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.
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|
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.
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:
- Should I Earn Airline Miles or Transferable Points?
- How to Use Airline Miles for Award Travel to Sydney
- The Best Premium Seats to Australia and New Zealand
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
- 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