Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Capital One, Chase and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.
Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
Did you know you can use American Express Membership Rewards points for flights on United Airlines?
That’s because American Express has 3 transfer partners that also partner with United Airlines. And transferring your American Express Membership Rewards points to these airlines can be a better deal than using United Airlines miles!
I’ll show you how to use your American Express Membership Rewards points for United Airlines flights!
Use AMEX Points for United Airlines Flights With Star Alliance Partners
You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to lots of different partner airlines. But United Airlines is NOT one of them.
While you can use your American Express Membership Rewards points to buy United Airlines tickets through the AMEX Travel Portal, this isn’t a great use of your points. Because you’ll only get a value of 1 cent per point.
It’s better to transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to one of United Airlines’ Star Alliance partners, like Air Canada, ANA, or Singapore Airlines. Then use that airline’s miles to book a United Airlines award ticket.
Note: If you have The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, you’ll get 50% of your points back (equivalent to 2 cents per point) when you use Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline through the AMEX Travel Portal. And 2 cents per point for Business Class and First Class tickets on ANY airline booked through the AMEX Travel Portal.
So you may save points by booking with this method. Do the math!
Use Singapore Airlines for Travel Within the US (Including Hawaii)
Singapore Airlines charges the same number of miles for domestic coach tickets as United Airlines. But there are fantastic deals if you’re booking other classes and routes!
Depending on the class you fly, it can be an even BETTER deal than using United Airlines miles in certain areas. For example:
- US to Europe in coach – 55,000 Singapore Airlines miles round-trip (5,000 miles less than United Airlines!)
- Domestic US Business Class – 40,000 Singapore Airlines miles round-trip (10,000 miles less than United Airlines!)
- US to Hawaii in Business Class – 60,000 Singapore Airlines miles round-trip (20,000 miles less than United Airlines!)
Take a look at the Singapore Airlines award chart to find the best deals.
Here’s how to use AMEX Membership Rewards points for United Airlines flights with Singapore Airlines miles!
Step 1. Enter Your Travel Details Into United Airlines
You can NOT search for award seats on partner airlines on the Singapore Airlines website. So you’ll have to look on the United Airlines website instead.
Enter your travel information, and click “Search“.
You do not need to log-in to search for award flights with United Airlines.
Step 2. Find “Saver Award” Seats
You can only book “Saver” level awards when you book flights on partner airlines using Singapore Airlines miles. If you find those, you should be able to book them with Singapore Airlines!
Write down the travel information on these “Saver Award” flights. You’ll need it for the next step!
Step 3. Call Singapore Airlines
Once you find flights that fit with your travel plans, call Singapore Airlines at 800-742-3333. Tell them the flights you want to book, and make sure the agent can see them!
Once you transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points to an airline, you can NOT transfer them back. So you want to make sure the Singapore Airlines agent can book the flight you want before you transfer your points.
Transfer your points, and once they deposit to your Singapore Airlines account, call back and book your seat!
Note: It can take up to 7 days for your American Express Membership Rewards points to post to your account. Though it usually takes less than 24 hours. There is some risk that your award seat may be gone by the time your points transfer!
Singapore Airlines does have fuel surcharges. But NOT when you book seats on United Airlines! You can expect to pay the same taxes and fees as an award flight booked directly with United Airlines.
Use ANA for International Travel
You should only transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points to ANA if you’re planning to book a round-trip ticket. Because ANA does NOT allow you to book one-ways.
However, ANA does allow 1 free stopover and 2 open-jaws on each round-trip ticket.
You can book incredible deals with ANA miles! For example:
- US to Southern South America in coach – 55,000 ANA miles round-trip (5,000 miles less than United Airlines!)
- US to ANYWHERE in Africa in coach – 65,000 ANA miles round-trip (15,000 miles less than United Airlines!)
- US to Europe in . Class – 88,000 ANA miles round-trip (27,000 miles less than United Airlines!)
You can look at ANA’s award chart here.
Here’s how to book United Airlines seats with ANA miles!
Step 1. Log-In to ANA
Step 2. Enter Your Travel Information
Input your travel details. Check “Compare Seat Availability +/- 3 Days” to see more dates at once.
If you want to take advantage of the free stopover or open-jaws, you’ll want to click “Multiple Cities/Mixed Classes”
Step 3. Find Available Dates
Choose the dates you want.
Step 4. Choose Your Flights
Choose a United Airlines operated (or any other) flight.
When you find what you want, you’re ready to transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points to ANA and book your flight!
ANA DOES pass along fuel surcharges, depending on the airline partner you fly with. Fortunately, when you use ANA miles to fly United Airlines, they do NOT charge you.
Use Air Canada for Free Stopovers
Air Canada Aeroplan doesn’t really have sweet-spot deals on its award chart like Singapore Airlines and ANA.
But it does give you 1 free stopover and 1 open jaw on each round-trip ticket! This makes this an incredibly valuable transfer partner!
That means you can have 3 destinations for the price of 1 award ticket!
You can look at the Air Canada partner award chart here.
Here’s how to book United Airlines seats with Air Canada!
Step 1. Log-In to Air Canada Aeroplan
Sign-in to your Air Canada Aeroplan account (or register if you haven’t already. It’s free to join!).
Step 2. Click “Travel”
Under the “Use Your Miles” menu, select “Travel“.
Step 3. Enter Your Travel Information
Enter your travel details, and check the “My Dates Are Flexible” box to see more dates.
Step 4. Choose Your Flights
Find United Airlines flights and select the ones you want!
That’s it! If you see flights you’d like, transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan, and book your flights.
Air Canada DOES charge fuel surcharges for long-haul flights on their own planes. But when you use your Air Canada miles to fly United Airlines, there are none!
Which Credit Cards Earn Points That Transfer to These United Airlines Partners?
Here are the credit cards which earn American Express Membership Rewards points!
|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.|
United Airlines is NOT a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards. But you can still use AMEX Membership Rewards points for seats on United Airlines!
You can transfer your points to 3 other Star Alliance airlines:
- Singapore Airlines
- Air Canada
You can then book an award seat on partner United Airlines. Sometimes you’ll even get more value from your awards by booking United Airlines flights with partner airline miles instead of United Airlines miles!