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The more credit cards you carry, the more complicated your collection of rewards points can become. Some issuers allow you to combine your credit card points, making it possible to consolidate accounts, share points with others and gain access to additional redemption options.
Choosing how to manage your points can be a big decision, and you may be limited by card issuers’ rules. Here are some factors to consider and a rundown of rules by issuer.
Why combine credit card points?
Redeem points for a higher value. Chase is a popular example of this. Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel through Chase with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (they’re worth 50% more if you redeem for travel with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®). So you can use another card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, like the Chase Freedom Flex℠, then transfer your points to one of the Sapphire cards for a higher redemption rate on travel bookings.
Change the purpose of your points. This can be the case with cash-back cards that allow you to convert rewards into points you can redeem for other things, like travel. Some travel cards allow you to redeem for cash back at the same point value, too. One example is the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer. You can redeem points for cash back or convert them to ThankYou points, which can be redeemed for travel, gift cards and online shopping at partners including PayPal and Amazon.com.
Keep your rewards active. If you plan on closing a credit card, you’ll likely forfeit any remaining unused points — unless you transfer those points to a different card you plan to keep open.
Give those last few points a purpose. It’s not always easy (or possible) to spend the last 5,000 in your account after a redemption. Moving them to another card and adding them to that point balance can suddenly give you the point supply you need to redeem again.
Make it simple to manage. Rather than having buckets of points in various places, combine the points you earn from various cards with the same issuer to make life easier.
Card issuers’ rules for combining points
Some business and corporate American Express cards earn points in the form of Membership Rewards. These points are automatically pooled into one account, but their value can vary based on which cards you carry and what you opt to redeem points for. You can’t transfer points to another person or account.
Bank of America®
According to a Bank of America® representative, you can consolidate rewards, but you can’t mix points and cash back. That means rewards points earned on cards including the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card and Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card can be combined. The same goes for cash back earned on cards like the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card and Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card.
This feature isn’t heavily advertised, but buried in the fine print is mention of the ability to transfer rewards “between certain Capital One accounts.” According to a Capital One representative, miles earned on travel cards including the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and Capital One Spark Miles for Business can be transferred from one account to another. Also, Capital One cash rewards can be transferred to travel card accounts (but you can’t do the reverse and transfer miles to a cash rewards account). Eligible customers will find a "Move Rewards" feature on the rewards redemption page when logged into their account.
As mentioned above, you can convert cash-back rewards earned on the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer to ThankYou points, at a value of 100 points for every $1 you convert. Taking this action is nonreversible. You can share up to 100,000 ThankYou points per year with someone else who has a ThankYou account. Points you convert from your cash rewards won’t expire, but points acquired through point sharing expire 90 days from the sharing date.
Chase is a point-combining powerhouse, allowing you to move points between cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. The main benefit is taking points worth 1 cent each and moving them to a card where they’re worth more when redeemed for travel through Chase (1.25 cents each with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and 1.5 cents each with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®). You can also transfer points to one other member of your household.
You can pool points earned on the U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa Signature® Card and U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card and redeem them at a value of 1 cent apiece. However, you can’t transfer points from those two cards to the most premium card in the Altitude family, the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card, which allows cardholders to redeem points at a higher value of 1.5 cents each for travel through U.S. Bank.
Go Far Rewards, which are earned on eligible Wells Fargo-issued cards, automatically land in one rewards account if you have multiple cards in your name. There are a number of ways to redeem Go Far Rewards, typically at a value of 1 cent each. However, if you happen to carry the Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Credit Card, you can redeem Go Far Rewards for plane tickets at a value of 1.5 cents each. (The Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Credit Card is closed to new applicants.) You can also transfer or gift points to another Go Far Rewards account holder.
Risks to consider
You may let a larger pool of points expire. If you combine all your points from multiple cards into one card, then cancel that one card, you’ve just lost more points than you would have had you kept them separate. Once you consolidate, keep up with that card to make sure your account remains active.
Expirations can get murky. In the case of Citi, points acquired through point sharing expire 90 days from the sharing date. But once shared points are combined with existing points, there's no way to keep track of what's what. You'll have to remember exactly how many points were shared and make sure to use them within 90 days or they'll disappear.
Sharing points with someone else can be risky. If you transfer points into someone else’s account, you lose control over how they get used. Keep the lines of communication open if you’re merging points with the purpose of a shared redemption.
The information related to Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Credit Card, has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.