|Want to learn more about policies of major transferable points currencies? See my series about Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou.|
American Express Membership Rewards is one of the most popular transferable points currencies. There are many great cards that earn Amex points, and Amex also has more airline and hotel partners than any other credit card points currency.
Sometimes the logistics of redeeming points can get confusing. In this post, I wanted to go over the basics of moving Amex Membership Rewards points around, including how you transfer them to airline & hotel partners, how you combine them between accounts, and how you share them with others.
How to transfer Amex points to airline & hotel partners
Amex Membership Rewards points can be transferred to 20 travel partners, including 17 airline loyalty programs and three hotel loyalty programs. My favorite use of Amex points is transferring them to airline partners, given the huge value that can be had for first & business class redemptions.
Aer Lingus AerClub
Aeromexico Club Premier
Air Canada Aeroplan
Air France-KLM Flying Blue
ANA Mileage Club
British Airways Executive Club
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
The process of transferring Amex points is easy. To start, just log into your Amex account on the points transfer page. If you prefer not to use that link, just go to the homepage of your Amex account, click on “Explore Rewards” (under your points balance), then click on “Earn and Redeem,” and then click on “Transfer Points.”
Transferring points is then a two step process. First you need to link your Membership Rewards account to an eligible loyalty account in your name. Just pick the partner program to which you want to transfer points.
For example, I selected Emirates Skywards. In order to link my Amex Membership Rewards and Emirates Skywards account:
- I first needed to select the name of the person who the partner account belongs to (this needs to be the primary cardmember or an authorized user)
- I then needed to enter both the four digit code on the front of the card, as well as the three digit code on the back of the card, for verification
- I then needed to enter the Emirates Skywards number for the account I wanted to link
Once that’s complete, you’ll receive a message stating that your accounts have been successfully linked, and you should be able to move points from Amex to the partner.
Now when you select the same airline partner you should see the frequent flyer program already listed there, reflecting that the accounts are linked.
You’ll just have to select how many points you want to transfer, and you’ll once again have to provide the three and four digit security codes from your card to complete the transfer.
Once that’s complete, check your partner loyalty program account and you should see the points in there, assuming transfers are instant (sometimes you’ll need to log out and then log back in).
See our guide to how long Amex Membership Rewards points transfers take — as you can see, all but a few transfers are instant, with the others typically being completed within a few days.
Also keep in mind that transfers to US frequent flyer programs (Delta, Hawaiian, and JetBlue) are subjected to a federal excise tax of 0.06 cents per transferred point, up to a maximum of $99. In other words, transferring 100,000 points would cost $60.
How to combine Amex points between accounts
If you’re looking to maximize the Amex points you earn, it can make a lot of sense to have multiple Amex cards, whether it’s the American Express® Gold Card (review) or the Platinum Card® from American Express (review). The good news is that you can pool all the points that you earn across accounts (whether personal or business) into a single Membership Rewards account.
The process of doing that is super easy — simply add all of your accounts to a single online log-in, and then you’ll automatically see your points total for all of your accounts listed there. How do you do this?
- If you have a new card, just make sure you provide your existing online account details when registering the card online
- If you have an existing card that isn’t linked, log into your account and then click on “Menu,” then “My Account,” then “Account Services,” then “Card Management,” and then “Add a Card to Online Management” (or you can just follow this link)
Not only does this make it easier to manage points, but this can also potentially increase the value of some of your accounts. That’s because your pooled points can be used at the best rate possible toward any redemption option.
For example, Amex has the “Pay With Points” feature, whereby you can typically redeem points for one cent each toward the cost of a flight purchase (it’s an alternative to transferring to airline and hotel partners).
However, the Business Platinum Card® from American Express (review) offers a 35% rebate on Pay With Points airline bookings, meaning you could get up to 1.54 cents of value per point. If you have multiple cards, then all the points you earn on cards could potentially be used at that rate toward airfare.
Similarly, pooling points is useful if you plan on closing down one of your accounts, since you can still keep your points balance live as long as you keep at least one Membership Rewards card open. That’s why a no annual fee card (Rates & Fees) like the Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express (review) is so valuable, since you can maintain your full Amex account without paying an annual fee, should you decide to close other cards.
How to share Amex points with others
Unlike with some other programs, unfortunately there’s no way to transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to others. You can’t transfer your Amex points to someone else’s Amex account, and you can’t transfer your Amex points to someone else’s loyalty program account.
The only exception is that you can transfer points to the loyalty program of an authorized user’s account, as long as they’ve been an authorized user on one of your cards for at least 90 days. That 90 day requirement is presumably intended to prevent people from buying & selling points, as this would make it too easy.
So you can transfer points to someone else’s loyalty account, you just have to plan several months in advance, and add them as an authorized user.
Amex Membership Rewards is an incredibly valuable points currency, given all the transfer partners that Amex has. Hopefully the above is a useful rundown of how you can transfer, combine, and share Amex points with others.
The process of transferring points to airline and hotel partners is easy, as it is with most transferable points currencies. The same is true when combining points between Amex accounts. Unfortunately unlike some other programs, Amex doesn’t let you share points with others, though (except being able to transfer points to a loyalty account in the name of an authorized user).
To Amex cardmembers, what has your experience been with transferring, combining, and sharing points?
The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees).