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In March, United disappointed many fans of its MileagePlus frequent flyer program when it announced it was doing away with its award charts. Instead of knowing what a flight would cost, the pricing would be “dynamic.” Like so many things that United does, this move mimics Delta, which did away with its award charts several years ago. And as a result, it’s now common for Delta to quote prices of hundreds of thousands of miles for a one-way flight in business class, and vastly more miles than we are used to, even for a domestic award flight in economy class. Worse, it seems clear that will be the future for United and even American’s frequent flyer programs.

But don’t give up all hope of affordable award travel. The solution is to stop using credit cards that earn miles with a single frequent flyer program, and focus on cards that offer rewards that can be transferred to miles with multiple different frequent flyer programs. This allows you to pick and choose the best awards available from numerous airlines. For example, you can avoid programs that impose “dynamic” award pricing most of the time, but take advantage of them when they offer award sales.

Here are three popular credit cards that offer points that can be transferred to miles with several different frequent flyer programs.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

This card offers you 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in new purchases within three months of account opening. You also earn double points on all travel and dining. The points you earn are part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, and can be transferred to nine airlines and four different hotel programs. The airlines include:

  • Aer Lingus
  • British Airways
  • Flying Blue (loyalty program of Air France & KLM)
  • Iberia
  • JetBlue
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Southwest
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

And the hotel programs are:

  • Hyatt
  • Marriott
  • IHG
  • Ritz-Carlton

There’s a $95 annual fee for this card.

Citi Premier℠ Card

Citi is offering new applicants 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on new purchases within three months of account opening. You also earn 3x points per dollar spent on travel, including gas stations, 2x points per dollar spent at restaurants and on entertainment, and one point per dollar spent elsewhere.

Citi ThankYou points can be transferred to miles with the following frequent flyer programs:

  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
  • Etihad Guest
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

There’s a $95 annual fee for this card that’s waived the first year.

American Express® Gold Card

The Gold card now offers 35,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 within three months of account opening. You also earn 4x points at U.S. restaurants and 4x points on up to $25,000 spent each year at U.S. supermarkets. Other benefits include an annual airline fee statement credit of up to $100 and an up to $10 monthly statement credit at several popular restaurants (enrollment required).

Points are earned in the Membership Rewards program, and can be transferred to the following airlines:

  • AeroMexico
  • Air Canada
  • Alitalia
  • Aer Lingus
  • ANA
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Delta Air
  • EL AL
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • FlyingBlue AirFrance/KLM
  • Hawaiian
  • Iberia
  • JetBlue
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

There’s a $250 annual fee for this card. (See Rates & Fees)

 

Intro image by Jaromir Chalabala via Shutterstock

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