Understanding Transfer Bonuses

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Did you know that banks have transfer bonuses a few times a year? These are super important to look out for because you can get fantastic redemptions when they happen.

What is a transfer bonus?
When banks offer an “extra” bonus for transferring points to a specific travel partner.

How do I know when there is one?
When you login to your credit card account and go into the “transfer points”/”transfer to travel partners” section, you’ll see it. Here are a couple examples from past bonuses…

So.. how does this work?
Let’s say you need 48,500 points to book a flight on Virgin Atlantic. If you transfer points to Virgin Atlantic during a 30% transfer bonus offer, you’ll only need to transfer 37,308 points. This saves you OVER 11,000 points!

A simple equation to figure out the discount:
If the ticket is 48,500 points needed. And you have a 30% transfer bonus, you’ll use this equation:
48500 divided by 1.3 = 37,308 miles needed
If this ticket is 65,000 points needed. And you have a 25% transfer bonus, you’ll use this equation:
65000 divided by 1.25 = 52,000 miles needed

Stacking for fantastic savings
Every month Flying Blue (Air France & KLM frequent flyer program) has promos.

If you are able to COMBINE a bank transfer bonus + an airline promo… you basically hit the jackpot…

For example… this Houston to Prague flight (one way, business class) has a Flying Blue PROMO, costing just 48,750 (+taxes/fees). But if you were to transfer points during a 25% transfer bonus, you’ll only need 39,000 miles (+taxes/fees). That is an INCREDIBLE deal!

A few things to keep in mind

  • You can’t really “time” bonus transfers. However, they almost always happen on the 1st of the month or the 15th.
  • It is normally recommended not to speculatively transfer points even though there’s a good bonus. The reason is because once you transfer them, it’s permanent. They become airline miles and you can’t undo it if you see a better flight deal elsewhere.
  • Some airlines seem to get more bonuses than others (Flying Blue & Virgin) but I’ve seen & used them for Aeroplan and British Airways too!
  • Sometimes there are transfer bonuses to hotels. I only recommend these if you need to “top off” points for a reservation. I don’t find these to “usually” be good redemptions.

Questions? Please never hesitate to reach out! You can always find me on instagram or through my site.

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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