The Ultimate Guide to Transferring Flexible Points to Other Accounts [Amex, Chase, Citi, Marriott]

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Award programs (whether airlines, hotels, or credit cards) are complicated if you’re not in the game. Most programs have tons of rules and restrictions, which can be confusing even for people who look at this stuff every day.

One aspect that can be especially confusing is when and how you can combine and transfer your points. In this article, I’ll walk you through how to combine and transfer flexible points between your own accounts, as well as from your own account to family (e.g., spouse), friends, and authorized users.

How to Transfer Flexible Points From Your Account

There are currently 4 major flexible point programs: American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Rewards. When you earn points in each of these programs, you can transfer those points to the loyalty program’s partners.

For example, when you earn Amex Membership Rewards points, you can transfer those points directly to Singapore Airlines to book a Singapore Airlines flight.

To highlight a more nuanced example, you can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points, transfer those points directly to Virgin Atlantic, and book an ANA flight because Virgin Atlantic and ANA are partners. Make sense?

In this article, I’ll focus on transferring points to airline and hotel partners. I’ll also cover the rules for each program, as each major flexible point program treats combining and transferring points from your account differently.

For each program, I’ll break it into 2 parts: I’ll first address combining points, and then focus on transferring points.

American Express Membership Rewards

Singapore Suites FRA-SIN
Transfer your Amex points to Singapore Airlines to fly Singapore Airlines Suites! Image courtesy of Upgraded Points.

American Express Membership Rewards is a popular flexible point program for 2 reasons:

  1. It offers a useful lineup of airline partners to redeem your points with.
  2. Amex regularly offers transfer bonuses to some of its airline partners.

Some of the best ways to receive the most value with your Amex points involve transfers to:

Amex does a nice job offering its customers plenty of opportunities to earn points when spending money on its credit cards. What you may not know is that you can also transfer Amex points across accounts!

Amex Transfer Rules

The Membership Rewards program has a few rules that are important to know before transferring or combining your points. As you’ll see in this article, all of the flexible point programs have different rules.

If you are combining Amex points, you can combine points across your accounts. You are not allowed to pool or combine points earned by another person with Membership Rewards points.

For example, if you earn Amex points with the Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, you can combine your points into 1 account.

If you are transferring Amex points, you can only transfer points to a frequent traveler account in your name. You are not allowed to transfer Membership Rewards points to another person’s frequent traveler account.

For example, you can transfer Amex points to your Etihad account, but you can’t transfer points to your spouse’s Etihad account.

It’s also worth noting that Amex requires you to transfer a minimum number of points when transferring to its travel partners, which are outlined in the table below:

Amex Transfer Partners (Airlines)

Amex Airline Transfer PartnerMin TransferTransfer Ratio
(Amex > Partner)
Transfer Time
AeroMexico
2,0001:1.62-12 days
Air Canada2,0001:1Almost Instant
Alitalia2,0001:1Almost Instant
Aer Lingus2,0001:1Newly launched, collecting data
ANA1,0001:13 days
Avianca LifeMiles2,0001:1Almost instant
British Airways
2,0001:1Almost Instant
Cathay Pacific2,0001:1Up to 1 Week
Delta Air Lines2,0001:1Almost Instant
EL AL2,00050:1Almost Instant
Emirates2,0001:1Almost Instant
Etihad Airways1,0001:1Almost Instant
FlyingBlue AirFrance/KLM2,0001:1Almost Instant
Hawaiian2,0001:1Almost Instant
Iberia2,0001.25:11-3 days
JetBlue2,0001:1Almost Instant
Singapore Airlines2,0001:11-2 days
Virgin Atlantic2,0001:11-2 days

Amex Transfer Partners (Hotels)

Amex Hotel Transfer PartnerMin TransferTransfer Ratio
(Amex > Partner)
Transfer Time
Choice Privileges1,0001:1Almost Instant
Hilton Honors1,0001:2Almost Instant
Starwood Preferred Guest1,0001:2Almost Instant

American Express has a nice lineup of both personal and business credit cards that earn Membership Rewards points.

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

If you’re a business owner, there are several Amex business cards that will earn Membership Points.

