If you’ve been collecting and using points for a while, you’ve probably run in to a problem of wanting to transfer points to a certain program but didn’t know how or what the best way was. This is a common problem, and there are a couple of tricks that might be able to help you in a select few cases. I’ll try to cover the one’s that might not be obvious for the beginners that want to move their points around.
This one is probably the most obvious one at the moment because of the current transfer bonus that’s been written about. Hilton is a transfer partner of American Express, but the normal transfer ratio is only 1:1.5. That’s not a very good use of Amex points. I didn’t realize this before, but from 12/1/12 to 1/31/13 Amex is offering a 33% bonus, meaning that the ratio will now be 1:2. While still not the best ratio, it’s clearly much better.
But you can earn this 1:2 ratio all the time, even when there is no bonus, by making an extra transfer. The way you do this is by first transferring your points from Amex to Virgin Atlantic, which is another Amex transfer partner, at a 1:1 ratio, and then from Virgin Atlantic to Hilton, which can be done at a 1:2 ratio. Essentially, you can always earn a 1:2 ratio from Amex to Hilton via Virgin Atlantic. The only thing to note is it takes some time to transfer from Virgin to Hilton, and that you have to call to do it. You also cannot transfer if you have fewer than 10K points in your Virgin Atlantic account.
US Airways Dividend Miles
US Airways has some valuable redemption options, but they’re not a transfer partner with either Chase or Amex. US Airways is a transfer partner of SPG, but those are valuable points that you probably don’t want to transfer unless you really need to. There is another option that is not discussed frequently because it isn’t a perfect solution, but still could be very helpful if you’re in need of some US Airways points and have a lot of Amex points to burn.
You can transfer your Amex points to Air Canada’s Aeroplan program at a 1:1 ratio all the time. You can also transfer Aeroplan miles to US Airways miles at a rate of 1:.84 via Points.com (which is used by many point programs). So you can essentially transfer your Amex miles at that same rate. Again, it’s not the best deal ever but it’s pretty great offer if you happen to have lots of Amex Membership Rewards points.
You can also do the same trick as above to get Priority Club hotel points, but at a lower redemption rate of 1:.72. Again, it’s not worth it to do on a regular basis but it’s definitely worth it for a PointBreaks hotel that costs just 5K points. There are also plenty of other ways to earn Priority Club points, including buying them for very cheap.
Note that you can also transfer Chase points to Priority Club at a 1:1 ratio, but some value their Chase points too highly to make this kind of transfer (including me).
These are the more lucrative ones that exist. If you check out Points.com (through which the Aeroplan transfers can be completed) you’ll see there is a very long list of transfer partners, including the elusive American Airlines. The only problem is that the transfer ratio is a very unimpressive 1:.373 ratio, so unless you’re really in need of American miles and have a ton of Amex points, there’s no reason to make that transfer. Still, check out the list of possibilities just to educate yourself on what can be done.