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?
|Aer Lingus Aer Club||Choice Privileges|
|Aeroméxico Club Premier||Hilton Honors|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||Marriott Bonvoy|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue|
|ANA Mileage Club|
|British Airways Executive Club|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles|
|El Al Matmid|
|Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club|
How long does it take to transfer Amex Membership Rewards points in October 2020?
Below is a chart with how long it typically takes to transfer Membership Rewards points:
|Membership Rewards Transfer Partner||Transfer Ratio||Transfer Time|
|Aer Lingus AerClub||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Aeromexico Club Premier||1000 : 1600||~ 4 to 5 days|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Air France KLM FlyingBlue||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Alitalia MilleMiglia Club||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|ANA Mileage Club||1000 : 1000||~ 2 to 3 days|
|Avianca LifeMiles||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|British Airways Executive Club||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Delta SkyMiles||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|El Al Matmid||1000 : 20||Instant|
|Emirates Skywards||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Etihad Guest||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Hawaiian HawaiianMiles||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Iberia Plus||1000 : 1000||~ 4 to 24 hours|
|JetBlue TrueBlue||250 : 200||Instant|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||1000 : 1000||~ 12 hours to ~2 days|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Choice Privileges||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Hilton Honors||1000 : 2000||Instant|
|Marriott Bonvoy||1000 : 1000||Instant|
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 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.
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 of their 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.
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:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express (review) has a $550 annual fee (Rates & Fees) and offers 5x points on airfare purchased directly from airlines
- The American Express® Gold Card (review) has a $250 annual fee (Rates & Fees) and offers 4x points at restaurants globally, 4x points at US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 of spending per calendar year), 3x points on airfare purchased directly with airlines, a $100 annual airline fee credit (This benefit ends on December 31, 2021), and an annual dining credit of up to $120
- The American Express® Green Card (review) has a $150 annual fee (Rates & Fees) and offers 3x points at restaurants globally, and on travel and transit, as well as a $100 annual CLEAR credit and a $100 annual LoungeBuddy credit
- The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express has a $95 annual fee and offers 3x points at US supermarkets (on up to $6,000 of spending per calendar year) and 2x points at US gas stations, plus a 50% points bonus when you make at least 30 transactions per billing cycle
Some of the best business Amex cards for earning Membership Rewards points include the following:
- The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (review) has no annual fee (Rates & Fees) and offers 2x points on the first $50,000 spent every calendar year
- The American Express® Business Gold Card (review) has a $295 annual fee (Rates & Fees) and offers 4x points in the two categories in which you spend most on the first $150,000 spent annually, of the following: airfare purchased directly from airlines, US purchases for advertising in select media, US purchases at gas stations, US purchases at restaurants, US purchases for shipping, and US computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express has a $595 annual fee (Rates & Fees) and offers 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, as well as 50% more points on purchases of $5,000 or more
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 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:
- Domestic (Including Hawaii)
- Australia & New Zealand
- Middle East & India
- South America
- Caribbean, Central America, & Mexico
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 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), The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees), and American Express® Green Card (Rates & Fees).