TPG reader question: Can I earn points and miles on a balance transfer to my new credit card?

Sep 26, 2021

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Editor’s note: This article is part of a weekly column to answer your credit card, points and miles and general travel questions. If you would like to ask us a question, tweet us at @thepointsguyuk, message us on Facebook or email us at


Credit cards come with various offers to attract applicants. These can range from a big welcome bonus of points and miles for spending a certain amount in your first, say, 90 days of holding the card. There could also be a lower introductory interest rate.

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A popular offer for new cards is a balance transfer. You might be considering a new card because of a welcome bonus but have an existing balance on an existing card. If both cards come with an annual fee you might be too keen on paying annual fees for both cards. The new card issuer may offer you a balance transfer offer where you can move the balance owing from your existing card to your new card, close your existing card and just pay off the balance on your new card, as well as enjoy the benefits of a new card like the welcome bonus or travel perks.

Related: Understanding credit card balance transfer offers

This brings us to this week’s TPG reader question of the week.

Can points be acquired through transferring a balance from another card, or is it only on actual purchases?

James, TPG Lounge Member

Unfortunately, the short answer is no, you can’t earn points and miles on balance transfers. You will also not earn points and miles on the cost of any annual fees, interest charges on new purchases, or any balance transfer fees. You will only earn points and miles on purchases you make on the new card.

Balance transfer offers can be extremely generous, even if you are not earning any points and miles on the transfer. Some cards offer a balance transfer offer for 12+ months at no cost, meaning you have a full year to pay off that existing balance without paying any interest. If you’re moving this from a card with, say a 20% p.a. interest rate, you can save big while reducing your debt.

Related: How credit and credit scores work

Many cards will offer an extended interest period on your balance transfer provided you pay a balance transfer fee, which might be 3% of the balance you and transferring. If the balance you are looking to transfer is, say £5,000, then paying a £150 fee to do a balance transfer might seem like a lot of money.

However, if you are saving 20% interest on moving that balance then you are going to come out well in front.

Featured image by Liam Spencer / The Points Guy

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.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.