How To Use Credit Card Points on Airlines You Can’t Directly Transfer To…

Some of the best frequent flier programs are offered by airlines with the worst seats. I for one like the best most aspirational seats. American Express Membership Rewards Points, Chase Ultimate Rewards Points and Citi Thank You Points are extremely valuable because they can all be transferred to a vast array of airline partners at a 1×1 or better ratio. Having transferrable points allows for greater flexibility on a case by case basis enabling when choosing the right airline for your desired destination. Sadly, not all airlines are direct transfer partners of your hard earned credit card points. If you have a specific airline in mind that is not listed as a transfer option, you still may be in luck thanks to a workaround using partner award space and airline alliances.

Transfer credit card points to airline miles

Even if the airline you want to fly isn’t a transfer partner, you can most likely still use your miles to fly with them. Alliances and partner awards to the rescue! Did you know you can use Delta Airlines Skymiles to book flights on Virgin Atlantic, Korean Air, Air France, Alitalia and more? To use points for a flight on a non transfer partner airline, simply look to see if any airlines that are transfer partners, are in your desired airline’s alliance.

Example: A colleague is looking to book a flight to Asia in the coming year using his credit card points. He has both Chase Ultimate Rewards Points and American Express Membership Rewards points. One of the best options using miles from the US to Asia is with ANA. The airline offers fantastic service on modern planes and has direct flights to most of Japan with connections onward. If you have American Express points you can transfer them directly into ANA (easy). If you have Chase points, you cannot. To complete his trip, my colleague needs to be able to use his Chase Ultimate Reward points to have enough for a round trip on ANA. Even though he cannot transfer to ANA directly he can still use his Chase Points by transferring them to United, a Partner of ANA who allows for awards on the airline.

To book a round trip flight on ANA using your points from both programs, simply book two one way tickets. You will book your round trip ANA ticket using two types of miles: ANA miles and United Airlines Miles. In the end you are creating one round trip on one airline (ANA). Hard to follow?

Transfer credit card points to airline miles

Step One: This is the simplest step: After confirming availability for all legs of your trip, transfer the amount of miles you need for a one way flight to your destination in your desired cabin class from American Express Membership Rewards into ANA. Book it.

Step Two: Login to United Airlines, search one way award flights on ANA returning from your destination to make sure there are available dates at a low level (the least miles for your desired cabin class). Transfer your Chase Points into United Airlines. Book a one way ticket home using your United Miles to fly on ANA, taking advantage of their partner awards and Star Alliance.

Transfer credit card points to airline miles

As always, think outside of the box and think segment by segment. This was simply a concrete example of this workaround but it applies to many airlines across many alliances. My wife and I recently booked flights on Qatar using British Airways Avios and Virgin Atlantic flights using Delta Skymiles. A round trip ticket doesn’t have to be booked in one sitting, nor in tough circumstances does it have to be on the same airline. Don’t let your points go to waste and barring any insane bonuses, never buy miles from the airline directly. ∙ The Best Points & Mileage Credit Cards

Transfer Your Points To Miles With The 5 Best Credit Cards

Many credit cards come with their own reward points and value. But some credit cards allow you to transfer your points to airline miles. With such credit cards, you can have the best of both worlds, that is, you can earn reward points as well as airline miles. Also, they maximize your chances of getting a free air ticket.

Best credit cards that allow you to transfer your points

For your convenience, we have made a list of the five best credit cards that let you to transfer your reward points to multiple airline programs.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card allows you to transfer your points to six airline partners including Southwest Airlines, United, Korean Airlines, British Airways, Amtrak, and Virgin Atlantic. It also includes four hotel programs with Marriott, Hyatt, Ritz Carlton, and Priority Club (covering Crown Plaza, Intercontinental, and Holiday Inn). Additionally, this credit card offers 2 points for travel and dining and 1 point for all other purchases. New members of this card get 40,000 bonus points after spending $4000 in the initial 3 months of your account. The annual fee of $95 is surrendered for the first year.

This credit card lets you to transfer your ThankYou points to 11 foreign airlines. Among these, few airlines offer awards on several United States airlines. For instance, the Blue program of Air France provides awards on Delta, Singapore Airlines offers award miles on United, etc. Apart from this, the Citi ThankYou Premier card gives 3 points on gas, 2 points on entertainment and restaurants, and 1 point on all other purchases. Additionally, 50,000 bonus points are awarded to new cardholders when they spend $3000 in the first 3 months, redeemable for $625 on airfare. The yearly fee of this card is $95, which is waived for the first year.

The Starwood Preferred Guest card offered by American Express facilitates you to transfer your points to 30 different airline partners including British Airways, American Airlines, US Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Cathay Pacific. It also covers various hotels like Sheraton, Le Meridien, Westin, etc. Furthermore, when you transfer 20,000 points, you get a bonus of 5000 miles. You also get two points on Starwood properties and one point on other purchases. New members get 10,000 reward points on their first purchase and extra 15,000 points after they make purchases worth $5000 in the initial 6 months of their membership. The annual fee of $65 is suspended for the first year.

  1. Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card

This card enables you to transfer your reward points to over 40 airlines at a transfer ratio of 10:1. It also offers 6 points on Hilton hotels, 3 points on purchases made in supermarkets, gas stations, and chemist shops, and 2 points on other purchases. For all these benefits, the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature card does not charge any annual fee.

The IHG Rewards program allows you to transfer your points to 30 different airline partners. With a transfer of 10000 points, you get 2000 airline miles. The card also provides 5 points on IHG properties, 2 points on gas, dining, and grocery stores, and 1 point on all other purchases. New members of the card get 60,000 bonus points on expenditure of $1000 done in the initial 3 months. Furthermore, the IHG Rewards Club Select card gives extra benefits such as 50 percent bonus earnings, platinum elite status, 10 percent return on point redemptions, and a free annual night stay. The yearly fee of $49 is ignored for the first year.

These are the 5 best credit cards that will let you transfer your points to air miles.

transfer credit card points to airline miles

Transfer credit card points to airline miles

“I’ve got 100,000 points. That’s good, right?”

I’ve heard that and similar phrases from friends and family members far too frequently. That’s effectively the same thing as saying to a foreign currency trader “I’ve got 100,000 in paper currency” without specifying what country issued the money.

Before you try to understand the differences between airline miles, hotel points and credit card points, you must first understand the basic principle that not all points or miles are created equal, or as my father would say: a point is not a point is not a point. Just like 100,000 U.S. dollars are not the same as 100,000 British pounds, 100,000 Marriott points are not the same as 100,000 Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) points. Offer me the choice and I’d take 100,000 British pounds because I know I can relatively easily convert them to over $150,000 U.S. dollars. However, to the untrained eye, 100,000 hotel points with Marriott may appear to have a similar value as 100,000 SPG points — in fact, they do not. The potential values of the hotel points aren’t even close.

Let’s break down the three major types of loyalty currency.

Credit Card Points (or Bank Rewards)

These are points (“miles” as some marketing departments may call them) that sit in an account maintained by the bank that issued your credit card. Examples of these are: American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, Discover IT Miles and Capital One Venture Rewards.

These points are directly linked to a points-earning credit card. Close that credit card and you may lose all of your points. The three most popular programs, run by American Express, Chase and Citibank, allow you to redeem your points for travel directly booked through their portal, or you can transfer the points to their partner loyalty programs, which include airlines and hotels. This established relationship allows you to use a bank-issued credit card that doesn’t have a specific branded affiliation with Delta, United or Southwest to effectively earn miles in those programs because you can transfer your credit card points to these programs.

Each program has different partners, and while there is some overlap, the credit card point program you select should have partners that make the most sense for you. For example, if you’re a Southwest flyer, the program you should pick is Chase Ultimate Rewards, as they’re the only program that has points that transfer to Southwest. Reference: Citi ThankYou Partners, American Express Membership Rewards Partners and Chase Ultimate Rewards Partners.

By earning credit card points, you’re earning points that can be redeemed through the program itself (e.g. American Express Membership Rewards) or transferred to any number of partners — credit card points give you multiple options when it comes to redeeming. Instead of earning miles that you can redeem only with Delta and their partners or American and their partners, credit card points allow you to earn points that you can use to redeem across all of the major airline alliances and their partner networks.

Special attention needs to be paid to programs that do not have transfer partners — these are cash-back style points programs. Discover and Capital One are two examples of banks that issue “miles”-earning credit cards, and while those miles can be redeemed at one penny per “mile” towards any flight, you don’t get the favorable redemption rates that airline award charts offer. When you book tickets with these “miles,” you’re paying cash. If premium cabin international travel is your goal, you want to avoid Discover and Capital One; instead, focus on American Express, Chase and Citibank.

The commonality across all these cards is that when you spend on a monthly basis with these cards, your points earned are deposited into the virtual account that the bank maintains for you.

Airline Miles Credit Cards

Probably the most well-known loyalty credit cards, airline co-branded credit cards, are everywhere. You can get them online, or you may get stopped by a sales rep walking through the airport promoting an offer. You might even be solicited on a flight for a “special” promotion (please don’t get sucked in — the promotion they’re offering is widely available or likely a better one is available online).

The banks establish a relationship with an airline, create a co-branded credit card product, and issue it. Let’s take the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card issued by Bank of America. The front of the card has a big Alaska Airlines logo and a Visa logo. Look to the back and in the fine print, you’ll see it is issued by Bank of America.

Every month you use your card, you earn one mile per dollar spend (bonus miles are issued if you spend on Alaska Airlines). At the end of the month, if you spend $1,000 then you earn 1,000 Alaska Airlines miles. Bank of America notifies Alaska to credit you 1,000 miles and it is done. From this time, the miles are in your Alaska Airlines frequent flyer account. If you cancel your credit card, you lose nothing as your miles are with Alaska Airlines, not Bank of America.

Now, you do need to make sure your miles don’t expire, but that has nothing to do with Bank of America. Behind the scenes, there is some form of an agreement in place between Alaska Airlines and Bank of America where Bank of America purchases miles from Alaska Airlines and every month when consumers use their credit cards, Alaska takes from the millions and millions of miles Bank of America has purchased.

If you decide to close your credit card, you will not lose the airline miles you obtained through that credit card. If a customer service representative tells you that, they are incorrect. That said, there are few exceptions noted within credit card terms and conditions that if you close your account within six months of opening, you potentially forfeit the sign-up bonus.

The miles you will lose when you close a credit card are the miles you earned during the month in which you closed your account.

More flexible than airline miles but not as flexible and valuable as bank-issued points (with the exception of Starwood Preferred Guest [SPG]), hotel points allow you to use points for redemptions of hotel rooms and transfer to airline partners.

SPG is specifically called out because its points transfer to more than 20 airline loyalty programs at a ratio of 1:1 — no other program matches this. That said, even if the ratios aren’t the best, the fact that the program has the ability to transfer points to airline programs makes it valuable as it provides an option.

Like airline co-branded credit cards, hotel programs establish relationships with credit card issuers where the credit card companies buy hotel points and issue them to consumers. The same rules apply with earning and expiration — it is all under control of the hotel program. Cancel your credit card and you won’t lose previously earned and deposited points.

Of the three currencies, airline miles are the least flexible as they don’t come with the flexibility to transfer them to different programs. You can’t transfer American Airlines miles to Starwood Preferred Guest points or Delta SkyMiles to American Express Membership Rewards. The miles are valuable but less flexible than other types of loyalty currency.

At FrugalTravelGuy, we have a favorite currency within each category. Check in tomorrow when I’ll review our top picks if we could only pick a single credit card point, hotel point and airline mile to accumulate.

Which currencies are you picking up with your credit cards? Are you diversified, making sure that you’re earning points and miles that help you achieve your goals?

Top 5 Credit Cards to Transfer Points to Airline Miles

by Transfer credit card points to airline miles Charles H. Miller September 5, 2016, 1:13 am

Transfer credit card points to airline milesAirline-branded credit cards are not the only cards that can get you free flights. You can use some other cards to achieve the same thing — to “convert” your spending throughout the year(s) into free flights.

Some folks argue that this is the better option, to collect points on a single “universal” card (or a few cards) and then transfer them [points] to airline miles when needed. In the meantime, you are free to use those points on other things, as well.

This article presents you with our top 5 such credit cards, using which you will be earning “universal” points to eventually transfer them to airline miles, and fly for free. This point transfer is usually conducted through a dedicated portal website operated by the bank, and is pretty easy to do. Anyway…

19 Best Ways to Earn Lots of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles [2017]

Alaska Airlines began offering flights from Anchorage, Alaska in 1932. Today, the airline offers flights to over 100 destinations across North America and has partnered with many airlines operating all over the world.

Luckily for you, there are some great ways to earn lots of miles with Alaska’s Mileage Plan program from flights on Alaska Airlines or its partners to credit cards to shopping.

Table of contents

Sign Up for an Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Account

The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program allows you to earn miles without signing up for an affiliated credit card. To earn points, you simply need to create an account.

The Mileage Plan account number you receive upon signing up will be used almost every time you want to earn miles. Make sure you keep this number within reach when you utilize the earning tactics below.

There are two paths to earning Alaska miles with credit cards. One involves 2 cards that earn Alaska miles directly, while the other 2 cards earn points that can be transferred to your Alaska account.

You might think earning Alaska miles directly is the best way to go, but stick with us. You might be surprised.

While it is possible to earn points without signing up for their co-branded credit card, the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card allows you to earn substantial miles simply for signing up for the card and using it on everyday purchases.

Bank of America, not a commonly discussed credit card issuer in the points world, offers two credit cards with Alaska Airlines:

Both of these cards earn 3X miles per dollar on purchases with Alaska Airlines and 1X mile per dollar on all other purchases.

