Credit Cards: Points rundown & transfer partners

One of our main ways we purchase flights is with our credit card points! We want to share the two most popular credit card points and their pros and cons. With a basic understanding, you can begin earning points and traveling more.


Amex & Chase Cards | YBT

The top two point families are Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards.

If you can only choose one points family now, which should you go with?

Chase Ultimate Rewards:


Pros:

• Has one of the strongest redemptions for hotel stays (ex. Hyatt with excellent rooms starting at 5000-15000 points)

• Able to be transferred to Southwest Airlines, arguably the king of reasonably priced award flights within the USA

• Chase cards have more easily useful bonuses (ex. 10% back at Starbucks)


Cons:

• Almost never receives transfer bonuses

• Rarely gives extra point bonuses that aren’t associated with the original card’s perks

• Not particularly geared toward international travel


Chase Transfer Partners


Airlines:

• Aer Lingus AerClub

• Air France/KLM Flying Blue

• British Airway Avios

• Iberia Plus

• JetBlue TrueBlue

• Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

• Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards

• United Airlines MileagePlus

• Virgin Atlantic Flying Club


Hotels:

• World of Hyatt

• IHG Rewards Club

• Marriot Rewards

• Ritz Carlton Rewards


Our redemptions using Chase Ultimate Rewards Points so far:

• New York by transferring to British Airways during a 25% promo

• Bonaire by transferring to AirFrance during a 30% promo



American Express Membership Rewards:


Pros:

• Specifically geared toward international, first and business class travel

• Many transfer bonus opportunities (allows you to transfer points that have already been earned at a higher ratio to the specific outside points program that is being promoted

• Many short-term offers to earn both cash back and extra points [ex. Spend $25 at Mellow Mushroom and get $5 back or spend $500 at most large cruise lines and get 10,000 bonus points (valued at over $200)]


Cons:

• Not specifically geared toward domestic travel or hotel stays (points can definitely be used for these, but at a less than preferable rate)


Amex Transfer Partners


Airlines:

• Aer Lingus AerClub

• AeroMexico

• Air Canada (Aeroplan)

• Alitalia (Millemiglia)

• All Nippon Airways

• Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles)

• Avianca

• British Airways

• Delta Skymiles

• El Al Israel Airlines

• Emirates

• Etihad Airways

• Air France/KLM Flying Blue

• Iberia Plus

• Hawaiian Airlines

• Jetblue

• Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

• Virgin Atlantic Flying Club


Hotels:

• Choice Privileges Rewards

• Hilton Honors

• Marriott Rewards


Our redemptions so far:

• Hawaii by transferring to Singapore Airlines



I hope this breakdown can give you a better idea of what card you might want to get to start your journey with credit card points. Remember if you don’t have great spending/saving habits and don’t do well paying your card in full every month, then getting another credit card to earn points is not wise. It’s only wise if you remain debt free and can use the points as profit. We never recommend anyone bite off more than they can chew just to receive points. On the other hand, having points can allow you to explore the globe!


- Matt

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