American Express Membership Rewards points are 1 of the 4 major transferable points programs. Amex has a multitude of both Membership Rewards and non-Membership Rewards-earning cards that are currently available on the market.
Similar to Chase Ultimate Rewards, Marriott Bonvoy, and Citi ThankYou Rewards, I recommend checking out Amex’s Membership Rewards cards to help get you to your next destination using miles and points. Today we’ll discuss the 10 best ways to use Amex points if you’ve collected 60,000 and are ready to travel!
Table of contents
- How to Earn Membership Rewards Points
- The 10 Best Ways to Use 60,000 Amex Points
- Fly Transcontinental Business Class in the U.S. on United Airlines (25,000 Avianca Miles)
- Fly to Brussels in Business Class on Brussels Airlines (44,000 Etihad Miles)
- Fly to Europe in Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic (50,000 KrisFlyer Miles)
- Fly to Hong Kong and China in Business Class on American (55,000 Etihad Miles)
- Fly to Morocco in Business Class on Royal Air Maroc (44,000 Etihad Miles)
- Fly to Japan and Korea in Business Class on American Airlines (50,000 Etihad Miles)
- Fly Between Prague and Seoul in Business Class on Czech Airlines (25,610 Etihad Miles)
- Fly From Japan to Australia in Business Class on ANA (40,000 Avianca Miles)
- Fly to Hawaii in Business Class on United (69,000 KrisFlyer Miles)
- Fly to South America in Business Class on American Airlines (50,000 Etihad Miles)
- List of Airline Partners
- List of Hotel Partners
- Final Thoughts
Table of Contents
- How to Earn Membership Rewards Points
- The 10 Best Ways to Use 60,000 Amex Points
- 1. Fly Transcontinental Business Class in the U.S. on United Airlines (25,000 Avianca Miles)
- 2. Fly to Brussels in Business Class on Brussels Airlines (44,000 Etihad Miles)
- 3. Fly to Europe in Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic (50,000 KrisFlyer Miles)
- 4. Fly to Hong Kong and China in Business Class on American (55,000 Etihad Miles)
- 5. Fly to Morocco in Business Class on Royal Air Maroc (44,000 Etihad Miles)
- 6. Fly to Japan and Korea in Business Class on American Airlines (50,000 Etihad Miles)
- 7. Fly Between Prague and Seoul in Business Class on Czech Airlines (25,610 Etihad Miles)
- 8. Fly From Japan to Australia in Business Class on ANA (40,000 Avianca Miles)
- 9. Fly to Hawaii in Business Class on United (69,000 KrisFlyer Miles)
- 10. Fly to South America in Business Class on American Airlines (50,000 Etihad Miles)
- List of Airline Partners
- List of Hotel Partners
- Final Thoughts
How to Earn Membership Rewards Points
The best way to take advantage of the redemptions below is to focus on Amex cards that earn Membership Rewards, as well as cards that have high introductory bonuses. By applying for personal or business cards that align with your spending habits, you can easily collect Membership Rewards points in a hurry.
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 $2,700+ 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). There's no better card in our opinion if you eat out and/or shop at supermarkets regularly.|
With a welcome bonus of 35,000 points after you spend $4,000 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 - Right now, there's a HUGE welcome bonus of up to 100,000 points. Earn 50,000 points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 50,000 after you spend an additional $15,000, on purchases within the first 3 months. |
We get ~$5,525+ in value per year by leveraging many of the benefits & perks. This excludes getting one year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork, up to $2,700 in value.
This is the best business card for lounge access as you'll get into 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide. 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 simple card that earns you 2x points on any business purchase, up to $50,000 annually (then 1x). That makes for an easy 100,000 points per year! The card has no annual fee. For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus, click here.|
The 10 Best Ways to Use 60,000 Amex Points
If you’re ready to travel the world in style, you’ve come to the right place. From Asia to South America to Hawaii, Membership Rewards points will have you covered!
Amex allows you to redeem points with airline and hotel partners. Many of the airline partners (like Singapore Airlines) also partner with other transferable points programs. If you’re short on Amex points for a particular redemption, consider an airline partner that has multiple transferable point options.
1. Fly Transcontinental Business Class in the U.S. on United Airlines (25,000 Avianca Miles)
Another great sweet-spot has to do with the announcement by United Airlines that they will fly the 787-10 between Newark and Los Angeles/San Francisco (LAX/SFO).
