Reader Question: What Would You Do With 2 Million American Express Membership Rewards Points?

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Every week or so, I will post a reader question on the blog and ask you to write your suggestions in the comments.

After a few days, I’ll compile the responses along with my thoughts and publish it on the blog!

Reader Question

An anonymous reader (AR) writes in asking where to transfer the 2 million American Express Membership Reward points accumulated for his/her retirement travel.

American Express Membership Reward points are reward points earned on certain American Express cards and can be redeemed for, among other things,  gift cards, merchandise, and most importantly transferred to hotel and airline partners. The Points Guy has listed a nice summary of Membership Rewards transfer options.

Due to circumstances which AR would not like to make public, he/she has to transfer the 2 million Membership Rewards points to a partner hotel or airline by August 2011.

My regular advice is to keep Membership Rewards in your account until you really need to make a transfer, but that advice does NOT apply here.

Additional information on AR
  • Currently has lifetime American Airline gold elite status
  • Would like to transfer Membership Reward points to American Airlines and use miles to upgrade a paid ticket
  • Wants to travel to distant destinations such as Bali, China, Argentina, India, Russia, the South Sea Islands, and visit Africa
  • Doesn’t mind traveling in off-peak times to save miles and points
  • Uses New York LaGuardia (LGA) for domestic flights and Kennedy (JFK) or Newark (EWR) airport for international flights

1.   Where should AR transfer his/her Membership Reward points to get the most value?

2.   Should AR take advantage of the 50% transfer bonus to British Airways or Delta?

3.   What is the best transfer option if AR wants to get lifetime elite status on an airline?

4.    Does it make sense to transfer AR’s Membership Reward points to  American Airlines (converting the points first to Starwood points at a 67% discount and then to American Airlines) if it will give AR lifetime Platinum status with American Airlines?

Lifetime American Airlines platinum status will give AR a 100% mileage bonus on paid flights and 4 AA Systemwide Upgrades a year. Update:  Readers have pointed out that you get 4 System Upgrades only in the year when you qualify for lifetime Platinum status, and not in subsequent years unless you earn another million miles.

5.  What is the best way to transfer Membership Reward points into American Airlines miles?

Please help AR decide where to transfer 2 million Membership Reward points and have Big Travel with Small Money in the comments below!

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