Podcast: The best transferable points program is… | Frequent Miler on the Air Ep243


We love our transferable points, but not all transferable points programs are created equal. On episode 243 of Frequent Miler on the Air, Greg and Nick dissect the different factors that make a transferable program “the best”.

FM OTA: The best transferable points program is…

Watch the full episode here, or click the timestamps below to navigate directly to a specific part of the episode in YouTube.


(01:38) – Uni Portable Toll Transponder (Mail Bag)
Find the Uni transponder here.

Card Talk

(07:22) – Capital One to acquire Discover (Card Talk)

(12:12) – New Amex refer-a-friend bonuses through May 22 (+10x restaurants worldwide, up to $25K spend for 3 months)

Learn more about the Amex refer-a-friend bonus here.

Learn about the Amex Consumer Gold Card here.

Learn about the Amex Blue Business Plus Card here.

Learn about the Amex Business Gold Card here.

Crazy Thing

(19:22) – AA charges more per person for 1 person to fly Madison to Phoenix than for 2 (Crazy Thing)

Mattress Run

(22:52) – Hyatt Bonus Journeys through 4/30/24 (Mattress Running the Numbers)

Learn more about the Hyatt Bonus Journeys here.

Award Talk

(29:29) -Citi 30% transfer bonus to Virgin through March 16th (Award Talk)

Learn more about Virgin Sweet Spots here.

(31:50) – AwardTool (one-ups PointsYeah, but with controversy)

Learn more about AwardTool here.

(37:13) – PointsYeah adds child award search

Learn more about PointsYeah updates here.

(39:40) – American Airlines news

Read more about transferring American Airlines points at half cent.

Read more about American Airlines no longer offering points for flights booked through OTAs and raised checked bag prices.

Main Event: The best transferable points program is…

(46:05) – Contenders for best transferable points program: Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One Miles, Citi ThankYou Rewards and Bilt Rewards

(48:01) – Best transferable points program for point earning opportunities

(56:00) – Best transferable points for transfer partners

(1:03:19) – Best transferable points for pay with points awards

(1:09:04) – Best transferable points for points management (like moving from one person to another)

(1:19:49) -Nick’s pick for overall best transferable points program

(1:21:26) – Greg’s pick for best transferable points program

(1:23:27) – Nick’s runner-up pick for overall best transferable points program

(1:25:42) -Greg’s runner-up for overall best transferable points program

Question of the Week

(1:31:04) – Would you feel comfortable booking a Small Luxury Hotel of the World property knowing that the relationship with Hyatt will be ending soon and would you wait for the hopeful integration of Mr. and Mrs. Smith properties… (Questions of the Week)

Of course, if you’re a fan of podcasts over videos or posts, you can find this on all your favorite podcast platforms: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube Music (formerly Google Play).

Want to learn more about miles and points? Subscribe to email updates or check out our podcast on your favorite podcast platform.
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Some comments on the rental car tolls. At Christmas rented a car at ORD for a week (decent price, was upgraded to a Dodge Challenger due to lack of other vehicles). Declined the EZPass package, as I knew it would be overpriced. The Illinois Tollway is now 100% transponder and camera, so simply drove through the toll plazas. On the first night logged into the Illinois Tollway website, created an account, added the rental car license plate (and importantly an expiration for the return date) and all set. The individual charges started showing up on my credit card a few days later, and no stress at the rental return. You have 14 days to submit your info, with no penalty (other than the higher toll for not having a transponder). On a similar trip in 2019 you didn’t need to set up an account, but you did need to manually indicate the trips you took, and pay accordingly, which I did. In that case the rental company still got a bill, and tried to bill me, but I just e-mailed the receipt of my own payment, and the charge was quickly reversed. Don’t know if other EZPass states have similar easy options for rental cars.

Bilt Shills

Surprised you guys even brought up the awardtool discussion when you won’t even consider discussing anything surrounding Bilt accusations against yourselves and other bloggers. Kind of furthers the point that you are in their pocket that you won’t talk about it


Huh? The FM team has talked about what their relationship is with Bilt in comments before. I’m not sure why they’d dedicate a segment on a podcast about it.

If they are Bilt shills they’ve been pretty bad it. Bilt didn’t win as the best transferable points or runner-up for either pick on this podcast and Nick didn’t even have the card up until the past month.


A couple of things that people don’t mention on the greatness of BILT:
1) I have had BILT for a couple of years now and it is awesome (with the exception of no bonus cards). I think that Greg/Nick not being familiar with it is showing through on their choices. For example, dismissing BILT because you can’t share points is wrong. It is true that you can’t share or pool between accounts. However, I do this ALL the time between my account and my wife’s acct: You can go in and update the travel partner’s account to whichever one you need to receive the points. I love the fact that it’s immediate so within seconds I can transfer both her points and mine to the travel partner’s account of our choice.
2) BILT is the ONLY program where if you need an additional 800 or 1000 points for something, you can go purchase whatever will give you that and the points will be available once the payments settle (less than 24hrs). All other programs you have to wait until statement close. We just did this again this week while booking a Hyatt and were short a few points.
3) Choosing Amex simply because of the potential to earn points makes no sense. I do like the Amex Gold for earning but the bonus logic only applies to a brand new Amex user. It is no longer applicable for anyone on this site due to the lifetime language.

