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American Express transfer partners are one of the best ways to maximize Membership Rewards. Amex points transfer to 18 airline partners and three hotel partners. Most transfers will convert at a 1:1 ratio. In addition, your points should post instantly to the partner loyalty program (with a few exceptions noted below). In this article, we'll show you how redeeming your points through Amex transfer partners is the way to go for the best value.
The advantage of transferring Membership Rewards over redeeming through the Amex Travel Portal is that you will often pay far fewer points for a comparable itinerary. At least this holds true for the airline programs. In general, Amex's airline partners will be a better value than hotel partners, but you can also find value in the latter. Below, we'll cover all the partners and which redemption options we consider to be the best.
Each partner program has unique benefits and drawbacks. Due to this, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you make the most of your American Express travel rewards.
- Why are Amex Transfer Partners a Great Deal?
- Membership Rewards Airline Partners
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- Aeromexico Rewards
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Air France–KLM Flying Blue
- All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club
- Avianca LifeMiles
- British Airways Executive Club
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Delta SkyMiles
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Guest
- Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
- Iberia Plus
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Membership Rewards Hotel Partners
- How Long Do Points Take to Transfer to Travel Partners?
- Tips for Maximizing Membership Rewards Transfer Partners
- Can I transfer Amex Membership Rewards to United MileagePlus?
- Can I transfer Amex Membership Rewards to Alaska Mileage Plan?
- Can I transfer Amex Membership Rewards to American Airlines AAdvantage?
- Can I use Membership Rewards to book travel for others?
- Can I transfer Amex points to an authorized user's loyalty account?
Why are Amex Transfer Partners a Great Deal?
Firstly, transferrable points, like Amex Membership Rewards, are incredibly valuable. This is because they give you exponentially more options than if you limit yourself to airline miles with a frequent flyer program like Delta SkyMiles. Since you can transfer Amex points to Delta, you can book flights with any of the more than 20 SkyMiles redemption partners. But since your Membership Rewards can be converted into 18 other types of airline miles, you also get access to flights with any of the partners from those airlines, as well. Therefore, you can book awards on most major airlines with your Membership Rewards points.
In addition, the flexibility to pick your transfer partner at the time you’re ready to book is key. Rather than lock your miles into one carrier's loyalty program, you can hold onto them as Membership Rewards points until you need to use them. This lets you look for awards with multiple programs, giving you a much better chance of finding an ideal itinerary. This is especially true if you have limited flexibility for travel dates.
Difference between miles and fees
Also, there are significant differences between the number of miles and out-of-pocket fees charged by different Amex partners for the same itinerary. For example, you can use both United MileagePlus and ANA Mileage Club can both book United Polaris business class flights to Europe. With the former, you'll pay 160,000 miles round-trip. However, ANA charges just 88,000 miles for this ticket. Learning the ins-and-outs of the various Amex transfer partners can let you save a massive number of points.
In a nutshell, having flexible points that you can transfer to an array of partners lets you shop for the best award deal. Now, let's dig into the transfer partners.
Membership Rewards Airline Partners
Below, you’ll find a breakdown of the best ways to redeem with each of the 18 American Express airline partners:
Note: If you transfer miles to a U.S.-based program (Delta, Hawaiian, or JetBlue), you’ll have to pay a tax offset fee of $0.006 per point. There is a maximum fee of $99 per transfer. Amex lets you cover this cost with Membership Rewards points instead of cash, but it's a terrible value. You'll get far more savings per point with transfers to partner airlines. Make sure to pay this fee using your Amex card.
Additionally, the transfer times discussed below come from data points from AwardWallet users transferring their points and miles. You can check our database of transfer times here.
Aer Lingus AerClub
Aer Lingus is part of the Avios family with Iberia and British Airways. You can use your Aer Lingus Avios to book flights through Avios.com. Also, you can transfer Avios between the Iberia and British Airways Avios programs. Each program has its own best ways to use miles and a few unique redemption partners, so you should pay attention to unique sweet spots in each program.
Often, some of the best redemptions come with booking partner airline flights. However, AerClub Avios are best put to work booking flights operated by Aer Lingus itself. You can fly:
- U.S. East Coast to Ireland for as few as 13,000 Avios one-way in economy on off-peak dates.
- Rest of the U.S. to Ireland for 16,250 Avios one-way in economy on off-peak dates.
- Business class starting at 50,000 Avios one-way.
