners

Transfer Options:

  • American Express Membership Rewards: 1:1
  • Club Carlson: 2,000 points = 200 miles
  • Marriott Rewards: 10,000 points = 2,000 miles
  • Ritz-Carlton Rewards: 10,000 points = 2,000 miles
  • Wyndham Rewards: 6,000 points = 1,200 miles

Hawaiian Airlines

Why Are These Miles Good? If your family visits Hawaii often, Hawaiian Airlines offers excellent reward availability, and its planes are quite comfortable.

Transfer Options:

  • American Express Membership Rewards: 250 MR = 200 TrueBlue
  • Hyatt: 2.5 points = 1 mile, plus 5,000 bonus when transferring 50,000 points
  • IHG Rewards Club: 10,000 points = 2,000 miles
  • Marriott Rewards: 10,000 points = 2,000 miles
  • Ritz-Carlton Rewards: 10,000 points = 2,000 miles
  • Starwood Preferred Guest: 1:1, plus 5,000 bonus when transferring 20,000
  • Wyndham Rewards: 6,000 points = 1,200 miles

JetBlue TrueBlue

Why Are These Miles Good? JetBlues program is very good for anyone making domestic trips or jaunts to the Caribbean.

Transfer Options:

  • American Express Membership Rewards: 250 MR = 200 TrueBlue
  • Marriott Rewards: 10,000 points = 1,000 TrueBlue
  • Ritz-Carlton Rewards: 10,000 points = 1,000 TrueBlue

Korean Air SkyPass

Why Are These Miles Good? Korean Air offers excellent business class and first class award availability, and the service in those cabins is exemplary.

Transfer Options:

  • Chase Ultimate Rewards: 1:1

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

Why Are These Miles Good? One of the Holy Grails in award redemptions is the famed Singapore Suite. Save up your miles to redeem for this over-the-top (and comfortable) experience. (The airline also has terrific coverage to cities throughout Asia.)

Transfer Options:

  • American Express Membership Rewards: 1:1
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards: 1:1
  • Citi Thank You Rewards: 1:1
  • Hyatt: 2.5 points = 1 mile, plus 5,000 bonus when transferring 50,000 points
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints: 1:1, plus 5,000 bonus when transferring 20,000

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards

Why Are These Miles Good? Here’s another program that is especially useful for families making domestic trips.

Transfer Options:

  • Best Western: 5,000 points = 1,000 Rapid Rewards
  • Choice Privileges: 6,000 points = 1,800 Rapid Rewards
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards: 1:1
  • Club Carlson: 2,000 points = 200 Rapid Rewards
  • Hyatt: 2.5 points = 1 mile, plus 5,000 bonus when transferring 50,000 points
  • Marriott Rewards: 10,000 points = 2,000 Rapid Rewards
  • Ritz-Carlton Rewards: 10,000 points = 2,000 Rapid Rewards
  • Wyndham Rewards: 6,000 points = 1,200 Rapid Rewards

Spirit Airlines Free Spirit

Why Are These Miles Good? Spirit is a good option for some travelers making domestic trips. If you have the airlines co-branded credit card, you’ll have access to some reduced award rates. For example, cardholders can redeem off-peak one-way awards for as few as 2,500 miles.

Transfer Options:

  • Choice Privileges: 5,000 points = 1,000 miles

United Airlines MileagePlus

Why Are These Miles Good? United’s most recent award chart devaluation hit international redemptions quite hard. However, domestic awards are still reasonable, and availability is generally good.

Transfer Options:

  • Chase Ultimate Rewards: 1:1
  • Choice Privileges: 5,000 points = 1,000 miles
  • Club Carlson: 2,000 points = 200 miles
  • Hyatt: 2.5 points = 1 mile, plus 5,000 bonus when transferring 50,000 points
  • Marriott Rewards: 8,000 points = 2,000 miles
  • Ritz-Carlton Rewards: 10,000 points = 2,000 miles
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints: 1:1, plus 5,000 bonus when transferring 20,000
  • Wyndham Rewards: 6,000 points = 1,200 miles

US Airways Dividend Miles

Why Are These Miles Good? US Airways is merging with American, so eventually (probably sometime in late 2015 or early 2016) your Dividend Miles will become American AAdvantage miles. In the meantime, you can use them to book any US Airways flight or those on oneworld partners.

Transfer Options:

  • Best Western: 5,000 points = 1,000 miles
  • Club Carlson: 2,000 points = 200 miles
  • Marriott Rewards: 10,000 points = 2,000 miles
  • Ritz-Carlton Rewards: 10,000 points = 2,000 miles
  • Starwood Preferred Guest; 1:1, plus 5,000 bonus when transferring 20,000
  • Wyndham Rewards: 6,000 points = 1,200 miles

Virgin America Elevate

Why Are These Miles Good? Virgin America Elevate is a relatively new program, and it doesn’t really have any particular award chart sweet spots. However, American Express does occasionally offer bonuses on transfers of Membership Rewards points to the program. The bonus transfer can create the opportunity for some lucrative redemptions.

Transfer Options:

Transfer your points to AmEx
Virgin America is one of Amex’s transfer partners

  • American Express Membership Rewards: 200 MR = 100 Elevate
  • Marriott Rewards: 10,000 points = 1,000 Elevate