How to Transfer Points Between Credit Card Rewards Programs

How to Transfer Points Between Credit Card Rewards Programs

Credit card rewards programs have become increasingly popular as consumers look for ways to maximize the benefits of their spending. These programs offer a variety of rewards, including cash back, travel points, and merchandise. With so many options available, understanding how to transfer points between credit card rewards programs can be a key strategy to maximize the value of your points. This article will guide you through the different aspects of transferring points, from eligibility criteria to the potential pitfalls to avoid.

Credit card companies often have partnerships with various loyalty programs, allowing you to transfer points between them. For instance, you may be able to transfer your credit card points to a frequent flyer program or a hotel loyalty program. This flexibility enables you to use your points where they are most valuable to you, whether it’s for a free flight, a hotel stay, or even for merchandise.

Understanding the mechanisms of these transfers can be confusing, especially for those new to the concept. Each credit card company has its own set of rules and procedures, and transfer rates can vary widely. Some programs may offer a 1:1 transfer rate, meaning one credit card point equals one loyalty point, while others may have less favorable rates.

In this article, we will break down everything you need to know about transferring points between credit card rewards programs. We will start by understanding the different types of rewards programs and the eligibility criteria required to transfer points. Then, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to transfer points and compare transfer rates between major credit card companies. Finally, we will discuss potential fees, strategies for maximizing benefits, common pitfalls, and how transfers affect your reward balances. We also include real-world case studies to illustrate successful points transfers.

Understanding the Different Types of Rewards Programs

Credit card rewards programs generally fall into three main categories: cash back, travel rewards, and general rewards. Each of these types has its own set of benefits and can often be transferred to other types of reward programs.

  1. Cash Back Rewards: These programs offer a percentage of your purchases back in the form of cash, which can either be applied as a statement credit or transferred into your bank account. While cash back programs have limited transfer options, some cards allow you to convert your cash back into travel points or miles.
  2. Travel Rewards: Travel rewards programs are often the most versatile in terms of transferring points. Many credit cards partner with airlines, hotels, and other travel-related loyalty programs. For instance, you can accumulate points with your credit card and transfer them to an airline’s frequent flyer program, allowing for free or discounted flights.
  3. General Rewards: These programs offer points that can be used for a variety of options, including merchandise, gift cards, and travel. The flexibility of general rewards programs often makes them a popular choice, as they can be tailored to fit your individual preferences.

Understanding each type of reward and its transfer options is the first step in maximizing the benefits of your credit card rewards. Knowing the categories can guide you in choosing the right card and rewards program that aligns with your spending habits and goals.

Additionally, many credit card companies offer special promotions or bonuses for transferring points. For example, a credit card might offer a 25% bonus when transferring points to a specific airline or hotel program. Being aware of these promotions can help you get more value out of your points.

Eligibility Criteria for Transferring Points Between Programs

Before you can transfer points between credit card rewards programs, it’s important to understand the eligibility criteria. These can vary by credit card company and the specific rewards program, but generally include the following:

  1. Account Status: Your credit card account must be in good standing. This means that you are up-to-date with your payments and have not violated any terms of your credit card agreement.
  2. Minimum Transfer Requirements: Some programs have minimum point thresholds that must be met before you can transfer points. For example, you may need to have at least 1,000 points before you can initiate a transfer.
  3. Linked Accounts: Often, your credit card must be linked to the loyalty program to which you want to transfer points. This usually involves a simple process of adding your loyalty program account number to your credit card profile.
  4. Transfer Restrictions: Some programs may limit the number of points you can transfer within a given timeframe—for instance, no more than 100,000 points per calendar year. Make sure to read the terms and conditions to avoid any surprises.

Meeting these eligibility criteria is essential for a smooth transfer process. If you don’t meet these requirements, your request to transfer points could be denied, delaying your plans.

