How Long Do Amex Membership Rewards Points Transfers Take? (2020)

Filed Under: American Express, Credit Cards
In the interest of full disclosure, OMAAT earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers (terms apply) that we have found for each card. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Please check out my advertiser policy for further details about our partners, and thanks for your support!

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 22 airline and hotel partners — that includes 19 airline partners and three hotel partners.

Earn American Express Membership Rewards
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
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 in January 2020?

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 : 1000Instant
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 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:

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 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:

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!

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).

Regarding Comments: 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. @Lucky, I’m not sure the comment regarding Federal excise tax for points only being applied to transfers to US based airlines. I had a recent transfer to KLM of 100,000 miles and AmEx automatically added 3,000 additional miles to cover taxes. No cash required. Not sure if others have had this experience.

    I transferred Chase UR points to KLM the same day with no additional points or taxes on the transfer.

  2. @ DLPTATL — That’s 100% not supposed to be the case. Curious if you can figure out what happened, though. I’d contact Amex.

  3. Seems I cannot transfer points directly to United Airlines, but can transfer directly to Marriott.
    Once points are transferred to Marriott,…can then transfer to United??

  4. Transfered 285,000 Amex points to Asia Miles today. Instantaneous transfer. Saw availability for PER HKG ORD with 2 in business, one FC. Booked the 2 business class seats online, went back to book the FC for my wife. It was GONE! That fast, maybe 5 minutes. Only bookable seats are Premium Economy and Economy. She is pissed! Called Asia Miles and we’re wait listed for business.

    Moral of story… Call the airline for a more complex booking. The agent could have grabbed the space more quickly than we could on the web. Lesson learned!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *