The points and miles world has so many ways to use your hard earned currency. So why would you choose to transfer points, the most complicated of all redemption strategies? This is where the real fun is- even if it is slightly more complicated than cash back or statement credits. If you’re already overwhelmed with the travel hacking lingo, check out our other article to get you started.
So What Exactly is Transferring Points?
So transferring your points and miles essentially boils down to signing up for a loyalty program of an airline or hotel, and then transferring points from a credit card to that account. You do this on the credit card side of things- it’s usually under the “rewards” tab on the app or website of your credit card. Frequent Miler has a great blog about all the transfer partners.
Why Would You Transfer Points?
You transfer points because typically the redemption you’re going to get is better than the credit card portal, or statement credit. Sometimes- it’s a lot better. Below, I’m going to give some examples of transfers I’ve done in the last year to show you what I mean. To check if you’re getting a good redemption, check out the point’s guy blog on how much they value each points and miles “currency”.
Our Own Transfer Successes
In 2023, I needed to book a flight to London for Bruce and my dad. It was my dad’s first time to Europe and I wanted to impress him with some cheap flights (since I brag about them so much!) but I was having no luck. We hadn’t transferred points before, we had only relied on Capital One’s statement credits and Going (Scott’s Cheap Flights) to get our deals. But because we had a specific destination in mind (London), those deals just weren’t coming through. So I decided to dive into the transfer partners of both Capital One and Chase- where we had a pretty significant base of points. After doing some research, we knew what would be a good points “deal” for the very busy season we were looking at. We were also only about 3 months out- the points and miles gods were not on my side for this one. But after getting an email about a Jetblue sale, I decided that I could do the $550 flight, even though we hadn’t paid over $500 for a flight to Europe in years.
Right before I was about to book, Bruce had the great idea to check out the points needed to fly with Jetblue (a transfer partner of both Chase and Capital One) and lo and behold- it was 40,000 points- a decent saving from the 55,000 points it would cost in the Capital One Purchae Eraser. BUT- there’s more! This flight was a regular economy flight- not the basic economy we were looking at for $550. The points and miles redemption came with seat selection, free checked bags and regular boarding (not last on the plane like the other!). The cash price for these tickets was closer to $700 and all of the sudden, those 40,000 point tickets were looking great! Not to mention, there was no real money exchanged like in the purchase eraser. There was about $100 in taxes and fees, but even then- we flew all 3 of us to London, nonstop on a really nice flight (one of the best we’ve taken to Europe in the last few years!) for $300 cash and 120,000 points. Not bad for a first try.
Let’s keep it going
After my success in the first transfer, I was hooked. I knew we were going to Europe again in the summer and wondered if I could knock off a bucket list item- flying Business class to/from Europe. After playing around with different loyalty programs and seeing what it would cost in points and miles, I realized that we weren’t going to be able to find anything reasonable from our ending destination- Copenhagen. Instead, we’d need to get to Frankfurt. The cash prices were only $150-200 (when we were looking) but I wondered what the “price” in miles would be. And there is was- a 6,000 mile flight from Copenhagen to Frankfurt ($5 taxes and fees). So I booked two of them (at 2cpp- my best redemption yet!) and continued to look for that coveted Frankfurt to NYC business class flight.
Another fun redemption on this trip was our Hyatt hotel. Because we had one night between our Copenhagen flight and when we were hoping to fly home in Frankfurt, we needed a hotel. We found the Hyatt airport hotel for only 5,000 points (no taxes and fees) where the cash price would have been about $120.
The Grand Finale
After playing with the dates, the airlines and the different transfer partner credit cards, I finally found what I was looking for- a 60,000 point business class flight from Frankfurt to NYC ($150 taxes and fees). Not only that, it is on Singapore Air- one of the best business class products on the market! That same flight on Singapore is 120,000 points a person and in cash- it’s almost $3000 a person.
So as you can see- learning to transfer points can be an amazing way to get the most of your hard earned points. I’m not going to lie to you- it takes some time. I would randomly search different loyalty program flights and prices just to get an idea whenever I had some free time. It was only after I did this myself that I started to get a feel for what reasonable costs were- what routes existed and so on. There’s not really a “quick fix” for this- except buying a service like Point.me that will do the searching for you.