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 (after intro. period, 17.24% to 25.99% variable applies).

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!

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! :)

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