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Can I transfer miles between loyalty programs?

Transfers from credit card rewards programs offer excellent value.

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. Alaska Airlines is an oft-cited example: It doesn’t belong to an alliance, but it’s partnered with major carriers such as American Airlines, British Airways and Cathay Pacific. You can use your Alaska Mileage Plan miles to book flights with these airlines.

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.

Here are the typical transfer ratios for a few major chains:

Hotel programTypical transfer ratioTypical minimum transfer
Marriott Bonvoy3 to 13,000 points
World of Hyatt2.5 to 15,000 points
Hilton Honors10 to 110,000 points
Best Western Rewards5 to 15,000 points
Choice Privileges5 to 15,000 points
IHG Rewards Club5 to 110,000 points
Wyndham Rewards5 to 16,000 points

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 rewards transfers to frequent-flyer programs. At the time of this writing, only Chase and Amex offer transfers to hotel programs. Click on the program names to learn more about transfers.

Reward programTypical transfer ratioTypical minimum transfer
Chase Ultimate Rewards1 to 11,000 points
Amex Membership Rewards1 to 11,000 points
Capital One Rewards2 to 1.51,000
Citi ThankYou Rewards1 to 11,000

Compare credit cards with transferable points

1 - 3 of 5
Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel
16.74% to 23.74% variable
$95
Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. That's worth $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
5x points on flights and 10x points on hotels and car rentals through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on other travel after earning your $300 travel credit, 10x points on Lyft rides, 10x points on Chase Dining through Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on other dining and 1x points on all other purchases
17.74% to 24.74% variable
$550
Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example $900 points are worth $900 toward travel
Capital One VentureOne Rewards for Good Credit
Capital One VentureOne Rewards for Good Credit
1.25x miles on every purchase, every day and 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
26.99% variable
$0
The same rewards and $0 annual fee as the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, but for those with good credit.
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Compare up to 4 providers

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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