Chase Ultimate Rewards vs. AmEx Membership Rewards Transfer Partners

Elina GellerAug 19, 2021

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In the world of miles and points, two loyalty programs reign supreme: Chase Ultimate Rewards®  and American Express Membership Rewards. Each program's points are particularly valuable because they can be transferred to airline and hotel partners, as well as redeemed for travel, gift cards and statement credits.

Transferring points to airlines and hotels and redeeming for award flights/hotel nights can yield excellent value. We take a look at both programs and analyze AmEx and Chase’s best and worst transfer partners. In addition, we explain who benefits the most from each program and show you how to earn and maximize the points.

AmEx vs. Chase airline and hotel transfer partners

Chase has 11 airline partners, while American Express has 19. Both programs also offer three hotel chains as transfer partners.

Although AmEx offers more partners, it doesn’t mean that AmEx’s program is superior. Rather, it's a matter of deciding which airlines or hotels you prefer.

For example, if you love Southwest Airlines and want to use your points for an award ticket on that airline, you’ll want to focus your efforts on earning Chase Ultimate Rewards® points because Southwest only partners with Chase.

Airline/hotel partner

Chase Ultimate Rewards® ratio

American Express Membership Rewards ratio

Aer Lingus.

1,000:1,000.

1,000:1,000.

Aeromexico.

N/A.

1,000:1,600.

Air Canada.

1,000:1,000.

1,000:1,000.

Air France/KLM.

1,000:1,000.

1,000:1,000.

Alitalia.

N/A.

1,000:1,000.

ANA All Nippon Airways.

N/A.

1,000:1,000.

Avianca.

N/A.

1,000:1,000.

British Airways.

1,000:1,000.

1,000:1,000.

Cathay Pacific Airways.

N/A.

1,000:1,000.

Choice.

N/A.

1,000:1,000.

Delta Airlines.

N/A.

1,000:1,000.

Emirates.

1,000:1,000.

1,000:1,000.

Etihad Airways.

N/A.

1,000:1,000.

Hawaiian Airlines.

N/A.

1,000:1,000.

Hilton.

N/A.

1,000:2,000.

Hyatt.

1,000:1,000.

N/A.

Iberia.

1,000:1,000.

1,000:1,000.

IHG.

1,000:1,000.

N/A.

JetBlue Airways.

1,000:1,000.

250:200.

Marriott.

1,000:1,000.

1,000:1,000.

Qantas Airways.

N/A.

1,000:1,000.

Singapore Airlines.

1,000:1,000.

1,000:1,000.

Southwest Airlines.

1,000:1,000.

N/A.

United Airlines.

1,000:1,000.

N/A.

Virgin Atlantic.

1,000:1,000.

1,000:1,000.

AmEx Membership Rewards overview

Transfer partners

With a total of 21 partners (18 airlines, three hotels), AmEx points can be transferred to the following airlines and hotels.

AmEx airline partners

AmEx hotel partners

Best American Express Membership Rewards transfer partners

Air Canada’s Aeroplan: Air Canada’s Aeroplan is a solid program due to its decent award chart and participation in the Star Alliance network. Aeroplan miles are great for booking award seats on United, Copa Airlines and many other Star Alliance carriers.

Air France / KLM’s Flying Blue: Air France / KLM’s Flying Blue is another useful option due to the airline’s monthly Promo Rewards, which are discounted award tickets to specific destinations. Although the airline adds high taxes and surcharges to award tickets, the discount on the number of miles can be as high as 50%.

British Airways: British Airways is a member of the Oneworld Alliance, so you could use your British Airways Avios to book flights on American Airlines. Although British Airways is notorious for adding high taxes and fuel charges on awards, you won't pay those fees on domestic American Airlines flights. Furthermore, since British Airways' award chart is distance-based, Avios are great for short-haul flights on American Airlines.

Weak American Express Membership Rewards transfer partners

JetBlue: AmEx’s poor transfer ratio to JetBlue makes this airline a weak partner. Instead of a 1:1 ratio, for every 250 AmEx points, you receive only 200 JetBlue points. While JetBlue is a solid program on its own, transferring AmEx points to the carrier would not be a great use of points.

Delta or Hawaiian Airlines: American Express charges excise tax offset fees on point transfers to domestic airlines of .06 cent per point. While this seems like a tiny amount, a transfer of 50,000 points will result in an annoying $30 fee. Keep this in mind for transfers to Delta, JetBlue and Hawaiian Airlines.

What else you need to know

Here's a closer look at American Express' transfer ratios, minimum transfer amounts and alliance memberships.

Airline/hotel partner

Transfer ratio

Minimum transfer amount

Alliance, if applicable

Aer Lingus.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

N/A.

Aeromexico.

1,000:1,600.

1,000.

SkyTeam.

Air Canada.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

Star Alliance.

Air France/KLM.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

SkyTeam.

Alitalia.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

SkyTeam.

ANA All Nippon Airways.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

Star Alliance.

Avianca.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

Star Alliance.

British Airways.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

Oneworld.

Cathay Pacific Airways.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

Oneworld.

Choice.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

N/A.

Delta Air Lines.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

SkyTeam.

Emirates.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

N/A.

Etihad Airways.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

N/A.

Hawaiian Airlines.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

N/A.

Hilton.

1,000:2,000.

1,000.

N/A.

Iberia.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

Oneworld.

JetBlue Airways.

250:200.

250.

N/A.

Marriott.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

N/A.

Qantas Airways.

1,000:1,000.

500.

Oneworld.

Singapore Airlines.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

Star Alliance.

Virgin Atlantic.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

N/A.

With the exception of Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines and JetBlue, the remaining airline partners are international. Don’t let this deter you, though — many of these international airlines participate in large airline alliance networks, offering plenty of opportunities for redemptions on domestic carriers.

For example, Avianca and United Airlines are both members of the Star Alliance. So you could transfer AmEx points to Avianca’s LifeMiles program, and then use LifeMiles miles to book an award ticket on United.

Additionally, American Express often runs transfer bonuses, allowing you to maximize the amount of points you’re moving into your frequent flyer account. If you time a transfer bonus to coincide with an upcoming redemption, you could extract an excellent value out of your AmEx points.

How to transfer Membership Rewards points

Log into your American Express account, select Rewards from the top menu and then Transfer Points from the pop-up menu. Click View All to see a list of available transfer partners.

The next page will show a list of airline and hotel programs, and you'll need to choose one. In our example, we’ve selected Hawaiian Airlines for a transfer.

To proceed with a transfer, you'll need to link your American Express Membership Rewards account to the HawaiianMiles program and verify your identity by entering the four-digit card ID and three-digit security code found on the card associated with your Membership Rewards account.

Once the accounts have been linked, you'll be able to transfer your points on the following page.

Chase Ultimate Rewards® overview

Chase transfer partners

Chase Ultimate Rewards® points can be transferred to 14 programs in total, comprising 11 airlines and three hotel chains.

Chase's airline and frequent flyer program partners

Note, Air Canada will become a Chase Ultimate Rewards® transfer partner by the end of 2021.

Chase's hotel partners

The best Chase Ultimate Rewards® transfer partners

United: United is a great choice given the airline’s extensive reach and its participation in Star Alliance. Although United has eliminated its award chart, its award search tool is great for checking Star Alliance availability. Another positive is that United doesn’t charge taxes or surcharges on award tickets.

Virgin Atlantic: A lesser-known fact about Virgin Atlantic is that its miles can be used to book Delta award tickets on Virgin’s website. Despite the recent negative update to Virgin Atlantic's Delta award chart, a one-way award from the U.S. to Europe in the Delta One cabin is still only 50,000 Flying Club miles. Delta One is Delta’s international first class option, and the cabin offers lie-flat seats, a superior dining option during the flight and Sky Club lounge access at the airport. If you were to book this ticket directly with Delta, you’d be subject to dynamic pricing. For example, let's consider the following flight from Boston to Amsterdam in Delta One.

On Virgin Atlantic, the flight costs 50,000 miles plus $5.60 in taxes.

However, on the Delta website, you’d need to spend 80,000 SkyMiles plus $5.60 in taxes for the exact same flight.

Not surprisingly, you could also use Flying Club miles to fly on Virgin Atlantic. However, we didn’t list this as a notable redemption given the high taxes assessed by the airline on its award tickets. If the high taxes don’t deter you, Virgin Atlantic's premium economy service is excellent.

Hyatt: Hyatt is the only Chase hotel transfer partner that’s worthy of mention. NerdWallet values Hyatt points at 1.9 cents each, which is above the valuation of any other hotel or airline. Standard award nights at Hyatt properties range from 5,000 to 40,000 points per night.

As an example, a one-night stay this fall at the Andaz 5th Avenue in New York prices out at 25,000 points or $695 per night, reflecting an excellent redemption value of nearly 2.8 cents per point.

Weak Chase Ultimate Rewards® transfer partners

Marriott or IHG: Transferring to Marriott or IHG would not be ideal. NerdWallet values Marriott points at 0.7 cent and IHG points at 0.8 cent each. Given that you could redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards® through the travel portal for 1.5 cents each if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you’d be better off booking a hotel room through Chase’s travel portal.

What else you need to know

Here's a deep dive into the Chase transfer ratio, minimum transfer amounts and its alliance memberships.

Airline/hotel partner

Transfer ratio

Minimum transfer amount

Alliance, if applicable

Air Canada.

1,000:1,000

1,000

Star Alliance

Air France/KLM.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

SkyTeam.

British Airways.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

Oneworld.

Emirates.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

N/A.

Hyatt.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

N/A.

Iberia.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

Oneworld.

IHG.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

N/A.

JetBlue Airways.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

N/A.

Marriott.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

N/A.

Singapore Airlines.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

Star Alliance.

Southwest Airlines.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

N/A.

United Airlines.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

Star Alliance.

Virgin Atlantic.

1,000:1,000.

1,000.

N/A.

You can transfer from Chase to airlines and hotels at a 1:1 ratio. Transfers are usually immediate, but can take up to seven business days. Unlike AmEx, transfers to JetBlue are at a 1:1 ratio, and Chase does not charge any fees when you move points to domestic airlines.

Nerdy tip: If you have points with AmEx and Chase and want to transfer to JetBlue, use your Chase points so you can benefit from the better rate and avoid the excise fee.

How to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards® points

Log into your Chase Ultimate Rewards® account and select your credit card. From the Earn / Use drop-down menu on the top left, choose Transfer to Travel Partners.

On the next page, you’ll see all the different programs available for point transfers. For this example, we’ve chosen British Airways.

To begin the process, you'll need to select a recipient from the drop-down menu, which will most likely be you unless you’ve linked your account to another person.

In the Member ID and Confirm Member ID fields, input your British Airways Avios number and then click Continue. The subsequent pages will ask you to enter how many points you’d like to transfer and confirm the amount.

Nerdy tip: Before transferring points from AmEx or Chase to an airline for a specific redemption, call the carrier’s customer service department and ask a representative to put the award ticket on hold in case the point transfer is not instantaneous.

Overlapping partners between Chase and American Express

Airline/hotel partner

Chase Ultimate Rewards®

American Express Membership Rewards

Alliance, if applicable

Aer Lingus.

Yes.

Yes.

N/A.

Air Canada

Yes.

Yes.

Star Alliance.

Air France/KLM.

Yes.

Yes.

SkyTeam.

British Airways.

Yes.

Yes.

Oneworld.

Emirates.

Yes.

Yes.

N/A.

Iberia.

Yes.

Yes.

Oneworld.

JetBlue Airways.

Yes.

Yes.

N/A.

Marriott.

Yes.

Yes.

N/A.

Singapore Airlines.

Yes.

Yes.

Star Alliance.

Virgin Atlantic.

Yes.

Yes.

N/A.

There are nine airlines and one hotel that overlap as partners for both AmEx and Chase. Here are a few important things to know about the partners:

  • AmEx often runs transfer bonuses to airlines, so before considering a transfer to a partner that overlaps, check if AmEx is running a transfer promo.