If you want to apply for either of these cards, visit our article on Credit Cards and Credit Scores Explained to learn more about getting approved!

2. Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cards (Our Recommendation)

Starwood Preferred Guest transfers directly to Alaska at a ratio of 1:1. But, you can increase this ratio to 1:1.25 when you transfer in increments of 20,000 points. For each 20,000 Starpoints transferred, you will get an additional 5,000 bonus miles.

  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
  • Redeem Starpoints® at over 1,300 participating hotels and resorts in over 100 countries and for flights on more than 150 airlines with SPG flights.
  • Up to 5x Starpoints® on eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Full Review
  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
  • Up to 5x Starpoints® on eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Full Review

If you want to transfer more than 20,000 SPG Starpoints, keep in mind that you can only transfer a total of 79,999 points per 24 hours.

This means you can get three 5,000-mile bonuses when you transfer 60,000 SPG Starpoints but you cannot transfer 80,000 points to get a fourth 5,000-mile bonus.

While both the business version and personal version only earn 1X point per dollar (just like the Bank of America co-branded cards), this transfer bonus is what really sets them apart.

The Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card occasionally offers 2,500 bonus miles for each referral you provide and is approved. All you have to do is get a friend or family member to sign up using the link you sent to them.

There isn’t a limit on how many times you can receive this referral bonus, so this is a great way to boost your Mileage Plan miles when these referral bonuses are offered.

You can also refer people to both co-branded Starwood Preferred Guest cards. Commonly, the referral bonus for these cards is 5,000 SPG Starpoints once a referral is approved. Occasionally, the referral bonus increased to 7,500 points or even 10,000 points.

American Express does cap the points you can earn through referrals each year to 55,000 points per card.

We all spend plenty shopping and dining out, so why not get some Mileage Plan miles in return for it.

Regardless of whether you sign up for the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card, as a Mileage Plan Account member, you have access to the Alaska Mileage Plan Shopping Portal.

Through the shopping portal, you can earn miles on purchases regardless of which credit card you use.

Alaska Airlines has partnered with over 800 stores to offer a mileage bonus for each purchase made through the portal. All of the stores can be viewed on the portal website, but here are some of the top stores:

Transfer credit card points to airline miles Just a few of the stores available in your Alaska Mileage Plan shopping portal. Earn bonus miles for tons of normal, everyday purchases!

To earn Mileage Plan miles for your purchases:

  1. Go to Mileage Plan Shopping
  2. Sign up or sign into your account with your Mileage Plan number
  3. Search for and select a product or store offer
  4. A new browser window should open and look something like this:
Transfer credit card points to airline miles Once you click on a shop, you will be directed through to the actual website to complete your shopping. Be sure to finish it in the same visit in order to get your bonus!
  1. Shop around on the store’s website
  2. Make sure you are still logged into the portal when you head to check out.

Keep an eye out for special sweepstakes through the shopping portal.

Recently, Alaska Airlines ran a “Scenic Route Sweepstakes” in which you could have earned the grand prize of 100,000 miles! Three first prize winners won 20,000 miles.

Account holders simply had to register for the sweepstakes and earned five entries for opting into Mileage Plan Shopping emails, and another five entries for qualifying purchases.

Pay close attention during the holidays as the Mileage Plan shopping portal often offers bonus miles on top of the miles you would normally earn.

Many airlines participate in a dining program to help customers earn extra miles on eating out at participating restaurants. Alaska Mileage Plan Dining has over 10,000 participating restaurants, bars, and clubs.

Transfer credit card points to airline miles A view of the Alaska Mileage Plan dining program portal. Find hundreds of restaurants to eat at and earn bonus Alaska Mileage Plan miles.

Signing up is free and you don’t have to use the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card to enroll.

To earn miles with the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Dining:

  1. Go to Mileage Plan Dining
  2. Use the “Add a card” link on the right side to add any credit card or multiple cards you want to use out at restaurants (any card will do, not just an Alaska Airlines card)
  3. Search for restaurants near you using the search engine at the top
  4. Start using your registered credit card(s) at participating restaurants

Usually, you will earn up to 5X points per $1 you spend at participating restaurants, bars, and clubs. First-time members have the chance to earn up to 1,000 extra miles.

These extra miles are given if you dine for $30 or more at a participating restaurant within 30 days of joining the program and review your experience within 30 days after dining.

Find this new member bonus offer and other bonus offers under the Bonuses section.

Hot Tip: You can only link a credit card to one dining portal at a time, so choose the one that is best for you. Remember you’ll earn points on your credit card in addition to miles from the dining program.

There are other ways to earn even more Mileage Plan frequent flyer program miles on everyday spending including the following partnering retail offers: