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Can I transfer miles between loyalty programs?

It's possible but there a few things you should know.

If you’re stuck with rewards in a loyalty program you rarely use, you might be wondering if you can transfer them elsewhere. This usually isn’t possible between frequent-flyer programs, and it can be a poor choice for hotel rewards. But you can get excellent value when transferring rewards from credit cards.

Can I transfer miles between frequent-flyer programs?

You typically can’t transfer miles between frequent-flyer programs — even if the airlines are in the same alliance or are partners. But there are exceptions. For example, you can transfer Avios between your British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus accounts, as these airlines are owned by the same company.

There are third-party sites that facilitate mile transfers. Generally avoid them, however, as they typically offer dismal transfer ratios. Only consider using them in special circumstances, such as if you need just a few more miles to book an award flight.

Redeem miles for flights on other airlines

You can use your airline miles to book flights on other airlines, as long as the carriers are within the same alliance. The largest alliances are SkyTeam, Oneworld and Star Alliance.

Even if two airlines aren’t in the same alliance, you can use your miles to book flights on either one if the carriers are partners.

Can I transfer points from a hotel loyalty program to frequent-flyer programs?

Yes — most of the largest hotel chains allow point transfers to frequent-flyer programs. That said, consider avoiding this because it usually comes with a poor transfer ratio. You’ll likely get more value by redeeming your points for hotel stays.

Can I transfer rewards from a credit card program to other programs?

A few major credit card rewards programs allow transfers to hotel and frequent-flyer programs. This is one of the best strategies to use, as you’ll often enjoy strong transfer ratios and a wide selection of airlines.

Here are the top credit card rewards programs that allow reward transfers to frequent-flyer programs. Click on the program names to learn more about transfers.

Reward programTypical transfer ratioTransfers to
CIBC Aventura1 to 1 in 10,000 point incrementsAeroplan
Amex Membership Rewards1 to 1 in 10,000 point incrementsAeroplan, British Airways
RBC Rewards (Avion)Typically 1 to 1 but variesWestJet Dollars, British Airways, American Airlines AAdvantage Miles, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Compare credit cards with transferable points

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
American Express Cobalt Card
30,000 points
Up to 5x points per $1 spent
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to 30,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year. Earn 2,500 Membership Rewards points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $500 in net purchases on your card (up to 30,000 points). That’s up to $300 towards a weekend getaway or concert tickets.
American Express Green Card
10,000 points
1 point per $1 spent
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards points when you charge $1,000 in purchases to your card in the first 3 months as a new Cardmember. That’s $100 towards groceries or concert tickets.
American Express Aeroplan Reserve Card
115,000 points
Up to 3x points
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to 115,000 Welcome Bonus Aeroplan points. That's a first year value of up to $3,200. Offer ends July 24, 2023.
American Express Aeroplan Card
50,000 points
Up to 2x points
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to 50,000 welcome bonus Aeroplan points. That's a value of up to $1,100 in your first year.
American Express Aeroplan Business Reserve Card
120,000 points
Up to 3x points
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to 120,000 welcome bonus Aeroplan points. Offer ends June 23, 2023.

Bottom line

You usually can’t transfer miles between airlines, and hotel transfers can bring weak transfer ratios. However, transferring rewards from certain travel credit cards to hotel and frequent-flyer programs can be an excellent idea.

If you don’t yet have a travel credit card, consider comparing your travel credit card options to find one that suits your needs.

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