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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.
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:
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 From||Transfer To||Exchange Ratio||Minimum Points to Exchange|
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.
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.
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:
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.
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 From||Transfer To||Transfer Rate|
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 From||Transfer To||Transfer Rate|
|IHG||Aeromexico, 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 Australia||5:1 Generally
400:1 Air New Zealand
250:1 El Al
20:3 Malaysia Airlines
|Hilton||Aeroflot, 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 Atlantic||10:1 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, 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.
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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