Introduction – Getting To South America Using Your MRs, URs, TYPs Or SPG Points

For the next installment in the ever popular “Getting To” series, I wanted to focus on how utilize your American Express Membership Rewards points, Chase Ultimate Rewards points, Citi ThankYou Points and/or SPG Starpoints to get to South America!

Please note, I do not earn a commission off of any of the credit card links contained herein. I do, however, earn a referral bonus of points from some of the links contained herein. These referral links are currently the highest publicly available offers and I will always link to the highest publicly available offer for your benefit.  As always, your support by signing up via my referral links is greatly appreciated!

Introduction – Getting To South America Using Your MRs, URs, TYPs or Starpoints
Part I – Getting To South America Using Your MRs

Part II – Getting To South America Using Your URs
Part III – Getting To South America Using Your TYPs
Part IV – Getting To South America Using Your SPG Starpoints

American Express Membership Rewards

Like all of the transferable currencies, Amex MRs are great points to stockpile because they are so versatile. American Express offers many cards that earn Membership Rewards points, including their EveryDay card (which gets a lot of my random spend as it earns 20% more MRs every month you make 20 or more purchases with the card). American Express offers several other card options that earn MRs, so I highly encourage you to head over to the American Express site and check out the options.

Your MRs will transfer to 17 different airlines across all 3 major airline alliances. Those airlines include:

AirlineAllianceTransfer RatioTransfer Time
DeltaSkyTeam1:1Same day
AlitaliaSkyTeam1:1Same day
Air France/KLMSkyTeam1:1Same day
AeromexicoSkyTeam1:1Up to 7 days
British AirwaysOneWorld1:0.8Same day
IberiaOneWorld1:0.8Up to 7 days
Cathay PacificOneWorld1:1Up to 7 days
Air CanadaStar Alliance1:1Same day
ANAStar Alliance1:12-4 days
Singapore AirlinesStar Alliance1:1Up to 3 days
Virgin AmericaN/A1:0.5Same day
Virgin AtlanticN/A1:1Same day
Jet BlueN/A1:0.8Same day
Hawaiian AirlinesN/A1:1Same day
El AlN/A50:1Same day
EmiratesN/A1:1Same day
EtihadN/A1:1Same day

Please note that all of the transfer times are an approximation based on various data points I was able to find. A lot of the transfers that are listed as same day will post nearly instantaneously to your account. With that said, this is a true YMMV (your miles may vary) situation, so just be cognizant of the transfer times when you are creating your plan for your award travel booking(s).

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Chase URs are another great transferable currency to stockpile. Although they do not have as many airline transfer partners as Amex MRs, there are still some great carriers included in the list. My personal favorite Chase card for racking up URs is the Ink Plus card. Chase is pretty strict with their approvals for this card (and other UR earning cards), so if you have picked up more than 5 credit cards in the past 24 months, chances are good you will be denied if you apply for this card, so plan accordingly/carefully.

Your URs will transfer to the following airlines:

AirlineAllianceTransfer RatioTransfer Time
Korean AirSkyTeam1:1Same day
Air France/KLM (FlyingBlue)SkyTeam1:1Same day
British AirwaysOneWorld1:1Same day
Singapore AirlinesStar Alliance1:1Same day
UnitedStar Alliance1:1Same day
Virgin AtlanticN/A1:1Same day
SouthwestN/A1:1Same day

Again, as with MRs, please note that all of the transfer times are an approximation based on various data points I was able to find. With the exception of Singapore Airlines, all of the other UR transfer partners on this list should post the transferred points instantaneously. With that said, this is a true YMMV (your miles may vary) situation, so just be cognizant of the transfer times when you are creating your plan for your award travel booking(s).

Citi Thank You Points

Citi TYPs are points I usually use for booking flights direct through the Citi TYP portal (so I earn elite qualifying mileage for the flights), though Citi does offer a fairly extensive list of airline transfer partners for their TYPs. Citi offers a few cards that earn ThankYou Points, including their ThankYou Premier card (which gets a lot of my daily spend due to the great category bonuses for travel and gas). Citi offers a few other card options that earn TYPs, so I highly encourage you to head over to Citi’s website and check out the options.

