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Million Mile Secrets reader, Ray, commented:
I have enough Chase Ultimate Rewards points for one round-trip flight to Spain. But I would need to use my AMEX Membership Rewards points for a 2nd airline ticket. Any ideas how I can use points from both programs for a trip for 2 to Spain on the same airline?
Excellent question, Ray!
The trick is to take advantage of airline alliances, which let you to use partner airline miles to book an award flight.
Ray can transfer his flexible AMEX and Chase points to airline partners within any of the 3 major airline alliances – Oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance. So it’s possible to choose different AMEX and Chase airline transfer partners and still book 2 tickets on the same flight.
I’ll share tips for folks looking to book multiple award flights with flexible points in different programs.
Book Multiple Award Fights With Flexible Points
Having the flexibility to transfer points to dozens of airline partners makes it easier to book award travel! Because even if your flexible points are with different banks, you can transfer points to airline partners in the same alliance to book multiple tickets. The major airline alliances are:
- Oneworld (includes American Airlines, British Airways, and Iberia)
- SkyTeam (includes Air France, Delta, and Korean Airlines)
- Star Alliance (includes Air Canada Aeroplan, Singapore Airlines, and United Airlines)
Just remember, you can only use miles or points from a partner airline to book an award flight if low-level award seats are available.
I’ll show how Ray can book 2 award flights to Spain using points from AMEX Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards.
Keep in mind, there are lots of different options depending on your departure city and travel dates. So this is just one example.
1. Book One Seat With United Airlines Miles
You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines to book a round-trip award flight to Barcelona.
For example, I found an available award seat on a SWISS Air flight from Boston in October 2017 for 30,000 United Airlines miles each way. So you’ll pay 60,000 miles total for a round-trip award flight.
You can NOT transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points directly to SWISS Air. But United Airlines and SWISS Air are part of the Star Alliance. So redeeming United Airlines miles for a flight is a terrific workaround!
2. Book a 2nd Seat on the Same Flight With Air Canada Aeroplan Miles
To get a 2nd ticket using AMEX Membership Rewards points, you can transfer points to Air Canada Aeroplan, which is also part of the Star Alliance.
I found the same round-trip award flight for 60,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles. But keep in mind, each program may charge different prices depending on their award chart.
Consider Travel Portal Options, Too
Depending on the cash price of the flight, you might also consider booking one flight through the Chase travel portal, instead of transferring points directly to an airline.
So instead of 60,000 United Airlines miles to book the earlier example flight, you can redeem ~40,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points through the travel portal ($600 cash cost of flight / 1.5 cents).
Note: Not all Chase points are equal, which means the number of points you pay through the travel portal depends on which card you have.
Then, you can book a 2nd ticket on the same flight by transferring AMEX Membership Rewards points as I showed earlier. Make sure an award seat is available before you book travel through a portal.
So he can book one award ticket by transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to United Airlines. Then, book a 2nd ticket on the same flight by transferring AMEX Membership Reward points to Air Canada Aeroplan. Because both transfer partners are part of the Star Alliance.