We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Here’s How Seasoned Travelers Accomplish Many Travel Goals at Once With Flexible Points!

Here’s How Seasoned Travelers Accomplish Many Travel Goals at Once With Flexible Points!

JasonHere’s How Seasoned Travelers Accomplish Many Travel Goals at Once With Flexible Points!Million Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Points and miles can be confusing.  If you don’t know where you want to go, you can get lost in all the great deals.  So what can you do to zero in on the best strategy for YOU?

Heres How Seasoned Travelers Accomplish Many Travel Goals At Once With Flexible Points
Knowing Where You Want to Go Is the First Step to Unlocking the Power of Miles & Points

Reader Keith emailed:

I prefer Delta, so I have stayed away from diving into the fray of other point cards.  It seems difficult to transfer points to Delta.  And another kick to myself is we don’t use our AMEX Delta Gold card regularly to maximize points.

I take long motorcycle trips several times a year, and a couple of flights annually (with an occasional United Airlines flight).  For hotel points I have Hilton and IHG accounts (no credit cards) with a fair amount of points in each.  I do have a Starwood Preferred Guest card but rarely use it.

What would be your suggestion for me to maximize my Delta miles, United Airlines miles, and hotel points?”

Lots of folks are in the same situation, Keith!  But, because you have clear travel goals, it will be easier to figure out the best strategy for you.

Flexible Points Can Help You Accomplish Many Travel Goals

Trying to earn and redeem points in multiple loyalty programs at the same time can be overwhelming.  But, Keith can simplify his strategy with the power of transferable points.  And, there are flexible points programs that can help meet ALL of his travel goals!

Heres How Seasoned Travelers Accomplish Many Travel Goals At Once With Flexible Points
Simplify Your Points Strategy by Flexing the Power of Transferable Points

I suggest Keith consider earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points or AMEX Membership Rewards points.

Travel With Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Link:   Why Chase Ultimate Rewards Is My Favorite Points Program

Link:   Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

I love using Chase Ultimate Rewards points because of their great travel transfer partners.  With Chase’s “5/24” rule it can be tougher for some miles and points enthusiasts to get their cards.  But, there are some exceptions to this rule.

If you are under the “5/24” rule, you could get the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.  It earns 2 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on dining and travel.  And currently comes with a 50,000 point bonus you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Here’s what Keith could do with Chase Ultimate Rewards points to help his travel goals!

1.   Book Flights on Delta

Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to 2 Delta partners:

  • Flying Blue (the loyalty program for KLM & Air France)
  • Korean Air

Booking Delta award flights to Hawaii with Korean Air miles is one of the cheapest ways to get there!  Just remember, when you are booking partner award flights you can only book the low-level award seats.

2.   Transfer Points Directly to United Airlines and IHG

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to both United Airlines and IHG at a 1:1 ratio.  But, sometimes transferring points directly to United Airlines is NOT the best way to book United Airlines awards!

That’s OK, because Chase Ultimate Rewards points also transfer to United Airlines’ partner Singapore Air.  Which can save you points on flights to Hawaii!

3.   Pay With Points Through the Chase Travel Portal (And Book Hilton Stays!)

You can pay for almost any flight or hotel stay with Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you book with the Chase travel portal.  The redemption rate you get for your points varies depending on which Chase Ultimate Rewards card you have.

Heres How Seasoned Travelers Accomplish Many Travel Goals At Once With Flexible Points
You Can’t Transfer Chase Points to Hilton, but You Can Still Pay for Hilton Stays With Points Through the Chase Travel Portal

When you redeem points for travel this way, you’ll also earn frequent flyer miles on flights at the same time!  But you likely will NOT earn hotel rewards.

Or, Use AMEX Membership Rewards Points

Link:   My Guide to AMEX Membership Rewards

Link:   Book United Airlines Flights With AMEX Membership Rewards Points

AMEX Membership Rewards points transfer directly to 20 different airline and hotel partners.  This includes Delta, Hilton, and several United Airlines partners, like Air Canada and Singapore Air!

The AMEX Everyday Preferred card would be a good card for Keith to consider.  Because it earns 3 AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at supermarkets, and 2 points per $1 spent gas stations.  Plus, if you make 30+ purchases within a billing cycle, you will earn a 50% points bonus on your purchases!

Heres How Seasoned Travelers Accomplish Many Travel Goals At Once With Flexible Points
When You Make 30 Purchases With Your AMEX Everyday Preferred Card You’ll Get a 50% Points Bonus

It currently comes with 15,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months.  We don’t earn a commission on this card, but we’ll always tell you about the best deals!

With Amex Membership Rewards points Keith could:

1.   Transfer Points Directly to Delta and Hilton

AMEX Membership Rewards points transfer directly to Delta at a 1:1 ratio.  And they transfer to Hilton at a 2:3 ratio. Transfers are typically instant, so once you make the transfer you can book your award right away!

Note: When you transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to any US based airline AMEX charges a .06 cents per point excise fee.  The fee is capped at $99.  And you will not pay this fee when transferring points to hotel programs or airlines base outside of the US.

 2.   Book United Airlines Flights

You can NOT transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points directly to United Airlines.  But, you can book United Airlines award flights by transferring your points to their partner airlines.

Your points will transfer at a 1:1 ratio to these United Airlines Partners:

  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • ANA
  • Singapore Air

4.   Use the AMEX Travel Center to Pay With Points (And Book IHG Stays!)

You can pay for flights and hotels with your AMEX Membership Rewards points directly through the AMEX Travel Center.

Heres How Seasoned Travelers Accomplish Many Travel Goals At Once With Flexible Points
You Can’t Transfer AMEX Membership Rewards Points to IHG, but You Can Still Stay for Free at IHG Hotels When You Pay With Points

This is not always the best use of your points since you’ll only get 1 cent per point towards airfare, and even less towards hotels. 🙁  However, if you have the AMEX Business Platinum card you can get 35% of your points back on certain flights.

Other Points Card Options

Keith could use the cards he already has to earn points and miles.  The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is a good option, because for every 20,000 Starwood points you transfer, you get a 5,000 mile bonus!  And Starwood points transfer directly to Delta.  With the transfer bonus, you essentially earn 1.25 Delta miles per $1 spent on the card – even better than the Delta credit card Keith already has!

But, if he wants to earn points directly with his favorite loyalty programs there are some great sign-up bonuses on these cards:

Beyond the sign-up bonuses, these cards have other great benefits.  You could get instant elite status with the AMEX Hilton Surpass and Chase IHG cards.  And the United MileagePlus Club card comes with a United Club membership, and free checked bags!

Bottom Line

Flexible points are the key to having a simple points and miles strategy.  When you have transferable points you can get free flights AND hotels with 1 credit card!

And transferable points give you the option to not only transfer points directly to the airlines you want to fly, but to also transfer to your favorite airline’s partners.  This is useful because sometimes you can get a better deal when you book an award through a partner airline.

If there is a specific loyalty program you like, you might consider getting their program credit card.  Not only will you earn a potentially lucrative bonus, but you’ll get great perks like elite status or free checked bags, too!

Have fun on your motorcycle trips, Keith!

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

2comments

by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

My dilemma:
1. Find out how I can get as many Marriott reward points as I can to get up to 300,000 for the vacation packages
Or
2. Keep my Starwood points and find out how many I can accumulate to get to about 200,000 for hotel stays

Million Mile Secrets

It will be much easier to get the Marriott points.

You could get the AMEX Starwood personal & business cards. And you could get the Chase Marriott personal & business cards. The sign-up bonuses on those cards would equal 310,000 Marriott points!