Jonathan emailed me last week asking if I had any good ideas where he might find a table of all the transferable points options available. There aren’t really that many programs that allow transfers, but those that do are large enough and with enough overlap that it can be confusing. There also isn’t, as Jonathan pointed out, any good way to view all your options at once. Starwood has a good table, Ultimate Rewards has a simpler program I find easy to memorize, but I found myself clicking on far too many links to collect data for Membership Rewards.
I have organized this information in two ways, and I’ll be uploading these files as two PDFs on the Award Charts page, which you can find within the Travel Resources section on the top navigation bar. I’ve tried to include information like the transfer ratio (how many points/miles of X turn into how many points/miles of Y), the minimum transfer amount, and how many new points or miles you should expect to get if you started with 1,000 points in any given program. This doesn’t actually work if that program requires a minimum transfer greater than 1,000 points, but it is a way to make easy comparisons between programs.
The first table is organized by the input. What kind of points are you starting with? It’s the kind you’re most likely to find out there, and I’m probably not the first to put them all on one page. You can download the PDF instead of trying to copy the images.
I think the second table might be more useful, organized by the output. What kind of points do you want, and which program offers the best transfer ratio? In this case, some of the choices can require a series of transfers. American Express will let you convert Membership Rewards to SPG Starpoints. It’s not a good ratio, but it allows you to use Membership Rewards points for more airlines than just the “official” Membership Rewards list.
It also makes clear some ways to improve your return. For example, it may look like a good option is to transfer Starpoints to Hawaiian Airlines with a 25% bonus. Then transfer your HawaiianMiles to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio. However… This is not permitted, and Hawaiian will prevent you from transferring points to Hilton that you just brought in from Membership Rewards.
You can download the PDF instead of trying to copy the images.
If I’ve made any errors or left out some programs, please let me know so I can update the lists. FYI, I purposefully left out Points.com. The rates are often poor, and it reminds me too much of a bad foreign exchange booth at the airport.