How to transfer bank points to miles

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I’ve talked a lot about the different rewards currencies there are.  There are frequent flyer miles, hotel points, and bank points, basically.  What i’m concerned about today is how to transfer points to miles.  Specifically bank points.

Drew and I find that the most valuable of all of the aforementioned rewards currencies are frequent flyer miles.  So even when you’re earning bank points, you’ll get the most value out of those points by transferring them to miles.

Why?  Take for example Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  Let’s say you decided to transfer 30,000 Chase points to Hyatt because you wanted a free night at the Grand Hyatt New York, a category 6 hotel that costs 30,000 Hyatt points.  Based on the going rate for a night at that hotel, you’ve gotten something worth around $233 for your 30,000 points.  Seems fine until you consider that you could have transferred those same 30,000 Chase points to United for a one-way to Europe.  The going rate for a one-way trip to Europe on United (NYC- Frankfurt) is $1059.

This is the entire basis of why Drew and I value frequent flyer miles above other rewards currencies, though bank points are quite valuable because they can transfer to miles!

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Because we find frequent flyer miles such a lucrative use of bank points, let’s talk about how transfers from bank points to frequent flyer miles happen.

First, let’s talk about which cards allow transfers.

Let’s clarify one thing right away.  The ability to transfer bank points to anything is a perk.  And it’s not a perk offered by every one of a bank’s cards.

Here are the credit cards that allow transfers.

Chase:

  1. Chase Sapphire Preferred
  2. Chase Ink Bold
  3. Chase Ink Plus

Amex:

  1. American Express Premiere Gold
  2. American Express Gold
  3. American Express Gold (Business)
  4. American Express Platinum
  5. American Express Platinum (Business)

Citi:

  1. Citi ThankYou Premier
  2. Citi Prestige
  3. Citi Chairman

 

Who transfers to whom, and at what rate?

So now that we know which cards allow a person to transfer points, lets talk about what those points can transfer to, particularly airlines.  Also note at what rate those points transfer.  For instance, a 1:1 transfer ratio means that 1,000 points will transfer to 1,000 miles.  1:1.5 would mean 1,000 points transfer to 1,500 miles, etc.

 

Chase Ultimate Rewards airline transfer partners:

*Transfers must be made in 1,000 point increments unless otherwise noted

  1. British Airways Avios– 1:1 ratio
  2. Korean Air SkyPass- 1:1 ratio
  3. Singapore Airlines Krisflyer- 1:1 ratio
  4. Southwest Rapid Rewards- 1:1 ratio
  5. United MileagePlus- 1:1 ratio
  6. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club- 1:1 ratio

 

American Express Membership Rewards airline transfer partners:

*Transfers must be made in 1,000 point increments unless otherwise noted

  1. Delta Skymiles– 1:1 ratio
  2. AeroMexico– 1:1 ratio
  3. Air Canada Aeroplan– 1:1 ratio
  4. Air France/ KLM Flying Blue– 1:1 ratio
  5. Alitalia– 1:1 ratio
  6. ANA– 1:1 ratio
  7. Asia Miles– 1:1 ratio
  8. British Airways Avios– 1:1 ratio
  9. EL AL Israel Airlines– 1:.02 ratio
  10. Emirates Skyward Miles– 1:1 ratio
  11. Frontier Airlines– 1:1 ratio
  12. Hawaiian Airlines– 1:1 ratio
  13. Iberia Plus– 1:1 ratio
  14. Jet Blue– 1:1 ratio/ *transfers must be made in 250 point increments
  15. Singapore Airlines Krisflyer– 1:1 ratio
  16. Virgin America Elevate– 1:.05 ratio/ *transfers must be made in 200 point increments
  17. Virgin Atlantic– 1:1 ratio

 

Citi ThankYou points airline transfer partners:

*Transfers must be made in 1,000 point increments unless otherwise noted

  1.  Asia Miles– 1:1 ratio
  2. Singapore– 1:1 ratio
  3. Eva– 1:1 ratio
  4. Etihad – 1:1 ratio
  5. Flying Blue– 1:1 ratio
  6. Garuda – 1:1 ratio
  7. Malaysia – 1:1 ratio
  8. Qatar – 1:1 ratio
  9. Thai– 1:1 ratio

How to transfer.

Chase:

Sign onto your Chase Ultimate Rewards online profile.

  1. At the right hand side, you’ll see your Ultimate Rewards account balance.  Click on that square.
  2. If you have a credit card that allows transfers, you’ll see a “point transfer” tab at the top.
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  3. Hover over the “Point transfer” tab to see a list of transfer options, and select the option you want.
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  4. Toggle to your preferred amount of points and fill in your rewards number and name as prompted.
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American Express:

  1. Sign onto your Amex profile.  If you have multiple cards with Amex, select the one at the top of the screen that allows transfers.
  2. Click “Go to Membership Rewards” at the right hand side of the screen where your Membership Rewards balance is listed.
  3. Click on the “Travel” tab.
  4. Select the “Transfer Points” option.
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  5. Select the Airline option.
  6. From the panel of airline logos, select the airline of your choosing.
  7. Use the provided calculator and select “transfer this amount”.Screen shot 2014-09-10 at 6.38.56 PM

 

Citi ThankYou Points:

  1. Follow this link to access Citi’s transfer page.
  2. Under the airline options, select the airline of your choice by selecting the “sign in” button at the right of that airline’s information panel.
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Of course, there’s a lot more reading to do to educate yourself on which airline transfers are the most lucrative.  In some cases it’s obvious.   1:1 ratios are obviously better than 1:.05 ratios.  But, of course, not all airline mileage program is created equally!

If you want to learn more about which transfers we recommend, start by reading the following posts:

Best Use of Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Best Use of American Express Membership Rewards Points

Best Use of Citi ThankYou Points

2 Comments on “How to transfer bank points to miles

  1. A nice summary, but you might want to add a little more to it even though this doesn’t really apply to you specifically. The new American Express EveryDay and EveryDay Preferred cards also earn transferable Membership Rewards points and, since the EveryDay Preferred card can earn 1.5 points for non-bonus category spending (along with 3 for gas and 6 for up to $6,000 of groceries per year), it is potentially the most lucrative single points card for those of us crazy people who live in the United States most of the year and only travel a few weeks or months a year. Not so good for the conventional and predictable Carries and Drews who live in hotels throughout the world year-round and don’t want a card with foreign transaction fees.

    Also the SPG American Express card earns transferable points and, effectively, gets a 25% bonus if you do it in 20,000 mile increments, so it is effectively earning 1.25 points for non-bonus category spending for purposes of transfer. Another good daily card given its unique airline partners for people who do most of their annual credit card spending inside the United States and travel for only part of the year.

    • Thanks for mentioning these! I’ve heard good things about the American Express EveryDay, though you’re right about it being not quite as great of a card for us nomads.
      But we do indeed enjoy that SPG card for exactly the reasons you mention here. We really value the ability to earn American Airline miles at practically a 1.25 earning rate as you mentioned.

      Thanks for your comment!
      Carrie

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