This is part of our seven-step series Beginner’s Guide to Free Travel & Rewards.
In this post we will give a general overview of what are transferable points, how to earn them, how to use them, and why we consider them to be so valuable!
What Are Transferable Points?
Transferable points are a flexible, transferable currency that can be earned by using certain credit cards (Chase, Amex, Citi), or through Marriott Rewards. These points are not (yet) connected to a particular hotel or airline loyalty program.
What makes transferable points so valuable is that they can be transferred to a number of various loyalty programs. This gives you flexibility and the chance to maximize their value.
The four currencies are
- Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
- Amex Membership Rewards Points
- Citi Thank You Points
- Marriott Rewards Points (SPG is now part of Marriott)
How to Earn Transferable Points
Chase, Amex and Citi points can be earned through their respective cobranded credit cards. A large bonus can usually be earned from the credit card sign up bonus (50K-100K points). However points can also be earned through every day spending, or various offers.
Marriott Rewards points can be earned through any of the cobranded Marriott credit cards, but also by staying at any Marriott property (there are 30 brands, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a Marriott property near by).
How to Use Transferable Points
In general you have three basic options for redeeming transferable points.
- Cash Back/Gift Cards – Points can be redeemed for about or less than 1 cent/point. This usually results in a poor redemption value. We don’t recommend this.
- Travel Redemptions – These points can be used to pay for plane tickets, hotel stays or rental cars. Generally you again get about 1 cent/point of value. However the one exception is for owners of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card where they can get 1.5 cents/point of value when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. Now this isn’t bad value by any means, but if you keep reading you will learn how to get much more!
- Transfer to Travel Partners – Now this is where the true value lies. By transferring these points to airline partners, you can book business and first class flights around the world for a fraction of what it would cost otherwise.
Last year we traveled through Asia where we flew first class on Cathay Pacific and then had five additional business class flights. The total cost for these six flights was just over $100 in taxes and fees, but would have cost over $30,000 if we didn’t use points!
We also recently returned from a trip to Italy/France and Dubai where we flew Lufthansa first class to Europe and then Etihad First Class Apartments on the way back! The cost for the Etihad First Class Apartment was only $55 in taxes and fees!
- Chase Ultimate Rewards can be transferred to:
- 9 airlines: Aer Lingus, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, British Airways Avios, Iberia Plus, JetBlue TrueBlue, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, United Airlines Mileage Plus, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- 3 hotels: World of Hyatt, IHG Rewards Club, Marriott Rewards
- Amex Membership Rewards can be transferred to:
- 13 airlines: Aer Lingus, Aeromexico, Air Canada Aeroplan, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Alitalia MilleMiglia, All Nippon Airways, Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific), Avianca LifeMiles, British Airways Avios, Delta Sky Miles, El Al Israel Airlines, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, Hawaiian Airlines, Iberia Plus, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- 3 hotels: Choice Hotel Rewards, Hilton Honors, Marriott Rewards
- Citi Thank You Points can be transferred to:
- 15 airlines: Avianca LifeMiles, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific), Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Garuda Indonesia, Jet Airways, JetBlue TrueBlue, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas Airways, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- 0 hotels:
As you can see there is some overlap, especially with all three programs being able to transfer to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Air France/KLM Flying Blue and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
What makes transferable points even more valuable is that while they can be transferred to several different airline partners, you can actually take flights on over 50 different airlines!
For example Chase points can be transferred to 9 airline partners. If you transfer your points to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer you can actually take a flight on Singapore Airlines or any of the other 27 members in Star Alliance.