Taxes and fees start around $115 one-way in economy.
Tickets booked through Aer Lingus usually have lower taxes and fees compared to bookings made with British Airways, but not always. You can sometimes reduce the cash cost of a round-trip, business-class itinerary from as high as $800 to around $250 by booking through Aer Lingus instead of British Airways. Membership Rewards transfer instantly to Aer Lingus at a 1:1 ratio.
Aeromexico Rewards (formerly Club Premier) is a confusing program since its awards are priced in kilometers instead of miles – you have to divide their award prices by 1.6 to get an accurate comparison to other airlines’ award programs. This is also why American Express points transfer to Aeromexico at a 1,000:1,600 ratio. Aeromexico is a member of the SkyTeam alliance, which includes Delta, Air France, and KLM, among many others.
Aeromexico Rewards isn’t usually great for most tickets. For example, flights from the U.S. to Europe cost around 45,000 to 85,000 Membership Rewards points one way, with high fuel surcharges for Aeromexico-, Air France-, and KLM-operated flights. The best business-class options are from Mexico City to Europe for just over 100,000 Membership Rewards points, plus over $400 USD in taxes, fees, and surcharges. There are few deals to be had with Aeromexico's new dynamic pricing.
Info on discontinued round-the-world tickets
Aeromexico Rewards appears to have discontinued its Round-the-World tickets, previously one of its best features. These tickets would allow you to fly to up to 15 destinations (maximum five per continent). We can no longer find any details about this on the Aeromexico website.
Amex transfers to Aeromexico are typically instant. There is little upside to Aeromexico's program, given that Flying Blue is also a transfer partner and generally has better prices.
Air Canada Aeroplan
Air Canada is a member of Star Alliance and partners with United, Lufthansa, Singapore, Thai Airways, and other Star Alliance members. Its program is called Aeroplan, and award prices tend to be similar to United's for domestic flights and European itineraries.
For example, flying from the U.S. to Europe in economy class costs 35,000 points. Compare that to United, which now charges 40,000 miles one-way. But also consider that you can use ANA Mileage Club to fly this route for 55,000 miles round-trip.
Aeroplan business-class award prices to Europe fall between pricing with Avianca LifeMiles and United MileagePlus. LifeMiles is still a better deal, but it has painful cancellation penalties. You also need to watch out for mixed cabin Aeroplan awards. The SAS award in the example below looks great at first glance. However, the long-haul segment is in economy. The Air Canada business-class ticket is the better option at 80,000 Aeroplan points. United charges 88,000 miles for the same award.
Some of the better uses of Aeroplan points include:
- Fly business class to Europe on Star Alliance carriers.
- Fly Etihad business or first class.
- Short-haul domestic flights on United within the continental U.S.
- Fly to Hawaii from the U.S. West Coast on United for just 12,500 Aeroplan points.
Aeroplan refreshed its award program in 2020. Since then, it has made a handful of additional changes. The biggest upside was the elimination of carrier surcharges on partner awards but with the addition of a partner award fee. Prices are worse than before but generally reasonable. Aeroplan uses a blended region-based and distance-based award pricing scheme. Other changes included the ability to book stopovers online (for just 5,000 points apiece) and the ability to modify awards online (for a $100 CAD fee).
All Air Canada seats are bookable with points, albeit dynamically. Sometimes, the award prices are ridiculous. Aeroplan still allows stopovers on awards, which has been a popular feature of the program. The new Aeroplan is definitely different, but it remains a solid option in many situations.
Amex points transfer instantly to Aeroplan at a 1:1 ratio.
Air France–KLM Flying Blue
Air France and KLM share the Flying Blue loyalty program. Both airlines are part of SkyTeam alliance, so you can use their miles to book travel on Delta, Aeromexico, Korean Air, and other SkyTeam member airlines.
Flying Blue's Promo Rewards are one great way to maximize your miles through the program. Some other great redemption ideas include:
- U.S. to North Africa for 15,000 miles one-way in economy
- U.S. to Europe or North Africa starting at 55,000 miles in business class one-way
- Virgin Atlantic Upper Class between the U.S. and Europe starting at 56,000 miles one-way
- Europe to Southeast Asia in business class starting at 70,000 miles
Air France–KLM Flying Blue is an instant, 1:1 transfer partner of Membership Rewards.
