Credit Card Expert Roundup #44 - Which transfer partner do you find to be the most valuable and why?
Cash rewards cards are very straight forward. While the structures may vary in some capacity with earning percentages, it's quite easy to decipher exactly what each purchase you make with yield in rebates. On the other hand, points are a bit more difficult to assign a monetary value. Jason Steele speaks with credit card experts about how to navigate this and gain their insight(s) as to which points are the most valuable:
“Many travel rewards credit cards let you transfer your rewards to airline miles or hotel points. Which transfer partner do you find to be the most valuable and why?”
Dan Miller - Runs the site Points with a Crew which helps families travel for free/cheap using credit card points.
My favorite transfer partner is Hyatt hotels, which is a transfer partner (1:1) of Chase Ultimate Rewards. The reason that I think Hyatt is the most valuable transfer partner is that the Hyatt award chart is much more attractive than the award charts of Chase's other hotel transfer partners (Marriott and IHG). You can find many Category 1 Hyatt hotels which only cost 5,000 points / night. These are usually Hyatt House or Hyatt Place hotels which come with free parking, free Internet and free breakfast, 3 of the hotel amenities our family looks for the most
Shawn Coomer - Managing Editor of Miles to Memories
Transfer partners come in all shapes and sizes and which one is best largely depends on your unique situation and travel style. Do you absolutely need to fly in premium cabins but don’t care about where you sleep? Do you have a family and stick it out in coach, but want the nicest accommodation? For me the answer to this question has definitely changed over the years, however these days Hyatt has settled in as my go-to transfer partner for a few reasons.
To back up, Hyatt is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards. I earn those points on my Chase Ink business cards and my Chase Sapphire Reserve and then transfer them to Hyatt for hotel stays around the world. Hyatt as a transfer partner is unique to Chase which keeps their points valuable and leaves availability generally good.
The other main reason I have favored Hyatt so much is their treatment of me and my family. We have now used various strategies to get Hyatt Globalist status and when we travel we get upgraded to suites, are given lounge access and so much more. While these elite benefits multiply my value received and make Hyatt a no-brainer for me, even before I was an elite I enjoyed their hotels and found that Hyatt as a Chase transfer partner is a big winner.
Holly Johnson - Blogs about travel and money at Club Thrifty
My favorite transfer partner is Air France/Flying Blue. We use this partner almost exclusively for cheap economy flights to Europe. Flying Blue tends to have plenty of availability into and out of the European airports we fly to, and I can almost always find four seats on the plane. In the past, I have paid as little as 22,500 miles one-way for cheap economy flights into Rome or Paris, but I have paid slightly more than that. Either way, it's a spectacular deal.
Air France/Flying Blue is also an easy partner to focus on since you can transfer points to this program from Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Rewards. I've been pooling points in all these programs for years, so I just transfer some over to Flying Blue when I'm ready to make a redemption.
Andy Shuman - Writer for travel and personal finance websites and blogs at www.lazytravelers.net
I usually transfer points from credit card rewards programs to airlines. Frequent flyer miles, if you know how to use them, can really get you outsized values, way beyond a typical one penny for a dollar redemption. However, there is one hotel chain I seem to never have enough points for, and that’s Hyatt. I gladly transfer Chase points to this hotel partner to redeem them on a Hyatt stay.
The World of Hyatt points still pack a punch despite some devaluations in the last few years. In my opinion, it’s the most valuable hotel currency today. It’s true that Hyatt has a limited footprint, but it’s growing by leaps and bounds, not only by introducing their existing brands to new markets, but also by adding new hotel brands like Thompson, Joie de Vivre, and more to its portfolio.
Some people believe United is the most valuable Chase transfer partner, but I respectfully disagree. You can get United flights by transferring Amex or Citi ThankYou points to other Star airlines like Avianca, Air Canada, or ANA. Getting Hyatt points, on the other hand, is really hard, and because they are so valuable, Hyatt’s promos are always less generous than promos from other hotel chains. So, it’s a good thing we have this option.
Jason Steele - Credit card and travel expert
There are a lot of transfer partners that have the potential to offer what many consider to be extreme value, such as when you can redeem miles for an award in international first class that might have cost over $10,000. But there’s one transfer partner that not only delivers consistently strong value for almost all of my travel, but it even offers more value than cash.
When you move Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest, they are worth 1.5 cents each towards any flight with an open seat. But what you’re actually getting is a fully refundable ticket that you can cancel and receive your points back. You can even rebook flights when they go on sale and receive a refund of the difference paid. If you booked with cash, then you’d merely receive a credit good for one year, and only in the name of the original traveler. Add to that the incredible value you can get from having a Companion Pass, and I find that this is the transfer partner I use the most, even if I technically receive less value per point than some other potential options.