How Long Do Amex Membership Rewards Points Transfers Take?

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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 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
British Airways Executive Club1000 : 1000Instant
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles1000 : 1000~ 1 to 4 days
Delta SkyMiles1000 : 1000Instant
El Al Matmid1000 : 20Instant
Emirates Skywards1000 : 1000Instant
Etihad Guest1000 : 1000Instant
Hawaiian HawaiianMiles1000 : 1000Instant
Iberia Plus1000 : 1000~ 1 to 2 days
JetBlue TrueBlue250 : 200Instant
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1000 : 1000~ 12 to 24 hours
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1000 : 1000Instant
Choice Privileges1000 : 1000Instant
Hilton Honors1000 : 2000Instant
Marriott Rewards / Starwood Preferred Guest1000 : 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.

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:

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:

Bottom line

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.

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Comments

  1. It’s probably worth mentioning that the instant transfer partners often require logging out of your account and logging back in at the partner site, since I know some people who have panicked over that before 🙂

  2. My understanding with Aeromexico Club Premier transfers was that they batch transfer them once every two weeks. So if you happen to transfer on the day before the batch transfer, it can happen in as little as one day. Or if you are really unlucky and do it the day after a batch takes place, it could take up to two weeks. I have been burned by the latter scenario.

    It’s possible my knowledge on this is out of date, as this was all from about a year ago. But I would advise people to be careful with that one (which is a pity, because their redemption rates are excellent given the 1000 = 1600 transfer ratio).

  3. These partners and ratios are only true for US and Canada based Amex members, right?
    In Europe, the ratio is worde (e.g. 5:4 for most airlines) and good partners such as ANA and Aeroplan are not available.

  4. 86 DAYS last summer for Amex to AsiaMiles. Ended up booking on DL instead because it took so long. Don’t believe the 1-4 day number.

  5. @Sam:

    In addition to that, I and several other people I know have had a terrible time linking our Aeromexico accounts to AmEx. Multiple calls to both Aeromexico and AmEx resulted in finger-pointing to the other side ultimately causing many of us to just give up. The most recent excuse (from Aeromexico) is that the name fields between the two accounts don’t match. Supposedly this is due to the Mexican (Spanish) cultural norm of multiple surnames. However, many of us went line-by-line through our profiles with agents from both sides and found that to be categorically false – to include a conference call with all three parties. So at this point it’s a lost cause for me. Something for others to be wary of.

  6. I’ve made two transfers to Alitalia in the past two weeks and neither transfer was instant, both took about 48 hours to post to the account. Not sure if that’s a one (or two) off or standard!

  7. I did a 140k MR transfer to Aeroplan to book a pair of Lufthansa first tix last minute and they posted instantly. About two weeks ago.

  8. @Lucky or anyone that would know this. If I have an authorized user on my account (my wife) can I link to her program at an airline AND mine? For example, let’s say I want to transfer points to Singapore for both of us. Mine to book a ticket and her to top off her account because she is a few points short. Is that possible? Or is it just one or the other?

  9. In my experience it may take up to a week to transfer to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. First time it took 3 business days, the second time, 5 business days.

  10. ZMack, yes you can link both. Try it, I’ve done many of my wife’s and my mother’s accounts as they are authorized users.

    Lucky could you also make a post on how long it takes to link a FFP to Amex? I had trouble with AeroMexico. So far they are the only ones to take days. Based on my experience from a few weeks ago they link accounts and post miles every Thursday.

    I suggest Amex members link up your AM FFP to Amex just in case you ever need it. No cost or harm in doing so.

  11. It’s instant from AMEX to Aeroplan but my experience is 2-3 business days to British Airways Executive Club.
    On a side note, I wish we had more choice of AMEX cards in Canada.

  12. I transferred to BA two weeks ago and the transfer was immediate (had to log out and back in to BA site to see the transfer). Also noting there is still a bonus transfer rate of 1:1.4 to BA through 11/15/18.

  13. One cautionary note for transfers to Aeroplan; the transfer will fail if the recipient is not the primary card holder. I tried to transfer points from my wife’s Amex card, with which I’m the secondary card holder, and it bounced. An Aeroplan rep explained this was the issue. Her helpful work-around was to set up an Aeroplan account for my wife, transfer the points to her, then internally transfer the points from her account to my account. The only downside was a transfer fee, which must have been tolerable but I don’t remember what it was.

  14. I find @Paul’s comment concerning. I transferred 220k MR to Asia Miles 24 hours ago and am still waiting. Hoping it will come through in a day or two based on this table. Anyone else have any persona experience on times for Asia Miles? I’m trying to use them for flights next week.

    The longer transfer time and their no hold policy makes for quite the gamble. If it doesn’t come through in time, I can’t really use them and would have preferred to keep them as MR points. I don’t suppose you can ever get them back over to Amex as a result of a long transfer time?

  15. I signed up for aeroplan on saturday (after i realised my 10k transfer from marriott to united would take a while) and within an hour had booked a *A biz redemption gva-ord. I had to call to book my seats on austrian was the only complaint!

  16. @Sam and @UA Fan

    Would you mind sharing the redemptions you guys made? Any sweet spots or tips with Aeromexico you can pass along?

  17. Just did a transfer from Amex->KrisFlyer and it took about 4 hours. I transferred from Chase at the same time and they took 8 days!

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