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Ways to move miles from one airline to another (Points.com and other methods)

by on Wed March 29, 2017 • 8 Comments
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Transferring points or miles from one airline to another can be frustrating. 

Unlike hotel and bank points, many airline miles have no options at all to transfer to another program.

If you’re trying to move Alaska, American, Delta, Southwest, or United miles around, you won’t find any options to convert your miles out to another airline’s miles. They’re stuck in your account once you earn them.

So for example if you want to transfer your United MileagePlus miles to your American AAdvantage account you’re out of luck. There are no options.

The same goes even for airlines that are partners. If you have American AAdvantage miles and want to transfer them to a British Airways Avios account, it’s impossible.

But if you have other airline miles, here are some options to move them to another airline, so you can add to miles you already have or take advantage of a better deal.

Here’s how.

Use Points.com to transfer points out

Points.com’s exchange lets you move points from one airline program to another, and airlines that let you use Points.com to move points out include:

  • Aeroplan (Air Canada)
  • Amtrak
  • Frontier
  • Hainan Airline
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Icelandair
  • JetBlue

How does it work?

Points.com transfers are free – there are no fees, but your miles get diluted by an exchange rate. And once you send miles out you can’t reverse the transaction, so think hard before you click the ‘Yes, Exchange’ button (see how it works).

After that, it takes about 3 – 5 days for your miles to transfer over.

Here are the airline programs available for exchange and the exchange rate at time of writing. We’ve also included Amtrak for good measure.

Transfer FromTransfer ToExchange RatioMinimum Points to Exchange
AeroplanAmtrak0.5715,000
AeroplanFrontier0.4015,000
AeroplanHainan0.6015,000
AeroplanHawaiian0.6715,000
AeroplanIcelandair0.4815,000
AeroplanJetBlue0.3415,000
AmtrakAeroplan0.431,000
AmtrakDelta0.301,000
AmtrakFrontier0.351,000
AmtrakHainan0.531,000
AmtrakHawaiian0.591,000
AmtrakIcelandair0.431,000
AmtrakJetBlue0.301,000
FrontierAeroplan0.201,100
FrontierAmtrak0.231,100
FrontierHainan0.251,100
FrontierHawaiian0.281,100
FrontierIcelandair0.201,100
FrontierJetBlue0.141,100
HainanAeroplan0.403,000
HainanAmtrak0.473,000
HainanFrontier0.333,000
HainanHawaiian0.553,000
HainanIcelandair0.403,000
HainanJetBlue0.283,000
HawaiianAeroplan0.175,000
HawaiianAmtrak0.205,000
HawaiianFrontier0.145,000
HawaiianHainan0.215,000
HawaiianIcelandair0.175,000
HawaiianJetBlue0.125,000
IcelandairAeroplan0.261,000
IcelandairAmtrak0.301,000
IcelandairFrontier0.211,000
IcelandairHainan0.321,000
IcelandairHawaiian0.361,000
IcelandairJetBlue0.181,000
JetBlueAeroplan0.431,000
JetBlueAmtrak0.501,000
JetBlueFrontier0.351,000
JetBlueHainan0.531,000
JetBlueHawaiian0.591,000
JetBlueIcelandair0.431,000

Some exchanges are better than most.

JetBlue to Amtrak is a good deal. You can turn 1,000 JetBlue points into 500 Amtrak Guest Rewards points. That’s good because JetBlue points are worth about 1.5 cents each, while Amtrak points are worth about 3 cents each, so doing the exchange doesn’t lose much value. But transferring out of Amtrak, and into JetBlue isn’t such a good deal. 1,000 Amtrak points only gets you 297 JetBlue points.

Aeroplan to Amtrak can be a decent deal. 15,000 Aeroplan miles gets you 8,500 Amtrak points. With Amtrak points worth 3 cents each, it values your Aeroplan miles at about 1.7 cents each, which isn’t far off from the 2 cents per mile we value Aeroplan miles. If you aren’t planning to use them for a big international business class flight, it’s not a bad exchange to make.

exchangescreen

The two best airline exchange rates are from Aeroplan to Hawaiian where you only lose about one third of your miles in the exchange (15,000 Aeroplan miles = 10,081 Hawaiian miles), and from Hainan to Hawaiian where you lose a little less than half of your points in the exchange.

 

pointsloyaltywallet

Points.com is also a great way to keep track of all your mileage balances in one place, with one login, even for programs that can’t be exchanged. With Points.com you can see your balances on one screen with the following airlines:

  • Aer Lingus Gold Circle Club
  • Aeroflot Bonus
  • Aeromexico Club Premier®
  • Air France KLM Flying Blue
  • Air India Flying Returns
  • airberlin topbonus
  • Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan™
  • Alitalia Mille Miglia
  • ANA Mileage Club
  • Asia Miles
  • Asiana Club
  • Avios (AVUK)
  • Avios British Airways Executive Club
  • China Airlines Dynasty Flyer Program
  • China Eastern Airlines Eastern Miles
  • China Southern Sky Pearl Club
  • Czech Airlines OK Plus
  • EL AL Matmid Frequent Flyer Club
  • Etihad Airways Etihad Guest
  • EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
  • Finnair Plus FlyBuys
  • German Wings Boomerang Club
  • JAL Mileage Bank
  • Jet Airways JetPrivilege
  • Korean Air SKYPASS
  • LANPASS
  • Lufthansa Miles & More
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich Oasis Club
  • Philippine Airlines Mabuhay Miles
  • Porter Airlines VIPorter
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Saudi Arabian Airlines Alfursan
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • South African Airways Voyager
  • Spirit Airlines FREE SPIRIT™
  • Sun Country Airlines® Ufly Rewards®
  • TAM Fidelidade
  • TAP Portugal Victoria
  • THAI Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
  • Virgin America Elevate
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer
  • Vueling Punto
  • WestJet Rewards

There’s no fee to track points, and all the programs are linked behind the scenes so you don’t have to do manual updates.

