This series of articles about credit cards, points and miles, and budgeting for travel is brought to you in partnership with The Points Guy.

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American Express Membership Rewards stands out as one of the top rewards programs thanks to its versatility and value. The points earned through this program are coveted for flexibility, with a roster of 18 airline and three hotel transfer partners. This opens up a vast network of travel opportunities worldwide. Moreover, the multitude of American Express credit cards available provides ample avenues for earning points, each tailored to different lifestyles and spending habits.

But truly maximizing the Membership Rewards program requires fully leveraging its transfer partners. If you’re just getting started with travel points and airline miles, you might need some guidance with the various Amex transfer partners and how best to save money on travel using Amex points. We’ve got you covered with this complete guide to the best Membership Rewards partner transfer options:

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Arriving in Venice
Arriving in Venice © scaliger / Getty

American Express Membership Rewards airline transfer partners

American Express Membership Rewards boasts an impressive lineup of airline transfer partners, offering cardholders unparalleled flexibility in redeeming their points for travel. With 18 airlines, including global giants like Delta, Emirates and British Airways, members can seamlessly convert their points into frequent flyer miles. 

This extensive network allows for redemptions across various alliances such as Oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance, granting access to an expansive global route network. Whether booking premium cabins for luxury travel experiences or maximizing points for economy flights, American Express Membership Rewards airline transfer partners cater to a broad spectrum of travel preferences and goals, making it a coveted feature among frequent flyers and travel enthusiasts.

  • Air Lingus Aerclub
  • Aeromexico Rewards
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue
  • ANA Mileage Club
  • Avianca Lifemiles
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Delta SkyMiles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue (5:4)
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privileges Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

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Aer Lingus Aerclub

Aer Lingus Aerclub operates a distance-based award model and provides excellent value for award flights to Dublin. You can secure economy flights from the East Coast for as low as 13,000 Avios each way during off-peak times. Off-peak business flights are also available for a reasonable 50,000 miles each way.

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Aeromexico Rewards

AeroMexico Rewards might not always have the most competitive rates for US-to-Mexico flights, but it stands out as a valuable option for partner award flights. Take, for instance, the opportunity to travel between the East Coast and Paris for merely 33,000 miles per way in economy class. Given that Amex points transfer to AeroMexico at a ratio of 1:1.6, you'll need around 21,000 points for this award, making it an attractive option to consider.

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Air Canada Aeroplan

Air Canada Aeroplan is part of the Star Alliance, allowing you to utilize your miles for United flights. The program offers tremendous value on short-haul flights (distances under 600 miles), which start at just 6,000 points each way. Aeroplan is also a great choice for flights to Europe, which start at 35,000 points each way in economy class and 60,000 in business.

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Air France-KLM Flying Blue

Flying Blue offers exceptional bargains on international award flights. For those eyeing a journey to North Africa, it's achievable for a mere 15,000 miles each way in economy class or 55,000 miles in business. Additionally, Promo Rewards offers substantial discounts on flights worldwide. At the moment, long-haul flights between Los Angeles and Europe have been discounted to just 15,000 miles each way in economy class – that’s about half the cost of what most other loyalty programs charge for flights. 

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All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club

If you’ve got an international trip in business class on your bucket list, look no further than ANA Mileage Club. The program has some of the most affordable premium cabin flights anywhere. A round-trip business class ticket from the US to Europe costs just 88,000 miles, while a business class journey to Asia starts at a mere 75,000 miles. These rates are approximately half the cost of similar tickets offered by other carriers within the Star Alliance network.

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Avianca Lifemiles

Avianca Lifemiles are attainable thanks to a 1:1 transfer partnership with American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One miles and Citi ThankYou Rewards. Avianca also frequently sells miles at a substantial discount, making them ideal for booking cheap Star Alliance flights. A great use for Lifemiles includes 35,000-mile one-way business class flights between New York (JFK) and Lisbon (LIS).

