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Cheat Sheet: How Long Airline Point Transfers take for Amex, Chase and Citi Points

Cheat Sheet: How Long Airline Point Transfers take for Amex, Chase and Citi Points

*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated Dec 12, 2018. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

It’s always fun to have a credit card that gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes time to redeem the points you’ve earned. The opportunity to transfer your card points to an airline frequent flyer program can add up, allowing you to do everything from book a business class reward seat to bid on once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

American Express Membership Rewards®, Chase Ultimate Rewards® and Citi ThankYou® are three popular programs for points transfers to airline partners worldwide. But once you’ve decided to transfer your points to your airline of choice, how long will it take before they’re available for redemption?

It depends on the airline. Some transfers happen immediately, but others can take weeks for your points to be available to redeem. Below, we’ll go over the times for the airlines covered under each credit card rewards program.

American Express Membership Rewards

Cards eligible for airline points transfers:

American Express allows cardmembers to transfer their Membership Rewards points to 18 airline loyalty programs. Cardmembers must link their airline loyalty and Membership Rewards accounts in order to make any transfers. Most of these carrier transfers, at a minimum of 1,000-point increments, are 1,000 points to 1,000 miles. However, the airlines below have the following exceptions:

  • Aeromexico: 1,000 points equals 1,600 Club Premier points
  • El AL Israel Airlines: 1,000 points equals 20 Matmid points
  • JetBlue Airways: 250 points = 200 JetBlue TrueBlue® points; must be transferred in 250-point increments

American Express says it generally takes up to 24 to 48 hours to transfer Membership Rewards points to its airline partners, which can be done here. Below is our list of how long it takes to redeem after the miles are transferred to each airline.

The information related to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card has been collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. This offer is no longer available.

Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

Airline

Points Transfer Policy

AerClub (Aer Lingus) At the end of the monthly billing cycle
Aeroplan (Air Canada) Immediately
Aeromexico Up to seven days
Alitalia Millemiglia Between 3 and 20 working days
ANA Mileage Club (All Nippon Airways) Up to 5 business days
Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific) Between 3 and 7 days
Avianca Life Miles Immediately
British Airways Executive Club Immediately
Delta Air Lines Immediately, but allow for up to 48 hours
El Al Matmid Immediately
Etihad Guest 3 days
Flying Blue – Air France/KLM Immediately
Emirates Skywards Immediately
HawaiianMiles Immediately
Iberia Plus 3 days.
JetBlue TrueBlue Immediately
Singapore KrisFlyer Between 2 and 4 weeks
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Immediately in the UK, U.S., and Mexico

Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Cards eligible for airline points transfers:

Chase Ultimate Rewards allows members to transfer their points to nine airline partners at a full 1:1 value, considered one of the best redemptions in the industry. Points are transferred to the airlines immediately, but may not be able to be redeemed as quickly. Here’s how long it takes for redemption.

Airline

Points Transfer Policy

AerClub (Aer Lingus) At the end of the monthly billing cycle
British Airways Executive Club Immediately
Flying Blue – Air France/KLM Immediately
Iberia Plus Immediately
JetBlue TrueBlue Immediately
Singapore KrisFlyer Between 2 and 4 weeks
Southwest Airlines Up to 72 hours
United Airlines Immediately, although it can sometimes take up to 7 business days.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Immediately

Citi ThankYou®

Card eligible for airline points transfers:

Citi allows cardmembers to transfer their ThankYou points to 15 airline partners in 1,000-mile increments. Once a request is completed here, points are transferred to a chosen airline partner immediately. Below we outline how long it will take to redeem your miles once they’re in your airline account.

Airline

Points Transfer Policy

Asia Miles At the end of the monthly billing cycle
Avianca Life Miles Immediately
Etihad Guest Up to 10 days
EVA Air 1-2 business days
Flying Blue – Air France/KLM Immediately
Garuda Indonesia 2 days
JetBlue TrueBlue Immediately
JetPrivilege Immediately
Malaysia Airlines Enrich 7 days
Qantas Frequent Flyer 5 days
Qatar Privilege Club Up to two days
Singapore KrisFlyer Between 2 and 4 weeks
Thai Royal Orchid Plus 7 days
Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles 1-2 business days
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Immediately

The bottom line

In the end, it’s good to have a card that gives you the option to move your points to airline and hotel loyalty programs. But look at the transfers carefully, because some miles are more equal than others.

Among the three cards, Chase offers the best value by offering 1:1 transfers. But it also has the least number of transfer partners. American Express and Citi are just about even with the number of airline partners, offering 1,000 points to 1,000 miles transfers.

But what’s most important is to know how long it will take for an airline to accept your transferred points, especially if you’re trying to book a quick trip or snag an upgrade on a planned flight. Knowing this will allow you to plan ahead and avoid any problems when it comes time to make your points transfers.

Check out our round-up of  travel credit cards and airline credit cards.


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