How to Use AMEX Membership Rewards Points for United Airlines Award Flights

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How to Use AMEX Membership Rewards Points for United Airlines Award Flights

Million Mile SecretsHow to Use AMEX Membership Rewards Points for United Airlines Award FlightsMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Million Mile Secrets readers, Gary Rees and Alan, started a discussion:

Gary commented:

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. 

How To Use AMEX Membership Rewards Points For United Airlines Award Flights
You Can’t Transfer Miles From 1 Airline to Another. But It’s Still Possible to Book an Award Ticket on United Airlines With AMEX Membership Rewards Points

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

Link:   American Express Membership Rewards

Link:   American Express Membership Rewards Transfer Partners

AMEX Membership Rewards has lots of airline transfer partners:

 American Express Membership Rewards Airline Transfer Partners 
AeroMexicoAir CanadaAlitalia
ANAAsia MilesBritish Airways
Delta El AlEmirates
EtihadFlying Blue (Air France / KLM)Hawaiian Airlines
IberiaJetBlueSingapore Airlines
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 CardsBusiness Cards
American Express® Gold CardThe Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressThe Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit CardThe Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN
AMEX EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express


Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN

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:

How To Use AMEX Membership Rewards Points For United Airlines Award Flights
Transfer Your AMEX Membership Rewards Points to Air Canada Aeroplan, ANA, or Singapore Airlines Miles. And Then Book Flights on 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.

How To Use AMEX Membership Rewards Points For United Airlines Award Flights
Because All 4 Airlines Are Star Alliance Partners, They Have Access to Each Other’s Award Seats

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

Link:   Air Canada Partner Award Chart

Air Canada Aeroplan only charges 90,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles to fly to Europe round-trip in Business Class.

How To Use AMEX Membership Rewards Points For United Airlines Award Flights
Fly Round-Trip to Europe in Business Class for 90,000 Air Canada Aeroplan Miles

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.

2.   ANA

Link:   ANA Partner Award Chart

ANA has some sweet spots in its partner award chart.  Flights to Europe in coach are 55,000 ANA miles round-trip.  And Business Class seats cost 88,000 ANA miles round-trip.

How To Use AMEX Membership Rewards Points For United Airlines Award Flights
ANA Has Great Prices on Award Flights to Africa, Europe, and South America!

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

Link:   Singapore Airlines Partner Award Chart

If you want to fly within the US (including Hawaii!), Canada, or Alaska, you can get a fantastic deal with Singapore Airlines miles.

How To Use AMEX Membership Rewards Points For United Airlines Award Flights
Business Class Flights to Hawaii on United Airlines Are Only 60,000 Singapore Airlines Miles Round-Trip

That’s because you can book the exact same United Airlines flights using fewer miles with Singapore Airlines.

How To Use AMEX Membership Rewards Points For United Airlines Award Flights
Get Discounts on United Airlines Award Flights With Singapore Airlines Miles. Visit Hawaii for Fewer Miles!

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.

How To Use AMEX Membership Rewards Points For United Airlines Award Flights
If You Feel Stuck, You Can Always Call a Pro for Help!

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.

Bottom Line

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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AX Platinum lets you select any
airline once a year to be your “go
to” airline. That includes United.
If you use reward points and book
through them, they return 30% of the points back the following month. Use to be 50%.

i have a platinum amex w over 100,000 miles, I only fly back and forth to Europe on Swiss or Lufthansa, about 6 times a year. I buy a business class ticket and upgrade on the usa to europe night flight to First to get a full nights sleep. What is the best use of my Amex points? Amex money, in some form or to transfer my points to my FF Lufthansa account and use them to continue upgrading? Can I transfer them now and just leave them sitting in the account to use upon future date or do I have to reserve the ticket from now, which is not something I want to do , as my dates are very fluid? Any advice is welcome because I always feel my points go to waste.

Thanks for this great article. Do you have to get Saver flights to use Singapore to book United? Or can you book with any available flights shown on the United website?

Hi,

I have around 85000 points with Chase Sapphire Preferred and around 60000 points with Amex. I am planning to travel to Bangalore India combining both with United Airlines.. Is there a way i can do that?

@Chris – Yes, you’d have to call to make the award ticket arrangements.

@David – On a round-trip award, you can add one stopover and one open-jaw.

@Richard Guy – That’s great news! Congrats on your award trip and thanks for all the helpful information! 🙂

@Fiona – You’d have to call Singapore Airlines to book an award ticket with their miles. Even if you want to fly on a partner airline.

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