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Million Mile Secrets readers, Gary Rees and Alan, started a discussion:
Is there a service that can help me maximize my bank points?
I am new but have over 300,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points saved up and want to do something over-the-top for my 10th anniversary. What about transferring to Air Canada Aeroplan at the 1:1 transfer rate, and then to United Airlines? Is that possible?
And Alan replied:
Did you ever come up with a way to transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to United Airlines? Like you, I like United Airlines and was thinking about using Air Canada Aeroplan as the middle step. I haven’t figured how to move Air Canada Aeroplan miles to United Airlines miles. Any help would be appreciated.
Thank you both for commenting! I thought I’d jump in to help.
You can NOT transfer Air Canada Aeroplan miles to United Airlines miles. In general, you can not transfer airline miles to another airline.
But you CAN book United Airlines flights with AMEX Membership Rewards transfer partners. That’s because a few of them have access to award seats on United Airlines.
I’ll explain your options and point you in the right direction if you need more help!
About AMEX Membership Rewards Points
|American Express Membership Rewards Airline Transfer Partners|
|ANA||Asia Miles||British Airways|
|Delta Airlines||El Al||Emirates|
|Etihad||Flying Blue (Air France / KLM)||Hawaiian Airlines|
|Virgin America||Virgin Atlantic|
AMEX Membership Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to most airline mileage programs.
Here are the cards that earn AMEX Membership Rewards points, in case you need more:
|Personal Cards||Business Cards|
|Premier Rewards Gold Card From American Express||The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz||The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN|
|AMEX EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express||Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN|
|AMEX EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express|
|American Express® Gold Card|
|American Express® Green Card|
|Blue from American Express® Note: These are the ONLY AMEX cards that earn Membership Rewards points that can NOT be transferred to airline & hotel programs. But you can use these points on the Membership Rewards website for other redemptions. Includes personal AND small business versions of the card.|
How to Fly on United Airlines
Gary and Alan both want to fly on United Airlines. Here’s how they could go about it.
Three AMEX Membership Rewards airline transfer partners are also travel partners with United Airlines:
After you transfer your AMEX Membership Rewards points to Air Canada Aeroplan, ANA, or Singapore Airlines, you can use the miles to book flights on United Airlines. That’s because all 4 airlines are part of the Star Alliance.
Which 1 Should You Pick?
I’ve written about how to use Air Canada Aeroplan and ANA miles. And I showed you how to book United Airlines flights with Singapore Airlines miles.
Depending on where you want to go, it’s worth it to check how much a United Airlines flight would cost on all 3 airlines’ partner award charts.
That’s because each frequent flyer program has different prices for award flights.
1. Air Canada Aeroplan
Air Canada Aeroplan only charges 90,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles to fly to Europe round-trip in Business Class.
Note: Air Canada is updating their partner award chart. As of December 15, 2015, this award will cost 110,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles, so book soon if this is an award you’ve had your eye on!
You can book most partner award flights on the Aeroplan website.
Link: ANA Partner Award Chart
If you want to visit Africa, you’ll pay only 65,000 ANA miles round-trip for a coach award flight. And award seats in coach to southern South America are well-priced at 55,000 ANA Miles.
You can book United Airlines award flights on the ANA website.
3. Singapore Airlines
That’s because you can book the exact same United Airlines flights using fewer miles with Singapore Airlines.
When you redeem Singapore Airlines miles for an award seat to Hawaii, you’ll pay:
- 35,000 Singapore Airlines miles for a round-trip coach award flight
- 60,000 Singapore Airlines miles for a round-trip Business Class award flight
- 80,000 Singapore Airlines miles for a round-trip First Class award flight
Compare that to United Airlines miles, which cost:
- 45,000 United Airlines miles for a round-trip coach award flight
- 80,000 United Airlines miles for a round-trip Business Class award flight
- 100,000 United Airlines miles for a round-trip First Class award flight
And remember, you aren’t limited to United Airlines when you redeem Air Canada Aeroplan, ANA, or Singapore Airlines miles. If another airline flies where you want to go, you can use your miles for an award seat, as long as they’re part of the Star Alliance.
Be aware that some airlines add fuel surcharges to award tickets, which can add hundreds of dollars to the price.
And be sure award seats are available before you transfer your hard-earned AMEX Membership Rewards points! Because you can’t transfer them back!
Need More Help?
Link: Award Booking Services
If you still need help booking United Airlines flights with your AMEX Membership Rewards points, consider reaching out to an award booking service.
An award booking service might help you find a more creative or cheaper routing to where you want to go! Especially if you have a complicated itinerary.
Remember it is NOT possible to transfer airline miles from 1 airline to another. But thanks to partnerships, you can book an award seat on United Airlines after you transfer AMEX Membership Rewards to these airlines:
Each 1 has their sweet spots, and all of them price award flights differently. So always do the math before you transfer your points.
If you need more help, think about contacting an award booking service to put together an award trip for you.
Gary and Alan, I hope that helps! And to Gary, have a wonderful 10th anniversary trip, wherever you decide to go!
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