Why Transferrable Points Are Awesome

Why Transferrable Points Are Awesome

What Are Transferrable Points


Transferrable points are a form of reward currency earned by spending on certain credit cards. These points can be transferred to airlines and hotels that have partnered with a bank and can be used to book flights or hotel stays with that airline or hotel’s loyalty program. For example, Chase’s point ecosystem: Ultimate Rewards includes Air Canada as a travel partner.

If you have 1000 UR, you can transfer this 1000 UR to Air Canada at a 1:1 ratio for 1000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles. From there you can use those newly acquired Aeroplan miles to book Air Canada flights or partner airline flights. This ability to transfer credit card points to other travel reward programs to book incredible awards is why these points are so powerful.

Amex Transfer Points Portal

What Banks Offer Transferrable Points


Currently there are 5 major banks that offer transferrable points. I will list out the bank followed by the rewards program name and the cards that are eligible to earn these points.

  • Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR)
    • Chase Sapphire Reserve
    • Chase Sapphire Preferred
    • Chase Freedom Flex
    • Chase Freedom Unllimited
    • Chase Ink Unlimited
    • Chase Ink Cash
    • Chase Ink Preferred
  • American Express Membership Rewards (MR)
    • Amex Platinum
    • Amex Gold
    • Amex Green
    • Amex Business Platinum
    • Amex Business Gold
    • Amex Business Green
    • Amex Blue Business Plus
  • Citi Thank You points (TYP)
    • Citi Premier
    • Citi Prestige* (no longer offered)
    • Citi Double Cash
    • Citi Rewards+
    • Citi Custom Cash
  • Capital One Miles
    • Capital One Venture
    • Capital One Venture X
    • Capital One VentureOne
    • Capital One Spark 2X Miles
    • Capital One Spark 1.5X Miles
    • Capital One Savor* (does not earn miles directly but can transfer to Venture cards)
    • Capital One SavorOne* (does not earn miles directly but can transfer to Venture cards)
  • Bilt Rewards (offered by Wells Fargo)
    • Bilt Rewards Card

Check out our best credit cards page for a more in depth break down of these cards!

Why Do I Want Points?


Most Efficient Way to Book Awards

Points are so great because they offer the easiest way to accumulate lots of airline miles or hotel points without having to actually fly or stay in a hotel. For example, flying Singapore Airlines Suites can cost up to 155,000 KrisFlyer miles. Unless you frequently travel internationally for business, it will take an unrealistic amount of time and money flying Singapore Airlines or partner airlines to accumulate the amount of miles needed to book this award.

Instead, you could open a card like the Amex Platinum which earns transferrable points, hit the current signup bonus of 150k points, and then transfer those points to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. You’ve now accumulated enough miles to book that award through spend you (hopefully) would’ve made anyways without even flying Singapore Airlines once. Strategies like this are now possible thanks to transferrable points and they make coveted awards that much more attainable.

Flexible Redemption Options

Flexibility is another great aspect of points as well. Some programs like Chase UR allow card holders to redeem points for travel or certain spend categories at an elevated rate. For example, CSR holders can redeem points on Chase’s travel portal for 1.5CPP instead of the usual 1CPP. An airplane ticket that costs $1000 can be booked with only 66,000 Chase points if going this route. This is generally not the best way to redeem points since transfer partners usually yield more value but this can be a good option in cases where award availability isn’t found.

Lastly, points can be redeemed for things like statement credit or gift cards. Statement credit basically turns the point system into a cashback system which some cardholders may prefer for its simplicity. The gift card option often yields poor value by giving rates of <1CPP and should generally be avoided. However, the various redemption options these points offer really do provide a ton of flexibility that will fit anyone’s needs.

Chase UR Gift Card Redemption Option

Common Misconceptions


Not All Points Are Transferrable

There are certain cards like the US Bank Altitude Reserve that do earn points on spend. However, these points are not transferrable to travel partners and instead work similar to the travel portal and Sapphire combo that Chase offers. The max value you will get out of these points is 1.5x since that’s the multiplier US Bank offers when using this redemption option. It’s important to understand which cards allow you to earn points that can be transferred to partners and which ones can’t.

Mistaking Cash Back For Points

The term “points” is thrown around so often that people often mistake what a true “point” is. I’ve heard people refer to the cash back of the Chase Amazon Prime Visa card as “points” when in reality it’s just a cash back card that does NOT earn UR. It’s important to recognize that just because a bank has a lineup of cards that does earn transferrable points, it does NOT mean that all of their cards are able to earn such points

Transfer Ratios Differ By Partner

Another important callout is that not all transfer partners have 1:1 transfer ratios. While the majority of a bank’s travel partners do transfer at a 1:1 rate, there are a few like JetBlue which do not. For every 1 Amex MR you transfer to JetBlue, you would get 0.8 miles. These lower than 1:1 transfers should generally be avoided so it’s important to remember what transfer ratio you are getting for your points and to go for 1:1 ratios or greater for maximum value.

JetBlue 1:0.8 Redemption Option

Conclusion


Points are great because they provide an easy avenue for us to rack up lots of miles in frequent flyer programs to be used on awesome flights or hotel nights. I believe that transfer partners are the best redemption of these credit card points and that with the right strategies, you can have some really unforgettable travel experiences.

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