Hot Tip: In order to keep your points, you need to make sure at least 1 Membership Rewards account is open and in good standing. If you cancel or if your primary Membership Rewards account is canceled, you will lose your Amex points; they can’t be reinstated. 

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class Cabin
Transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards to Virgin Atlantic to fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class! Image courtesy of AusBT.

Chase Ultimate Rewards is another popular flexible point program with a respectable line up of travel partners.

Although the program recently lost one of its most value airline partners in Korean Air, it gained JetBlue as a replacement, and there are several other travel partners that can be leveraged for value.

Chase offers several great ways to maximize its points, including transfers to:

Chase continues to innovate and offer customers an array of personal and business credit cards. Whatever your spending habits are, Chase has credit cards that earn points allowing you to access many high-value redemptions.

Chase Transfer Rules

Before you move your Chase Ultimate Rewards points, the program has a few rules that are important to cover.

If you are combining Chase points, you can combine points with another Chase Ultimate Rewards account that belongs to you, your spouse/domestic partner, or joint business owner.

If you are transferring Chase points to a frequent traveler account, you can only transfer points to an account that belongs to you or your spouse/domestic partner, provided the spouse or domestic partner is an authorized user living at the same address. You can only make transfers to one authorized user on your account.

For example, you can transfer your Chase points to your spouse’s Ultimate Rewards account if your spouse is an authorized user on your account and you both live at the same address.

If you are transferring Chase points from a business account to a frequent traveler account, you can transfer points to frequent traveler accounts of business owners of the company who are also authorized users on the Ultimate Rewards business card.

For example, you can transfer your Chase points to your business partner’s United Airlines account if your business partner is an authorized user on your Ultimate Rewards business account.

Chase has the same minimum point transfer amounts for all of its partners, which are shown in the table below:

Chase Transfer Partners (Airline)

Chase Airline Transfer PartnerMin TransferTransfer RatioTransfer Time
Aer Lingus AerClub1,0001:1Almost Instant
British Airways Executive Club1,0001:1Almost Instant
Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
1,0001:11-7 days
Iberia Plus1,0001:1Almost Instant
JetBlue1,0001:1Almost Instant
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
1,0001:1Up To 24 Hours
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards1,0001:1Almost Instant
United Airlines MileagePlus1,0001:1Almost Instant
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1,0001:1Almost Instant

Chase Transfer Partners (Hotel)

Chase Hotel Transfer PartnerMin TransferTransfer RatioTransfer Time
World of Hyatt
1,0001:1Almost Instant
IHG Rewards Club1,0001:11 day
Marriott Rewards1,0001:12 days

Chase makes it easy to earn plenty of Ultimate Rewards points from its array of personal and business credit cards.

Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)

Recommended Chase Cards (Business)

Bottom Line: Chase is less restrictive than Amex when combining points across Ultimate Rewards accounts, but still makes it challenging to transfer Chase points to another person’s frequent flyer account. 

Citi ThankYou Rewards

Lufthansa A380 First Class Seat
Transfer your Membership Rewards to Avianca to fly Lufthansa first class! Image courtesy of Greg Stone.

Citi’s flexible point program, ThankYou Rewards, does not receive as much attention as Amex and Chase. But that doesn’t mean the program can’t provide you and your family serious value!

A few of the best ways to use Citi points include transfers to:

After Citi’s recent decision to pull the Citi Prestige card off the market for new signups, the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card (learn more) is one of the few cards that earn ThankYou Points.

The travel award space is looking for Citi to step it up in the credit card game, because it’s currently falling behind.

Citi Transfer Rules

When you decide to move your Citi points, there are a few important rules to keep in mind.

If you are combining your Citi points, Citi offers the most generous policy of the flexible point programs. The ThankYou program allows you to combine your points with any other Citi ThankYou member.

After the points are transferred, the new points holder will have 90 days before the points expire. You can share and receive up to 100,000 ThankYou Points in a calendar year.

For example, let’s say you and a friend want to take a trip together. You can transfer your points directly to your friend’s ThankYou Rewards account, who can then use those points to book a flight.

If you want to transfer Citi points to another person’s frequent airline traveler account, the ThankYou program does not allow you to do so.

