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Amex Membership Rewards points are so valuable because of the flexibility they offer for booking with multiple airline or hotel partners for everything from that first-class trip around the world to a great family vacation to Europe. And it’s easy to earn Amex points with the best American Express cards.
In addition to the direct Amex airline transfer partners, you’ll get access to other indirect partners as well through the airline alliances. I’ll show you everything you need to know about Amex Membership Rewards transfer partners and what you should know before you transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to book award travel.
Amex transfer partners
You can earn Amex Membership Rewards points with the following cards:
|Card||Welcome bonus & minimum spending requirements|
|The Business Platinum® Card from American Express||Ends December 4, 2019: Limited Time Offer - Up to 100,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points
50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $10,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account, plus earn an extra 50,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending an additional $15,000 on qualifying purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
|American Express®️ Green Card||Receive up to $100 in statement credits toward any eligible purchase from Away. Offer ends January 15, 2020. Plus, earn 30,000 Amex Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in your first three months of account opening. Terms apply.|
|The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express||No welcome bonus|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||60,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.|
|American Express® Gold Card||35,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Terms Apply.|
|American Express® Business Gold Card||Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.|
|Business Green Rewards Card from American Express||15,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.|
|Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express||15,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.|
|Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express||10,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
You can choose from 22 different airline and hotel partners to use your American Express points with, which is why many of the best travel credit cards are issued by American Express. Having the option of booking with so many different partners makes opening flexible rewards cards a better option for most, compared to applying for one of the top airline credit cards.
For step-by-step instructions, check out our guide on how to transfer Amex points.
1. Airline partners
With the direct Amex Membership Rewards airline transfer partners you can book award seats on the three major airline alliances:
- Star Alliance
Not all Amex airline transfer partners are equal. The transfer ratios vary, which means you want to make sure you’re using a partner that will get you the highest Amex points value. Here’s a look at the transfer ratios and estimated transfer times for each of the airline partners:
|Airline||Transfer Ratio||Estimated Transfer Time|
|Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles)||1:1||48 Hours|
|Flying Blue (Air France / KLM)||1:1||Instant|
|Iberia||1:1||~1 to 3 days|
|Singapore Airlines||1:1||~1 to 2 days|
Most Amex points transfers occur instantly. The transfer ratios in the table are the standard ratios, but there are frequent Amex transfer bonuses to different partners. You’ll see the current transfer ratios by logging in to your Amex Membership Rewards account, as some of the bonuses are targeted.
As I mentioned before, with the Amex airline transfer partners you get access to the three major airline alliances. For example, you can transfer:
- Amex points to Delta or Flying Blue to book award tickets on SkyTeam airlines such as Korean Air
- Amex points to Air Canada, Avianca, ANA or Singapore Airlines to book award tickets on Star Alliance airlines such as Lufthansa or United Airlines
- Amex points to British Airways, Aer Lingus or Iberia to book award tickets on oneworld airlines such as American Airlines or Japan Airlines
You can also use Amex points to book award travel on other partner airlines, which are not part of any alliance. For example, transfer:
- Amex points to Delta to use miles for award tickets on WestJet or Virgin Australia
- Amex points to Singapore Airlines to use points for award tickets on Alaska Airlines
2. Hotel partners
The Amex Membership Rewards hotel partners are not as extensive as the airline list. There are three hotel transfer partners. Here’s a look at the transfer ratios and estimated transfer times for each of the hotel partners:
|Hotel||Transfer Ratio||Estimated Transfer Time|
Generally, you get a better deal redeeming Amex Membership Rewards points with airline partners. But Amex points are a good option for topping up your Marriott account. You also can transfer Marriott points to many great airline partners (Alaska Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Japan Airlines) and you get a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points you transfer.
Choice Hotels are usually inexpensive, so you won’t often get a good value for your Amex Membership Rewards points, but there are some excellent Choice Hotels award deals in many areas of Europe and Japan. As for Hilton, there are lots of ways to easily earn Hilton points with some of the best hotel credit cards, so I prefer saving my Amex Membership Rewards points for transfers to airline partners.
Rules for Amex points transfers
There are a few things to know when transferring Amex Membership Rewards points to airline and hotel partners.
1. All transfers are final
Once you transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to a partner program, you will not be able to get the points back to your Amex account. It’s always best to find available award seats before you make a transfer. This way, you can simply transfer your points and book.
Some airlines allow you to place an award booking on hold, so you can find the award space and transfer your Amex points after you’ve already secured the award seat.
2. Small fee for transfers to U.S. airlines
There’s a small fee for every transfer you make to U.S. airlines. American Express charges an excise fee of 0.06 cents per point, up to a maximum of $99. It’s never fun paying extra fees, but this is usually a small cost in the big picture. This fee only applies to U.S. airlines.
3. Workaround to transfer Amex points to others
It’s not possible to directly transfer Amex Membership Rewards to another Amex account, but there’s a way around this rule. You can transfer your Amex Membership Rewards points directly into the frequent flyer account of any authorized user. The catch is the cardholder will need to be an authorized user for at least 90 days before you can make transfers into their frequent flyer account.
It’s easy to add an authorized user to your Amex card online or by calling the number on the back of your card. For some cards (Amex Platinum, Amex Business Platinum, etc.), you will pay a fee to add authorized users, so be sure to double check what fee (if any) you’ll pay for adding someone to your account.
There are 22 airline and hotel partners, which are part of the Amex Membership Rewards program. Thanks to airline alliances, you can book award travel beyond the direct transfer partners. This is extremely helpful because you’ll have more options for getting to just about anywhere with your points.
Remember, not all transfer partners are equal because the transfer ratios and transfer times vary by airline and hotel. So make sure you’re taking advantage of the best ways to use Amex points. If you want help booking a specific trip, check out our guides on using Amex points to get to Europe or using Amex points for flights to Australia.
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Featured image by Feel good studio/Shuttestock.