Chase Sapphire Preferred® Airline Transfer Partners

by on Sat June 7, 2014 • 23 Comments
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sapphiretransferOne of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card’s most important features is the ability to transfer points 1:1 to airline partners in every global alliance and top hotel partners via the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

This is a feature American Express Membership Rewards users have grown to love over the years, and Chase’s Sapphire Preferred® Card® is the first major alternative to American Express for airline and hotel point transfers.

We rank it our favorite credit card for airline miles because of its ability to transfer points into one of our favorite U.S. programs — United MileagePlus® in addition to Southwest Airlines, British Airways , Virgin Atlantic, and Korean Airlines.

For business credit card users, the Ink Plus® Business Card from Chase has the same point transfer features as the Sapphire Preferred®, and you can combine points from both cards as well as those of any other cards that earns Ultimate Rewards points like the Chase Freedom Card.

Here is the MileCards.com list of current Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card airline transfer partners:

  • United MileagePlus
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards
  • British Airways Avios
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club (lets you book Delta flights)
  • Korean SkyPass (lets you book Delta flights)
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

United Airlines

You can transfer points instantly to your United Mileage Plus account, or that of any member of your household.

United miles can also  be used for travel on any Star Alliance partner carrier, including Air Canada, Lufthansa, Swiss, ANA, SAS, Singapore, and many more.

You’ll find sending your points to United useful if you want international travel thanks to all of United’s partners You can get to Europe for as few as 60,000 miles roundtrip and most of Asia for 70,000 – 85,000 miles.

You can search for and book most fights  on United.com, but a few like those on Singapore Airlines have to be booked over the phone.

Southwest Airlines

Points can be transferred instantly into your Southwest Rapid Rewards account.

Sending your points to Southwest is often one of the best deals for travel in the U.S. or the Caribbean, with every point wroth over 1.4 cents toward Southwest airfare. That means you can get a $300 ticket for around 20,000 points. Just note these transfers don’t count toward A-List or Companion Pass elite status.

British Airways

You can send your points to British Airways and use them for travel on any OneWorld carrier, including American, British Airways, Iberia, Japan Air Lines, Cathay Pacific, LAN, and more.

You’re going to want to be careful when using British Airways points for International travel though.

They levy fuel surcharges of around $500 for Economy Class and $1,000 for Business and First Class flights across the Atlantic. You can get around them if you book flights on Air Berlin via Dusseldorf and Berlin or pay smaller surcharges if you fly Iberia through Spain.

You’re often better off transferring your points to United for trips to Europe as they levy no fuel surcharges.

A really good deal with British Airways points is using them to book flights with American, US Airways, and Alaska Airlines. You can get them for as little as 9,000 points roundtrip.

Korean Airlines

You can transfer your points instantly to Korean Airlines SkyPass mile accounts.

Then you can use your miles for travel on any SkyTeam carrier, including Delta, Air France, KLM, Alitalia, Aeroflot, Air Europa, and more. They levy fuel surcharges on many awards, which are a few hundred dollars for flights to Asia and more on partner flights to Europe.

A good deal with Korean miles is to book Hawaiian Airlines flights to Hawaii for 30,000 miles roundtrip, with no fuel surcharges.

Virgin Atlantic

If you transfer to Virgin Atlantic you can use your points to travel on Virgin Atlantic, as well as partners Virgin America, Delta, Singapore Airlines, and more.

Virgin Atlantic levies fuel surcharges of a few hundred dollars on its flights in Economy Class and almost $1,000 for Business Class. You can get around those by booking Delta flights, which cost 60,000 miles roundtrip in Economy Class and 125,000 miles in Business Class to Europe.

Singapore Airlines

Once you send points to Singapore they can be used for travel on Singapore Airlines as well as Star Alliance partners like United, ANA, Thai, Lufthansa and more. Transfers can take 1-2 business days to complete.

If you’re interested in flying Singapore Airlines you’ll pay fuel surcharges of a few hundred dollars, but have access to more award seats than if you used United miles to book Singapore flights. So if you’re interested in flying on Singapore, the best strategy is to check if the flights you want are available using United miles

There are also good deals on United flights to Hawaii and United flights in First Class if you use Singapore miles to book them.

Other partners

You can also transfer your points to several hotel programs, including Marriott, Hyatt, Ritz Carlton, and IHG Hotels. Generally you won’t get great value out of moving miles into hotel points unless you have some points in the hotel program to top off. That’s because hotel rewards cost a lot in points. For example a typical free hotel night at a Marriott can run 40,000 points and save you about $200.

But transferring your points to Southwest can save you over $550 on airfare.

Finally, Amtrak is also a point transfer partner and offers some very good deals that can save you hundreds of dollars for relatively few points.

What about booking Delta flights?

It’s not the most convenient option, but it is possible to book Delta flights with your Chase Ultimate Rewards points. The catch is you can’t move points and combine them with your existing Delta SkyMiles.

Here are the options:

1. Transfer to Virgin Atlantic

Virgin is a partner of Delta’s, and you can use Virgin points to book Delta flights as long as Delta’s lowest price ‘Saver’ level awards are available. You can check availability by calling Virgin Flying Club on 1 800 365 9500. They can put an award on hold for you for 24 hours, and once you do that you can then transfer points from your Chase account to Virgin to finalize the booking.