All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club
ANA Mileage Club offers great value for roundtrip itineraries on Star Alliance carriers like United, Air Canada, Air New Zealand, Air China, and Turkish Airlines. Interestingly, ANA has a huge advantage over other programs with the number of miles required for awards, though you'll also see higher out-of-pocket costs if your flight is operated by an airline that imposes fuel surcharges. With flights on ANA and Star Alliance partners like Lufthansa and Singapore, you can expect round-trip business-class fees in the $400+ range. On the other hand, if you fly with United, you typically pay less than $100.
But for those with fewer miles available, it's hard to beat ANA's award pricing. For example, roundtrip awards from the U.S. to Europe cost just 55,000 miles in economy and 88,000 miles in business class. The taxes on United flights to Europe typically run between $50 and $250.
Other great uses of ANA miles include:
- U.S. to Asia in economy for 40,000–55,000 miles roundtrip
- U.S. to Asia in business class for 75,000–90,000 miles roundtrip
- Anywhere in the U.S. to anywhere in Africa or the Middle East for 104,000 miles roundtrip.
- U.S. to Australia/New Zealand in economy for 60,000–75,000 miles roundtrip
- U.S. to Australia/New Zealand in business class for 105,000–120,000 miles roundtrip in business class
Where prices vary, the lowest prices are off-peak awards for ANA's own flights. Surcharges on ANA flights are an issue, though, as they can be in the $400–500 range.
Here are a few award-booking restrictions to keep in mind with ANA Mileage Club:
- You must book a roundtrip or open-jaw itinerary; one-way awards are not allowed.
- You can’t create or change a reservation within 96 hours of departure. However, changes before then are free, and cancellations cost just 3,000 miles.
- Awards are only bookable for people related to the account owner (more details here).
Transfers from Membership Rewards to ANA Mileage Club will be at a 1:1 ratio and take two days to process, on average. For more booking inspiration, check out our complete guide to ANA award sweet spots.
Avianca LifeMiles offers some great options for travel on Star Alliance carriers like United, Air Canada, and Lufthansa. In addition to a competitive award chart, Avianca does not pass on fuel surcharges from partner airlines. This can save you hundreds of dollars compared to booking the same flights with Aeroplan, ANA, or Singapore miles.
Another benefit of Avianca LifeMiles is that you can choose between economy, business, and first-class tickets on a flight-by-flight basis. And you’ll pay a discounted rate for mixed-class itineraries. Most programs charge you the full business-class rate if one segment of your trip is in business class – even if it’s the shortest flight!
For example, below is a mixed-cabin itinerary from San Francisco (SFO) to Barcelona (BCN) on SWISS via Zurich (ZRH). The San Francisco–Zurich segment is in business class, and the Zurich–Barcelona leg is in economy. This trip comes to 60,240 miles, instead of 63,000 miles to fly the entire route in business. Given how minimal intra-Europe business class is, I'd be glad to save the miles.
Other positives include regular transfer bonuses from Amex to LifeMiles and booking domestic flights on United for as little as 6,500 miles.
Downside to booking with LifeMiles
Perhaps the biggest downside to booking with LifeMiles is the website. You won’t always find award seats, even if they’re available to book through another Star Alliance partner. Or you’ll sometimes find award space when searching segment-by-segment but not for an entire trip. In this second case, it’s possible to request a manual booking by emailing LifeMiles customer service with screenshots of the available flights on the website. However, it can take a couple of days for you to get a ticket booked this way. You also can try calling, which has its ups and downs.
Finally, keep in mind that LifeMiles charges as much as $200 to cancel a ticket. The highest fees apply to international business- or first-class itineraries.
Membership Rewards transfer to Avianca LifeMiles instantly at a 1:1 ratio. You can learn more about this excellent program in our complete guide to Avianca LifeMiles.
British Airways Executive Club
British Airways Executive Club is a favorite among Amex transfer partners. When you transfer Membership Rewards to Avios, you can book travel with Oneworld alliance members like American Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Japan Airlines. In addition, you can book travel with Executive Club's non-alliance partners like Aer Lingus and Fiji Airways. Here's our full post on using Avios to book American Airlines flights.
With Executive Club, the best values come from short, nonstop flights in economy class. Like other Avios programs (e.g., Aer Lingus, Iberia, and Qatar), British Airways uses an award chart based on the distance that you fly. This means that relatively short, nonstop flights booked with Avios can be much cheaper than booking through other Membership Rewards airline partners.
