How Long Do Amex Membership Rewards Points Transfers Take? (2019)

Filed Under: American Express, Credit Cards
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If you’re collecting miles & points through credit card spending, I always recommend doing what you can to accrue transferable points currencies.

That’s because these points are much more flexible than when you’re earning an individual airline or hotel points currency. You have the flexibility to transfer these points to all kinds of travel partners, and you’re safeguarded from a devaluation in a specific points currency.

With that in mind, in this post, I wanted to address all the basics of transferring Amex Membership Rewards points. How many partners does Amex Membership Rewards have, how long does it take for points to transfer, who can you transfer points to, etc.

How many airline and hotel partners does Amex Membership Rewards have?

As of now, Amex Membership Rewards has 21 airline and hotel partners — that includes 18 airline partners and three hotel partners.

Earn American Express Membership Rewards
Aer Lingus Aer ClubChoice Privileges
Aeroméxico Club PremierHilton Honors
Air Canada AeroplanMarriott Bonvoy
Air France/KLM Flying Blue
Alitalia MilleMiglia
ANA Mileage Club
Avianca LifeMiles
British Airways Executive Club
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Delta SkyMiles
El Al Matmid
Emirates Skywards
Etihad Guest
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
Iberia Plus
JetBlue TrueBlue
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

How long does it take to transfer Amex Membership Rewards points?

Below is a chart with how long it typically takes to transfer Membership Rewards points:

Membership Rewards Transfer PartnerTransfer RatioTransfer Time
Aer Lingus AerClub1000 : 1000Instant
Aeromexico Club Premier1000 : 1600~ 4 to 5 days
Air Canada Aeroplan1000 : 1000Instant
Air France KLM FlyingBlue1000 : 1000Instant
Alitalia MilleMiglia Club1000 : 1000Instant
ANA Mileage Club1000 : 1000~ 2 to 3 days
Avianca LifeMiles1000 : 1000Instant
British Airways Executive Club1000 : 1000Instant
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles1000 : 1000~ 1 to 3 days
Delta SkyMiles1000 : 1000Instant
El Al Matmid1000 : 20Instant
Emirates Skywards1000 : 1000Instant
Etihad Guest1000 : 1000Instant
Hawaiian HawaiianMiles1000 : 1000Instant
Iberia Plus1000 : 1000~ 4 to 24 hours
JetBlue TrueBlue250 : 200Instant
Qantas Frequent Flyer1000 : 1000Instant
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1000 : 1000~ 12 hours to ~2 days
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1000 : 1000Instant
Choice Privileges1000 : 1000Instant
Hilton Honors1000 : 2000Instant
Marriott Bonvoy1000 : 1000Instant

As you can see, transfers to all but five partners are typically instant, and even the partners that aren’t instant process points transfers pretty quickly.

Redeem Amex points for flights in the Etihad A380 Apartment

Are there fees associated with transferring Amex Membership Rewards points?

Of the major transferrable points currencies, Amex is the only one that charges to transfer points. Amex Membership Rewards charges a federal excise tax for points transfers to US frequent flyer programs (which include Delta, Hawaiian, and JetBlue). That means non-US frequent flyer programs, as well as hotel programs, don’t have any fees.

For those programs with fees, the cost is 0.06 cents per transferred point, up to a maximum of $99. In other words, transferring 100,000 points would cost $60. If you transfer more than 165,000 points then there’s no incremental cost to transfer points, since you’ll have paid the $99 fee, and the fee is capped at that.

Can you transfer Amex points to someone else’s Amex account?

No, you cannot. Amex lets you combine the Membership Rewards points you’ve earned across all your cards that earn Membership Rewards points, but you can’t transfer your balance of Membership Rewards points to someone else’s Amex account.

Redeem Amex points for flights in Hawaiian A330 first class

Can you transfer Amex points to someone else’s airline or hotel accounts?

Amex only lets you transfer your Membership Rewards points to an airline or hotel account that’s in your name or the name of an authorized user on one of your cards. Fortunately Amex lets you add authorized users on many of their cards at no additional fee, which is a great way to transfer points to someone else.

Note that as of September 1, 2019, you’ll only be able to transfer Amex points to accounts of authorized users who have been on your account for at least 90 days.

Redeem Amex points for flights in EL AL 787 business class

What cards earn Amex Membership Rewards points?

Some of the best personal Amex cards for earning Membership Rewards points include the following:

Some of the best business Amex cards for earning Membership Rewards points include the following:

Note that you can earn a welcome bonus on each of the above cards, and pool all those points towards one Membership Rewards account. Having multiple Amex cards is a great way to maximize your points earning potential.

To give you a sense of how much value you can get out of maximizing rewards, see my post about my 2019 Amex card strategy. For more on the best credit cards for earning Amex Membership Rewards points, see this post.

Redeem Amex points for flights in Singapore business class

Should you transfer Amex points to travel partners?

In general, the best use of Amex Membership Rewards points is to convert them into airline miles. However, you only want to do this once you’ve figured out the award you want to book, have verified availability, and are sure you understand how that program works.

However, there’s one other good value for redeeming Amex points, but only if you have The Business Platinum® Card from American Express. If you have this card then you can get a 35% refund on all “Pay With Points” redemptions, when either redeeming for travel in first or business class, or redeeming for travel on your designated airline in any cabin. The catch is that the refund is only processed weeks after you book, so you’ll need to initially have enough points for the entire cost of the ticket at the rate of one cent per point.

You ordinarily get one cent of value per point using the Pay With Points option, so when you’re getting a refund of 35% you’re potentially getting 1.54 cents of value per point, which is pretty good.

Personally, I value Amex Membership Rewards points at ~1.7 cents each.

For more inspiration on how you can redeem Amex Membership Rewards points, see this series written by Spencer, broken down by region:

Amex points transfer summary

Amex Membership Rewards points are one of my favorite points currencies out there. Not only does Amex have some great transfer partners, but the points are pretty easy to rack up as well across their portfolio.

If you have any data points on how long Amex Membership Rewards points transfers have taken you, please share them below, so that I can keep the chart as accurate as possible!

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: American Express® Business Gold Card (Rates & Fees), American Express® Gold Card (Rates & Fees), The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), and The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees).

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  1. This is wrong on Iberia, Currently it takes 4-7 days for Iberia Plus points to transfer I just transferred yesterday and I got a message saying 4-7 days.

  2. I got instant Asia Miles from Amex points a month or two ago, just got instant from Citi Thank You -> Asia Miles as well

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