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Today’s newbie question is one that we get quite often, so if you’re an experienced points expert, you can probably skip this post!

TPG Reader Vick tweeted me to ask:

@thepointsguy Can you transfer points from the SPG Amex to earn elite status on American Airlines? And if so, is it a good idea?”

People get excited about transferable points, so I’ve received this tweet a lot and emailed about it even more often.

The short answer to Vick’s question “Do I earn AA elite miles when I transfer my star points?” is no, you don’t. Points transferred from AMEX, Chase or Starwood do not count as elite qualifying miles unless there is a special promotion, and we haven’t seen one of those in a while. American Express and Delta used to give Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQM’s) for certain transfers, but those days are long behind us.

There is one notable exception, and that is if you are transferring hotel points (such as Marriott) to Southwest. Generally these transfers do count towards qualification for the Southwest Companion Pass, which is one of the best airline perks out there. It gets you free companion travel for the remainder of the calendar year in which it’s earned AND the following year, which is an elite status in its own way. It’s a great perk, but note that Chase transfers do not count towards the companion pass.

Getting the Companion Pass card itself is nice - even though you don't need it for much.
You can transfer hotel points to Southwest Airlines to help qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass!

So there you have it; sorry to burst your bubble Vick, but you’re going to have to earn those elite miles the hard way or pay for them through the promos that many airlines are running these days.

Let me know if you have any other questions by messaging me on FacebookTweeting at me or emailing me at

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

With great transfer partners like United and Hyatt, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.