Transferable points are points you earn from a credit card that you can transfer to many different types of airline miles or other points. They are valuable because they give you so much flexibility. Each airline program has strengths and weaknesses in terms of the number of miles you need and the availability from point A to point B. Collecting transferable points ensures that no matter where you decide to go, you can always transfer your points to the type of airline miles that is best for the award you want.
Since award space can be a scarce resource, it is important to note that not all transferrable points transfer to their partners instantaneously.
This is the second post of a four part series going over how long it takes each type of transferrable point to transfer to its partners. Today’s post is about the transfer times between Membership Rewards and each of its 17 airline partners and three hotel partners.
- How Long Does it Take Ultimate Rewards to Transfer?
- How Long Does it Take Membership Rewards to Transfer? (this post)
- How Long Does it Take ThankYou Points to Transfer?
- How Long Does it Take SPG Points to Transfer?
Membership Rewards Transfer Times
Membership Rewards transfer to almost all the airline partners instantaneously (or very close to instantaneously) except for a handful. The two partners with slowest transfer times–AeroMexico and Cathay Pacific–aren’t commonly utilized partners anyways as there aren’t many good deals on their award charts.
Membership Rewards Don’t Transfer to All of Those Partners 1:1
Unless there is a transfer bonus or an extremely cheap mileage price, it’s probably not a good idea to transfer your Membership Rewards to these partners as they don’t convert 1 Membership Rewards to 1 airline mile.
- AeroMexico (1,000 MRs = 1,600 miles)
- British Airways (250 MRs = 200 Avios)
- Iberia (250 MRs = 200 Avios)
- El Al (1,000 MRs = 20 points)
- JetBlue (250 MRs = 200 points)
- Virgin America (200 MRs = 100 points)
- Hilton (1,000 MRs = 1,500 points)
- Starwood Preferred Guest (1,000 MRs = 333 points)
Putting Awards on Hold
Of course, the transfer times above are what you will almost always see, but occasionally there may be a mishap with a transfer and you’re left waiting in limbo. These cases are not common, but if it happens to you, here are some tips about how to put Membership Rewards transfer partners awards on hold when possible.
For Alitalia awards flying Alitalia planes, you can hold awards for as long as 14 days. Holding Alitalia awards flying partners planes is a little trickier as it will depend on the agent you speak to. If you don’t like what you hear, hang up and call again.
Technically you cannot hold an ANA award, but Reddit claims that if you call Asiana Flying Club, you can get an award put on hold (for free) for 24 to 48 hours.
24 hour holds are allowed on Etihad awards flying Etihad planes, but no holds are allowed for partner awards.
Singapore doesn’t “officially” allow holds, but supposedly it is possible to put a Singapore award on hold for free. Some say you have to have 50% of the required mileage already in your account, others say 30%, and others have reported needing none. I think this is a case of YMMV. If you don’t get a good agent, call back until you find one that will hold your award.
Upon Arriving has a post with tips outlining how to put a Singapore award on hold.
Flying Blue is known for holding awards for free for up to 48 hours, but this is also going to depend on the agent. If you don’t like what you hear, hang up and call again.
Award holds are allowed for free with Virgin Atlantic, no tricks or tips needed! You can put an award on hold for 48 hours.
Luckily there isn’t lag time with the majority of Membership Rewards’ airline transfer partners, and the ones that do have notorious wait time aren’t commonly used partners. Two of the more commonly used partners with wait times, Singapore and Virgin Atlantic, at least have ways you can put their awards on hold to increase your chance of getting your desired award space.