How to Use Flexible Points With Different Banks to Book Multiple Airline Tickets on the Same Flight

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How to Use Flexible Points With Different Banks to Book Multiple Airline Tickets on the Same Flight

Million Mile SecretsHow to Use Flexible Points With Different Banks to Book Multiple Airline Tickets on the Same FlightMillion Mile Secrets Team

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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 – OneworldSkyTeam, 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.

Book Multiple Flights With Flexible Points
Book Multiple Award Tickets to Spain or Elsewhere by Transferring Flexible Points to Different Airline Partners and Taking Advantage of Alliances

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

Link:   The Trick to Travel Flexibility: Transferable Points

Link:   You Can NOT Transfer Airline Miles to Another Airline, but Here’s What You CAN Do

Ray’s travel goal is in reach because he earns transferrable points with AMEX and Chase credit cards.

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)
Book Multiple Flights With Flexible Points
Airline Alliances Are Helpful Because You Can Redeem Miles or Points on One Airline to Fly on Another

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.

Book Multiple Flights With Flexible Points
You Can Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to United Airlines to Book an Award Flight to Barcelona

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.

Book Multiple Flights With Flexible Points
You Can Transfer AMEX Membership Rewards Points to Star Alliance Partner Air Canada and Book the Same SWISS Air Award Flight

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

Link:   Save Points (and Money) Using the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal

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.

This can be a good way to book for folks with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.  Because points with this card are worth 1.5 cents each toward travel through the portal.

Book Multiple Flights With Flexible Points
For Cheap Flights, You Can Book Through the Chase Travel Portal and Potentially Save Points

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.

Bottom Line

If your points are split between different flexible programs, you can take advantage of airline alliances to book multiple award flights.

For example, reader Ray is looking to book airfare for 2 to Spain using points from AMEX Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards.

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.

Keep in mind, you can have similar flexibility with transfer partners in other alliances like Oneworld and SkyTeam.  The best option will depend on your departure city and destination.

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For someone new to the game, this is an insightful article. I’ve been trying to understand ways to stretch my miles as far as I can for travel for my wife and I.

Right now I’m only part of Chase Ultimate Rewards so I knew you could transfer to airlines and then subsequently book awards on airlines that aren’t actually a partner of Chase.

Conflicted on whether I should add in a card such as Starwood AMEX, one that earns Membership Rewards, or Thank You Points (I think AMEX or Membership Rewards might be better for us)

But this is very helpful to understand and even explain to others the versatility of credit card signup bonus since you could get 50,000 from the Sapphire to book one ticket and then 50,000 from an AMEX card to book another. Cool!

“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.” That’s the key sentence. I keep reading blogs about using Singapore Air to book 1st or business on United and ditto for Korean Air to book on Delta for much lower mileage requirements on SA and KA. Then you go to the United or Delta sites and there is literally NOTHING for a low-level award–even several months out.

I think bloggers should focus on this (bold, huge font, highlighted in yellow). Very disappointing for folks that think this might actually be an option.

Great info! If you’re not trying to get a free layover, sometimes I book 2 one-way flights at a time to make sure my husband and I will be together, especially if there is a chance of getting bumped…

Excellent tip! Thanks for sharing.