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  • Writer's picturePoints By J

How to Use Credit Card Points for Travel

You applied for a great travel card, and earned the sign-up bonus. Now, it's time for the fun part: booking a DREAM trip using your points.

But, first- do you know how to use credit card points for travel?

The difference between finding a great deal and a lousy one often boils down to how you're searching for ways to redeem your points.

How to use credit card points for travel

How to use credit card points for travel

STEP 1: Search for a great redemption

I'm excited to share my favorite free search tools for redeeming credit card points. As you're searching, it's important to keep in mind your specific card's travel transfer partners. For your easy reference, I've included all the major banks' travel transfer partners at the bottom of this post.

Flight Search



Hotel Search



Points Yeah has the best, fastest free points search tool on the market. Keep in mind that they have a paid version available, too. It makes your points searches more efficient (search more days at once, set-up additional alerts, etc.). If you get the paid version, use code BYJ for 20% off your subscription.

The more flexibility you have with your travel, the greater your chances of finding an amazing deal. Aim to be as flexible as you can with:

  • Dates

  • Destination

  • Duration

Pro search tips:

  • Try searching from different departure/arrival cities. For example, if you want to go to Paris and are having trouble finding a deal from Des Moines, try searching from a bigger city like NYC instead. Then, if you find a great transatlantic points redemption, you can probably find a cheap cash fare for a positioning flight from Des Moines to NYC.

    • Keep this in mind for arrival cities, too! For example, there might be better deals arriving into Milan than Florence, but you can find a cheap positioning flight or train once you arrive to Europe.

  • "Chase deals not destinations" - this is a common mantra in the travel hacking world. If you a long list of places you could be excited to visit, you'll have a better chance of being able to hop on a deal when it pops up. Register for email newsletters that will alert you of great points redemption deals out of your local airport, like Going.

For example, I searched random dates for one-way Paris to Chicago in business class:

You'll notice that they indicate which bank programs' points can be transferred to book the flight, how many points it will take, and where to book the flight! It also takes into account any current transfer bonuses you could take advantage of!

STEP 2: Confirm that the redemption is still available for booking

Now that you've found a great flight or hotel on a search engine, go to the airline or hotel site where you'll complete the booking. Search there directly to confirm that it's still available.

Continuing the above example, I confirmed this flight's availability by searching for it on So, I know that this flight is still available to be booked with points! I just need to take advantage of the Chase transfer bonus I found out about from PointsYeah.

STEP 3: Transfer points from your credit card into your airline or hotel loyalty account, then book!

The final step? Actually transferring the points from your credit card portal into your airline or hotel loyalty account. If you haven't already, link your airline or hotel loyalty account by typing in your account number. Then, only transfer the number of points you need for that booking, because there is no way to reverse a points transfer.

This is why it's absolutely critical to double-check that your desired flight or hotel is available for the right number of points before you make the transfer.

Continuing the example from above:

It can feel daunting to go through this process for the first time. By following these steps, you'll successfully book free (or, nearly free!) travel using your points.

List of travel transfer partners:

  • Airlines: Aer Lingus, Air Canada, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, British Airways, Emirates, Iberia, JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic

  • Hotels: Marriott Bonvoy, World of Hyatt, IHG Rewards Club

Capital One Venture Rewards

  • Airlines: AeroMexico, Air Canada, Cathay Pacific, Avianca, British Air, Air France/KLM, Emirates, Etihad, Finnair, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, TAP, Turkish Airlines, Virgin

  • Hotels: Choice Privileges, Wyndham Rewards

  • Non 1:1 transfer ratio partners: Accor Live Limitless (ALL), EVA Air

American Express Membership Rewards

  • Airlines: Aer Lingus, AeroMexico, Air Canada, Air France, ANA, Avianca, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Emirates, Etihad, Hawaiian, Iberia, JetBlue, Qantas, Qatar, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic

  • Hotels: Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, Choice Privileges

Citi ThankYou Points

  • Airlines: Aeromexico, Air France/KLM, Avianca, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, JetBlue, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Thai Royal Orchid Plus, Turkish Airlines, Virgin Atlantic

  • Hotels: Choice Privileges, Wyndham

  • Non 1:1 transfer ratio partners: Accor Live Limitless (ALL), EVA Air

Please note that these partnerships are subject to change, and it's always a good idea to check with your specific credit card provider for the most up-to-date information on their travel transfer partners.


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