Your TYPs will transfer to following airlines:

AirlineAllianceTransfer RatioTransfer Time
Air France/KLMSkyTeam1:1Up to 2 days
Garuda IndonesiaSkyTeam1:1Up to 2 days
Cathay PacificOneWorld1:1Same day
Malaysia AirlinesOneWorld1:12-14 days+
QantasOneWorld1:1Up to 2 days
QatarOneWorld1:1Up to 2 days
Eva AirStar Alliance1:1Up to 2 days
Singapore AirlinesStar Alliance1:1Up to 2 days
Thai AirwaysStar Alliance1:1Up to 4 days
EtihadN/A1:1Up to 6 days
Virgin AtlanticN/A1:1Up to 2 days
Virgin AmericaN/A1:0.5Up to 2 days

From the data points I was able to find, it appears that TYPs will take the longest on average to transfer to airline transfer partners. Again, as with MRs and URs, please note that all of the transfer times are an approximation based on various data points. It should also be noted that Malaysian Airlines can take an extended period of time to transfer your TYPs to their frequent flyer program. The reason is that Malaysian Airlines appears to be experiencing some technical issues with the transfers and they can take a good while to be completed. With that said, this is a true YMMV (your miles may vary) situation, so just be cognizant of the transfer times when you are creating your plan for your award travel booking(s).

SPG Starpoints

SPG Starpoints are probably the most versatile and coveted among the transferable currencies. That is because they offer some of the best value around. This is especially true for transfers to airline partners as SPG offers a 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 Starpoints you transfer. SPG offers (through American Express) only 2 cards that earn SPG Starpoints – the SPG Personal card and the SPG Business card. Neither card offers category bonuses outside of spend at SPG properties, though these cards get the majority of my non-category bonus spend as you can never have enough Starpoints in my opinion.

Starpoints offer the most flexibility as they transfer to 35 (!) airline partners. Your SPG Starpoints will transfer to the following airlines:

AirlineAllianceTransfer RatioTransfer Time
Aegean AirlinesStar Alliance1:12-14 Days
AeroMexicoSkyTeam1:12-14 Days
Air Canada (Aeroplan)Star Alliance1:12-14 Days
Air BerlinOneWorld1:12-14 Days
Air ChinaStar Alliance1:12-14 Days
Air New ZealandStar Alliance65:12-14 Days
Alaska AirlinesN/A1:12-14 Days
AlitaliaSkyTeam1:12-14 Days
All Nippon Airways (ANA)Star Alliance1:12-14 Days
American AirlinesOneWorld1:12-14 Days
Cathay PacificOneWorld1:12-14 Days
AsianaStar Alliance1:12-14 Days
British AirwaysOneWorld1:12-14 Days
China EasternSkyTeam1:12-14 Days
China SouthernSkyTeam1:12-14 Days
DeltaSkyTeam1:12-14 Days
EmiratesN/A1:12-14 Days
EtihadN/A1:12-14 Days
Air France/KLM (FlyingBlue)SkyTeam1:12-14 Days
GolN/A2:12-14 Days
HainanN/A1:12-14 Days
Hawaiian AirlinesN/A1:12-14 Days
Japan Airlines (JAL)OneWorld1:12-14 Days
Jet AirwaysN/A1:12-14 Days
Korean AirSkyTeam1:12-14 Days
LATAM (kms)OneWorld1:1.52-14 Days
LufthansaStar Alliance1:12-14 Days
Qatar AirlinesOneWorld1:12-14 Days
Saudi Arabian AirlinesSkyTeam1:12-14 Days
Singapore AirlinesStar Alliance1:12-14 Days
Thai AirwaysStar Alliance1:12-14 Days
United AirlinesStar Alliance2:12-14 Days
Virgin AustraliaN/A1:12-14 Days
Virgin AtlanticN/A1:12-14 Days
Virgin AmericaN/A1:12-14 Days

From the data points I was able to find, it appears that transferred Starpoints used to take much longer to post to your account(s) than they do now. It appears that on average, Starpoints currently take between 2 and 5 days to post to your frequent flyer account(s). However, as always, please note that all of the transfer times are an approximation based on various data points.

Final Thoughts

Stay tuned for the next installments on your best redemption options for each transferable currency! Hopefully this guide will give you a better understanding of how to utilize and maximize your MRs, URs, TYPs and/or SPG Starpoints for award travel to South America!

What is your favorite redemption to South America?

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