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Collecting points through credit cards is powerful – due to huge sign-up bonuses, powerful earning multipliers, and occasional point transfer bonuses, you should always be collecting points with a bank program that allows transfers to airlines and hotels. The beauty of this is that most of the time points do transfer from a bank program to an airline or hotel program instantly so you’re able to use them right away. However, there are times when the points transfer could be delayed – thankfully, there are things you can do to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future.

There’s No Way To Expedite a Points Transfer

If you’ve transferred points and the transfer is supposed to be instant and the points haven’t shown up within 2-3 minutes of you submitting the transfer, they probably won’t for at least 24 hours, if not longer. Sadly, there is no way to expedite the points transfer and once they have left your bank points account, there is no way to really stop or reverse the transfer – even if they haven’t shown up in your airline account right away.

All of the major banks have disclaimers stating that while in most cases the points usually transfer quickly, there are times when the transfer could be stopped, slowed, or held for review. While the bad news is that you can’t speed up a transfer that is pending in any way, the good news is that you can prepare yourself for the future so you minimize the chances of a transfer not processing instantly.

Create Your FF Accounts in Advance

Transferring points from a bank program into a brand new frequent flyer or frequent guest account can be a problem and cause your transfer to be delayed due to:

  • the account being brand new, it hasn’t fully populated in all databases and systems yet – so the bank points transfer system may not recognize it as a valid account
  • the account being brand new, the transfer could be delayed or flagged for review because the account is brand new and you are trying to transfer points to it right away (fraud concern)

If you have created a brand new account and the transfer hasn’t shown up, one of the main reasons why is listed above. Always create your frequent flyer accounts ahead of time so you don’t run into these issues.

Don’t Transfer Points Multiple Times

When transferring points, you should transfer them all at once – don’t do a “test” transfer of a 1,000 points just to see if it went through. Multiple transfers in the same day not far apart can get delayed.

Make Sure Names on Accounts Match Exactly

When creating your frequent flyer accounts, you always want to make sure the name matches exactly what is on your passport AND what is on your bank account, including middle names. Often if the names do not exactly match, the transfer could be canceled or delayed or stuck somewhere and that’s the last thing you’d want. In addition, it does certainly help if your email, phone number, and address also match to what is listed on your bank account.

Transferring Large Amounts Could Be Delayed

When transferring a large amount of points, your transfer could be delayed. This is especially true if you are transferring the points into a new account or into an account that doesn’t have any activity. This is basically a fraud prevention type of situation and there isn’t anything you can do other than wait for the transfer to complete.

Always Have a Back-Up Plan

Award availability comes and goes quickly – we all know that. It is crucial that you have a back-up option in case your award space gets booked up by someone else by the time your points transfer. Research other options with that same frequent flyer program and have other flights in mind that you could book. Some programs no longer charge change or cancellation fees, so you can monitor availability and later change tickets as needed. Remember that you can always use these points in the future if for some reason the trip doesn’t happen as expected – just keep in mind the policies of the frequent flyer program and have a look at any potential expiration dates for those miles.

Travel Miles 101 has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel Miles 101 and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.