Can you transfer AAdvantage miles into AMEX Membership Rewards points or Chase Ultimate Rewards points? Reader Michael writes “I have a lot of American Airlines miles from a Citi AAdvantage card, is there a way to transfer those points to another program such as American Express Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards? I want to dump the Advantage care and use one of the others.”
Airline Frequent Flyer Miles Don't Transfer to AMEX Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards
Unfortunately, the short answer is no, it's not possible to transfer AAdvantage miles (or other frequent flyer miles) into a transferable points program such as AMEX Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards, or into another airline's frequent flyer program.
AAdvantage Isn't a Transfer Partner of AMEX, Chase or Citi, So Keep Those Miles
Not only is it never possible to transfer miles of any kind into AMEX Membership Rewards points, Chase Ultimate Rewards points, or Citi ThankYou points, it's actually not possible to transfer any of those loyalty points into AAdvantage miles. While it is possible to transfer Starwood Preferred Guest SPG Starpoints to AAdvantage, those transfers aren't instant and I've never personally used our Starpoints that way, since I prefer to keep them to top up frequent flyer programs that are truly hard for us to earn miles in, such as Lufthansa Miles & More.
Good Uses for AAdvantage Miles
Since Michael has AAdvantage miles he hasn't used, here are some of my favorite award redemptions, and example of places they can take you to:
- Etihad First Apartment on the A380 and Etihad First Class 787-9: Visit the Maldives, India, or UAE
- Japan Airlines First Class and JAL Business Class: Visit Japan or use as a gateway to a pan-Asia trip
- Cathay Pacific First Class and Cathay Pacific Business Class: Visit Hong Kong or use as a gateway to a pan-Asia trip
- Qantas First Class, A380: Fly from Europe to Australia via Dubai
- Qatar First Class: Fly from Doha to Australia (great Award Booking Client reviews for this flight)
- Qatar Business Class: Visit Africa from the U.S. via Doha, or fly from Europe to Asia via Doha
Why Transferable Points Are Valuable
While we highly value our AAdvantage miles for the types of above award redemptions, we are also focused on earning Chase Ultimate Rewards and AMEX Membership Rewards points, in order diversify our points and hedge against future devaluations in any given frequent flyer program. See Diversify Your Miles and Points: Top 8 Reasons.
Some of our favorite transfer partners are:
AMEX Membership Rewards
- Singapore KrisFlyer
- Asia Miles
Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Korean Air Skypass
- Singapore KrisFlyer
- United MileagePlus
- British Airways Avios
Leverage Credit Card Bonuses and Spend Category Bonuses to Earn Transferable Points
Since it's not possible to transfer AAdvantage miles to a transferable points program, I recommend earning these transferable points via credit card sign up bonuses. If Michael hasn't applied for any cards in the past 2 years, or has just 1-2 inquiries, he should first focus on Chase due to Chase's restrictive 5/24 rule, whereby you won't be approved for a new Chase credit card if you have 5 or more hard credit pulls (of any kind, not just from Chase) over the past 24 months.
Top ways to earn Ultimate Rewards cards from signup bonuses include the 50K Chase Sapphire Reserve, 50K Chase Sapphire Preferred, and 80K Ink Business Preferred. Apply for the Chase cards you most want first, due to 5/24.
If you already have the Chase Freedom, this is a great card in terms of its 5X spend bonus, which changes quarterly. My husband and I have 3 of these cards so as to be able to earn 5X on $4500 worth of spend in a given quarter ($1500 max per card per quarter) such as the current Q2 2017 grocery store 5X category. The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 3X on all travel and dining, while the Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 2X on all travel and dining, and the Ink Business Preferred earns 3X on phone, internet, cable, and office supply stores. Buy Whole Foods and Amazon gift cards at an office supply store with your Ink Business Preferred, and you'll earn 3X on all Whole Foods and Amazon spend.
Then, once you've been approved for the Chase cards you most want, aim for a targeted AMEX bonus, such as a 100K AMEX Business Platinum (if you don't want to wait, there is a public 75K AMEX Business Platinum offer) or 100K AMEX Platinum, although note that the annual fee has been increased from $450 to $550–see AMEX Platinum Raises Fee to $550, Adds Uber Credit.
In terms of spend categories, the personal AMEX Platinum earns 5X on airfare purchased directly with airlines, and the AMEX Business Platinum earns 5X on airfare when purchased via AMEX travel. If you have the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold card, that earns 3X on airline spend and 2X on U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets.
AAdvantage miles still have great uses–which awards have you redeemed AAdvantage miles towards, recently?
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