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British Airways Executive Club

British Airways Executive Club prices awards by segment and distance, so you’ll get the best deals on short-haul, direct flights. Partner flights are often the best value since they generally exclude the high fuel surcharges British Airways adds to long-haul international flights transiting the UK. One of the best-value awards is flying Alaska Airlines or American between the West Coast and Hawaii from just 13,000 Avios each way in economy class.

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Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles program can be a great way to book Oneworld awards using Amex points. One-way flights to Doha on Qatar Airways’ award-winning QSuites start at 75,000 miles each way. If you’re looking for an affordable business ticket to Europe, you can redeem 50,000 Asia miles each way for flights on American Airlines.

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Delta SkyMiles

Generally, converting Amex points to Delta SkyMiles isn’t the optimal choice. This is because Delta applies dynamic pricing, often resulting in considerably high and fluctuating redemption rates. Savvy points enthusiasts prefer using their points and miles to cut costs, especially during peak travel seasons. Delta's inflated redemption rates make this saving approach challenging. It’s also worth noting that transfers to Delta SkyMiles are subject to an excise tax of $0.0006 per point.

Despite this, there are instances where you could encounter a reasonably-priced domestic award flight, making it worthwhile to explore and check availability. The SkyMiles Deals page is a great place to find some of these flights.

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Emirates Skywards

Emirates is celebrated for its opulent in-flight offerings, especially in business and first class. You can experience Emirates’ award-winning first-class cabin for less by booking a fifth-freedom flight to Milan instead of Dubai. A one-way award from New York (JFK) to Milan (MXP) will cost just 87,000 miles each way.

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Etihad Guest

Etihad raised its award rates substantially in recent years, making transfers to Etihad less than optimal. However, you might get value from booking short-haul awards (flights under 500 miles), which start at 7,000 miles each way for economy class. These awards can be a great way to fly around the Middle East while keeping your out-of-pocket costs low.

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Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles

HawaiianMiles can be an excellent choice for exploring the Hawaiian islands through convenient inter-island flights. Travel within Hawaii starts at just 7,500 miles each way in economy class, with discounted awards available for just 6,375 miles.

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Iberia Plus

Iberia Plus is an excellent program for traveling to Spain with points and miles, offering some of the lowest redemption rates of any program. With direct flights from numerous US cities to Spain, the program is accessible to a wide range of travelers. The best deals are found on the East Coast, with one-way economy fares from New York (JFK) to Madrid (MAD) starting at just 17,000 Avios in economy class and 34,000 Avios in business. This pricing, cheaper than some airlines charge for domestic flights, reflects an exceptional value proposition.

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JetBlue's Airbus A321neo at JFK
JetBlue's Airbus A321neo at JFK © Zach Griff / The Points Guy

JetBlue TrueBlue

JetBlue's comparatively smaller route network can limit redemption choices, especially for travelers seeking international destinations. JetBlue points are worth around 1.5 cents each, which is significantly less value than you can get from most other loyalty programs by booking business and first-class flights. However, transferring Amex points to JetBlue can make sense if the airline offers the most direct route and you want the comfort JetBlue provides on long-haul domestic flights.

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Qantas Frequent Flyer

Qantas Frequent Flyer doesn’t have many sweet spots, but there are a few great ways to redeem points. For starters, you can book an Emirates economy ticket between the East Coast and Dubai for 90,000 miles round-trip. Another great use of Qantas miles is for flights within Australia, which start at 6,400 miles each way.

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Qatar Airways Privileges Club

Qatar Airways Privileges Club can be a great choice if you’ve always wanted to try its Qsuites and visit its incomparable Al Mourjan lounge. A business class ticket between the US and the Middle East costs just 70,000 miles each way. Occasionally, Amex offers transfer bonuses, making these flights even cheaper. You can even transfer your British Airways Avios to Qatar Privileges 1:1, making it a great use of Avios.