For example, let’s say you want to transfer 5,000 points from your credit card to an airline frequent flyer program. If your credit card account is not in good standing or you haven’t linked your frequent flyer account to your credit card, the transfer may not go through. Always double-check that you meet all criteria before attempting to transfer points.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Transfer Points

Transferring points between credit card rewards programs can be straightforward if you follow the correct steps. Here’s a detailed guide to help you through the process:

  1. Log into Your Credit Card Account: The first step is to log into your online credit card account. Navigate to the rewards section where you can manage your points.
  2. Select Transfer Option: Look for the option that allows you to transfer points. This is often found under a tab labeled “Transfer Points,” “Rewards,” or something similar.
  3. Choose the Partner Program: Select the loyalty program to which you want to transfer points. The list of available partners will depend on your credit card issuer and the specific rewards program.
  4. Enter Loyalty Program Details: Once you’ve chosen the partner program, you will need to enter your loyalty program details, such as your frequent flyer number or hotel loyalty number.
  5. Specify the Number of Points: Decide how many points you want to transfer. Be sure to check if there are any minimum or maximum limits.
  6. Confirm Transfer: Review your transfer details and confirm. Some credit card companies may require additional verification, such as a one-time password (OTP) sent to your registered mobile number.
  7. Wait for Confirmation: After confirming the transfer, wait for an email or in-app notification that your points have been successfully transferred. This process can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days, depending on the programs involved.

Following these steps will ensure a smooth and efficient transfer of your points. However, always check the terms and conditions for any additional steps that your specific credit card issuer might require.

Real-world example: Imagine you have 10,000 points with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card and want to transfer them to your United MileagePlus account. Logging into your Chase account, you navigate to the rewards section and select “Transfer Points.” After entering your MileagePlus account number and choosing the number of points to transfer, you confirm the process. Within 24 hours, you receive a notification that the points have successfully transferred.

Comparing Transfer Rates Between Major Credit Card Companies

Transfer rates between credit card companies can vary significantly. Different companies have different partnerships, resulting in varying transfer rates and bonuses. Here we compare the transfer rates of some major credit card companies:

Credit Card Company Partner Program Transfer Rate
American Express Delta SkyMiles 1:1
Chase United MileagePlus 1:1
Citi Hilton Honors 1:2
Capital One Air Canada Aeroplan 2:1.5
Discover Not Available N/A
  1. American Express: Amex offers a straightforward 1:1 transfer rate to programs like Delta SkyMiles. This makes it easy to calculate the exact number of miles you’ll receive.
  2. Chase: Chase has a strong lineup of transfer partners with a favorable 1:1 transfer rate for most airline and hotel programs. This provides significant versatility and value, especially for travel enthusiasts.
  3. Citi: Citi’s transfer rates can be less favorable. For instance, transferring points to Hilton Honors usually comes at a 1:2 rate, meaning 1,000 Citi points equal 2,000 Hilton points. While this seems advantageous, the value of Hilton points is generally lower, so it’s important to consider this when planning a transfer.
  4. Capital One: Capital One’s transfer rate varies; for example, transferring points to Air Canada’s Aeroplan is done at a 2:1.5 rate. Understanding these variations will help you make the best use of your points.
  5. Discover: Discover offers cash back rather than points, so it doesn’t participate in point transfers to airline or hotel programs.

When comparing transfer rates, also consider any promotional bonuses that may be available. For example, Chase may offer a 25% transfer bonus to certain partners during promotional periods.

Potential Fees and Charges Involved in Point Transfers

Transferring points between credit card rewards programs is generally free, but there can be exceptions. It’s important to be aware of any potential fees or charges that could apply:

  1. Transfer Fees: Some credit cards may charge a nominal fee for transferring points, particularly if transferring to international programs. Always check the terms to see if a fee applies.
  2. Processing Fees: While rare, some loyalty programs may have processing fees for receiving transferred points. This is more common with smaller or regional programs.
  3. Currency Exchange Fees: If transferring points to a program based in another country, you might incur currency exchange fees. This is rare but worth considering if you frequently transfer points internationally.
  4. Potential Interest or Penalties: If your credit card account is not in good standing, some issuers may impose additional fees or penalties, which could indirectly affect your ability to transfer points.
Potential Fee Typical Charge When It Applies
Transfer Fee $5 to $15 International transfers
Processing Fee Varies Specific loyalty programs
Exchange Fee 1-3% of points International transfers
Interest/Penalties Varies Accounts not in good standing

Knowing these potential fees and charges can help you make an informed decision about whether transferring points is the best option for you. Always read the fine print or contact customer service for clarification.

