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Get More From Your Points with These Current Transfer Bonuses

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Got a stash of transferable points but find yourself still shy of that dream getaway? Don't write it off just yet.

Banks like American Express, Chase, and Capital One routinely roll out bonuses when transferring points to a specific airline or hotel partner, meaning you won't have to transfer as many points as you normally need to book an award flight. Think of these transfer bonuses as a way to get free miles.

Just how good of a transfer bonus you'll get will vary from bank to bank and program to program, but you can generally expect to see bonuses in the range of 10% to 40% – sometimes even more. They're typically offered for a limited time, and it can be tough to keep track of them all – especially if you have transferrable points with multiple credit card companies.

Here are all the current transfer bonuses available as of publication, broken down by bank.

Transfer fromTransfer toBonusExpiresMore info
American ExpressAvianca LifeMiles15%March 15, 2024Full Details
ChaseIHG60%March 1, 2024
CitiVirgin Atlantic30%March 17, 2024Full Details
All bank partnersCathay Pacific Asia Miles10%March 31, 2024Bonus miles take 8-10 weeks to post (full terms and conditions)

Wondering why you should transfer your points? Read up on how it can help you book flights for less!

Taking advantage of these transfer bonuses can be critical to getting even more value out of your points. But there are a few things you'll want to keep in mind before rushing to transfer your points.

Here's the most important one: These transfers are a one-way street. Once you send the points to an airline partner, you cannot get them back to your Capital One, Chase, or other credit card account. That means you'll generally want to have a redemption in mind (and make sure the flights you want are actually available to book) before transferring your points.

Time and time again, we've seen loyalty programs devalue their points by raising award rates with little to no warning. The best way to safeguard against these sudden devaluations is to keep your points safe (and flexible) in your bank account until you're ready to use them.

Read next: When Does it Make Sense to Speculatively Transfer Your Points?

And keep in mind that you'll still have to pay taxes and fees on when booking an award ticket. For some airlines, those fees are negligible. But others charge much more when booking award flights with points and miles – especially if you're flying business or first class with your miles.

Let's take a closer look at each of the current transfer bonuses and how you might want (or not want) to use them.

 

15% Bonus on Amex Transfers to Avianca LifeMiles

Amex is out this month with a new 15% bonus when moving American Express Membership Rewards to Avianca LifeMiles – giving cardholders a way to save even more on Star Alliance award flights. This transfer bonus runs through March 15. 

 

LifeMiles Amex Transfer Bonus Banner

 

If you're unfamiliar, LifeMiles is the quirky yet underrated mileage program of South American carrier Avianca. While customer service can be spotty at best and even its website is hit or miss, you put up with it because few airline programs offer cheaper ways to book flights using miles around the globe – with low cash taxes and fees, too.

Thanks to an inexplicable sweet spot, you can book TAP Air Portugal business class flights from New York City (JFK) to Lisbon (LIS) for just 35,000 miles one way. By taking advantage of this 15% transfer bonus, the price drops to under 31,000 miles for that same one-way award flight. 

 

jfk lisbon lifemiles

 

Other Star Alliance business class flights to Europe typically cost 63,000 miles each way, which works out to about 55,000 Amex Membership Rewards points with this transfer bonus.

 

SWISS Avianca booking

 

Check out this story for full details on this transfer bonus!

 

 30% Bonus on Citi Transfers to Virgin Atlantic

Citi is currently offering a 30% bonus when transferring Citi ThankYou Points to your Virgin Atlantic account. If you've been contemplating a transfer, you've got nearly a month to capitalize on this bonus – it's set to expire March 17!  

In order to take advantage of this bonus you'll first need to have a card that earns transferable ThankYou points like the *Citi Premier*.

There are lots of great ways to use Virgin points, but here's an example of how you can use this transfer bonus to save on a trip to Europe next fall. We recently found wide-open availability from many U.S. cities on Delta nonstop flights booked through Virgin Atlantic. With this bonus, you'd only need to transfer 47,000 Chase points to book flights that would otherwise cost $1,800 or more!

 

Delta economy booking MSP-AMS via Virgin

 

Looking to stay closer to home? Delta flights under 500 miles in distance are only 7,500 Virgin points one-way. Even if you're going a little further, it’s only 8,500 points each way for flights between 501 and 1,000 miles. Factoring in the current 30% transfer bonus, you can easily have a quick weekend getaway for fewer than 12,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards roundtrip.

 

Delta Economy booking BOS NYC via Virgin

 

Read more: Save Big on Short Delta Flights by Booking with Virgin Atlantic Instead!

 

60% Bonus on Chase Transfers to IHG One Rewards

Chase is currently offering a 60% transfer bonus when moving Ultimate Rewards points to the IHG One Rewards program. It's easy to see a 60% bonus and get excited, but be warned that not all points are created equal and this is especially true with IHG.

 

IHG Chase Transfer Bonus

 

There are very few situations where transferring points to IHG will make sense – even with a 60% transfer bonus. Considering IHG frequently sells their points with a 100% bonus, you'd even be better off cashing out your Chase Ultimate Rewards at one cent per point and then using those to buy IHG points.

Still, if you have a particular hotel in mind and need to top off your account with a few extra points in order to make it a reality, transferring Ultimate Rewards to IHG with a 60% bonus is better than nothing.

 

Bottom Line

Transfer bonuses can be a great way to get more value out of your points and help you realize your dream vacation even sooner. These bonuses are constantly coming and going, so it's important to stay up-to-date on the current promotions before moving your points to ensure you're not leaving any free points on the table.

But it's always best to keep your points flexible until you're ready to book. Due to constant loyalty program devaluations, transferring points without an immediate plan to use them will rarely be a good option.

 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

3 Responses

  • Hi! This is super helpful, thank you! Quick question – do you simply need to transfer the points from the card to the hotel or airline stated above by the deadline/deal expiration, or do you need to actually travel between the transfer bonus announcement and their expiration date? Thank you!

    • Hi Amy. You just need to transfer them. No requirement to use them by the expiration date for the transfer bonus.

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