Amex Membership Rewards Transfer Partners & How to Use Them

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If you’re looking for a way to earn lots of points to redeem for some amazing travel, you can’t go wrong with American Express Membership Rewards credit cards. Amex provides a number of ways to earn Membership Rewards points and plenty of fun ways to redeem them for some great flights.

In this post, we’ll show you all of the American Express transfer partners, how to transfer Membership Rewards to these partners, and much more. With this guide in hand, you’ll be ready to book some amazing vacations!

Earning Membership Rewards

American Express provides tons of opportunities to earn Membership Rewards points. Pick the card or combination of cards that will help you earn the most points and get the benefits that matter to you.

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

The Platinum Card® from American Express - There's currently a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months. This is our favorite card for getting into 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide (including Priority Pass) and we get about $1,500+ in value from the card every year.

Plus, get up to $200 in Uber credits annually ($15 per month and a $20 bonus in December) — and up to $200 in annual credit for airline incidental charges (e.g. baggage fees). For rates and fees of the Platinum Card, click here.
American Express® Gold Card - We love using this card as it earns 4x points at restaurants worldwide and 4x points at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x).

With a welcome bonus of 35,000 points after you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months and a $100 airfare credit per year, for many this is an easy addition to your wallet. For rates and fees of the Gold Card, click here.

Recommended Amex Cards (Business)

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express - Even though this card carries a hefty annual fee, we get ~$1,250+ in value per year by leveraging as many of the benefits/perks card.

Get access to 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide, $200 in airline fee credits for incidentals (e.g. baggage fees) and a lot more. Also, earn a welcome bonus of up to 75,000 points (terms apply). For rates and fees of the Business Platinum, click here.
American Express® Business Gold Card - probably our favorite Amex business card because we earn 4x points across the top 2 select categories that we spend the most money in each month. The 4x points applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year. This means you'll max out at a (whopping) 600,000 points per year. After that, you earn 1x. For rates and fees of the Business Gold Card, click here.
The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express - This is a super simple card that earns you 2x points on business purchases up to $50,000 annually (then 1x). There's no annual fee. For rates and fees of The Blue Business Plus, click here.

A fun and easy way to boost your earning potential is to maximize Amex Offers, which grant additional Membership Rewards for your purchases at select merchants.

Amex Airline Transfer Partners

amex airline transfer partners
The American Express Membership Rewards program has 18 airline transfer partners. Make sure you check the transfer rate (see below) since not all transfers are done at a 1:1 ratio.

Amex Airline Transfer PartnerMin TransferTransfer Ratio
(Amex > Partner)
Transfer Time
AeroMexico
1,0001:1.62-12 days
Air Canada1,0001:1Almost Instant
Alitalia1,0001:1Almost Instant
Aer Lingus1,0001:1Almost Instant
ANA1,0001:13 days
Avianca LifeMiles1,0001:1Almost instant
British Airways
1,0001:1Almost Instant
Cathay Pacific1,0001:1Up to 1 Week
Delta Air Lines1,0001:1Almost Instant
EL AL1,00050:1Almost Instant
Emirates1,0001:1Almost Instant
Etihad Airways1,0001:1Almost Instant
FlyingBlue AirFrance/KLM1,0001:1Almost Instant
Hawaiian1,0001:1Almost Instant
Iberia1,0001:11-3 days
JetBlue2501:0.8Almost Instant
Qantas5001:1Almost Instant
Singapore Airlines1,0001:11-2 days
Virgin Atlantic1,0001:11-2 days

Amex Hotel Transfer Partners

Membership Rewards can also be transferred to 3 hotel rewards programs. Like American Express airline partners, transfer ratios vary (see below), so make sure you check them before transferring.

Amex Hotel Transfer PartnerMin TransferTransfer Ratio
(Amex > Partner)
Transfer Time
Choice Privileges1,0001:1Almost Instant
Hilton Honors1,0001:2Almost Instant
Marriott Bonvoy1,0001:1Almost Instant

Hot Tip: Use our transfer partner tool to see how many points you’ll get when you transfer your Amex Membership Rewards to their partner airlines and hotels!

How to Transfer Membership Rewards

With some Membership Rewards points in your account, it’s time to decide where you want to transfer your points so you can start traveling. Here are the simple steps to make the transfer process easy.

Step 1: Select “Travel” from the menu.

American Express Membership Rewards Transfer


Step 2: 
Select “Get Started” to head over to your transfer partner options.

American Express Membership Rewards Transfer Step 2


Step 3:
Choose your desired airline or hotel transfer partner and select “Transfer Points.” If you haven’t already, you will need to link your frequent flyer account to your Membership Rewards account. In this example below, I chose Delta Air Lines.

American Express Transfer Link Account


Step 4: 
Once you have linked your airline or hotel account to your Membership Rewards account, choose how many points you would like to transfer. Transfers must be made in increments of 1,000.

American Express Membership Rewards Transfer Points


Step 5:
Confirm the number of points you are transferring and complete the transfer.

American Express Membership Rewards Transfer Confirm


Step 6: 
Head over to the appropriate airline or hotel program to book your award flight or award stay.

American Express Transfer Bonuses

Transferring your points when there is a bonus is an ideal situation. Getting the most value out of every point you have is the key to getting those high level redemptions!

However, you shouldn’t transfer points JUST because there is a bonus. It’s best to keep your points in a transferable account (like Amex, Chase, Marriott, or Citi) until you have a specific redemption in mind.

American Express Transfer Bonus History

Here are the transfer bonuses offered by American Express over the last couple of years. These are the public bonuses only — sometimes Amex will send targeted bonus offers as well.

Amex Transfer PartnerTransfer BonusEnd Date
Virgin Atlantic30%7/1/2019
Qantas20%6/30/2019
Air France25%4/29/2019
Avianca15%4/1/2019
Hilton30%11/30/2018
Aeromexico25%11/30/2018
British Airways and Iberia40%11/15/2018
Virgin Atlantic30%9/12/2018
Air France25%6/15/2018
Hilton Honors33%12/15/2017
Virgin Atlantic30%11/30/2017
Jet Blue25%11/30/2017
British Airways or Iberia40%9/17/2017
Hawaiian Airlines25%6/30/2017
Jet Blue25%5/30/2017
Virgin Atlantic30%5/30/2017

Booking Travel With the Amex Travel Portal

If you’re booking economy flights or hotels, don’t forget to check out Amex Travel where you can book cash flights with points. Points are generally worth 1 cent each.

With The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, each point is worth about 1.54 cents when booking on your preselected airline. The boost is applied in the form of a 35% rebate, so you’ll still need the total points in your account at the time of booking.

Let’s check out an example (below). If you have The Business Platinum® Card from American Express and Delta Air Lines is your selected airline, this booking will cost 69,996 Membership Rewards points initially.

Once the rebate is applied, American Express will return 24,498 Membership Rewards to your account, which means this booking would actually cost you 45,497 points.

Amex Travel Booking

You might have noticed in the example above that the booking is a Membership Rewards Insider Fare. This can make your bookings through Amex Travel even more valuable, since American Express sometimes discounts flights if you pay entirely with points.

Should You Transfer or Book Through Amex?

Consider the flights we discussed above. Booking this itinerary through Amex Travel costs 45,497 Membership Rewards points, and the booking still earns Delta SkyMiles as a paid fare rather than an award ticket.

If you were to transfer Membership Rewards to Delta and book this same itinerary as an award ticket, you would have to transfer 60,000 points to your SkyMiles account to book it. In this case, booking through the portal would be a much better deal.

This is clearly a time to book through Amex Travel rather than transferring points. To ensure you get the most out of your points every time, it’s important to check both the portal and transfer options when booking economy class.

Other Ways to Use Your Points

Amex Travel also allows you to book hotels at the same 1 cent per point. This rate is the same regardless of which card you hold. You can also redeem your points for gift cards to merchants like Nike, Saks Fifth Avenue, Walmart, or Amazon, or use your points to shop for items from the Membership Rewards site.

Unfortunately, these are generally terrible uses of your hard-earned Membership Rewards points. To get the most value out of them, stick with travel redemptions!

Combining Membership Rewards From Different Accounts

If you have multiple cards that earn Membership Rewards, they can each be linked to the same account so your points will automatically collect in one place. Generally, when you apply for a new card that earns Membership Rewards points, it will automatically be linked to your account.

One downside is that points cannot be transferred to your spouse or significant other’s Membership Rewards account. However, you can transfer points to a frequent flyer program owned by any authorized users on your account.

American Express Authorized User

While this isn’t a perfect solution, it still allows you to help friends and family book award flights.

Redeeming Membership Rewards

Using your Membership Rewards points for travel is clearly the best way to use your points. With over 10 airline transfer partners and tons of ways to redeem your points, it’s almost overwhelming! To make the process a bit easier, we’ve compiled a list of the best ways to redeem your Membership Rewards for some amazing travel experiences.

Final Thoughts

American Express Membership Rewards points are tremendously useful if you want to travel. With so many ways to earn and redeem points, you can book award flights to just about anywhere in the world!


Featured Image: Courtesy of Upgraded Points

Spencer Howard

About Spencer Howard

Always a fan of flying, it was only natural that Spencer was drawn to finding a way to improve the travel experience. Like many, he started this journey searching for cheap flights to take him around the world. This was fun for a while, but Spencer was intrigued by the idea of flying in business and first class! Throwing himself into what became an extensive research project, Spencer spent 3-4 hours per night learning everything he could about frequent flyer miles over the course of several months (he thinks this is normal).

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2 comments

  1. DONALD FLOWERS · June 7, 2019 · Reply

    Does Amex charge a fee to transfer MR points to Delta Airlines ?

    • Stephen Au · June 7, 2019 · Reply

      Hey Donald,

      Yes, they charge an excise tax for any U.S.-based frequent flyer program, including Delta Airlines. This fee is $.0006 per point with a maximum of $99. Thanks for reading!

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