Maximizing Benefits Through Strategic Point Transfers

To get the most value from your points, strategic planning is essential. Here are some tips to maximize your benefits:

  1. Monitor Promotions: Keep an eye out for promotions or bonuses when transferring points. For example, some credit card companies offer a 25% transfer bonus to specific loyalty programs during promotions. This can significantly increase the value of your points.
  2. Calculate Value: Before transferring, calculate the value of the points in the destination program. Some points might be worth more in certain programs. For example, 1,000 credit card points might get you a better deal in an airline program compared to a hotel program.
  3. Transfer to High-Value Programs: Focus on transferring points to high-value loyalty programs. Airlines and luxury hotel programs often provide more value for each point compared to merchandise or cash back options.
  4. Leverage Status Benefits: If you have elite status in a loyalty program, transferring points could unlock additional perks and benefits, like seat upgrades or complimentary hotel nights.
  5. Plan Ahead: Don’t transfer points last minute. Strategic planning involves knowing your travel or redemption plans well in advance so you can time your transfers to take advantage of promotions and avoid any potential fees.

For instance, if you know you’ll be traveling to Asia next summer, transferring your points to a frequent flyer program that offers premium cabins on long-haul flights can provide immense value.

By following these strategies, you can ensure that you’re getting the most out of your credit card points and maximizing your overall rewards.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid During the Transfer Process

While transferring points can be beneficial, there are several pitfalls that you should be aware of to avoid losing value:

  1. Expiration Dates: Check the expiration dates on both your credit card points and the points in the destination program. Unused points can expire and result in a loss of value.
  2. Irreversible Transfers: Many point transfers are irreversible. Make sure you’re certain of your decision before initiating the transfer. Once the points are moved, they typically cannot be transferred back.
  3. Transfer Ratios: Be mindful of the transfer ratios and do the math beforehand. A 2:1 transfer ratio may not always be in your favor, especially if the destination points are worth less.
  4. Promotional Gimmicks: Not all promotional transfer bonuses are a good deal. Sometimes, even with a bonus, the transferred points might have less value than if they were used directly from your credit card’s rewards program.
  5. Unlinked Accounts: Ensure your accounts are properly linked before initiating a transfer. Failures in linking can result in delays or lost points.
  6. Extra Fees: As mentioned, always be aware of any extra fees that may apply to your transfer.

By steering clear of these common pitfalls, you can make your point transfers more efficient and effective.

How Transferring Points Affects Your Reward Balances

When you transfer points between programs, it’s important to understand how this affects your overall reward balances:

  1. Immediate Deduction: Points are typically deducted from your credit card rewards balance immediately upon initiating the transfer. This means you’ll see an immediate reduction in your available points.
  2. Time for Transfer: The time it takes for points to reflect in the destination program can vary. While some transfers are almost instantaneous, others may take several days. Make sure you factor this into your plans if you need the points by a certain date.
  3. Balancing Act: Transferring points can affect your ability to use the remaining points efficiently. For example, if a transfer leaves you with a low balance, it may not be sufficient for any significant redemption.
  4. Impact on Bonuses: Certain credit cards offer bonus points for reaching specific thresholds. Transferring points away might cause you to dip below this threshold, affecting your ability to earn those bonuses.

Managing your reward balances effectively means keeping an eye on these impacts and planning transfers accordingly.