Some great uses of British Airways Avios include:
- U.S. domestic nonstop hops on American or Alaska for 7,500 to 13,000 Avios one-way
- West Coast U.S. to Hawaii for 13,000 Avios on nonstop American or Alaska flights
- East Coast U.S. to Dublin, Ireland in Aer Lingus economy starting at 13,000 Avios one-way
- Hong Kong to Tokyo on Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines for 11,000 Avios in economy (other cabins are a good deal, too)
- Other short, nonstop flights on Qantas, JAL, or Oneworld carriers
Another benefit of the Executive Club program is its cancellation policy. You’ll be charged a maximum of $55 to cancel your ticket and redeposit miles. If the taxes and fees on your award ticket are less than $55, you’ll only forfeit your taxes and fees. And while you might see outlandish taxes and fees on some awards, it is possible to avoid high fuel surcharges on Avios bookings
Amex points transfer instantly to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio. You can find additional resources on maximizing British Airways Avios in our program guide.
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Cathay Pacific is part of the Oneworld alliance, so its Asia Miles program is great for booking award flights on airlines like American, Japan Airlines, and Qantas. It’s less ideal for airlines that have fuel surcharges like British Airways and Qatar, since you’ll still have to pay those fees. Cathay Pacific Asia Miles is an often-overlooked program, but it offers a few key benefits.
Award prices are generally comparable to other programs and sometimes offer significantly better value — especially in premium cabins, but an October 2023 devaluation will change some of the value. For example, a flight from Chicago to Rome would cost 45,000 Asia Miles one-way in business class or 58,000 after October 1, 2023. American Airlines tends to charge 75,000+ miles for the same itinerary.
Some great uses of Asia Miles:
- Business class on flights between 751 and 2,750 miles for 28,000–32,000 miles
- Business class on flights between 5,001 and 7,500 miles for 84,000 miles
- First-class flights of 5,001–7,500 miles in distance, which cost 125,000 Asia Miles
- Around-the-world awards using the multi-carrier award chart
Although it's not especially difficult to book Cathay Awards, they have among the most complex award pricing and routing rules of any airline program. We won't go into detail here, but we want to highlight the around-the-world opportunity. If you include two or more Oneworld partner airlines (a Oneworld multi-carrier award — separate award chart), you can have a whopping five stops on a round-trip itinerary. Award pricing is distance-based and calculated on your total trip distance.
Transfers from Membership Rewards to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles are at a 1:1 ratio and usually post instantly, but within 9 hours at other times. It's a good idea to do a test transfer before moving all the miles required for your redemption.
Delta Skymiles is the largest of the U.S.-based Amex airline partners. Delta is part of SkyTeam and has one-off partnerships with several other airlines including LATAM, Hawaiian Airlines, Air Tahiti Nui, and WestJet. Since Delta uses variable pricing for their awards, booking flights with Delta miles can be a great deal one day and a laughably bad option the next.
For example, I searched for flights from New York to Paris in mid-October. The roundtrip ticket price is acceptable at 74,000 miles in economy, but look at the Delta One price! No thanks.
Bizarrely, if you want to book the exact same ticket as a one-way flight on the same departure date, Delta will charge you 62,000 miles in economy and 280,000 for Delta One. All of the one-way prices are at least 70% of the round-trip price. Keep this in mind when booking Delta awards.
Given the lack of an award chart, it’s hard to know in advance what will or won’t be a good deal to book with Delta miles. You just have to search the website and see what happens.
When Delta is offering decent prices with miles, it's an absolute necessity to check prices with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and Air France–KLM Flying Blue. It's common to find a better deal using one of these programs to book a Delta-operated flight.
Membership Rewards transfer to Delta instantly at a 1:1 ratio. Amex charges an excise tax of $0.0006 per point on transfers (with a maximum fee of $99). Although you can choose to pay this fee using points, it's a terrible value. Always cover this fee with your credit card. For more inspiration, check out our post on the best ways to redeem Delta SkyMiles.
The Emirates Skywards program isn't as popular as many other programs, in large part because Emirates sometimes charges hefty fuel surcharges on its own flights. As a result of the high surcharges, the best value often comes for Emirates flights originating in countries that limit or forbid fuel surcharges, like Brazil and Hong Kong.
