Update: These offers for The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express and the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card have expired. Learn more about the current offers here.
If you’re collecting miles & points through credit card spend, 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 20 airline and hotel partners — that includes 17 airline partners and three hotel partners.
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 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|
|British Airways Executive Club||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||1000 : 1000||~ 1 to 4 days|
|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||~ 1 to 2 days|
|JetBlue TrueBlue||250 : 200||Instant|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||1000 : 1000||~ 12 to 24 hours|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Choice Privileges||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Hilton Honors||1000 : 2000||Instant|
|Marriott Rewards / Starwood Preferred Guest||1000 : 1000||Instant|
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.
Are there fees associated with transferring Amex Membership Rewards points?
Of the three 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 U.S. frequent flyer programs. That means non-U.S. frequent flyer programs, as well as hotel programs, don’t have any fees.
For those programs with fees (which include Delta, Hawaiian, and JetBlue), 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 can’t. 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.
Can you transfer Amex points to someone else’s airline or hotel accounts?
Nowadays 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.
What cards earn Amex Membership Rewards points?
Some of the best cards for earning Amex Membership Rewards points include the following:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express ($550 annual fee) offers 5x points on airfare purchased directly with airlines
- The Business Platinum® Card from American Express ($450 annual fee) offers a 50% points bonus for transactions of $5,000 or more
- The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN ($175 annual fee, waived for the first 12 months) offers 3x points on one category of your choice from the following: airfare purchased directly with airlines, U.S. purchases for advertising in select media, U.S. purchases at gas stations, U.S. purchases for shipping, U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers, plus 2x points on the four remaining categories
- The American Express® Gold Card ($250 annual fee) offers 4x points at U.S. restaurants, 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 spent annually), and 3x points on airfare purchased directly with airlines
- The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express (no annual fee) offers 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent every calendar year
- The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express (no annual fee) offers 2x points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 of spend per year, plus a 20% points bonus when you make at least 20 transactions per billing cycle
- The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express ($95 annual fee) offers 3x points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 of spend per year, plus 2x points at U.S. gas stations, plus a 50% points bonus when you make at least 30 transactions per billing cycle
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.
Redeem Amex Membership Rewards points for travel in Singapore Suites
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 great 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:
- Domestic (Including Hawaii)
- Australia & New Zealand
- Middle East & India
- South America
- Caribbean, Central America, & Mexico
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, between the 5x points offered on airfare with The Platinum Card® from American Express, the 4x points at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. restaurants with The American Express® Gold Card, and the 2x points on everyday spend with The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express.