How Long Do Amex Membership Rewards Points Transfers Take? (2021)

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.

AirlinesHotels
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
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 in April 2021?

Below is a chart with how long it typically takes to transfer Amex 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 : 1000Instant
Delta SkyMiles1000 : 1000Instant
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 four partners are typically instant, and even the partners that aren’t instant process points transfers pretty quickly.

I think it’s worth noting that it’s only in the past year or so that transfers to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles are instant — prior to that they took up to a few days, so I’m happy to see that change.

Redeem Amex points for flights in Etihad Airways first class

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.

There is a fee associated with transferring points to JetBlue TrueBlue

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 cards at no additional fee, which is a great way to transfer points to someone else. However, you can only transfer Amex points to the account of an authorized user if they’ve been on your account for at least 90 days.

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, read about my Amex card strategy, and read about the best credit cards for earning Amex Membership Rewards points.


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:

You can use Amex points to travel to all kinds of amazing destinations

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 the card 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!

Want to learn more about points transfer times? See our series about how long points transfers take with Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou.

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), The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees), and American Express® Green Card (Rates & Fees).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Comments
  1. My favorite AmEx transfer partner is ANA – 3 days sounds about right. I didn’t realize that MR points transfer to Marriott Bonvoy points at a 1:1 ratio. Who in their right mind would transfer at that rate? SPG transfers were more palatable cause there wasn’t a chance you’d be bonvoyed If I really needed to top off my account, I’d rather buy Bonvoy points than devalue MR points by a third.

  2. Ben, this needs to come with a big disclaimer/asterisk which is that while the points do transfer from Amex instantly, the airline doesn’t necessarily process them instantly. To give an example – I transferred to Lifemiles in 2020 and while I could see them in my Lifemiles activity log instantly, they didn’t actually process the request for 24 hours. I could see them sitting in my account but couldn’t actually use them until the following day when the balance reflected it. It almost cost me the ticket I was trying to book, but thankfully I got lucky.

  3. Out of interest, if you have say that platinum AMEX and you get another AMEX which has a signup bonus do you still get the bonus points? In Australia you don’t : Card Members who currently hold or who have previously held any other Card product issued by American Express Australia Limited in the preceding 18 month period are ineligible for this offer. It’s really annoying!

  4. Ben – I just got my Amex Platinum card before Christmas and with the welcome bonus and hugely generous reward of 10 pts per $ at groceries am already close to 150,000 points. How do I get ‘outsized’ value (the 1.7 cents you speak of) flying to the UK? Manchester in particular?

  5. @Paul, you have to fly first class. That will definitely give you the valuation travel bloggers speak of 😉

  6. I transferred to Lifemiles two days ago and cannot use the points yet, but I see them in my activity log. It seems another person in the comments had the same issue, so perhaps these are no longer instant.

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