One potentially useful redemption for U.S.-based flyers is on Emirates’ U.S.-Europe flights. If you’re flying between New York (JFK) and Milan (MXP) or Newark (EWR) and Athens (ATH), you can get economy tickets for 77,500 miles roundtrip. Business and first class are decent value at 108,000 miles and 204,000 miles, respectively. It can be hard to find them priced at this award level, however. You can check prices for Emirates flights using their miles calculator.
You also can book one-way awards, but these are more expensive than half the cost of round-trip awards since Emirates only sells them at the Flex Plus level.
One of the only places to find value with Emirates Skywards is for certain partner flights. They are a reasonable option for some Korean Air flights. Emirates also partners with Qantas and JAL, but there are better Amex transfer partners for booking these airlines' flights.
Skywards allows you to hold award tickets for 24 hours on Emirates-operated flights. You do have to call to hold a flight. Emirates is a 1:1 transfer partner, and Membership Rewards should post instantly to your Skywards account.
Etihad Guest offers some solid value through its eclectic network of partners – including some major ones like American Airlines and Brussels Airlines, as well as smaller carriers like Air Serbia, Hainan Airlines, Gulf Air, and Oman Air that are hard to book otherwise. Oddly, the program is pretty terrible for booking flights on Etihad itself.
American Airlines flights were historically an excellent deal using Etihad’s previous award chart. However, Etihad made changes that removed the bulk of the value. These changes hit partner awards hard across the board.
If you're interested in flying Oman Air first class, Etihad miles are one way to do so. You'll pay through the nose, though. A one-way first-class fare on their Boeing 787 is a whopping 107,000 Etihad Guest miles.
To book partner award flights with Etihad Guest miles, you’ll need to call the Etihad Guest service center. Partner awards must be booked at least 24 hours before departure.
Amex points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to Etihad Guest. Although points are occasionally delayed, transfers usually post instantly.
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
Hawaiian Airlines uses a pseudo-dynamic award pricing model. Thus, it can be a bit hit-or-miss on whether you can get a good deal using Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles. If you’re flying from the U.S. mainland to Hawaii, flights start at just 20,000 miles each way in economy and 40,000 miles each way in business. However, awards can go as high as 130,000 miles each way. On the other hand, award availability tends to be quite good. Just make sure you search on the Hawaiian Airlines website to see if they have flights available at reasonable prices before you transfer any Membership Rewards points.
You also can use HawaiianMiles to book award travel on partner airlines like Japan Airlines, Jetblue, Korean Air, Virgin Atlantic, and Virgin Australia. However, none of their award charts offer particularly good value. Hawaiian's own flights between islands have regular availability for using miles, but the low cost of these flights tends to negate the redemption value.
As with Delta Skymiles, Amex will pass on an excise tax of $0.0006 per mile transferred to Hawaiian. Be sure to pay this fee with your credit card. Using Membership Rewards to cover the cost will get you a measly one cent per point. HawaiianMiles is an instant 1:1 transfer partner of Amex Membership Rewards.
As mentioned above, Iberia Plus also participates in the Avios program, but redemption possibilities are slightly different than with British Airways or Aer Lingus. What is similar between Iberia and the other two programs is that the longer flight you take, the more miles you will have to pay.
Iberia now prices American Airlines flights by segment. While much of the value was cut from Iberia's program due to changes in 2021, there are still some deals. For flights that are under 1,151 miles, you’ll pay only 9,000 Iberia Avios. The major drawback of the Iberia Plus program for this type of itinerary is that all partner flights are non-refundable.
My favorite use of Iberia Plus Avios is off-peak flights between Boston and Madrid in business class for only 34,000 miles each way. Most airlines charge around 30,000 miles one-way in economy to fly between the U.S. and Europe. So, this Iberia flight is an absolute steal if you can find availability. Flights to Chicago, New York, and Miami used to price the same, but these have increased to between 42,500 and 50,000 miles one-way. Still solid value, but not the screaming deal 34,000 miles is for 7 hours in business class.
Transfers to Iberia can take up to 24 hours to process. If you’re in a hurry to book, you may want to transfer points instantly from Membership Rewards to British Airways. Then, you can transfer from British Airways to Iberia instantly.
Of all the Membership Rewards partners, JetBlue TrueBlue is by far the easiest to use. Unlike other loyalty programs that charge a fixed number of miles from one part of the world to another, the number of TrueBlue points needed to book a ticket depends on the cash price of the flight.