Citi, like Chase, has the same minimum point transfer amounts for all of its partners, which are shown in the table below:

Citi Transfer Partners

Citi Transfer PartnerMin TransferTransfer RatioTransfer Time
Avianca Airlines Lifemiles1,0001:1No Data
Air France / KLM Flying Blue1,0001:12 Days
Cathay Pacific
1,0001:124 Hours
Etihad Airways1,0001:16 Days
EVA Air1,0001:12 Days
Garuda Indonesia1,0001:12 Days
Jet Airways1,0001:1Almost Instantly
JetBlue Airways1,0001:1Almost Instantly
Malaysia Airlines1,0001:1No Data
Qantas Airways1,0001:12 Days
Qatar Airways
1,0001:12 Days
Singapore Airlines1,0001:12 Days
Thai Airways1,0001:14 Days
Turkish Airlines1,0001:11-2 Days
Virgin Atlantic1,0001:12 Days

While Citi doesn’t have as deep of a bench of credit cards as Amex and Chase, it does regularly offer high sign-up bonuses on its ThankYou Rewards-earning credit cards.

Bottom Line: The Citi ThankYou Rewards program is ideal if you are looking to transfer points to anyone, including your spouse, a family member, or a friend. 

Marriott Rewards

JAL First Class, Seat Photo
Transfer Marriott points to Japan Airlines to fly Japan Airlines first class. Image courtesy of Dave/Miles Talk.

Marriott, with its acquisition of SPG, has the most expansive list of airline transfer partners with more than 40.

This is great news when you also consider the fact that Marriott offers a 15,000-point bonus for every 60,000 points you transfer to an airline partner.

Some of the best ways to use Marriott points include transfers to:

We’ve also written about some of the best ways to use your Marriott points for award flights or for hotel stays. 

Make sure you maximize your earnings, as Marriott offers a number of ways to earn points from its credit cards to stays at its portfolio of hotels across the world.

Marriott Transfer Rules

When you decide to move your Marriott points, the rules are straightforward.

If you are combining Marriott points between accounts, you can transfer up to 100,000 points in a calendar year to another Marriott member whose account has been open at least 60 days. This is valid whether you are sending or receiving the points.

Separately, a new Marriott member may receive points after 30 days if the member has had qualifying activity on his or her account. The catch with transferring points is that you must contact Member Support to initiate the transfer.

For example, let’s say you and your spouse want to book flights for a trip, but your spouse doesn’t have enough points. You can combine the points in your account with the points in your spouse’s account. From there, you can book your flights.

If you want to transfer Marriott points to a frequent flyer account that is not your own, you are not allowed to do so. Instead, transfer your Marriott points to another Marriott member’s account; then that member can book a flight with the points in their account.

Marriott sets a minimum of 3,000 and a maximum of 240,000 points that can be transferred per day.

Marriott Transfer PartnerMin TransferTransfer Ratio (Marriott > Partner)Bonus Airline Miles
for every 60k Marriott Points Transferred
Transfer Time (based on pre-merger reports)
Aegean Airlines Miles+Bonus3,0003:15,00010 days
Aeroflot Bonus3,0003:15,000unknown
AeroMexico Club Premier3,0003:15,0002 days
Air Canada Aeroplan3,0003:15,0005 days
Air China Phoenix Miles3,0003:15,0005 days
Air France/KLM Flying Blue3,0003:15,0001 day
Air New Zealand Airpoints3,000200:1252 days
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan3,0003:15,0002 days
Alitalia MilleMiglia3,0003:15,000unknown
ANA Mileage Club3,0003:15,0007 days
American Airlines AAdvantage3,0003:15,0002 days
Asiana Airlines Asiana Club3,0003:15,00010 days
Avianca Airlines Lifemiles3,0003:15,000unknown
British Airways Executive Club3,0003:15,0001 day
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles3,0003:15,00010 days
China Eastern Airlines Eastern Miles3,0003:15,000unknown
China Southern Airlines3,0003:15,0003 days
Copa Airlines ConnectMiles3,0003:15,000unknown
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles3,0003:15,0002 days
Emirates Skywards3,0003:15,0006 days
Etihad Guest3,0003:15,0005 days
Frontier Airlines MyFrontier3,0003:15,000unknown
Gol Smiles3,000unknown5,000unknown
Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings3,0003:15,000unknown
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles3,0003:15,0002 days
Iberia Plus3,0003:15,0006 days
Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank3,0003:15,0007 days
Jet Airways JetPrivilege3,0003:15,000unknown
JetBlue TrueBlue3,0006:12,5001 day
Korean Air SKYPASS3,0003:15,0007 days
LATAM Airlines LATAM Pass3,0003:15,0002 days
Lufthansa Miles & More3,0003:15,0006 days
Qantas Frequent Flyer3,0003:15,0006 days
Qatar Airways Privilege Club3,0003:15,0006 days
Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan3,0003:15,000unknown
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer3,0003:15,0006 days
South African Airways Voyager3,0003:15,000unknown
Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards3,0003:15,0002 days
TAP Air Portugal3,0003:15,000unknown
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus3,0003:15,00010 days
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles3,0003:15,000unknown
United MileagePlus3,0003:1.15,5002 days
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club3,0003:15,0001 day
Virgin Australia Velocity3,0003:15,0002 days

