Maximize your miles: Complete guide to current transfer bonuses

Sep 30, 2019

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. 

If you want to truly maximize your miles, periodic transfer bonuses offer some of the most lucrative opportunities for fantastic points redemptions. With them, you can often get 30 – 50% more for your points just by transferring them at the right moment. To help make it easier for you to track these offers, we’ve launched a guide that compiles all current, valid transfer bonuses across the major credit card issuers and loyalty programs.

To give an idea of the value of capitalizing on these bonuses, the cost of a lie-flat seat from the West Coast to Hawaii on Hawaiian Airlines drops to as low as 32,000 Membership Rewards points one-way (normally starting at 40k). An economy seat from the West Coast to Hawaii on American Airlines would cost you only around 9,000 British Airways Avios each direction with its current 40% transfer bonus (normally 12,500 points). If you want to hop to Europe in style, you could do so in business class from, say, Boston to Madrid on Iberia for just under 25,000 Membership Rewards points plus around $120 in taxes each way (normally from 34k). Lastly, if you want to fly Lufthansa first one-way from Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Frankfurt (FRA), you’ll need to transfer just 58,000 miles. The normal redemption will set you back 87,000 LifeMiles one-way.

Iberia business class from just 25k Amex points (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

If you’d like to review a past list of these bonuses, check out our complete history of airline transfer bonuses.

In This Post

American Express Membership Rewards

Partner Program

Bonus %

End Date

Note

Marriott (targeted) 30% Oct. 31, 2019 We value MR points at 2 cents each and Marriott at a mere 0.8 cents each, so this isn’t the best way to use your hard-earned Amex points. But if you need to transfer points for a Marriott redemption, you might consider the offer.
British Airways 40% Oct. 1, 2019 Zone 1 flights — those that cover 650 miles or less — require just 7,500 Avios within North America (6,000 everywhere else)
Iberia 40% Oct. 1, 2019 While Iberia does impose fuel surcharges, they’re far less than what you’ll find on British Airways, and you can transfer miles easily.
Aer Lingus 40% Oct. 1, 2019 Use this transfer bonus to fly to Ireland for just 10,000 Amex points.
Hawaiian Airlines 25% Oct. 7, 2019 Use this promotion to fly inter-island, which would only run you 15,000 miles or 12,000 Amex MR for a round-trip coach award. Economy awards from the mainland would start at 16,000 points each way.
Aeroplan (targeted) 10-20% N/A With this offer, you could be flying in United’s new Polaris business class for as few as 46,000 miles, and when redeeming miles for United awards, Aeroplan doesn’t add significant surcharges.
Avianca LifeMiles 15% Oct. 31, 2019 With this offer, you can fly business class to Europe on carriers such as Swiss for as low as 42,000 miles when you transfer Amex points.

How to earn Amex points

If you want to take advantage of these, or future, bonus offers with American Express, the following cards could make good additions to your wallet:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn a welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first three months (though you may be targeted for a higher bonus through the CardMatch Tool; offer subject to change at anytime). Plus, earn 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com
  • American Express® Gold Card: Earn a welcome bonus of 35,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases on your new card in your first 3 months of card membership (though you may be targeted for a higher bonus through the CardMatch Tool; offer subject to change at anytime). Plus earn 4x points on dining worldwide and at US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases; then 1x) and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • The Business Platinum® Card from American Express: Earn up to 100,000 Membership Rewards points: 50,000 points after you spend $10,000 in the first three months and another 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 on qualifying purchases in the first three months. Plus earn 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.

You can also pick up bonus points through Amex Offers, and note that most transfers process instantly.

Fly Hawaiian Airlines first class (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
Fly Hawaiian Airlines first class (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Partner Program

Bonus %

End Date

Note

None at this time N/A N/A N/A

Unfortunately, Chase’s first (and thus far only) transfer bonus to British Airways Avios has expired. Let’s hope that this will be the first of many to come in the future, at which point the above chart will be updated.

How to earn Chase points

If you want to utilize any future bonus offers with Chase, the following cards could make good additions to your wallet:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Earn 3x points on all travel and dining purchases.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Earn 2x points on all travel and dining purchases.
  • Ink Business Preferred Credit Card: 80,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Earn 3x points on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year.

Note that if you have one (or more) of the above cards, you can combine your Ultimate Rewards points into a single account. This then allows you to effectively convert the cash-back earnings on the following cards into fully-transferable points:

  • Chase Freedom: Earn a $150 bonus (which can become 15,000 Ultimate Rewards points by holding one of the above cards) after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening. Earn 5x points on rotating bonus categories up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter.
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: Earn Earn $150 after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • Ink Business Cash Credit Card: Earn $500 cash back (50,000 points) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months after account opening. Earn 5% cash back (5x points) on up to $25,000 in combined purchases at office supply stores and telecommunications providers and 2% cash back on up to $25,000 in combined purchases at restaurants and gas stations.
  • Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card: Earn $500 cash back (50,000 points) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months after account opening. Earn 1.5% cash back (1.5x points) on all purchases.

To truly maximize your earnings with Chase, consider making Chase’s perfect quartet a part of your life. Most Chase transfers will process instantly.

Citi ThankYou Rewards

Partner Program

Bonus %

End Date

Note

JetBlue 25% Oct. 19, 2019 Hawaiian Airlines business class costs as little as 45,000 JetBlue points each way, which means with this promotion you’ll need just 36,000 Citi points.

How to earn Citi ThankYou points

If you don’t want to miss out on a future bonus offer with Citi, the following cards could make good additions to your wallet:

  • Citi Prestige Card: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening. Plus, earn 5x points on dining and air travel and 3x points on cruise lines and hotels.
  • Citi Premier℠ Card: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening. Plus, earn 3x points on travel (including gas) and 2x points on dining and entertainment.
  • Citi Rewards+℠ Card: Earn 15,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in purchases within three months of account opening. Plus earn 2x points at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1x point thereafter. Just note that you must pair this card with the Citi Prestige or Citi Premier for access to a full-fledged, transferrable ThankYou points account.

The information for the Citi Prestige, Citi Premier has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Just note that most Citi transfers will not process instantly, so factor that in if you’re booking a sought-after award.

Capital One

Partner Program

Bonus %

End Date

None at this time N/A N/A

How to earn Capital One miles

Capital One was the most recent issuer to join the realm of transferable points realm, and if you want to utilize this — or a future — bonus offer, the following cards could make good additions to your wallet:

For more details, check out our guide to transferring Capital One miles to airline partners, and note that most transfers from Capital One will process instantly. While there are no Capital One transfer bonuses at the moment, there certainly have been in the past so hopefully they will return!

Airlines and Hotels

Program Bonus % End Date Note
American Airlines 25% bonus when transferring to four hotel programs:

  • Best Western: 5,000 Best Western Rewards points = 1,000 1,250 AAdvantage miles
  • Choice: 5,000 Choice Privileges points = 1,000 1,250 AAdvantage miles
  • IHG: 10,000 IHG Rewards Club points = 2,000 2,500 AAdvantage miles
  • Marriott: 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points = 25,000 31,250 AAdvantage miles (after 5,000-mile bonus from Marriott)
Oct. 30, 2019 This transfer bonus can make sense when you need to top off your AAdvantage account for an awesome award — such as 60,000 AA miles for business class to Japan or Korea; 12,500 AA miles for off-peak awards to Aruba, Barbados, Cabo, Cancun or Costa Rica or 70,000 AA miles for Qatar Qsuite to the Middle East or Indian subcontinent.
Marriott N/A N/A While not a limited-time offer, remember that Marriott Bonvoy points convert to over 40 airline partners at a 3:1 ratio, and you’ll receive 5,000 bonus miles for every 60,000 points transferred. This bonus is in addition to any of the above offers, but be sure to review our tests of Marriott transfer times, since many airlines take a few days (or even weeks) to receive the miles.

Did we miss any? Feel free to let us know by emailing tips@thepointsguy.com.

Featured photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy.

2018 TPG Award Winner: Mid-Tier Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the 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.

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