While this eliminates the potential to get disproportionately high value, JetBlue compensates by making the booking completely painless. With TrueBlue points, there are no blackout dates, so you can always use your points as long as there is a seat for sale. AwardWallet users get an average value of 1.24¢ per point. The actual value at the time of booking varies from one flight to the next, ranging from 1.0–1.5¢ per point.
If you have the The Business Platinum Card® from American Express or American Express® Business Gold Card, you'll get a 35% or 25% points rebate (respectively) on business- and first-class tickets booked through Amex Travel. The points rebate also works for economy flights with the airline you've selected as your preferred airline. This is the same airline that is eligible for your annual airline fee credit. This can be a great opportunity to save money on JetBlue Mint or economy fares if you see a good deal and pay with points in the Amex Travel portal. Enrollment is required for select Amex benefits.
Tip on booking through Amex Travel
If JetBlue is your selected airline, it often makes sense to book through Amex Travel, rather than transferring points. Make sure to compare prices on Amex Travel before transferring from Membership Rewards to JetBlue.
The Amex–JetBlue partnership is only useful if you’re traveling within the United States or traveling to Central America or the Caribbean. European destinations are limited.
Transfers from Amex to JetBlue occur at a 250:200 ratio and should post instantly. You'll find more details in our guide to maximizing JetBlue TrueBlue points.
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Qantas Frequent Flyer uses a distance-based award chart that calculates the price of your ticket based on the total distance flown, rather than the distance of each individual segment (which is the method British Airways uses). The best value tends to be for short trips. You’ll pay 8,000 points each way for trips under 600 miles and 12,000 points each way for trips between 600 and 1,200 miles. Qantas prices tend to be higher than other Amex partner airlines for the majority of itineraries, but you can find situations where transfers can make sense.
The Qantas website is much better at searching for and booking complex itineraries — like travel between small U.S. airports — than the Iberia or British Airways search engines. For short-segment, connecting AA itineraries, Qantas can't be beat.
Membership Rewards transfers to Qantas should post instantly at a 1:1 ratio. You can learn more about Qantas award prices and fees here.
Qatar Airways Privilege Club
In July 2023, Amex added Qatar Privilege Club as a new transfer partner. Qatar was already effectively a transfer partner, as Amex cardmembers could transfer Membership Rewards points to British Airways and then from British Airways to Qatar at a 1:1 transfer ratio. This addition just saves a step.
After a recent change, the Qatar partner award chart largely matches other Avios programs. That means it generally won't matter if you transfer Membership Rewards to British Airways or Qatar Airways. The award rates should be the same for non-BA and non-Qatar awards.
Where Qatar Privilege Club comes in handy is booking awards on Qatar's own flights. We've found that Qatar offers more award availability to its own members than through partner programs.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is a great program to consider if you also have other transferrable points currencies like Citi ThankYou Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards. Singapore Airlines is part of Star Alliance and partners with all 27 member airlines. In addition, you can use KrisFlyer miles to fly with Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, and Alaska Airlines.
If you are dying to try out Singapore Airlines' luxury suites class on the A380, you'll definitely want to pay attention! That’s because Singapore makes more award space available to its own members than to members of partner programs, especially in premium cabins. You can redeem 97,000 Singapore miles to fly from New York to Frankfurt in Suites Class. The ability to book suites at all makes it one of the more highly-prized Amex transfer partners.
Other suggested uses of Singapore KrisFlyer miles:
- Fly United Airlines from the U.S. to Hawaii in economy for 17,500 Singapore miles.
- Fly any Star Alliance member airline from the U.S. to Europe for 27,500 miles in economy (watch out for fuel surcharges with some carriers).
- Book Avianca flights within South America.
Like Virgin Atlantic, Cathay Pacific, and Aeroplan, the KrisFlyer program passes on fuel surcharges to consumers, so your out-of-pocket cost can vary dramatically from $5.60 to $500 or more, depending on the airline operating your flight. If the cash component of a Singapore booking is too high, Avianca LifeMiles may be a better option within the Membership Rewards ecosystem. With Avianca, you should be able to book the same flights for less cash and (sometimes) more miles. We've rounded up a few other great deals in our post on Singapore KrisFlyer sweet spots.
