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Reader Steven emailed to compliment my comprehensive series on redeeming American Airlines miles and to ask me to create a similar series for foreign programs that are transfer partners of:

  • Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • American Express Membership Rewards
  • Citi ThankYou Points
  • SPG Starpoints

I can’t say I’ll get through all of the dozens of transfer partners, but I will start with the most important ones and see how far I get. Here’s what I’ve done so far:

  1. Korean SkyPass parts 1, 2, and 3. Korean miles are so important because Korean First Class is the most available First Class product in the world (part 1), and Korean has some super cheap awards on partners (parts 2 and 3.)
  2. Singapore KrisFlyer parts 1 and 2 (starting today)

My overall take on foreign programs is that they are amazing and terrible at the same time.

Almost every foreign program is TERRIBLE if you were to use it as your only frequent flyer program because many awards are expensive and most foreign programs impose massive fuel surcharges on most awards. However each program is AMAZING for some redemptions that are much cheaper than you can book with American frequent flyer programs.

Since we can transfer points into foreign programs and only book these sweetspot awards, we can get some major value.

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The foreign programs’ sweetspots vary widely. With some foreign programs, the best deals are to fly American airlines within the United States. With some foreign programs, the best deals are to fly partner in economy. With some foreign programs, the best deal is to fly the carrier itself in First Class.

Do not overlook foreign transfer options if you want to travel more, better, and cheaper with your points and miles.