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Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

The Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer offers a region-based award chart with great rates on select routes. You can redeem just 40,000 miles round-trip for a United business class award or 25,000 for economy. It’s also an excellent program for economy flights to Europe, which cost 55,000 miles round-trip and business class seats to the Middle East and North Africa for 115,000 miles round-trip.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Virgin Atlantic provides some of the most affordable economy-class award fares for trips to Europe. Departures from the East begin at a mere 10,000 miles per way, while flights originating from the West Coast are available for 15,000 miles each way.

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Hilton properties like The Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort & Spa are available to book with your American Membership Rewards
Transfer your American Membership Rewards to Hilton Honors points to stay at top hotels; The Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort & Spa © Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort & Spa

American Express Membership Rewards hotel transfer partners

Amex Membership Rewards' trio of hotel transfer partners offers an extensive range of redemption options across the globe. While utilizing points for hotel transfers might not always be the optimal choice within the Amex Membership Rewards program, doing so can make sense if you’re booking a high-end property or need a few extra points for an award. Keep an eye out for occasional transfer bonuses that can elevate the value proposition, making these transfers an enticing option for maximizing your Amex points.

  • Choice Privileges 
  • Hilton Honors 
  • Marriott Bonvoy

Choice Privileges

With over 7,000 hotels worldwide and award nights starting at 8,000 points, Choice Privileges can be a good program to transfer Amex points to. Choice offers more reasonable redemption rates for high-tier awards compared to programs like Hilton and Marriott. The program also provides discounts of up to 40% through Free Night Sweet Spots promotions.

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Hilton Honors

Standard award nights with Hilton Honors can range from 5,000 to 95,000 points per night and Hilton Silver members and above get the fifth night free. Amex points transfer to Hilton at a 1:2 ratio, so they can be a good option for low-tier awards or to top off your balance for a high-end hotel stay. However, keep in mind that Hilton points are generally worth less than airline miles. So be sure to compare paid rates against points requirements to ensure you’re getting adequate value.

Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott is the largest hotel chain in the world, with over 8,900 properties worldwide. Standard award nights range from 10,000 to 100,000 points, with the fifth night free on consecutive night bookings. Transferring Amex points to Marriott isn’t the best way to maximize them, though it can be a good option for topping off your balance when necessary.

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The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express © Ryan Patterson / The Points Guy

Tips for maximizing your Amex Membership Rewards 

American Express Membership Rewards are some of the most valuable points you can earn. However, by following a few tips, you can get significantly more value out of them. One key tactic is to leverage transfer bonus promotions, which can significantly increase the value of your points when converting them to airline miles or even hotel points. 

Keep an eye out for these bonus offers, as they can often help you stretch your points further and unlock enhanced travel opportunities. These promotions might be time-limited, so it’s important to stay updated through Amex email communications or their website. 

When it comes to redeeming points, transferring your Membership Rewards to airline partners will get you the most value. Airline transfers yield higher value for your points than hotel transfers. Airlines often offer more valuable redemption options, especially for premium cabin flights and international travel. 

Another effective strategy is to compare redemption rates between the different airline partners before transferring points. Not all airlines require the same number of miles for an award – even ones in the same alliance. For example, Avianca Lifemiles charges 63,000 miles each way for a flight from the West Coast to Europe. Meanwhile, Star Alliance partner ANA Mileage Club charges just 88,000 miles round-trip. Additionally, consider booking flights well in advance to secure availability and potentially lower redemption rates, especially for popular routes or peak travel periods. 

Ultimately, staying informed about promotions, understanding the value propositions of different redemption options, and strategically planning your redemptions are key elements to maximizing the value of your American Express Membership Rewards points.

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What are the best Amex Membership Rewards transfer partners?

The best Amex Membership Rewards transfer partners depend on your travel goals. If you’re looking to use points for domestic travel, British Airways Executive Club and Avianca Lifemiles are great options. Executive Club offers great deals on short-haul flights, while Lifemiles are great for long-distance flights.

If you’re saving up for a trip abroad, ANA Mileage Club offers some of the cheapest award flights to Japan and Europe. A round-trip economy class award to Japan costs just 40,000 miles, while business class requires 75,000 miles. Meanwhile, an economy flight to Europe will set you back 55,000 miles round-trip, while business class is just 88,000 miles. These awards cost about half of what most other loyalty programs charge for flights to Europe and Japan. 

