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Is there a limit to how many flexible points you can transfer a year?

Jan. 09, 2020
6 min read
Hanalei Bay
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Reader Questions are answered twice a week by TPG Senior Points & Miles Contributor Ethan Steinberg.

Transferable points, like those issued by Chase, Amex and Citi, are widely regarded as the most valuable currencies in the world of award travel because of the incredible flexibility they offer. Not only can you switch between transferring points to an airline or hotel, but you can also switch between the three major airline alliances instead of locking yourself into a more narrow set of redemptions. TPG reader Rita wants to know how if there's a limit to how many points she can transfer ...

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[pullquote source="TPG READER RITA"]If I have Chase Ultimate Rewards points, is there a limit to how many I can convert to airline miles in a given year?[/pullquote]

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Good question Rita! While Chase Ultimate Rewards are some of the most popular points out there, there are actually five major transferable points currencies that you can incorporate into your award travel strategy:

  • Chase Ultimate Rewards points are a popular first choice among travelers who are conscious of the issuer's 5/24 rule, or those looking to build a powerful combination of earning power with the Chase trifecta. You can easily earn Ultimate Rewards points by applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. ), Chase Sapphire Reserve (earn 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening) or the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card (earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.).
  • Amex Membership Rewards points have a long list of valuable transfer partners, and routinely offer transfer bonuses to sweeten the deal. You can earn them by applying for cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express (earn 100,000 points after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first six months from account opening, $695 annual fee, see rates and fees) and the American Express® Gold Card (earn 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first six months, $250 annual fee, see rates and fees).
  • Citi ThankYou points are easy to rack up thanks to generous bonus categories, and you can earn them by signing up for cards like the Citi Premier® Card and the Citi Prestige® Card.
  • Marriott Bonvoy actually offers the largest number of transfer partners, despite being a hotel company and not a credit card issuer. While most other points transfer at a 1:1 ratio, Marriott points transfer to most airlines at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred. You can earn them by applying for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card or the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card ($450 annual fee, see rates and fees) which is offering 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months.​ Plus, earn up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants within the first six months of card membership.
  • Capital One miles are the latest transferable points currency to launch, and you can earn them by applying for the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening) or the Capital One Spark Miles for Business (earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $4,500 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening).

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

The good news is that none of these programs have a cap on how many miles you can transfer each year. Once you earn points, whether it's from a welcome bonus, spending on your credit card, or some other promotion, they're yours to redeem as you see fit. If you're lucky enough to earn a million miles in a year within a single flexible points program, there's nothing to stop you from transferring one million miles out to different airline and hotel partners, or even to the same program if you find an award chart sweet spot you want to take advantage of repeatedly.

Related: The best travel rewards credit cards

Generally speaking the only limits on your redemption come on the minimum side, not the maximum. All the currencies listed here require you to transfer a minimum of 1,000 points at a time (with Marriott, the limit is 3,000) and most require you to transfer in even increments of 1,000 as well. Marriott is the only program to impose a restriction on the upper end, with a daily airline transfer limit of 240,000 Marriott points. However, you're free to transfer more points out the next day as this limit really only applies to each day at a time. If you're planning a complicated redemption that requires you to transfer more than 240,000 Marriott points you'll also want to keep an eye on how long Marriott points take to transfer. Some of Marriott's more unique partners have longer transfer times, and you don't want your award space to disappear while you're waiting for the points to post.

Bottom line

Good news Rita, the sky's the limit when it comes to transferring points! If you're in the envious position of having hundreds of thousands of flexible bank points you want to redeem each year, there's nothing to stop you from transferring them all out to airline and hotel partners. The only limit to keep in mind is Marriott's daily cap of 240,000 points, but that resets every 24 hours and shouldn't be too big an inconvenience for most people.

Thanks for the question, Rita, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

For the rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, please click here.
For the rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, please click here.
For the rates and fees of the Amex Bonvoy Brilliant card, please click here.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.