It can be somewhat challenging to keep track of all the popular points programs out there – the various transferrable points currencies, hotel programs, and frequent flyer programs, as well as how all the points can be converted and transferred between one another.
To help you stay on top of all this, I’ve created an infographic illustrating how Canada’s most powerful points programs all fit together within the loyalty ecosystem.
You can find the infographic below, with some quick comments below the fold.
The top part of the infographic encompasses transferrable points currencies, which are widely regarded as the most valuable type of points to hold, for exactly the reason that they are the most flexible currency and may be transferred to a wide range of other programs.
These programs include American Express Membership Rewards (and Membership Rewards Select), RBC Avion, and HSBC Rewards. Each of the circles representing these programs has a line emanating from it, linking it to the potential transfer possibilities, and is also annotated with a box that tells you the various transfer ratios to each partner.
One of the transfer partners belonging to Amex MR and MR Select is Marriott Bonvoy, a hotel loyalty program which itself can be used to transfer to multiple other airlines as well. A line emanating from Bonvoy’s circle leads you to the various possibilities here.
The lower half of the infographic focuses on the frequent flyer programs I’d consider to be the most useful for Canadians. In particular, I’d consider the five programs in the larger circles – Aeroplan, Avios, Alaska, Asia Miles, and WestJet – to be of primary importance, while the frequent flyer programs in the bottom row are less significant but still a possibility for earning and redeeming miles.
Furthermore, the major Canadian points-earning credit cards are also indicated next to their respective points programs. You can think of the credit cards as “entry points” that you can use to accrue a meaningful amount of points in your desired program by collecting the signup bonus.
So, for example, if you wanted to earn some Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, you’d trace your way up the arrows and see that you could consider signing up for any of the Amex MR cards, the RBC Avion card, the HSBC World Elite, or one of the Amex Bonvoy cards – in addition to the RBC Cathay Pacific card specifically associated with the Asia Miles program itself.
For the sake of clarity, the flowchart excludes a few transfer possibilities which, while they do exist, rarely represent good value, such as:
Transferring Amex MR (or MR Select) points to Hilton Honors at a 1:1 ratio
Transferring Best Western Rewards or Hilton Honors points to airline programs at a ratio between 5:1 and 10:1
Transferring TD Rewards points to Aeroplan at a 4:1 ratio
I hope you find this infographic helpful along your earning and burning!