Many credit card companies and airline loyalty programs offer travelers the chance to earn reward points and transfer them into discounted airline tickets, rental cars, and hotel stays. Some programs will allow you to send your points to another travel program. If you are frequently on the go, participating in these programs may be a great way to save money. Before you redeem your travel points, review the details of your program contract. Each program has different terms and conditions for accruing, using, and transferring points. Understanding your redemption choices and knowing how to transfer your travel points can help you select the best option for you.
EditTransferring Travel Reward or Loyalty Points
- Phone your program’s customer service department. Credit cards, airline credit cards, and loyalty programs will provide a customer service department phone number, which is typically listed on the back of the credit or membership card or on your monthly statement. A customer service representative can help transfer your reward points to another travel program that they are partnered with. They can also share your available point balance and help you initiate the transfer.
- Be sure to have your account number available. You can typically find this on your membership card or on listed on your monthly statements.
- You must be the primary account holder or an authorized member that is linked to the account to transfer points to another program.
- Transfer your rewards online. Most credit card companies and loyalty programs will provide you with access to your statements, transfer options, and redemption choices on an online portal or app. Once you have signed into your account, look for a section that references your credit card or membership points, such as “Redeem My Rewards,” or “Use or Transfer My Points.” Click through to this section to review begin your transfer.
- Travel programs that have partnered with your loyalty program can change without notification. Be sure to review what programs are currently available to you. The online portal will have the most up-to-date information regarding partnership programs.
- Pay attention to transfer fees. A point transfer fee may be applied when you transfer your points to another program. These fees vary from program to program, and some do not charge a fee at all. For example, you can be charged up to $30 dollars to transfer points from an American Express card to their partnered airline. Before the transaction is completed, you will have a chance to review and agree to a transfer fee.
- Review your contract or talk to a representative online or over the phone to see if you will be required to pay a transfer fee.
EditConsidering Your Transfer Options
- Send your credit card points to an airline program. Some credit card programs will allow you to transfer your earned, but not redeemed, credit card points to an airline loyalty program. For many credit cards, you can earn 1 mile for 1 credit card point. Some cards, like American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, offer same-day or 24-hour transfers. Other programs may take up to a week.
- To increase your chances of earning a free airline ticket, save your credit card points and send them to the airline program of your choice.
- Book tickets and accommodations with your travel points. Consider using your travel reward points to book future tickets and hotels. You can earn points and receive discounts if you use your points to pay for plane tickets, hotel bookings, a rental car, or travel excursions. In some cases, you and your spouse or domestic partner can combine your points if you both have the same credit card. Review your contract or chat with a representative to see if this is an option for you.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus cardholders can receive a discount up to 20% when they use points to book accommodations or airline tickets by using their accrued points.
- Gift your travel miles to another person. Some airline loyalty programs allow you to transfer your accrued miles to another person, provided that that person holds a membership account with that airline. Delta, for instance, allows you to send your miles to a maximum of 4 individuals. If you would like to send your miles to someone else, you must provide that person’s name and account number to complete the transaction.
- You must have a certain number of miles before you can gift them to another loyalty program member. Most airlines require a minimum of 1,000 miles before a transfer can take place.
- Gifting your miles to another member typically cannot be canceled once the transaction is completed.
EditCollecting Transferable Travel Loyalty Points
- Join a frequent-flier program. Airline rewards programs can be beneficial to a frequent traveler. These programs ensure customer loyalty by providing incentives to individuals to fly exclusively with that airline or a group of airlines. When choosing a program, consider the airline’s flight options, your particular travel needs, the program’s benefits, and how easy it is to earn a free or discounted flight.
- If you travel to a particular area for work or to visit family, find out if an airline’s headquarters are located in a nearby airport. There will be more flight options in and out of an airline’s home base. For example, British Airways is based in London, while Delta airlines is based out of Atlanta.
- There are currently three major airline loyalty programs to choose from, which include One World, Sky Team, and Star Alliance. American Airlines, for instance, is a member of One World, as are Qatar Airways, Etihad Airlines, and other United Arab Emirates airlines. If you travel to the Middle East frequently, it may be best to join this frequent-flier program.
- Sign up for a hotel-loyalty program. If you travel frequently, consider signing up for a hotel-loyalty program. These programs allow you to accrue points for staying at particular hotels within their network. You can transfer your collected program points to a variety of other programs, including airline programs or car rental agencies.
- Priority Club Rewards, an international hotel loyalty program, allow you to exchange your points for airline miles with most major American airlines at the rate of 4 points for 1 mile. Starwood Preferred Guest allows you to exchange 1 point for 1 mile for most airlines.
- RewardsPlus is a partnership between Marriott hotels and United Airlines. This program allows you to collect points when you stay at a Marriott hotel or fly with United, and it allows you to easily transfer and redeem your loyalty points for travel or accommodations. Occasionally, this program offers bonus points when you convert points between programs.
- Enroll in a rider-rewards program. Rider programs offer perks and discounts to reward frequent travelers and to draw in new customers. If you frequently take a train or a bus line, check to see if that company or organization has a loyalty program.
- The Amtrak Guest Rewards program allows you to transfer your points collected by using Amtrak train services. You can transfer these points to rewards programs with their hotel partners, Hilton, La Quinta, and Wyndham, or exchange them for United Airlines miles.