The Risks of Transferrable Points for Travel Rewards: What You Need to Know

by joeheg

I recommend earning transferrable points rather than points in a single loyalty program. For instance, I would prefer earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points over points with Aeroplan, Hyatt, or United. If I earn Ultimate Rewards, I can transfer points to any of those programs whenever I need to. This is because the transfers from Chase to each of these programs are typically instant.

For most transfers, the points show up in my loyalty account immediately. AMEX to Delta SkyMiles. Capital One to Flying Blue. Citi Thank You to Wyndham. All of them happened as quickly as I could sign out and back into my account.

However, that’s not always the case. For example, when I was helping my father and his wife plan a trip to Asia, I had my dad transferred his Membership Rewards from AMEX to his ANA account. Unfortunately, the transfer took over a day to show up. But thankfully, the award space didn’t disappear while I was waiting for the points to show in his account.

The same thing happened when I was transferring points to Singapore KrisFlyer for our trip to Vietnam. Transfers to KrisFlyer can often take several days. Thankfully, Singapore KrisFlyer lets you put an award on hold for several days while you wait for the points to arrive in your account.

How To Find Out How Long Transfers Will Take?

The internet is a great resource to find out how long transfers to a particular program will take. There are large databases, like this one at Awardwallet, which show transfer times for many different programs. For example, here’s the current list of how long it takes for points to transfer from each bank to KrisFlyer:

a screenshot of a computer

Individual websites also do tests of how long point transfers take to each program. For example, this post from One Mile at a Time shows how long it takes to transfer points to each of Chase’s partners.

I also recommend checking websites like FlyerTalk or Reddit to find out the duration of transfers to each loyalty program. This information is crowdsourced and may be the most up-to-date, but it can also be affected by inaccurate information provided by airline representatives.

Final Thought

While transferrable points are still the best way to collect points if you don’t have a specific redemption in mind, there are also some pitfalls to beware of. Some programs, like KrisFlyer and Marriott Bonvoy, are notorious for slow transfers. In addition, the more obscure the transfer you’re attempting, the more likely it’s not going to be instant. Knowing this can keep you from transferring points to a program only to find the award space has disappeared before the points arrive in your account.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

1 comment

Jinxed_K March 19, 2024 - 5:48 pm

Sometimes I do wonder if it’s a good idea to pre-transfer points to ANA due to that delay to get tickets 6-8 months later. The only airline I use with miles is ANA since US – Japan is the majority of my international trips, having the points in there makes it a lot easier to jump on seats when they’re available.
I know ANA has a 3 year expiration policy but unless an emergency comes up, I make the trip every year so I don’t foresee losing any.


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