Which Credit Cards Can Transfer Points to Airlines and Hotels?

Jun 28, 2017

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here: Citi Prestige and Citi Premier, The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, Chase Freedom Unlimited

“Reader Questions” are answered three days a week — Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — by TPG Senior Writer Julian Mark Kheel.

One of the things that makes flexible bank currencies like Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards so valuable is the ability to transfer points to each program’s airline and hotel partners. But TPG reader Arthur wants to know if every credit card in a specific program offers that feature…

I know there used to be some cards that allowed Membership Rewards points to be transferred and some cards did not. Is that still the case?

TPG Reader Arthur

Good question, Arthur. While nowadays most American Express cards that earn Membership Rewards do allow you to transfer points, there are a few exceptions, especially when it comes to older cards. And Amex isn’t the only bank with one set of credit cards that have the transfer feature and another set that doesn’t. Both Chase and Citibank do the same thing, and usually you’ll find that you have to pay an annual fee in order to be able to transfer your points, though not always.

With Chase, you’ll need to have either a Chase Sapphire Reserve, a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or an Ink Business Preferred Credit Card card in order to be able to transfer your points to any of Ultimate Rewards’ 11 transfer partners. You’ll note those are all cards with annual fees, though the cheapest one is only $95 per year, which isn’t too bad. Fortunately, if you do have one of these cards but also earn Ultimate Rewards points from other Chase cards like the Chase Freedom Unlimited, points from all your cards will pool together and be transferable as well.

The same is true at Citibank. You’ll need either the Citi Prestige Card or the Citi Premier Card in your wallet in order to make your ThankYou points transferable to Citibank’s 13 travel partners. Again, the Premier only costs $95 annually, so it’s not a huge price to pay.

But what about American Express? Actually, when it comes to cards that can transfer points, Amex is most generous of the three banks, because it offers at least two different credit cards with no annual fee that come with the transfer ability. On the personal side, The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express has the transfer feature and charges no annual fee, while for businesses, the relatively new Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express will let you transfer points without paying an annual cost for the card. Since you can easily pool all your Membership Rewards points together, that means you don’t even need to pay an annual fee to make all your Amex points transferable to the program’s 20 airline and hotel partners.

Just be aware that some other older no annual fee Amex cards like the Optima Card don’t offer the transfer feature, so make sure you pick the right no annual fee card if you want to move your points. Thanks for the question, Arthur, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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