Having Amex and BILT covers it all for me!


That’s interesting with Bilt – so they have no requirement that name on a FF account match the Bilt account holder’s name? That seems like something that would be a concern for abuse by points brokers.

On point 3 with AMEX though I would argue that’s not true on bonuses. A number of readers on this site haven’t gone through all the AMEX cards yet (I’ve been reading for close to two years and haven’t yet because of focusing on Chase and Barclays cards first). And the NLL offers can keep the MR points parade going for those who’ve already received all their “lifetime” bonuses on MR cards.

Then there’s the 5X and 10X referral offers that keep coming around with very high spending limit caps – you don’t need to open new cards yourself for those.


Nick’s explanation for picking Capital One rather than Chase as his second pick was weird… he said he’d miss having Hyatt without Chase but then didn’t really explain why Capital One is a better complement to AmEx than Chase.

Capital One has better airline partners than Chase but most of those are already covered by AmEx (his first pick). So is the main reason for Capital One just to have Turkish (which AmEx doesn’t have)? And is Turkish really worth giving up Hyatt?


I think in lieu of Hyatt, he would use Vacasa thru Wyndham.


Right, he mentioned that instead but it didn’t sound like he thought that was better than Hyatt… just something he could do instead if he didn’t have Hyatt.


I think a negative for Chase is that you need an annual fee card to transfer your miles to travel partners. They are the only one of these companies that requires it. The other companies might not give you the best rates with their no annual fee cards, but it is still possible.
And Amex is great because for redemptions all their cards are equal, including their no annual fee card. Bilt only has one no annual fee card, so they are the same, but Bilt is harder to earn points than Amex.


Isn’t the same true for Citi? I thought you need a Premier/Prestige to transfer to partners.


Yes and No. You can have a no annual fee card such as a the Double Cash or Custom Cash card and transfer to Choice, Wyndham and JetBlue, but you get worst redemption rates. And if you have the premium cards all the rest of the travel partners become available.

My point is that it IS possible, but with Chase, it isn’t possible at all.

I’m with Nick and my vote goes to Amex, but as far as Greg is concerned, I am only a P1, so transferring points to family doesn’t affect me, so his reasoning isn’t a big concern for me.


Would you be willing to evaluate transfer bonus potential as a show topic? I believe your website already tracks transfer bonuses and that data can be used to create a metric like “transfer bonuses per year”

I leverage transfer bonuses or sales as much as possible.


Amex has been restricting the points parade lately though – lifetime language, family language, popup jail.

If you signed up for a personal platinum, unless there’s a targeted offer, you can’t get SUB for gold or green anymore. And I’ve been rejected for the bonus on 4 of my last 5 Amex applications, though the one I did succeed with turned out well.


The points parade is more “YMMV” now. I feel like Nick and others have written about rarely having issues with pop-up jail, meanwhile I’m a relatively new player to the game and started getting pop-ups after my very first AMEX card while still under 5/24. P2 has exactly one AMEX card that is four years old with a history of regular spend and also got pop-ups for the offers we attempted last year.

My outside view is that AMEX is particularly lucrative once you are an existing customer with a portfolio of cards. Then you can start taking advantage of frequent NLL Business card offers, +5X or +10X referral bonuses, and upgrade offers that rival a SUB. I’m seeing that already with the +10X dining referral bonus available on a card so new I’m still working on the SUB for it! Pairing with Rakuten MR can be a lucrative points shopping portal option.

I’m a little worried the door might be closing on the AMEX points parade for some of us who aren’t in yet. We’ll see – hoping P2 can get a referred card next month to start the +10X dining offer.

Repeat Offender Captain Greg

I’m guessing bilt

Dom at the Grand Hyatt Kauai

Nick how can you not choose Chase in your top two for Hyatt alone and the ease of earning?!

It was nice bumping into you in Kauai Nick! You are just as nice in person as on the podcast.


I swore that I spotted Nick at the GHK lounge a few nights ago (during dessert). This podcast confirms it. Kind of cool considering his old Turkish airlines post convinced me to start looking at revisiting Hawaii.

David W.

Hi Greg and Nick, really enjoy starting my weekend with the podcast every week. Have you guys considered updating the podcast introductory video to include clips from the more recent Frequent Miler “3-cards-3-continents” and “party-of-5” challenges and remove the old covid-era clips? I’m sure Carrie could put something great together 🙂
Also, any chance Tim will make an occasional appearance on the podcast now that he is full time with Frequent Miler? Keep up the great work!
#GiantMailbag #QuestionOfTheWeek

Greg The Frequent Miler

Updating the intro is up to Carrie to decide (and to do). I think it makes sense.
You will likely hear from others on the FM team soon in our new Coffee Break series

Dave Hanson

That would be great Greg.

Looks like up and downvotes have been turned off in the comments?


Without listening, let me take a guess what you both say.



Greg The Frequent Miler

That would be my pick if transfer partners and transfer bonuses were the only criteria, but no — we looked at several other important factors too.


Genuinely surprised. Looking forward to listening now!