  • Although JetBlue is a partner of both programs, if you do need to transfer points, you’d be better off transferring Chase points — Chase offers a 1:1 ratio, while AmEx offers a 5:4 ratio. Plus, AmEx charges excise fees on transfers to domestic airlines while Chase does not. The only instance a transfer from American Express Membership Rewards could make sense is if AmEx was running a JetBlue transfer bonus that equalized the ratio and offset the excise fee.

How to choose which points to transfer

If you want to book with a partner that overlaps both programs, you have both types of points and the transfer ratios are equal, which points should you use? Your decision can largely depend on:

  • How many points you already have with each issuer.

  • How easy it is to earn points based on your spending habits.

  • The cards you already have or are considering applying for.

  • Whether there is an ongoing transfer bonus.

If you’ve got your eye on some transfer partners and want to start earning AmEx Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards®, you may want to consider applying for a card that earns points with the corresponding program.

How to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards® and American Express Membership Rewards points

The fastest and easiest way to earn points with AmEx or Chase is through card welcome offers. The other way is to strategically use the cards for everyday purchases so you maximize your earnings on bonus categories.

You will need to satisfy a minimum spending requirement to receive the welcome bonus. If you cannot meet the minimum spend without going into debt, it's better to hold off applying for the card, as any value you’d receive from the points will be wiped out by the finance charges you’d pay on carrying a balance.

In addition, before you start applying for any new cards, keep in mind Chase’s 5/24 rule, which limits the number of cards you can be approved for. In general, if you’re deciding between AmEx and Chase, apply for a Chase card first.

Credit cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards® points

Chase Ultimate Rewards® points can be earned from these cards:

Chase personal credit cards:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve® (annual fee: $550): Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (annual fee: $95): Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Chase business credit cards:

  • Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (annual fee: $95): Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

No-fee cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards®:

These no-annual-fee cards will allow you to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards®, but it's important to note that if you don't also have one of the cards above, you're limited in what you can do with your points from a travel perspective. No transfer partners are available, and any travel redeemed through the Chase travel portal will get you a flat 1-cent-per-point value (compared to the 1.25 or 1.5 available through Chase’s fee-based cards above).

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited® (annual fee: $0): Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

  • Chase Freedom Flex℠ (annual fee: $0): Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

  • Ink Business Cash® Credit Card (annual fee: $0): Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

  • Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card (annual fee: $0): Earn $750 bonus cash back after you spend $7,500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns 3x points on travel and dining while the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card earns 5x on office supply store purchases. There are several ways to maximize the bonus categories on Chase cards (both fee and no fee) so you can earn the maximum number of Chase Ultimate Rewards® points.

Cards that earn American Express Membership Rewards

You can earn AmEx Membership Rewards points from the following cards:

AmEx personal cards:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express (annual fee: $695): Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

  • American Express® Gold Card (annual fee: $250): Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months. Terms Apply.

  • American Express® Green Card (annual fee: $150): Earn 30,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Terms Apply.

  • The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express (annual fee: $95): Earn 15,000 Membership Reward® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

  • Amex EveryDay® Credit Card (annual fee: $0): Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. Terms Apply.

  • Blue from American Express® (annual fee: $0): Earn 10,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.

AmEx business cards:

AmEx offers several products for earning Membership Rewards points. The Platinum Card® from American Express earns 5x points on travel purchases directly with airlines on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and the American Express® Gold Card returns 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1x points on any additional purchases). Terms apply. You can make the most out of AmEx’s bonus categories by combining a few American Express cards.

To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page. To view rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, see this page. To view rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page. To view rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, see this page.

How to decide if AmEx or Chase is best for you

American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards® are two of the most valuable transferable point currencies. The points from these programs are extremely versatile because they can be transferred to numerous airline and hotel partners.

Deciding which program to go with depends on your particular travel goals, your home airport and which airlines fly to where you want to go. With so many airline and hotel transfer partners, you really can’t go wrong with either program.

All information about Blue from American Express® has been collected independently by NerdWallet. Blue from American Express® is no longer available through NerdWallet. All information about the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card is no longer available through NerdWallet. All information about The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express is no longer available through NerdWallet. All information about the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The American Express® Green Card is no longer available through NerdWallet.


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