Case Studies: Successful Points Transfers Between Programs

Let’s look at a couple of real-world case studies to understand how successful points transfers can be executed.

Case 1: Transferring Points for a Luxurious Airline Experience

John is an avid traveler who loves flying with Emirates. He has accumulated 50,000 points on his American Express Membership Rewards card. John notices a promotion offering a 25% transfer bonus to Emirates Skywards. He transfers his 50,000 Amex points, which convert into 62,500 Skywards miles because of the promotional bonus.

With these miles, John books a one-way business class ticket to Dubai, a flight that would usually cost him over $3,000 if he paid in cash. By strategically transferring his points during a promotion, John significantly increases the value he receives from his credit card rewards.

Case 2: Optimizing Hotel Stays

Sarah has been saving points on her Chase Sapphire Preferred card, aiming for a family vacation. She has 80,000 points and decides to transfer them to Hyatt’s World of Hyatt program, which has favorable redemption rates. With a transfer rate of 1:1, Sarah converts her 80,000 Chase points into 80,000 Hyatt points.

She uses these points to book a week-long stay at a high-end Hyatt resort in Hawaii, which would have cost her over $2,500. By choosing a hotel program with favorable redemption options, Sarah maximizes the value of her points and enjoys a luxury stay for her family.


Transferring points between credit card rewards programs offers a wealth of opportunities to maximize the value of your rewards. From understanding different types of rewards programs to meeting eligibility criteria and following a step-by-step transfer guide, you can efficiently navigate the process and enjoy substantial benefits.

While potential fees and common pitfalls can pose challenges, strategic planning and careful calculations can help you avoid losses and make the most informed decisions. By viewing real-world case studies, we can see that successful points transfers can lead to luxurious travel experiences and significant savings.

Ultimately, understanding how transferring points affects your reward balances and being mindful of promotional opportunities can put you in the best position to reap the rewards of your credit card spending.


  • Types of Rewards Programs: Cash back, travel rewards, and general rewards each offer different transfer opportunities.
  • Eligibility Criteria: Ensure your accounts are in good standing, meet minimum transfer requirements, and link the programs.
  • Step-by-Step Guide: Follow a structured process to transfer points efficiently.
  • Transfer Rates: Compare rates between major credit card companies to maximize value.
  • Potential Fees: Be aware of any transfer, processing, and currency exchange fees.
  • Strategic Transfers: Monitor promotions and transfer points to high-value programs.
  • Common Pitfalls: Avoid expiration dates, irreversible transfers, and hidden fees.
  • Reward Balances: Understand how transferring points affects your overall balances.
  • Case Studies: Real-world examples show the success of strategic point transfers.


Q1: Can I transfer points between any credit card rewards programs? A1: No, the ability to transfer points depends on the partnerships your credit card issuer has with loyalty programs. Always check your card’s terms and conditions.

Q2: Do points transfers happen instantly? A2: While some transfers are instantaneous, others may take several days to process. Always plan ahead to avoid delays.

Q3: Are there any fees for transferring points? A3: Generally, transfers are free, but there can be exceptions such as international transfer fees or processing fees by the loyalty program.

Q4: Is it possible to transfer points back once they are transferred? A4: In most cases, transfers are irreversible, so make sure you are certain before initiating the transfer.

Q5: Do transferred points expire? A5: Transferred points are subject to the expiration policies of the destination program, so check those terms carefully.

Q6: How can I find promotional bonuses for transferring points? A6: Credit card issuers often advertise promotional bonuses on their websites or through email notifications. Always keep an eye out for these.

Q7: What happens if my accounts are not linked correctly? A7: Unlinked accounts can result in failed transfers. Always ensure that your loyalty program accounts are linked to your credit card account.

Q8: Does transferring points affect my credit score? A8: Transferring points does not impact your credit score. However, maintaining a good standing on your credit card account is essential for eligibility.


  1. American Express Membership Rewards
  2. Chase Ultimate Rewards
  3. Citi ThankYou Points
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