If You Transfer the Balance on Your Card, Will You Lose Your Miles?

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Million Mile Secrets reader, Amber, comments:

I love your site – it’s helped me get started with collecting free miles and we’ve taken some great vacations already!

If I sign up for a new card for the bonus miles, after completing the minimum spending, can I then transfer the balance to 1 of my 0% interest cards?  Or will that cause me to lose my miles?

No, Amber will NOT lose her miles and points if she transfers the balance from her new card to another card with 0% interest.

But she should be careful with 0% interest cards.

If You Transfer The Balance On Your Card Will You Lose Your Miles

You Can Keep Your Miles and Points If You Transfer Your Balance to Another Card, but There Are Some Things You Should Watch Out For!

Be Careful When Using Balance Transfers to Avoid Interest Charges!

Amber won’t lose her miles if she transfers her credit card balance, but that does NOT mean it’s a good idea.

Before she transfers a balance to a 0% interest card, here’s what she needs to know:

1.   You Should Pay Your Card Off in Full Each Month

It’s important to make sure you can pay your bills on time and in full every month.  Otherwise, this hobby may not be right for you.

That’s because rewards cards often charge high interest rates.  So paying interest on a credit card could negate any benefits you earn from your miles.  And you could find yourself in debt.

Read the 5 Dangers of Applying For Credit Cards before signing-up for new cards.

If You Transfer The Balance On Your Card Will You Lose Your Miles

There Are BIG Risks Involved With Carrying a Balance on Credit Cards

2.   Not All 0% Interest Cards Are What You Might Think

Many cards are NOT true 0% APR cards, but want you to think they are.  Instead they offer 0% APR on purchases or balance transfers only.  So you could still end up paying interest.

If You Transfer The Balance On Your Card Will You Lose Your Miles

0% Interest Cards Are Tricky, Many Times the 0% Only Applies to Purchases. So Be Careful!

3.   Be Aware of Balance Transfer Fees

Similarly, these cards often charge a ~3% balance transfer fee.   For example, if you transfer a balance of $10,000, you’ll pay $300.

So do the math to make sure it’s worth it!

You can also check your postal mail for 0% APR balance transfer checks because often the balance transfer fees on these are lower (I’ve seen 2% and 1% recently) and the promotional period may be longer.

If You Transfer The Balance On Your Card Will You Lose Your Miles

Look for Balance Transfer Fees in the Fine Print or You Could Wind Up Owing More Money on Your Card Than You Planned

4.   High Interest Rates Will Eventually Kick-in

The 0% interest is usually only for a promotional period of ~12 to ~18 months.  When the period ends, you’ll have to start paying very high interest rates.

And if you miss a payment, the high interest rates will kick-in early.

If You Transfer The Balance On Your Card Will You Lose Your Miles

If You Do Open a 0% APR Card, Pay Your Bills On-Time Each Month and Pay Off Your Balance by the End of the Promotional Period

What Is the Best Balance Transfer Card?

Link:   My Favorite 0% APR Card

Link:   Chase Slate

If you know what you’re doing, transferring your balance to a 0% APR card can be useful, especially for folks who have experienced job loss or serious illness.

So if you must sign-up for a 0% interest card, the Chase Slate offers NO balance transfer fees for the 1st 60 days.

Emily and I don’t earn a commission on this card, but we’ll always tell you about the best offers!

And you also get:

  • No sign-up bonus or rewards for spending, but
  • $0 annual fee
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 months on purchases & balance transfers.  
  • $0 introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the 1st 60 days.
  • Purchase protection, price protection, and extended warranty protection

So if you want to transfer your card balance and avoid paying interest for over a year, the Chase Slate card is an excellent choice.  But remember to pay your bills on-time!

And only sign-up if you’re certain you’ll pay the full balance within 15 months.  Otherwise you could find yourself paying up to ~23% interest!

Bottom Line

Transferring a balance to a 0% APR card is risky if you’re not certain you can pay it back!  Be very careful to read the fine print and know what you’re getting into.

While cards advertise 0% interest, they may still charge balance transfer fees and interest on balance transfers or purchases.

That said, if you’re going to transfer a card balance to save on interest, the Chase Slate is the best option.  Just make sure you can pay your bills on-time each month and pay off your debt by the end of the 15 month promotional period to avoid high interest rates!

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Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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8 responses to “If You Transfer the Balance on Your Card, Will You Lose Your Miles?

  1. The Chase Slate is an excellent option, unless you want to transfer more than $15,000. Which is the limit that Chase places on balance transfers across all of their cards, not just the Slate.

  2. A one-time 3% balance transfer fee is equivalent to paying 36% interest for 1 month.

  3. I have a few balances on 0% interest cards, and I think it might be negatively affecting my approvals for new reward cards. I have a fico score in the 760s and plenty of gross income. I recently applied for the Chase Marriott Rewards Business card, and got denied. Before I had a balance on one of these cards (currently my highest balance 0% APR card), I got approved for quite a few Chase cards easily. Since I put that balance on there, I haven’t gotten approved with Chase. I’m thinking that banks may frown upon people carrying balances on 0% cards, even if you pay the minimum payment on time. Although I’m not speaking facts from the bank, this is my personal experience. I’m planning to pay off my 0% APR cards, and see if that leads to approvals again.

  4. You should avoid using any card for regular purchases if you have a 0% balance transfer on it. Unless there is 0% interest on purchases as well, you will probably get charged interest on purchases even if you make the minimum payments.

  5. @Josh Rieder – The limit is $15,000 or your credit limit, whichever is lower.

    @TJ – It depends on the card, some charge interest for payments and others charge a fee for transfers. So be sure to read the fine print!

    But the Chase Slate charges 0% interest on purchases AND transfers for the 1st 15 months.

  6. The article says that no, you will not lose your points on a card when you transfer a balance off of it. Can you please elaborate on that a little? Does it matter if I transfer the balance before or after I get my statement (assuming that’s when the miles are actually awarded)? What about minimum spend on a card that awards sign up bonuses? Do all/most banks have the same policies? I guess it makes no difference to the bank whether you pay your balance or transfer your balance, right?

    Specifically, I have the Gold Delta SkyMiles card from Amex which offers 30k miles for spending $1000 in 3 months. I met the minimum spend of $1000, plus about another $1000. If I transfer the balance to Chase Slate, will I still get the bonus miles from the minimum spend (30k), and will I still get the miles from my purchases (2k)? Do I need to wait for my statement from Amex before transferring the balance?

    This is really quite beautiful. If for every $1000 I spend and transfer to Chase Slate I use that money to pay down my 3.8% mortgage, I get 1000 miles (plus the minimum spend bonus) AND $47.50 in interest saved ($1000 * 3.8% annual / 12 months * 15 months); so if I can load up to my $10k limit I’ll have saved $475 and earned 40k miles. #winning (But of course: no using the Slate card for purchases, make the minimum payments each month, and make sure I have the money to pay off the $10k in 15 months, and this only works if I were going to make $10k in extra mortgage payments this year anyway which I was).

  7. Hello, Just wanting some clarification. If you complete your spend of $4,000 on a Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card do you have to wait until you actually receive your 50,000 before transferring balance to a 0% card. Or can you transfer the balance prior to receiving the bonus points.

  8. Can I transfer balances for cards from the same bank? Say I have a sapphire preferred card and I have received all the bonus points for opening the account, can I transfer the balance to the Chase Slate card or is it better to get another card from another bank?