Transfers from Membership Rewards to Singapore KrisFlyer are at a 1:1 ratio.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Virgin Atlantic is one of the most underrated Amex transfer partners. While some bookings with Virgin will incur high taxes and fees, Flying Club makes up for this shortcoming by charging fewer points than many other programs, and it has some great sweet spots. If you choose your flights carefully, it’s possible to avoid those high out-of-pocket costs.
Specifically, if you book flights operated by Virgin Atlantic with your Virgin Atlantic points, taxes should be approximately $150 in economy, $250 in premium economy, and $500 or more in Upper Class (Virgin's business-class cabin) for flights between the U.S. and Europe. However, flights from the U.S. to London can cost as little as 10,000 points in economy and 17,500 in premium economy. When you compare that to the 30,000–50,000 points charged by other transfer partners for the same class of service, you come out ahead — despite the higher taxes and fees.
Even flights from the West Coast are a decent deal at 15,000 points and ~$150 in taxes and fees. Flights in Premium or Upper Class incur far more in fees, though.
Virgin Atlantic is part of SkyTeam and partners with airlines like Delta, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia, and All Nippon Airways (ANA).
Value of booking ANA flights using Virgin Atlantic points
We can't conclude any discussion of Virgin Atlantic Flying Club without mentioning the value of booking ANA flights using ANA miles. You can book roundtrip flights between the mainland U.S. and Japan for 60,000–65,000 Virgin points in economy, 90,000–95,000 points in business class, or 145,000–170,000 points in first class. This is immense savings over what most other programs charge, even after a 2023 devaluation to first-class awards.
Most flights with Virgin Atlantic, Delta, KLM, and Air France can be booked online. But other partner bookings will require calling Virgin Atlantic at 800-365-9500. It’s slightly inconvenient, but the points savings can be worth it! Fortunately, Virgin has one of the best call centers of all major loyalty programs. Hold times are usually short, and the staff is knowledgeable and friendly.
Flying Club agents can put a flight on hold for 24–72 hours (depending on the partner), which is a huge advantage that most other airlines no longer offer. You can find more destinations and ideas for maximizing these points in our post on Virgin Atlantic award sweet spots.
Virgin Atlantic is an instant, 1:1 Membership Rewards transfer partner.
Membership Rewards Hotel Partners
In general, the three Amex hotel partners offer terrible value compared to what you can achieve with Amex airline partners. A good flight redemption can easily fetch a value of 3¢ per point (and sometimes far more), yet hotel bookings rarely get you more than a penny for each Amex point. If you're desperate to use points for hotels, you're better off opening one of Amex's co-brand hotel cards like the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card or Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card.
You can transfer Amex points to these hotel partners at the following ratios:
Most Choice hotels in the United States are budget properties like Econo Lodge and Travelodge that don’t offer much value for points redemptions. However, you can find a solid number of historic, boutique, and unique hotels offered as part of the Ascend Hotel Collection. Choice Hotels in Europe also tend to offer excellent value. This is because even budget properties tend to be nicer than their U.S. counterparts. Also, Choice has a wide variety of properties in several expensive European cities. Free nights range from 6,000 to 35,000 points per night (except in Australia, where nights can go for as many as 75,000 points).
However, with few exceptions, Choice points are worth far less than airline miles, so the 1:1 transfer ratio from Amex to Choice Privileges makes this partnership a non-starter for many. The only reason you'd want to consider this option is if you are only a few thousand points short of a redemption. Even then, it's probably better to buy Choice points directly, rather than transferring valuable Amex points.
Also, you should consider transferring Citi ThankYou points to Choice Privileges. The transfer ratio is 1:2, making it a much better deal for your points. But if you know what you're doing and can extract high value from your Choice redemptions, these can make sense in limited situations.
You should note that Hilton Honors award night prices range from 10,000 to 150,000 points per night. Membership Rewards points transfer to Hilton at a rate of 1:2 (1,000 Amex points yields 2,000 Hilton Honors points). So, you’ll need between 5,000 and 75,000 Amex points to book a free night through Hilton. Occasionally, Membership Rewards will run a Hilton Honors transfer bonus. We're a big fan of the Hilton loyalty program even if transfers from Amex aren't a good deal. Here are nine things we love about Hilton Honors.
