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Can I transfer my frequent flyer points across different programs?

Peter Terlato avatar
Peter Terlato
- 6 min read
Can I transfer my frequent flyer points across different programs?

In most cases, frequent flyer memberships and their subsequent benefits are exclusive to the airline that they are affiliated with. However, there are exceptions. Some global airline alliances, such as oneworld, allow member airline’s frequent flyers to exchange points for flights and attain parallel status across their entire carrier network. In this guide we’ll explain which rewards programs allow you to transfer your points across different programs and how to do it.

Transferring points between programs

It’s impossible for Qantas frequent flyer members to transfer points to Virgin Australia’s Velocity frequent flyer program. This precedent is consistent across most airline rewards schemes but there are opportunities to redeem your points or membership status across a number of different airlines if they’re a part of a global aviation alliance. 

oneworld

If you hold a frequent flyer membership in any of the airlines that comprise the oneworld alliance you’ll automatically be able to redeem points for travel across the entire network. Below we’ve compiled a complete list of participating airlines.

Alaska AirlinesQantas AirwaysRoyal Jordanian
American AirlinesQatar AirwaysRoyal Air Maroc
British AirwaysIberiaSriLankan Airlines
Cathay PacificJapan AirlinesFiji Airways
FinnairMalaysia AirlinesOman Air

To use your airline’s frequent flyer points for flights on a oneworld alliance partner you’ll need to search your airline’s website for award fares by clicking the option to redeem miles/points when booking. Each booking portal is different and you can filter your search by airline, airport, route, class and availability. It’s helpful to compare a range of different websites to find the best deal.

You can also utilise your frequent flyer membership to access oneworld Priority benefits. The Priority program is a three-tier system which offers different privileges depending on your status.

You can check which tier you qualify for based on different frequent flyer programs within the network. oneworld has a search tool on their website which simplifies this process. For example, Qantas Frequent Flyer Silver membership corresponds with oneworld’s Ruby tier level. Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold status equates to oneworld’s Sapphire tier, while Qantas Platinum and Platinum One members receive the benefits of oneworld’s Emerald tier.

These tiers extend a range of courtesies and allowances to frequent flyers including priority check-in, reserved seating, extra baggage, priority boarding, lounge access and fast-track security. oneworld’s alliance offers flights to more than 900 destinations across 170 territories.

Star Alliance

Star Alliance consists of 26 member airlines. You can use your frequent flyer points or miles to claim award airfares or upgrades across the network. Check out the full list of carriers below.

Aegean AirlinesEthiopian Airlines
Air CanadaEVA Air
Air ChinaLOT Polish Airlines
Air IndiaLufthansa
Air New ZealandScandinavian Airlines (SAS)
All Nippon Airway (ANA)Shenzhen Airlines
AsianaSingapore Airlines
Austrian AirlinesSouth African Airways
AviancaSwiss Airlines
Brussels AirlinesTAP Portugal
Copa AirlinesThai Airways
Croatia AirlinesTurkish Airlines
EgyptAirUnited Airlines

Award fares are subject to availability and can be redeemed via airline booking systems. To discover what your points will buy you check your individual frequent flyer account details and consult the Star Alliance Redemption Award chart on your frequent flyer program’s website.

Star Alliance is the only airline network to offer network-wide rewards point class upgrades. In order to qualify for this benefit you’ll need a ticketed reservation in an upgradeable booking class. Your reservation must show the flight number of the airline operating the service. Upgrades are not available on codeshare flights and requests must be made at least 24 hours prior to departure to allow for the partner carrier to respond to the amendment. Your frequent flyer program will have further details regarding upgrade redemptions.

SkyTeam Alliance

This global carrier network was formed in 2000 and is made up of 18 member airlines, listed below, that span more than 1,000 destinations throughout 170+ countries.

Aerolineas ArgentinasChina Airlines
AeroméxicoChina Eastern Airlines
Air EuropaCzech Airlines
Air FranceDelta Air Lines
Garuda IndonesiaMiddle East Airlines
ITA AirwaysSaudi
Kenya AirwaysTAROM
KLMVietnam Airlines
Korean AirXiamenAir

SkyTeam Elite and SkyTeam Elite Plus are the two tiers for alliance frequent flyers. You can earn and redeem points through your individual airline’s frequent flyer program. Simply search for award flights across the network and exchange your acquired points for airfares. 

Your individual frequent flyer status isn’t transferable between the alliance’s different airline programs but once you achieve SkyTeam Elite or Elite Plus status you’ll receive exclusive benefits such as priority check-in and boarding, extra baggage allowance, airport lounge access and guaranteed reservations on sold-out flights.

Velocity and KrisFlyer points transfers

Virgin Australia’s Velocity frequent flyers and Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer members are once again able to transfer points between the two programs. This option was suspended at the beginning of the global pandemic in April 2020 but was reinstated in early 2022.

Velocity points are converted to KrisFlyer miles at an exchange rate of 1.55:1. Similarly the reverse is true, where KrisFlyer miles are converted to Velocity points at a rate of 1:1.55. These points/miles can be used to secure award seats and class upgrades on each airline. 

Additionally, you don’t need to transfer points between programs to book fares on the other airline. However, there is a carrier surcharge applied for cross-program redemptions. This fee is charged per flight segment and ranges from $40 to $220 depending on distance and class.

Singapore Airlines is a Star Alliance partner, so if you decide to transfer Velocity points to KrisFlyer miles you can redeem these for seats on any of the 25 other member airlines.

Breakdown

Joining these global airline alliances is free and can unlock status rewards that can be used across the entire network. Visit their websites to stay up-to-date with exclusive offers and perks.

Check your individual frequent flyer program’s terms and conditions to see if it’s possible to make points transfers and if there are any extra fees or costs associated with these actions. Both Qantas and Virgin Australia allow frequent flyers to transfer points to family members enrolled in the same program, while Velocity family members can pool points and status credits.

Don’t forget that you can often spend your accumulated travel rewards points on a wide range of other products such as shopping, accommodation, events, meals, gifts and more.

A number of credit card rewards programs allow you to link frequent flyer memberships to your card so you’ll earn points for everyday spending. Some will also enable you to swap card rewards for frequent flyer points or miles. Exchange rates will differ depending on the provider. 

Booked your flights using frequent flyer points but want to discover other ways to utilise member rewards? You could research how many points you need to upgrade to business class or ascertain the best ways to earn more frequent flyer points so you can travel for free more often. If you’re jetting off abroad it’s also helpful to distinguish the differences in spending methods, such as whether it’s better to use a credit card, debit card or travel money cards.

Disclaimer

This article is over two years old, last updated on July 18, 2022. While RateCity makes best efforts to update every important article regularly, the information in this piece may not be as relevant as it once was. Alternatively, please consider checking recent credit cards articles.

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Product database updated 21 Jul, 2024

This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Mark Bristow before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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