When booking a flight, imagine being able to choose an airline rewards program that charges the fewest points for a plane ticket compared to all other reward programs. Then, imagine if this single type of points currency could be used for both hotels and airlines, or whatever is needed to meet your needs for a specific trip.
This is the value of transferable points and miles, which allows you to have the ability to accrue points and miles in a variety of different programs. When a good redemption opportunity becomes available in one program, you can transfer your points to that airline or hotel and book the award without already having that currency.
The Added Value
If you only have Southwest Rapid Rewards, but you want to book a flight on United to Europe, the Southwest rewards won’t be too helpful. If you only have Hyatt points, but you want to book a flight on Southwest to a hotel in the Caribbean, the Hyatt points also won’t be too helpful.
However, if you have Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR), you technically have Southwest points, United Miles and Hyatt points, which allow you to redeem any of these rewards only have to manage one rewards account. When you need a specific program’s points, you can transfer over the points from Chase (usually instantaneously) and then go to book the hotel and airline you want.
Having transferable points are also beneficial because they are better protected from devaluation. If you have a bunch of United miles and United decides that awards are going to start costing twice as much (this is an extreme example but to the same point), then your miles are only worth half their value.
However, if you have Chase UR, rather than transferring Chase points to purchase a United ticket, which would be more expensive per the above example, you could transfer your miles to Air Canada’s Aeroplan in order to book that flight you want on United since the two are partners as part of Star Alliance. Aeroplan won’t necessarily cost more because they didn’t devalue their awards, United did.
The bottom line is that points and miles are worth more as transferable currencies because they are protected from devaluations due to the ability to transfer to other reward programs. This prevents you from being stuck with a devalued currency. This is why transferable points currencies are regularly valued higher than any one individual reward program.
Major Transferable Points Programs
A lot of programs allow you to transfer points and miles amongst one another, but these often have very poor rates and you would be better off keeping your points with the main program. However, this is not the case for banks’ transferable points or miles.
Some of the major transferable points and miles include:
- Chase Ultimate Rewards (can transfer to United, Southwest, Hyatt, British Airways and more)
- American Express Membership Rewards (can transfer to Delta, Hilton, Marriott, Air Canada and more)
- Citi ThankYou Points (can transfer to Turkish, Air France-KLM Flying Blue, Wyndham and more)
- Capital One Miles (can transfer to Emirates, Avianca, Air France-KLM Flying Blue and more)
- BILT rewards (can transfer to American, United, Hyatt and more)
Many of these transfers are 1:1 (although some are not), and many transfer instantly, which means you have a very diverse collection of rewards available to you. This is by no means an exhaustive list of partners, but rather, the notable transferable currencies and some of their most valuable partners.
The Last Point
Transferable points or miles are undeniably the most valuable types of points and miles. So, next time you sign-up for a credit card, make sure to keep this in mind and sign-up for one that allows you to transfer your points to a variety of different programs.
Just like investing, don’t keep all your eggs in one basket, spread them out. Transferable points and miles allows you to have your eggs (points) in numerous baskets.
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