Types of Credit Card Reward Points

Pam

So many credit cards, so many types of reward points! It can get confusing, can’t it? Ultimate Rewards, American Express Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, Marriott Bonvoy Rewards, Delta SkyMiles, etc., etc., etc. It’s hard to keep up with all the different types of reward points! Although it can get confusing, the good news is that because there are so many different types, there are many ways to earn more and more points!

One of the biggest fears of travel hackers is that one could run out of credit card points and travel hacking could end. Luckily, there is a myriad of points we can move on to. Let’s break them down in today’s post.

 

Chase Ultimate Rewards

One of the favorite types of credit card points for beginner travel hackers and more seasoned travel hackers alike are Chase Ultimate Rewards, offered by Chase Bank. The beauty of Ultimate Rewards is that they are transferable points. This means they can be transferred to many airline and hotel sites for use in multiple ways. Here are some of the cards that will give you Ultimate Rewards:

 

Those last four cards are technically cashback cards but if you also have a Sapphire Preferred, Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred you can move the points from your cashback card into one of those cards and be able to use them for travel.

Chase Ultimate Rewards can also be used to book travel in the Chase Travel Portal (similar to Expedia). Each point is worth 1.25 cents with the exception of the Sapphire Reserve which is worth 1.5 cents in the portal. Using the portal to book travel is super easy but we find that oftentimes you get more value when you transfer your Ultimate Rewards directly to one of Chase’s travel partners. There are several airline and hotel transfer partners. These include:

Airline Partners

  • Aer Lingus
  • British Airways
  • Emirates
  • Flying Blue (the loyalty program of Air France and KLM)
  • Iberia
  • JetBlue
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Southwest
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

 

Hotel Partners

  • Hyatt
  • IHG
  • Marriott

 

girl at Wailea Beach

Alex has transferred Ultimate Rewards for several trips to Hawaii!

 

Alex is the queen of using Ultimate Rewards and she has used them in the following ways:

  • Transferred points to United for a roundtrip business class ticket for a girl’s trip to Greece
  • Booked condo in Carlsbad, California in the Chase travel portal
  • Transferred points to United to book 2 roundtrip flights to Maui
  • Transferred points to Hyatt for more nights at the Grand Hyatt Kauai
  • Transferred points to Air France for a flight home from Copenhagen
  • Transferred points to British Airways to book her hubby a roundtrip flight from SLC to Phoenix

 

Check out this post to learn even more about Chase Ultimate Rewards.

 

American Express Membership Rewards

Another popular credit card reward point currency is American Express Membership Rewards. These are also transferable points and we love transferable pointsWhile we love our American Express credit cards and are even willing to pay a high annual fee for them, we suggest you get your Chase credit cards first because of the Chase 5/24 rule. These are the credit cards that will get you American Express Membership Rewards:

 

Airline Partners

  • AeroMexico
  • Aer Lingus
  • Air Canada
  • Air France/KLM
  • Alitalia
  • ANA (All Nippon Airways)
  • Avianca
  • Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles)
  • British Airways
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Emirates
  • Etihad
  • El Al Israel
  • Hawaiian
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue
  • Qantas
  • Singapore
  • Virgin Atlantic

 

Hotel Partners

  • Choice Hotels
  • Hilton Hotels
  • Marriott Hotels

 

Some of these transfers are instant. Some may take a few days and some are not a 1:1 transfer. One of the best things about Membership Rewards is that American Express periodically offers bonus points when you transfer to certain partners. That is the perfect time to transfer Membership Rewards. However, all transfers are a one-way deal. Once you transfer your points to the partner, they remain with that partner.

For example, I transferred Membership Rewards for a Virgin Atlantic business class seat to Chile. We had horrible Denver weather close to my departure date, so I needed to fly direct to Chile instead of starting in Atlanta as planned. I was able to cancel my flight and keep my Virgin Atlantic points but couldn’t put them back into Membership Rewards. I have been looking for a way to use them and recently used some on my Costa Rica girl’s trip.

I have opened several American Express cards and have lots of Membership Rewards still. I have used my Membership Rewards in the following ways:

  • Transferred to British Airways and used two first-class tickets Cairo-London
  • Transferred to Delta and flew to Maui for a last-minute Maui trip to escape the winter blues
  • Transferred to Virgin Atlantic to fly to Chile (note change of plans above)

 

Learn more about American Express Membership Rewards by checking out this post.

 

Citi ThankYou Points

Although not as popular as some of the other reward points, Citi ThankYou Points are another great way to build your stockpile of points. They are also transferable points but don’t have as many domestic airline partners. The credit cards that give you ThankYou Points are:

 

Citi ThankYou Transfer Partners

  • Aeromexico
  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca
  • Etihad
  • Eva Air
  • Flying Blue- Air France/KLM
  • Jet Airways
  • JetBlue
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Thai Airways
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Choice Hotels
  • Wyndham
  • Accor

 

I used ThankYou points to transfer to EVA and traveled to Thailand in business class for 75,000 miles one way. I even got jammies from EVA and their service was great! To learn more about Citi ThankYou Points, check out this post.

 

Reclining Buddha Bangkok, Thailand

You could transfer ThankYou Points to fly to Thailand to see the Reclining Buddha.

 

Capital One Venture Rewards

Capital One offers Venture Rewards that can be used in two ways. Like most of the cards we recommend you can use the rewards and transfer them to certain airlines.  Additionally, and even easier, you can use the rewards to effectively cancel or “wipe out” expenses that fall in the travel category. To earn these points you’ll want to open a Capital One Venture Card.

Airline Transfer Partners

  • Aeromexico Club Premier
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • Alitalia MilleMiglia
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Etihad Guest
  • EVA Infinity MileageLands
  • Finnair Plus
  • Hainan Fortune Wings Club
  • JetBlue
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Singapore KrisFlyer

 

Use Venture Reward Points to “erase” Disneyland tickets.

 

Other Reward Points

There are also various airlines and hotels that offer their own credit cards and points. These are primarily used on their own sites to book award travel or hotel stays. Here are some of the main ones:

 

Additionally, there are other banks that offer their own travel reward programs. Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and US Bank to name a few. We recommend starting with the ones we listed above as they are the most rewarding.

Each of these has one or more credit cards and so you can get plenty of points to add to your stockpile of travel points and travel for free or nearly free.

 

Bottom Line

One of the greatest things about travel hacking is that there are so many different types of points we can earn with so many different credit cards. This means that we can continually be finding new cards to apply for thus ensuring that we can enjoy free to nearly free travel for many years. We know that beginner travel hackers can find all these points/names confusing so be sure and reach out to us on our home page for a free credit consultation.

 

 

 

 

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