Sometimes, the price to use Virgin points on Delta flights is less than what Delta charges its own frequent flyer program members.

Here is a link to the price chart for Delta flights booked with Virgin points.

2. Transfer to Korean SkyPass

Korean is also a partner of Delta’s and has somewhat more flexible rules for booking than Virgin Atlantic, like no fees for changing or canceling your award tickets. You can book by calling Korean on 1-800-438-5000.

Here is a link to the price chart for Delta flights booked with Korean miles

3. Use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points like cash

You can use the Chase Ultimate Rewards booking portal to buy tickets on almost any airline, just like you’re shopping on a site like Expedia.com. Every 10,000 points is worth $125 in ticket value, and you can use as many or as few as 1,000 points if you want, including paying part cash and part points for tickets.

How the transfer works

See our illustrated guide to the transfer process here.

Simply logon to your Chase rewards account online — select the ‘Transfer Points to Travel Partners’, then enter the number of points you want to transfer in 1,000 point increments. You’ll be prompted for the account number of the mileage program you are transfering into, along with your name. The points will usually be transferred instantly, and the name on the mileage account doesn’t have to be yours, it can also be a member of your household or an authorized card holder.

You can learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card® by reading our review or read our guide to its many travel protection options.

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23 thoughts on Chase Sapphire Preferred® Airline Transfer Partners

  1. Tana

    In the FAQ section of the Sapphire Preferred card, it says “Only purchases for airline tickets made directly with the airline will qualify.” I am correct in assuming that this means to qualify for the ***2X POINTS ON TRAVEL*, Earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel when you use your card to pay for airfare***?
    https://www.chase.com/index.jsp?pg_name=ccpmapp/shared/assets/page/Online_Rewards_FAQ

    Also, does this mean the direct purchase of a ticket with any airline, or just with the partner airlines affiliated with the Sapphire Preferred card (ie. United, Korean Airlines, British Airways, etc.)?

    Thanks for your time!

    Reply
  2. Sally

    If I am a member of the United mileage plus program, would I be able to maximize my rewards/flight credits by getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer card? As far as I can tell, both offer rewards for everyday purchases and the annual fee is the same. In your experience, do you end up saving more by transferring miles into a frequent flyer program like United or by purchasing through Chase’s website

    I am new to this rewards thing so thanks in advance!

    Reply
    1. MileCards.com

      @Sally – If you spend less than $25,000 a year, the Sapphire Preferred will earn you more points because of 2x points on dining and travel spending. It also gives you the double flexibility of being able to transfer to United or use the points to buy through the Chase website. You just decide whenever you’re ready to use your points.

      Reply
    2. Dan

      Sally: I am very old at this. Since you are new, I will share my experience. I will soon drop my United card in favor of the Sapphire Preferred. I fly United a lot and use their points for a fair amount of reward travel. The Sapphire gives you flexibility that the United card does not. You will need this flexibility when you start booking hotels and airlines other than United. PS -Don’t use the Chase travel site to book travel. It’s a clone of the AMEX site which charges far more for flights than you will pay elsewhere. Use Kayak.com for comparisons.

      Reply
  3. Pham

    If you transfer your points to a particular airline partner, but then for some reason you decide against it, are you able to cancel the transfer without penalty?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. MileCards

      @Millsy – No you can’t transfer directly to Delta SkyMiles. But there are 3 ways to use Chase points on Delta flights:

      1. Transfer to Virgin Atlantic – you can book Delta flights as long as Delta makes them available at the ‘Saver’ price (for example, 25,000 for a domestic roundtrip). One catch is that if you are going from the U.S. to another country, like France, if you have a connecting flight in the U.S. you’ll be charged separately for that flight.
      2. Transfer to Korean Skypass – same story as Virgin Atlantic, though they don’t charge extra for connecting flights.
      3. Buy Delta tickets using your points at UltimateRewards.com. Every 1,000 points in your account is worth $12.50 in airfare, so 10,000 points gets you $125 worth of Delta flights.

      Reply
    1. MileCards

      @Joe – Yes, step 1 is to transfer the miles to your Southwest account. Step 2 is to move those miles from Southwest into an AirTran account. You’ll need 19,200 miles to get a roundtrip AirTran flight.

      Reply
    1. MileCards

      @Erin – Unfortunately no there isn’t. The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express earns miles you can transfer to Alaska though.

      Reply
  4. David

    Do you know if the sign-up bonuses are available if I have other Chase credit cards? I’ve never had a Sapphire of any type before.

    Reply
  5. Johnny

    If I were to transfer 25,000 points from Chase Sapphre Preferred into Korean Airlines SkyPass account, does this mean I can then you those 25,000 SkyPass points towards any SkyTeam carrier flight, such as a Delta flight?

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    1. MileCards

      @Johnny – Yes, you can use them for any SkyTeam carrier – but that carrier must have award space available. In Delta’s case it must be at their ‘low’ award level, which when you search for awards on Delta.com is the ‘green’ colored availability on its calendar.

      Reply
      1. MileCards

        @Beverly -

        Yes, you definitely can. Just login to http://www.UltimateRewards.com and select ‘Earn Faster’, then ‘Combine Ultimate Rewards Points.’

        There, select ‘Other’ as the account you want to transfer to and enter your husband’s name and account number.

        Reply

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