Airline Transfer Partners (2019)

Some of our most valuable redemptions are the result of transferring bank points such as Amex Membership Rewards points and Chase Ultimate Rewards points to airline partners.  Those points become airline miles and then we use the airline miles to book otherwise expensive plane tickets.

There are lots of ways to get to Europe on points! With transferable points such as Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can choose the airline partner that results in the lowest redemption cost!

It is important to note that you cannot just transfer to any airline, though.  Each rewards program has different airline (and possibly hotel) transfer partners.  

It can be tough to keep up with which points transfer to which airlines, so I made a table for 4 popular transferable bank currencies.  I have included Marriott Rewards as well, since they have several airline partners*

Note that not all transfer partners have a 1:1 ratio. 

*Marriott Rewards points are hotel points. Hotel points usually aren’t transferable to airlines, and even the ones that are have a terrible ratio. Marriott is an exception because the ratio is somewhat reasonable.

 American Express
Membership Rewards
Chase
Ultimate Rewards
Citi
Thank You
Capital One
Venture
Marriott
Bonvoy
Aegean Airlines----3:1
AeroFlot Bonus----3:1
AeroMexico Club Premier1:1.6--2:1.53:1
Air Canada Aeroplan1:1--2:1.53:1
Air China Phoenix Miles----3:1
Air New Zealand Air points----200:1
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan----3:1
Alitalia MilleMiglia1:1-2:1.53:1
Aer Lingus1:11:1---
ANA1:1---3:1
American Airlines AAdvantage----3:1
Asiana Airlines Asiana Club----3:1
Avianca LifeMiles1:1-1:12:1.53:1
British Airways Executive Club1:11:1--3:1
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles1:1-1:12:1.53:1
China Eastern Airlines----3:1
China Southern Airlines----3:1
Copa Airlines Connect Miles----3:1
Delta Sky Miles1:1---3:1
El Al50:1----
Emirates Skywards1:11:1-2:13:1
EVA Infinity Mileagelands--1:12:1.5-
Etihad Guest1:1-1:12:1.53:1
FinnAir Plus---2:1.5-
Frontier Airlines Early Returns----3:1
Garuda Indonesia--1:1--
Hainan Fortune Wings Club---2:1.53:1
KLM/AirFrance FlyingBlue1:11:11:12:1.53:1
Hawaiian Airlines1:1---3:1
Iberia Plus1:11:1--3:1
Japan Airlines Mileage Bank----3:1
Jet Airways Jet Privilege--1:1-3:1
JetBlue TrueBlue250:2001:11:1-6:1
Korean Air SkyPass----3:1
LATAM Airlines----3:1
Lufthansa-----
Malaysia Airlines--1:1--
Qantas Frequent Flyer1:1-1:12:1.53:1
Qatar Airways Privilege Club--1:12:1.53:1
Saudia Airlines----3:1
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1:11:11:12:13:1
South African Airways----3:1
Southwest Rapid Rewards-1:1--3:1
TAP Air Portugal----3:1
Thai Airways--1:1-3:1
Turkish Airlines--1:1-3:1
United Mileage Plus-1:1--3:1.1
Virgin Atlantic1:11:11:1-3:1
Virgin Australia----3:1

Keep in mind that just because you don’t see an airline as a transfer partner, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are out of luck.  For example, Chase Ultimate Rewards points do not transfer to American Airlines.  But they do transfer to British Airways.  You cannot transfer British Airways avios (miles) to American Airlines, but you can use British Airways avios to book American Airlines flights.  Sometimes, you may get an even better redemption price than what it would cost if booking through American Airlines!  Click here for more information.

Whistler on airline miles 2019
We used British Airways Avios to book American Airlines flights to Vancouver for a ski trip in Whistler

For more of our favorite redemptions, click here

Earn bank points, not airline miles

Most travel rewards credit cards can be placed into one of 4 categories. Click here for more info.

  1. Bank point cards
  2. Airline co-branded cards
  3. Hotel co-branded cards
  4. Cash-back cards

Sometimes, there may be some overlap in the categories. For example, bank point cards are cards that earn transferable points such as Chase Ultimate Rewards. Bank points are often redeemable for cash-back, but it’s rarely a good value.

If you use an airline co-branded credit card such as an American Airlines Aviator card from Barclay, you earn AAdvantage miles.  Those AAdvantage miles can only be redeemed through the AAdvantage program. They are not transferable to other airlines or to bank programs such as Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards.  But if you collect bank points (which I highly recommend), you can transfer to whichever airline partner makes the most sense when you are ready to redeem.

Amex airline partners 2019 Etihad
We booked business class tickets to Japan on an American Airlines flight by transferring Amex Membership Rewards points to Etihad. Then we used Etihad miles to book the flights.

Final thoughts

There is no need to memorize transfer partners, but this chart may help you plan your long term strategy.  Pay attention to alliances and indirect partners.  Depending on which airline operates your desired flight, one bank currency may be better than another.  

For example, our American Airlines flights to Japan in business class were not a good redemption price if booked with British Airways.  British Airways avios are great for booking tons of American Airlines routes, but not business class long-haul.

Etihad is a non-alliance partner of American Airlines. That means you can use Etihad miles to book American Airlines flights. The flights we wanted were a great price with Etihad.  In fact, it was less than it would have been even if our points transferred to American Airlines AAdvantage.

Amex and Chase are our currencies of choice.  Both transfer to British Airways.  Chase Ultimate Rewards do not transfer to Etihad.  Amex MR do transfer to Etihad.  If we only had Chase Ultimate Rewards, we wouldn’t have been able to book those flights (at least not at that redemption price). 

So, make sure you are collecting the right currencies.  Or better yet, use cards that earn 2 different types of bank points, such as Amex and Chase.  

1 thought on “Airline Transfer Partners (2019)”

  1. Pingback: Amazing Southwest Companion Pass Deal! • The Miles Genie

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