Complete guide to Amex transfer partners: Everything you need to know before you make a transfer

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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. This is a great way to use not only an airline miles credit card, but also use American Express points to double your miles. 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.

Austria is just one of the many European cities you can get to with the Amex transfer partners. (Photo by Feel good studio/Shutterstock.)

Amex transfer partners

You can earn Amex Membership Rewards points with the following cards:

CardWelcome bonus & minimum spending requirements
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
Terms Apply.
American Express®️ Green CardEarn 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 ExpressEarn up to $300 when you make eligible purchases with Dell Technologies, DocuSign and FedEx within the first three months of Card Membership (up to $100 per merchant, in the form of statement credits). This offer will run through November 4, 2020
The Platinum Card® from American Express
60,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
American Express® Gold Card35,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $4,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening. Terms Apply.
American Express® Business Gold CardEarn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first three months of Card Membership. 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 three months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express10,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
The information for the Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card and Amex EveryDay Credit Card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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 credit cards a better option for most, compared to applying for one of the top airline credit cards or best hotel credit cards.

For step-by-step instructions, check out our guide on how to transfer Amex points.

Airline partners

With the direct Amex Membership Rewards airline transfer partners you can book award seats on the three major airline alliances:

  • oneworld
  • SkyTeam
  • 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:

AirlineTransfer RatioEstimated Transfer Time
Aer Lingus1:1Instant
AeroMexico1:1.624 Hours
Air Canada1:1Instant
Alitalia1:1Instant
ANA1:148 Hours
Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles)1:148 Hours
Avianca1:1Instant
British Airways1:1Instant
Delta1:1Instant
El Al1000:20Instant
Emirates1:1Instant
Etihad1:1Instant
Flying Blue (Air France / KLM)1:1Instant
Iberia1:148 hours
Hawaiian Airlines1:1Instant
JetBlue250:200Instant
Qantas1:1Instant
Singapore Airlines1:1Up to 24 hours
Virgin Atlantic1:1Instant

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

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:

HotelTransfer RatioEstimated Transfer Time
Choice Hotels1:1Instant
Hilton1:2Instant
Marriott1:1Instant

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 Hilton credit cards, so I prefer saving my Amex Membership Rewards points for transfers to airline partners.

Amex points transfer rules

There are a few things to know when transferring Amex Membership Rewards points to airline and hotel partners.

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.

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.

How 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 have been an authorized user on your account 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.

Bottom line

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 flexible points for flights to Australia.

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Featured image by Feel good studio/Shuttestock.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Johnny-O
7 months ago

Why would you recommend topping off a Marriott account at a 1:1 ratio when they are only worth .08 cents a point, and not recommend transferring them to Hilton which is a 1:2 ratio at .06 cents a point. You would automatically be getting 1.2 cents a point for Hilton points. This doesn’t even address the big change in potential value of Marriott points since they raised up such a large amount of their hotels that were in the sweet spot for most travelers. Soon Marriott will also be at .06 cents a point. Just asking…..

Anne
10 months ago

What is the best way to use MR pts for business class without the hundreds of dollars in taxes and fees? I have 200k pts, travel from NYC. International destination negotiable.

Rahul
10 months ago

How can amex points be utilized for Travel to India in Business/First class? Aeroplan has reduced mileage like 75k points for one way travel in Business class but tax/fees amount to freaking $600 to $800 which DESTROYS the Deal…

Donald
1 year ago

Do you accept AmericanAirlines in your partnership program?
Thanks

Bev Alfred
1 year ago

Some helpful points, thanks. Is there anywhere to ask questions?

Jason
Reply to  Bev Alfred
1 year ago

What’s your question?

Zander
Reply to  Jason
6 months ago

Fyi I’m a newb at this… I dont understand how to use amex points to redeem a flight through the alaska airlines site. For example, I found a Qantas flight through the alaska site for 55000 miles. I have more than enough amex points. Now, since I cant transfer dirctly to alaska, how do I actually book it?

Sapphire
1 year ago

I want to join pls