Marriott currently has a number of personal and business credit cards, typically with generous sign-up bonuses too.

Recommended Marriott-SPG Cards

Hot Tip: Marriott’s acquisition of SPG opened up a number of valuable airline partners for members including Alaska Airlines, Japan Airlines, and Korean Air to name a few. 

Final Thoughts

With the constant shuffling of airline partners, award redemption rates, and credit card restrictions, a valuable strategy is to earn points in all of the flexible point programs. That way when one partner leaves or the inevitable award chart devaluation occurs, you will have hedged your bets by not being stuck holding only 1 currency.

The Citi ThankYou program is starting to fall behind with its lack of credit cards and useful airline partners relative to other flexible point programs. Marriott has bolstered its program by keeping the legacy transfer bonus from SPG intact, as well as having a lineup of important airline partners.

Chase has slipped a touch after losing one of its most valuable partners in Korean Air and replacing it with JetBlue. Amex’s stock continues to rise by having useful partners and offering transfer bonuses to partners like Virgin Atlantic on a regular basis.

Whether you are earning points by yourself, with a spouse/significant other, or you have the entire family involved, it’s important to know how to move your points around to help with booking your next redemption.

FAQ

Can I combine my Amex points with another person who has Amex points?

You can combine points across your Membership Rewards accounts, but you are not allowed to pool or combine points earned by another person with Membership Rewards points.

Can I transfer my Amex points to another person's frequent traveler account?

You can only transfer points to a frequent traveler account in your name. You are not allowed to transfer Membership Rewards points to another person’s frequent traveler account.

Can I combine my Chase points with another person who has Chase points?

You can combine points with another Chase Ultimate Rewards account that belongs to you, your spouse or domestic partner, or your joint business owner.

Can I transfer my Chase points to another person's frequent traveler account?

You can only transfer points to an account that belongs to you or your spouse/domestic partner, provided the spouse or domestic partner is an authorized user on the Ultimate Rewards account living at the same address. You can only make transfers to one authorized user on your account.

If you are transferring Chase points from a business account to a frequent traveler account, you can transfer points to frequent traveler accounts of business owners of the company who are also authorized users on the business card account.

Can I combine my Citi points with another person who has Citi points?

You can combine your points with any other Citi ThankYou member. After the points are transferred, the new points holder will have 90 days before the points expire. You can share and receive up to 100,000 ThankYou Points in a calendar year.

Can I transfer my Citi points to another person's frequent traveler account?

You are not allowed to transfer your Citi ThankYou Rewards points to a frequent traveler account that is not in your name.

Can I combine my Marriott points with another person who has Marriott points?

You can transfer up to 100,000 points in a calendar year to another Marriott member whose account has been open at least 60 days. This is valid whether you are sending or receiving the points.

Separately, a new member may receive points after 30 days if the member has had qualifying activity in their account.

You must contact Member Support to transfer your points.

Can I transfer my Marriott points to another person's frequent traveler account?

You can are not allowed to transfer Marriott points to a frequent traveler account that is not in your name. Instead, transfer your Marriott points to the other Marriott member’s account, who can then transfer those points to their frequent traveler account.

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