It is a known fact that Amex, Chase & Citi are big players when it comes to issuing credit cards. These banks not only have co-branded cards but also issue cards under their proprietary rewards program. These are considered as flexible currency as they offer a lot of flexibility in terms of how we can spend these points.
|Amex Membership rewards||Chase Ultimate Rewards||Citi ThankYou points|
|Cards that will earn the reward points||
|Airline Transfer Partners (1:1 except as noted)||
|Hotel Transfer Partners (1:1 except as noted)||
|Cash Redemptions||0.6 Cents per point towards Statement Credit||1 Cent per point towards statement credit or ACH transfer||1 Cent per point towards statement credit|
|Redeem towards travel (Air travel, Hotel and Car Rental on the respective portal)||1 Cent per point. (Get 35% of the points back if you hold Business Platinum card and booked with qualifying airline)||1.5 Cents/Point with Sapphire Reserve or 1.25 Cents/Points with Sapphire Preferred||1.25 cents per point (with Prestige or Premier card)|
|Points Sharing||Points Sharing not allowed||Points can be shared with another household member||Can be shared with anyone holding ThankYou card. Transferred points expire after 90 days of transfer|
Key Things to note:
Some of the cards offer all the features when combined with a premium card. For example, Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited alone can not unlock the full potential of Chase Ultimate Rewards program, but when combined with Chase Sapphire Preferred or Sapphire Reserve. Similarly, Citi ThankYou preferred offers full value when combined with ThankYou premier or Prestige card
It is generally not a good idea to redeem points towards Merchandise or gift cards
Singapore Airlines Krisflyer, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club & KLM/Airfrance – Flying Blue are common transfer partners for all 3 reward programs – so you could pool points from the three rewards programs for something big.
Which rewards program is best?
The true answer is “It depends“. Each program has its own advantage depending on your requirement and type of cards held. For example, if you have Chase Sapphire Reserve card – you get more value when redeeming towards travel rewards like flight, hotel & car rentals.
You should also consider that the card issuers have recently tightened the rules around the new card approvals, so it may be worthwhile to invest in all the 3 programs.
But, here are some of the strong aspects of each program in different scenarios:
Best program for transferring points to Hotel loyalty programs:
World of Hyatt is associated with Chase Ultimate Rewards and could offer great value when redeemed thoughtfully. Transferring to Marriott Rewards, Ritz Carlton Rewards and IHG Rewards Club is not generally NOT recommended as it is very easy to earn these points at less than 1 cent/point.
Best program for transferring points to Airline loyalty programs:
This is very tough one, as there are sweet spots with each airline loyalty program. But, here are our recommended Airline transfer partners for each program that could offer great value
Amex Membership Rewards: Air Canada -Aeroplan, Delta Sky Miles, British Airways Executive Club, ANA Mileage Club, Singapore Krisflyer, Asia Miles
Chase Ultimate Rewards: United MileagePlus, British Airways Executive Club, Southwest Rapid rewards, Singapore Krisflyer
Citi ThankYou points: Avianca Life Miles, Singapore Krisflyer, Etihad Guest, Asia Miles
Best Program for Travel rewards:
All three programs allowing Flight, Hotel & Car rental bookings through their respective portal. In this case, the best program would be Chase Ultimate Rewards (If you hold the Chase Sapphire Reserve – 1.5 cents/points) or Amex membership Rewards (If you hold Amex business platinum cards – 1.54 cents/point).
If you do not hold the premium cards, then Citi ThankYou Points (1.25 cents/point) and Chase Ultimate Rewards (1.25 cents/point) offer great value.
What is your favorite program and your consideration for choosing that program?