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Which Airlines Allow Transfers from More Than One Program?

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TPG reader Hal sent me a message on Facebook to ask about transferring points:

“I’m trying to book a business class flight to Sydney using Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards points. Which airlines will let me transfer from both programs?”

I tend to focus on earning transferable points because they give you access to multiple loyalty programs at once. That creates more opportunities to maximize rewards, since you can choose one airline or hotel over another when it suits your needs — like when there’s an award sale, for example. On the flip side, some travel providers partner with more than one of the major transferable points programs, which gives you extra options for booking awards even if you don’t have a large balance in any single account.

Hal wants to book an award to Australia, but he needs to pool his points in order to do it. Fortunately, there are several airlines that allow transfers from both Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards. The table below shows airlines that partner with more than one transfer program; transfer ratios are 1:1 except where indicated otherwise (not accounting for the SPG transfer bonus or any other temporary bonuses).

Airline / Program Amex Chase SPG Citi
 Singapore Airlines  √  √
 Virgin Atlantic  √  √
 Flying Blue  √  √
 Cathay Pacific  √
 British Airways 5:4  √
Virgin America 2:1 2:1
 Etihad
 Delta
 Air Canada
 Korean Air  √
 ANA
 Emirates
 Alitalia
 Aeroméxico
 Hawaiian
 Thai Airways
 Qatar Airways
 United 2:1

As you can see, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Flying Blue (Air France/KLM) and British Airways all partner with both Chase and Amex. It’s hard to say which option is best without knowing where Hal is flying from or how many points he has available, but I think you can disregard British Airways thanks to the lower Amex transfer ratio and the high cost of long-haul premium awards. (BA is still a great option for booking flights within Australia once you get there.)

Singapore offers a great business-class experience and fairly reasonable award prices. You won’t be able to fly nonstop from North America to Australia, and you’ll incur some hefty surcharges, but that’s the airline I’d choose if I were limited to those four.

Singapore
Singapore Airlines’ A380 business class.

If you can’t make a round-trip award work by transferring points to a single airline, you could also consider booking two one-way awards through separate programs. For example, you might transfer from Amex to ANA to book an award in one direction, and then transfer from Chase to United to book the return trip.

If you’re going to redeem points from various sources, keep in mind that transfer times may differ between programs. Most transfers from Chase are instantaneous, though Singapore is an exception. Meanwhile, transfers from Amex may take up to 36 hours in some cases. Be cautious when availability is limited, since award space could disappear while your points are on the way to your frequent flyer account.

For more on transferable points and booking awards to Australia, check out these posts:

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

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