Airlines with multiple transfer partners

I’ve always been a big proponent of points programs that let members transfer points to their choice of multiple airline loyalty programs.  The best of these are Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR), Amex Membership Rewards (MR), and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG).  Recently, Chase added Singapore Airlines as a transfer partner to the UR program.   Singapore was already a transfer partner with MR and SPG, so it has now joined the tiny club of airlines available from all three transferable points programs.  The other two are British Airways and Virgin Atlantic

The following chart shows all of the airline programs that are available for transfer from two or three of the transferable points programs:

Airline Program MR UR SPG
British Airways Executive Club Y Y Y
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Y Y Y
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Y Y Y
AeroMexico Y N Y
Air Canada Aeroplan Y N Y
Air France KLM Flying Blue Y N Y
Alitalia MileMiglia Y N Y
All Nippon Airways Y N Y
Asia Miles Y N Y
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles Y N Y
Emirates Skywards Y N Y
Hawaiian Airlines Y N Y

* United is not listed above despite being a partner with both UR and SPG since SPG transfers to United at a horrible 2 to 1 ratio.

The great thing about airline programs being available from multiple transfer partners is that it is then easier to collect the miles needed for specific awards.  And, since there are quite a few airlines in the table above, its possible to pick and choose the airline to transfer to based on which one offers the best availability and value for your specific needs.

Top features of each program (off the top of my head)

Most of the airline programs listed above have sweet spots in their award charts or routing rules that make them great options for certain situations.  Here’s when to consider each program:

British Airways

  • Relatively short non-stop flights on OneWorld alliance members and BA partners can be dirt cheap.  Great value can be had thanks to their distance based award chart that starts at only 4500 points for one-way travel.  Watch out for ridiculously high fuel surcharges, especially on British Airways’ own flights.
  • Very low cancellation fees when awards are cancelled online and when no taxes and fees are involved.
  • Example use: Fly American Airlines from Los Angeles to Honolulu for only 12,500 points one-way (in economy)

Singapore Airlines

  • Use points to book Singapore first class or even Singapore Suites.  When booking online, get an automatic 15% discount.  Singapore does include fuel surcharges, unfortunately.
  • Book Star Alliance and partner awards.  Jason Steele does a good job of outlining many of the best options here.
  • Very low change and cancellation fees (see the fee schedule here)

Virgin Atlantic

Air Canada

  • Book Star Alliance North America to Europe business class for only 90,000 miles round trip.  Make sure to pick carriers that charge no (or low) fuel surcharges.
  • According to One Mile at a Time, “Aeroplan does not impose fuel surcharges for travel on Air China, Brussels, EgyptAir, Ethiopian, EVA Air, Scandinavian, Singapore, Swiss, Turkish, United, and US Airways, and the fuel surcharges on LOT are really low.”

Air France

  • Take advantage of their occasional 50% off Promo Awards (for example, see this post)
  • Book awards to Israel with Air France miles since Air France thinks Israel is in Europe
  • Use Air France miles to book Delta one-way awards for half the price of round trip (Delta claims they will offer this ability themselves starting Jan 1 2015, but for now, Air France is the only option).

All Nippon Airways (ANA)

Delta

  • Take advantage of a free stopover and open jaw on all awards (even domestic awards).  See “Delta SkyMiles: Value from domestic flights”.
  • Use Delta SkyMiles to book Virgin Australia business class, which often has great availability.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Comments

    • Yes, I purposely left them out of the chart since I only listed airlines that were available from 2 or more of the transferable points programs. Even though United is available from both Chase and SPG, SPG is such a poor value transfer (2 to 1) that I decided to leave it out.

  1. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t MR charge an excise tax “fee” for transfers to their airline partners? If so, shouldn’t that amount be disclosed so people can compare fairly between the 3 different programs?

    • That’s correct for US based programs, MR charges 60 cents per 1000 points transferred up to a max of $99. So, yes, I should update the table for Delta and Hawaiian. Thanks for the suggestion.

  2. I think the readers want a chart that shows all transfer partners.
    🙂
    Although I find this one very useful.

  3. Singapore opening up with Chase makes me think I’ll never transfer to UA even though I live in SFO shadow………UA FC SFO-LHR was meah………..

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