One of the things that make flexible points like Chase Ultimate Rewards so valuable is the ability to transfer the points to various airlines and hotel partners.
For example, at the moment, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Reward points directly to 10 airline partners & 3 hotel partners including:
- Aer Lingus
- British Airways (Oneworld Alliance)
- Flying Blue (i.e. Air France and KLM) (SkyTeam Alliance)
- Singapore Airlines (Star Alliance)
- United Airlines (Star Alliance) and;
- Virgin Atlantic
However, one of the more confusing aspects is understanding which cards allow you to transfer points to these airlines or hotels.
Just for clarity…Chase is not the only bank that has one set of credit cards that allow you to transfer points and another set that doesn’t. American Express, Citibank, and Capital One do the same thing.
You’ll discover that, generally, if your card has an annual fee, you’ll be able to transfer your points (though not always). So let’s take a look at what cards allow you to transfer points.
Chase Ultimate Rewards
With Chase, you’ll need to have either a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or an Ink Business Preferred Card in order to transfer your points to the partners listed above.
It’s worth noting that all those cards have annual fees. However, if you have another card that earns Ultimate Rewards points – like the no annual fee Chase Freedom or Chase Freedom Unlimited – you can pool your points. In other words, you can transfer your points for the Chase Freedom to, say, the Chase Sapphire Preferred and then transfer the points to the partners.
And while we’re talking about Chase, let’s talk about the other banks…
AMEX Membership Rewards
If you’re searching for cards that have the ability to transfer points to partners, American Express is (by far) the most generous.
For example, neither The Amex EveryDay Credit Card (READ MORE) or The Blue Business Plus Credit Card (READ MORE) have annual fees. Yet, both have the ability to transfer points to partners.
Since you can pool all of your Amex points together, transfer to their large list of partners, and pay no annual fee, obtaining Amex points is a WIN-WIN!
Caveat: Be aware that there are some older Amex (no annual fee) cards that don’t have the ability to transfer points to partners. However, if you’re just getting started in this hobby, don’t worry about this point.
Citi ThankYou Points
With Citi, you’ll need either the Citi Premier Card or Citi Prestige Card in order to transfer your ThankYou points to Citi’s travel partners. The Premier has the cheapest annual fee ($95), but when you realize how much value it can add to the your travel game…it could be worth considering.
Similar to chase, you can only transfer points from certain Capital One credit cards to airline partners.
Capital One has two types of credit cards: cash back and rewards earning cards. The cards that earn cash back DO NOT have the ability to transfer to partners but if you have a card that earns miles like the Capital One Spark Miles for Business or the Capital One Venture Rewards credit card, you have the ability to transfer to partners.
Although Chase (only) has 10 direct airline partners, understanding “the secrets” to major alliances is your ticket to dozens of airlines beyond the 10 direct airline partners. For example, you can transfer Chase points to British Airways and fly on American Airlines planes. I did it and saved A LOT of money! Don’t believe me…READ THIS!
You can also use Chase points to book award travel on other partner airlines that aren’t part of any alliance. For example, you can use British Airways Avios points (a direct transfer partner) to book an award ticket with Alaska Airlines, or Virgin Atlantic miles (a direct transfer partner) to fly on Hawaiian Airlines.
And concerning transferring points to hotels….generally, you’ll get a better deal redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points with airline partners, but Hyatt is the exception where you can find rooms as low as 5,000 points per night.
Have you ever transferred points using any of these cards? Which card is your favorite?