If you’re playing the miles and points game, chances are you’ll have more than one credit card from a given bank. In that case, points pooling is a highly desirable feature, since it minimises conversion fees and orphan miles, and makes card cancellations more straightforward.
In this post we’ll take a closer look at which banks pool credit card points, and some of the finer details you should be aware of.
|💳 Credit Card FAQs|
|This article forms part of a series on Credit Card FAQs. Refer to the articles below for answers to other common questions.|
What is points pooling, and why does it matter?
Points pooling simply means that points earned on different cards are combined into one central account, instead of being held in individual silos.
Consider the following example:
|UOB Lady’s Card||4,500 UNI$||13,500 UNI$|
|UOB Pref. Plat. Visa||4,500 UNI$|
|UOB Visa Signature||4,500 UNI$|
|Citi Prestige||22,500 TY points||22,500 TY points|
|Citi Rewards Mastercard||22,500 TY points||22,500 TY points|
|Citi Rewards Visa||22,500 TY points||22,500 TY points|
UOB cards pool points, so if I have three cards with 4,500 UNI$ each, I redeem my points from one central pool of 13,500 UNI$.
Citi cards do not pool points, so if I have three cards with 22,500 ThankYou points, I redeem my cards from three separate pools of 22,500 ThankYou points.
Points pooling offers three big advantages.
(1) Save on conversion fees
Points pooling allows cardholders to save on conversion fees when transferring credit card points to airline miles.
For example, with UOB cards there’s only one central pool to draw from. No matter how many UOB cards I have, I will only pay a single conversion fee when transferring UNI$ to airline miles.
But with Citi cards, each card has its own “points silo” that doesn’t comingle with the rest. I will have to pay one conversion fee for each card I have.
(2) Avoid orphan miles
While pooling does not eliminate orphan miles altogether, spending with credit cards that pool points can help reduce the frequency and quantum of the problem.
Going back to our previous example:
|UOB Lady’s Card||4,500 UNI$||5,000 UNI$|
|UOB Pref. Plat. Visa||4,500 UNI$|
|UOB Visa Signature||4,500 UNI$|
|Orphan Miles||3,500 UNI$|
Since UOB pools points, I only need to deal with the orphan miles issue once, and in this case I have 3,500 orphan UNI$.
Then consider Citi:
|Citi Prestige||22,500 TY points||25,000 TY points|
|Citi Rewards Mastercard||22,500 TY points||25,000 TY points|
|Citi Rewards Visa||22,500 TY points||25,000 TY points|
|Orphan Miles||67,500 TY points|
Since Citi does not pool points, and the minimum conversion amount is 25,000 ThankYou points, it doesn’t matter that I collectively have 67,500 ThankYou points- all my points are orphaned!
To learn more about avoiding orphan miles, refer to the post below.
(3) Simpler cancellations
Points pooling reduces the hassle when it comes to cancelling cards.
|UOB Lady’s Card||13,500 UNI$|
|UOB Pref. Plat. Visa|
|Citi Prestige||22,500 TY points|
|Citi Rewards Mastercard||22,500 TY points|
If I were to cancel my UOB Visa Signature, I don’t lose the 4,500 UNI$ associated with the card. That’s already in the central pool, and is unaffected.
On the other hand, if I were to cancel my Citi Rewards Visa, I would lose the 22,500 ThankYou points associated with the card. Therefore I’ll need to cash them out before cancelling the card.
Which banks pool points?
Here’s a summary of which banks do and don’t pool points.
|✓ Yes |
(provided same currency)*
(provided same currency)^
|*OCBC$, Travel$ and VOYAGE Miles pool within each other, but not among each other|
^Visa Infinite and non-Visa Infinite points pool within each other, but not among each other, where KrisFlyer transfers are concerned
There is some nuance to this, so be sure to read the details below.
Membership Rewards points earned on the Platinum cards are pooled, but it’s slightly complicated.
First of all, recall that AMEX Platinum Charge cardholders can convert Membership Rewards points to miles at a 400:250 ratio, versus 450:250 for other AMEX cardholders.
(1) Some people will see their points pooled automatically on the back end, all convertible at the more advantageous 400:250 rate. If you’re in this situation, the drop down menu for “Your Points Account” will look like this.
(2) Some people will not see their points pooled on the back end. Instead, they’ll have one points account for their AMEX Platinum Charge, and another points account for their AMEX Platinum Reserve/Platinum Credit Card. If you’re in this situation, the drop down menu for “Your Points Account” will have a “Switch Account” button to toggle between points balances.
In this case, you can call up customer service to get your points manually combined and transferred at the more advantageous 400:250 rate.
The points pooling concept is irrelevant for the American Express KrisFlyer cobrand cards, because miles are automatically credited to the linked KrisFlyer account with no transfer fees (plus, you can’t own more than one KrisFlyer cobrand card anyway).