Variable award pricing
One thing you’ll want to be aware of: Hilton Honors uses variable award pricing. In fact, depending on how many rooms are available, prices can fluctuate dramatically even at the same hotel. Here’s an example of four different award prices for a one-night stay in a single week:
If you have Hilton elite status, you’ll also get the fifth night free on award stays of five nights or more. Since award pricing is complex, you’ll want to confirm the award pricing for your dates. In addition, you should compare with cash rates before transferring any Amex points to Hilton Honors. Even with the 1:2 transfer ratio, it's hard to justify a transfer to Hilton. This is especially true when you can pick up a pile of points with the welcome offer on one of the multiple Hilton co-branded credit cards.
As a general rule, transferring Membership Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy won't be a good use of your points. This is because Marriott’s award chart has some pretty inflated prices, owing to its move to dynamic pricing. While the most expensive Choice Hotels properties (aside from the Asia-Pacific region) cost 35,000 points per night, you sometimes need over 100,000 Marriott points to book a top-tier property. Of course, this depends on the time of year. These days, Marriott's awards are priced more in line with Hilton. You could get three nights at a top-tier Choice Hotel for the price of a single night at a top-tier Marriott property.
Do the prep work
That said, if you’re set on using your Membership Rewards for a Marriott hotel, do the math to ensure you’re getting good value from your points. If a hotel costs $800 per night because of an event in town, but you could book it for 40,000 Marriott points, it might not be a bad choice.
Although Marriott isn't a good choice for Amex points transfers, the Marriott Bonvoy program is definitely worth a deeper look. This is thanks to the ability to transfer Marriott points to more than 40 partner airlines. We've put together a mega guide with everything you need to know about Marriot Bonvoy.
How Long Do Points Take to Transfer to Travel Partners?
AwardWallet tracks the transfer times to Amex transfer partners. Transfers to most programs are immediate. The ones you'll need to watch out for include the following:
- ANA Mileage Club: Can take about a day
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: Can take 9 hours on average
- Iberia Plus: Less than a day
- Marriott: Not always immediate; can have a brief delay
Tips for Maximizing Membership Rewards Transfer Partners
- Always confirm flights or hotel nights are available with points before you make a transfer. Put Virgin Atlantic and Emirates awards on hold before you transfer.
- Check the cost of booking the same flight or hotel through the Amex Travel portal. In some cases, you’ll spend fewer points and less cash booking this way than transferring to a partner program.
- Each of the airline transfer partners has its own list of partner airlines. Amex points can book flights with over 100 unique airlines.
- Transfers are irreversible. You can never transfer points back to Membership Rewards, so plan your transfers carefully.
- Compare prices. Several airlines can be booked with multiple Amex transfer partners. Compare the taxes and fees and points required before you decide where to transfer points.
- Delta, Air France, AeroMexico, and Virgin Atlantic can book Delta flights
- British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, and Iberia can book American flights
- Air Canada, ANA, Avianca, and Singapore can book United flights
- British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Singapore can book Alaska flights
Can I transfer Amex Membership Rewards to United MileagePlus?
No, you can’t transfer Amex Membership Rewards to United. However, you can transfer Membership Rewards to Air Canada, ANA, Avianca, or Singapore. All three programs are Star Alliance partners that can book flights on United.
Can I transfer Amex Membership Rewards to Alaska Mileage Plan?
No, you can’t transfer Amex Membership Rewards to Alaska. However, you can transfer Membership Rewards to British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Qantas, or Singapore. Then, you can use those programs to book flights on Alaska.
Can I transfer Amex Membership Rewards to American Airlines AAdvantage?
No, you can’t transfer Amex Membership Rewards to American Airlines. However, you can transfer Membership Rewards to British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Plus, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Etihad Guest, Qantas Frequent Flyer, or Qatar Airways Privilege Club. Then, use those programs o book flights on American.
Can I use Membership Rewards to book travel for others?
Generally, airline partners and all three hotel partners will allow you to book travel for someone else using your points. Some have restrictions, though. For example, ANA only allows you to book tickets for certain family members, and Singapore and Cathay Pacific limit the number of other people you can book tickets for. However, it's generally against the terms and conditions of rewards programs to accept money or other compensation for making a reservation with your points or miles. As long as you make bookings for people you know, you shouldn't have any problems.
Yes, however, an authorized user must be added to your credit card a minimum of 90 days before you can transfer points to a hotel or airline loyalty account in their name. As noted above, most loyalty programs will let you use your points to book awards for others, so this restriction shouldn't have a big impact. The main reason to transfer Membership Rewards to someone else's account is if they already have a significant number of points that you plan to use towards the redemption at hand.
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