A 90-day wait to transfer points — reader mistake story
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. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Today, I want to share a story from TPG reader Matt, who hit a roadblock while trying to book a trip to Europe:
For Christmas this year, my dad told me I could redeem his 140,000 Delta SkyMiles. I wanted to use them to fly to London in Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class. I found a flight that worked with my schedule, except the total cost was 160,000 SkyMiles. I thought I had a solution: I could simply transfer 20,000 of my Amex Membership Rewards points to my dad’s Delta account. However, I quickly found out how Amex and Chase transfer rules differ.
Two weeks prior, I added my dad as an authorized user on my American Express® Gold Card, because I knew members can only transfer Membership Rewards points to their own loyalty accounts or to accounts belonging to an authorized user. What I didn’t know is that authorized users have to be on your account for at least 90 days to be eligible to receive transfers (unlike Chase).
Because of this rule, I’m currently unable to transfer the extra 20,000 points I need. In the end, I decided to wait until January to book this trip for a summer 2020 vacation in London.
For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
The ability to pool and share rewards among loyalty account holders makes it easier to save for and book award travel. However, the protocol for transferring points between members is different for each loyalty program. American Express won’t let you transfer points to another Membership Rewards account, but you can transfer points to the airline or hotel account of an authorized user. As Matt learned, that authorized user must be on your account for at least 90 days to be eligible to receive transferred points, but they don’t need to have any special relationship to you — simply being an authorized user on your account is sufficient.
Chase doesn’t impose a time requirement to transfer Ultimate Rewards points to another member, but does require that the recipient be a member of your household (or an “owner of the company” for business cards). In comparison, Citi ThankYou Rewards and Capital One Rewards let you transfer to other members regardless of your relationship or how long your accounts have been active, though Citi caps the number of points shared or received at 100,000 annually, and enforces a strict expiration policy of 90 days from the transfer date. For its part, Marriott Bonvoy also caps transfers, and only allows sharing between accounts that have been open for 90 days (or 30 days with qualifying activity).
These various restrictions may seem onerous when you’re up against them, but you can work around them with advance planning. Just make sure you know the rules if your next award involves transferring or sharing points with someone else.
I appreciate this story, and I hope it can help other readers avoid making the same mistake. In appreciation for sharing this experience (and for allowing us to post it online), I’m sending Matt a gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own travel mistake stories to email@example.com, and put “Reader Mistake Story” in the subject line. Tell us how things went wrong, and (where applicable) how you made them right. Offer any wisdom you gained from the experience, and explain what the rest of us can do to avoid the same pitfalls.
Feel free to also submit your best travel success stories. If your story is published in either case, I’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure. Due to the volume of submissions, we can’t respond to each story individually, but we’ll be in touch if yours is selected. I look forward to hearing from you, and until then, I wish you a safe and mistake-free journey!
Featured photo by Jack Finnigan/Unsplash.
This card from Bank of America gets really interesting if you have a BofA checking, savings or investment account. Depending on the value of your combined accounts you can potentially get as much as 3.5x points on travel/dining and 2.625x points on other purchases making it the richest consumer banking bonus out there.
- Receive 50,000 bonus points – a $500 value – after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
- Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases
- If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase
- No limit to the points you can earn and your points don't expire
- Redeem for cash back as a statement credit, deposit into eligible Bank of America® accounts, credit to eligible Merrill accounts, or gift cards or purchases at the Bank of America Travel Center
- Get up to $200 in combined airline incidental and airport expedited screening statement credits + valuable travel insurance protections
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
- Low $95 annual fee