Other Ways to Exchange

Virgin Atlantic to Hotel Points to Airlines

In addition to being able to transfer airline miles through Points.com, there are other ways that you can transfer airline miles through various hotel programs.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is one airline that lets you convert miles into hotel points, and from there, you can turn them into miles with many airlines.

Virgin miles can be converted into IHG Rewards and Hilton Honors points.

Transfer FromTransfer ToTransfer Rate
Virgin AtlanticIHG1:1
Virgin AtlanticHilton2:3

IHG transfers are 1:1, so 10,000 Virgin Atlantic miles gets you 10,000 IHG points.

And transferring to Hilton is at a 2:3 rate. So 10,000 Virgin miles gets you 15,000 Hilton points.

Transferring to IHG is the best bet to avoid the most dilution. Once you turn IHG points into airline miles, the rate is 5:1, so 10,000 IHG points gets you 2,000 airline miles with American, Delta, United, and more.

The rate from Hilton to airline miles is worse – most transfers have a 10:1 rate, so 10,000 Hilton points gets you 1,000 airline miles.

Transfer FromTransfer ToTransfer Rate
IHGAeromexico, Air China, Air France/KLM, Air New Zealand, Airberlin, Alaska Airlines, Alitalia, ANA, American Airlines, Asiana, Avianca, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern, China Southern, Delta, El Al, Emirates, Etihad, Gulf, Hainan, JAL, Jet, JetBlue, LATAM, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Saudia, Singapore Airlines, South African, TAP, Thai, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia5:1 Generally
400:1 Air New Zealand
250:1 El Al
20:3 Malaysia Airlines
HiltonAeroflot, Aeromexico, Air Canada, Airberlin, Air China, Air France/KLM, Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines, ANA, American Airlines, Avianca, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, China Southern, Czech, Delta, Etihad, Frontier Airlines, Gulf, Hawaiian Airlines, Icelandair, JAL, Jet, JetBlue, LATAM, Malaysia, Mexicana, Lufthansa, Olympic, Qantas, Qatar, Saudia, Singapore Airlines, South African, Thai, United Airlines, Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic10:1 Generally
20:3 Aeroflot, American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Gulf, Hawaiian Airlines, Mexicana, Qantas, South African, Virgin Atlantic
50:13 Aeromexico and LATAM
500:1 Air New Zealand

British Airways / Iberia / Aer Lingus Transfers

British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus are interesting in that they have frequent flyer programs that are not the same, but are related.

Each airline calls their mileage currency ‘Avios’ and it’s possible to combine the Avios into a single account assuming that a few requirements are met.

First off, all of the details of both accounts must match including your surname, date of birth, and email address. Your account must also not be part of a household account.

Additionally, for Iberia transfers, your accounts must have been open for at least 90 days and you must have some kind of activity in each account.

Assuming all of that is true, transfers are very straightforward and can happen online

Conclusion

Most airlines don’t want you to move your miles elsewhere. They’d rather you use them for lower value flights or merchandise, or worse, let them expire, than give you the flexibility to transfer to other airlines.

But for the handful that participate with Points.com, a transfer out can be a decent option. 

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8 thoughts on Ways to move miles from one airline to another (Points.com and other methods)

  1. Zofia

    Hello,

    I have miles in MilleMiglia and would like to transfer them to Club Premier (Aeromexico in Sky Team). Is ot posible?

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Zofia – Unfortunately that’s not possible – you can just ask MilleMiglia to see if there is availability to use your miles to book a flight on Aeromexico.

      Reply
  2. Vickie Good

    I’m confused. Can I combine (not transfer) miles and use 4900 miles from Hawaiian and 20100 United miles to purchase a roundtrip ticket on United? Thanks!

    Reply
  3. Cristina

    Hi there. I am a bit confused. What is the point of having airline partner groups if you can’t use miles between them? I understand each airline does it’s miles/points differently, so you couldn’t just have “oneworld points” or “StarAlliance points” (which would be AWESOME if they did). But I have read that you can transfer between partners – and this is part of the draw of choosing to be loyal to one alliance. For example, I am an AAdvantage member and I flew on Qatar Airlines in May. Qatar is part of the oneworld airline group. I had to sign up for the Qatar Privilege club and then the number they gave me was my Qatar frequent flyer #. I earned miles but now how do I transfer them to my AA account? Would have been better if I had just put in my AA frequent flyer # instead? Would I have gotten the miles that way?

    Thanks for your help. I find this all very confusing!

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Cristina – It would be great if it worked like the way you describe.

      Unfortunately, partnerships between airlines just let you use your miles to book a flight on another airline or earn miles when flying a partner airline. But you can’t generally mix and match miles between airlines.

      So for your example if you tend to like to fill up your AA account, the better idea would have been to use your AA number to collect the miles from your Qatar flight.

      Transfer partners come in with credit card points. Some banks (Chase, Amex, Citi) have credit cards that earn special points that you can then convert / transfer into several airline programs. And they don’t match up with the ‘oneworld’ or ‘star alliance’ airlines, but basically which airlines have an agreement with that bank.

      Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Len, yes look for Icelandair in the table above, and you’ll see the transfer rates. You can transfer to Aeroplan (Air Canada / Star Alliance), Frontier, Hainan, Hawaiian, and JetBlue. Hawaiian and Aeroplan have the most favorable transfer rates, but they’re still not great and your points get diluted quite a bit.

      Reply

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