This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
New offer: The IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card is a great way to pad your IHG balance with 70,000 points after $1,000 spent within the first 3 months.
TPG reader Paris recently reached out on Twitter with an interesting question about when it might make sense to transfer Chase points to a non-transfer partner like Delta.
“Is there a way to transfer Chase Ultimate Reward points to non-transfer partners like Delta?” The answer is yes, but at a terrible ratio, let me explain.
I actually get similar questions a lot about whether there are ways to convert miles on one airline to miles on another, or to convert one kind of hotel points to another, and the answer is usually no. It gets a little trickier when we’re talking about transferable points like Chase Ultimate Rewards, though.
That’s because most hotel programs will let you transfer points to airlines, and these ratios have been decreasing in recent years. Club Carlson just hacked away at their point to airline ratio. You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton or IHG Rewards and then from there to airline miles, but it’s pretty awful.
For example, Hyatt will let you convert points to miles at a ratio of 2.5 points to 1 miles in increments of 5,000 points, and if you convert 50,000 points they’ll give you a bonus of 5,000 miles so that you end up with 25,000 miles. Even with that, your transfer ratio is 2:1 – still not great. So what you can do is transfer Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio then transfer them to Delta at a 2.5:1 ratio (or 2:1 if you transfer 50,000). At best, you’re using 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points to end up with 25,000 Delta miles – so I would not suggest doing that.
On the whole, when you’re going through another program to transfer miles, you are going to lose a lot of value. There are a couple of exceptions. For instance, if you want to transfer Amex Membership Rewards (which you earn with cards like the Platinum and Premier Rewards Gold) into US Airways miles there is a way to do so by transferring them to Aeroplan and then converting those Aeroplan miles to US Airways miles via Points.com that I outline in this post. In that example, you’re using 100,000 Amex points and ending up with 86,000 US Airways miles – still a loss, but not too bad. However, there are limits to these conversions so read into it before you start transferring by this method.
In general, I recommend building up points in transferable programs like Amex Membership Rewards (17 airline partners), Starwood Preferred Guest (over 30 airline partners, though transfer times can be slow) and Chase Ultimate Rewards (10 travel partners including 5 airlines such as United and Southwest if you have cards like the Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold and Ink Plus).
The real goal is to get as much flexibility as possible, diversify your points and focus on those transferable points programs which will give you a lot of different options when it comes time to redeem. For more information, check out these posts:
Why Transferable Points are Best
The Ultimate Guide to American Express Membership Rewards Airline Transfers
The Ultimate Guide to Chase Ultimate Rewards Airline Transfers
Ranking the Chase Ultimate Rewards Transfer Partners
The Ultimate Guide to Starwood Preferred Guest Airline Transfers
Maximizing Starwood Preferred Guest Airline Transfers