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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

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
American Express® Gold Card
4x at restaurants including delivery and Uber Eats; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points), 3x points on directly-booked flights and 1x points on other eligible purchases
See Pay Over Time APR
$250

Rose Gold is Back

Earn up to 4x points on select purchases, a bevy of travel perks, and a welcome offer worth up to $600 based on our valuation with this upper-mid tier travel card. Terms apply, see rates & fees
The Platinum Card® from American Express
10x points at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the US on up to $25,000 combined in the first 6 months, 5x points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, 5x points on directly-booked flights on up to $500,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on other eligible purchases
See Pay Over Time APR
$695

New Platinum Exclusive Offer

One of the most valuable premium travel cards, featuring two welcome offers worth up to $7,000 based on Finder's valuation, multiple travel credits and unrivaled lounge access. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Citi Premier® Card
3x points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, flights and hotels and 1x points on everything else
15.99% to 23.99% variable
$95
Earn 80,000 bonus points after making $4,000 in purchases with your card within the first 3 months of account opening.
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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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