Bank of China
Here’s the hilarious thing about Bank of China. Even though they only have one miles card to speak of, you may still end up paying multiple conversion fees.
That’s because back in March 2019, BOC capped the maximum number of points that can be converted in a single transaction at 10 blocks. This works out to 60,000 Asia Miles, or 100,000 KrisFlyer miles, and means that if you want to convert, say, 250,000 KrisFlyer miles, you’d pay $30 x 3 =$90 of conversion fees.
It’s a very silly and arbitrary rule, but it wouldn’t be BOC if it wasn’t.
Citi has two different points currencies:
- Citi Miles (Citi PremierMiles)
- ThankYou points (Citi Lazada, Citi Prestige, Citi Rewards, Citi ULTIMA)
Sadly, none of these pool, so you’ll pay as many conversion fees as you have cards.
DBS Bank is a unique case: DBS Points are kept separate on the back end, but pooled together at the point of redemption.
For example, note how the DBS Rewards portal shows that I have 4,971 DBS Points on my card ending 4921, and 2,121 DBS points on my card ending 6440.
Although each card’s individual balance is less than 5,000, I’m still able to redeem a block of 5,000 DBS Points because the points are pooled together for redemption. The system will prompt me to select a credit card number to “deduct” the points from, but it doesn’t matter which card I pick.
When redeeming DBS Points, the DBS system will deduct those with the earliest expiry first- since DBS Woman’s World Card points expire after one year and DBS Altitude/Treasures AMEX/Insignia points never expire, the former will always be redeemed before the latter.
However, outside of redemptions, DBS Points are kept separate. This means that if you cancel a given DBS card, you’ll forfeit all points earned on that card. Cash them out before cancelling!
HSBC does not pool points, which means that you won’t be able to convert HSBC points earned on the Revolution or Visa Infinite for the TravelOne’s new transfer partners.
However, HSBC has informed me they’re working on adding pooling to their system. The timeline is uncertain, but it’s good to know this will change at some point!
Maybank cards pool points, which creates an interesting opportunity.
Maybank Visa Infinite and Maybank World Mastercard cardholders enjoy complimentary conversions, so if you have one of these cards, you could use it as a conduit to convert points earned on other Maybank cards for free!
While OCBC pools points, it has three different points currencies which complicate the matter:
- 90°N Miles (OCBC 90°N Mastercard, OCBC 90°N Visa)
- OCBC$ (OCBC Titanium Rewards, OCBC Premier Visa Infinite)
- VOYAGE Miles (OCBC VOYAGE)
Similar points currencies will be pooled, but different points currencies will not.
For example, any OCBC$ I earn on the OCBC Titanium Rewards Card can be pooled with OCBC$ earned on the OCBC Premier Visa Infinite.
However, OCBC$ I earn on the OCBC Titanium Rewards Card cannot be pooled with 90°N Miles earned on the OCBC 90°N Mastercard.
Standard Chartered Bank
Standard Chartered’s rewards system is a hot, steaming mess that requires a whole article just to explain.
If you want the tl;dr version, it’s best to think of Standard Chartered as having two different “flavours” of 360° Points: those earned on the Visa Infinite and Journey, and those earned on all other cards. These follow different rules for pooling and expiry:
|360° Points |
(SC Visa Infinite & Journey)
|360° Points |
(All other SC cards)
|Conversion Fee||S$27 per conversion|
|Expiry?||No expiry||Up to 3 years|
|✈️ For KrisFlyer Conversions|
|Conversion Rate||25,000 pts = 10,000 miles||34,500 pts. = 10,000 miles|
|Points Pool?||Yes, but not with all other SC cards||Yes, but not with SC Visa Infinite & Journey|
|✈️🏨 For All Other Partners|
|Conversion Rate||2,500 -5,000 pts. = 1,000 miles/points|
Yes, it’s needlessly complicated.
UOB pools points, which like Maybank creates an interesting opportunity.
UOB Privilege Banking Visa Infinite, UOB Reserve, UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card cardholders enjoy complimentary conversions, so if you have one of these cards, you could use it as a conduit to convert points earned on other UOB cards for free!
Do note that the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card is a cobrand card that does not earn UNI$; instead, KrisFlyer miles earned are deposited directly into your KrisFlyer account once a month.
Not pooling points is a very customer-unfriendly decision, but my guess is that banks which don’t allow it aren’t doing so deliberately. More likely than not, it’s a hangover from an outdated IT system where points were kept in silos, which no one dares to touch.
That said, the lack of points pooling may not necessarily be a deal-breaker. I’d argue that it’s still worth using Citi cards, for example, thanks to the sheer variety of transfer partners and the opportunity to earn 4 mpd on online transactions with the Citi Rewards Card.
How important is points pooling to you?