Transferring Amex points to hotel loyalty programs is generally not the best idea. In most cases, you’ll get less value for your points than if you transferred them to airline miles. However, it can be worthwhile if you need to top off your account for a specific high-value reward. Before transferring points to any partner, be sure to compare the award cost against the cost of redeeming points through the Amex Travel portal. 

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How to transfer Amex points to partners

Once you find an award you want to book, see if you can put the award on hold. While most Amex points transfer instantly, a few take upwards of 48 hours. The last thing you want is to lose out on award flights because the points didn’t post in time. Put your award on hold whenever possible. The process for transferring Amex Membership Rewards is pretty straightforward. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to transfer Amex points to travel partners:

  1. Log in to your American Express account and look for the “Explore Rewards” link on the right side of the page. You’ll be taken to the “Rewards and Benefits” page.
  2. Scroll down to the “Ready to Redeem” section and click on the “transfer points” tab.
  3. Select “View all” for a complete Amex transfer partner list.
  4. On the transfer partner page, select “show details” next to the program you want to transfer points to.
  5. Enter your rewards number for the program you want to transfer points to. If your account is already linked, skip this step and simply enter the number of points you wish to transfer. The minimum transfer amount is 1,000 points.
  6. Select “review transfer” and, after confirming the information, click “submit transfer.” 

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Credit cards that earn Amex Membership Rewards 

American Express credit cards present a lucrative opportunity to earn Membership Rewards with every purchase. Many Amex travel credit cards offer generous welcome bonuses, providing a substantial number of points upon meeting a minimum spending requirement within the first few months of card opening. Keep in mind that American Express cards are subject to a once-per-lifetime rule, so if you’ve received a welcome bonus for a card before, you likely won’t receive it again. 

Beyond these one-time bonuses, cardholders can continuously earn points through everyday spending by leveraging category bonuses. These offer accelerated rewards in common spending categories like dining, travel, groceries or gas. These category bonuses are an excellent tool for rapidly accruing Membership Rewards, allowing cardholders to optimize their point earnings through their regular spending habits and preferences.

In addition to lucrative rewards, these cards also offer major perks like TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee credits and waived foreign transaction fees on international spending. 

  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express* (see rates and fees): Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $20,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express*: (see rates and fees) Earn 80,000 points after spending $8,000 in your first six months of card membership.
  • American Express® Business Gold Card*: (see rates and fees) Earn 70,000 points after spending $10,000 in the first three months of card membership.
  • American Express® Gold Card*: (see rates and fees) Earn 60,000 points after spending $6,000 in the first six months of card membership.
  • American Express® Green Card*: Earn 40,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first six months of card membership.
  • Business Green Rewards Card*: Earn 15,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months of card membership.
  • EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express*: Earn 15,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first six months of card membership.
  • The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express*: Earn 10,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first six months of card membership.

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Exploring Antigua, Central America
Exploring Antigua, Central America © Mystockimages / Getty

FAQ

Which Amex cards allow transfers to partners?

Any Amex card that earns points allows transfers to partners. A few examples include the Amex Gold, Amex Everyday Preferred and Amex Platinum Card.

Can I transfer American Express points to American Airlines?

You can’t transfer American Express points to American Airlines. However, you can use Amex points to redeem points towards American Airlines flights on the Amex Travel portal at a rate of one cent each.

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Can you use Amex points on any airline?

You can use Amex points on many airlines through the Amex Travel portal. However, Amex only has 18 airlines to which you can transfer points directly.

Which airline can I transfer my Amex points to?

You can transfer Amex points to 18 airlines, including Air Canada Aeroplan, British Airways Avios, Delta SkyMiles and others.

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Can you transfer Amex points to someone else?

Unfortunately, you can’t transfer Amex points to someone else.

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* Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

This article was first published Dec 11, 2023 and updated Apr 26, 2024.

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