This means that you’ll be able to fly transcontinental on United’s awesome Polaris business class! Their planned schedule is as follows:
- Newark to San Francisco: Thrice daily
- Newark to Los Angeles: Twice daily
Trying United Polaris across the U.S. will set you back only 25,000 miles each way!
Hot Tip: Interested in finding out what this product has to offer? Check out our review of United Polaris 787-10 from Los Angeles to Houston!
2. Fly to Brussels in Business Class on Brussels Airlines (44,000 Etihad Miles)
Etihad Guest has a number of interesting redemptions, including one-way business class from the U.S. to Brussels. Similar to Virgin Atlantic, this program has different award charts for each of its partner airlines.
The Brussels award chart lists the destinations for Brussels Airlines, which are primarily in Europe. North America has 3 nonstop flights on Brussels Airlines (New York, Toronto, and Washington, D.C.). Etihad prices Brussels flights by destination, with the 3 North America stops requiring the same amount of points.
While the chart is limited in terms of North American destinations, at just 44,000 miles one-way, this redemption pairs extremely well with a cheap intra-Europe flight on a low-cost carrier to get to your final destination.
A couple notes on the Brussels Airlines Terms and Conditions:
- One-way award tickets are allowed
- Stopovers and open-jaws are not allowed
We recommend using United, Aeroplan, or ANA for your award search. Once you locate the flight(s) you want to book, a phone call to Etihad is required. Brussels Airlines flights can be redeemed with Etihad miles by contacting the Etihad Guest Service Center at +1 877-690-0767; they’re open 24 hours a day.
Brussels Airlines serves North America with the following nonstop flights:
- New York (JFK) – Brussels (BRU)
- Toronto (YYZ) – Brussels (BRU)
- Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Brussels (BRU)
3. Fly to Europe in Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic (50,000 KrisFlyer Miles)
Singapore Airlines’ loyalty program KrisFlyer is typically known for its premium cabin redemptions (and rightfully so!). What you may not know is that KrisFlyer also has a few other high-value redemptions, including business class from the U.S. to Europe in Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class Cabin.
Virgin Atlantic is not a member of an alliance, so Singapore Airlines has a separate chart solely for the airline. Singapore Airlines also has separate award charts for Alaska Airlines, Virgin Australia, and Star Alliance partners.
The Virgin Atlantic award chart is zoned-based with 7 zones:
- North Asia (China, Hong Kong)
- Africa (Nigeria, South Africa)
- North America (U.S.)
- Central, South Asia (India)
- Central America (Mexico, Caribbean)
- Middle East (United Arab Emirates)
- Europe (United Kingdom)
The major highlight for premium cabin travelers is the low number of miles required for Upper Class. If economy is more in line with your goals, KrisFlyer prices round-trip Virgin Atlantic economy flights at just 50,000 miles.
There are 2 potential downsides to consider here:
- No stopovers are allowed on a one-way award flight
- Taxes, surcharges, and fees will be added to the mileage required (keep the carrier-imposed surcharges in mind, particularly for the Upper Class cabin!)
Search for Virgin Atlantic availability on virginatlantic.com first, and then call Singapore Airlines at 213-404-0301 to book the award ticket.
Examples of Virgin Atlantic nonstop flights from London to the U.S. include:
- Atlanta (ATL) – London (LHR)
- New York (JFK) – London (LHR)
- Los Angeles (LAX) – London (LHR)
Need help booking? Read our in-depth guide on how to book Virgin Atlantic Upper Class.
As one of our readers mentioned on a recent award search, Singapore Airlines agents may not be able to see Virgin Atlantic availability located on ExpertFlyer, Virgin Atlantic, or Delta. Keep this in mind when using miles for this redemption.
4. Fly to Hong Kong and China in Business Class on American (55,000 Etihad Miles)
As mentioned earlier, Etihad has an award chart for each of their 24 airline partners. American Airlines is one of those partners with particularly solid redemptions for U.S.-based travelers.
The American Airlines award chart is broken down into 8 different regions. North America includes the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and Bermuda, while Asia Zone 1 includes Japan, Korea, and Mongolia.
American Airlines’ chart is zone-based, meaning award flights traveling from any country in your departing zone to any country in your arriving zone will be the same. As an example: all flights from North America to Hong Kong cost 50,000 Etihad miles one-way in business class and 25,000 miles one-way in economy.
In addition to the low amount of miles required, there are a couple other highlights of an American Airlines award: one-way award travel is permitted, and a stopover is allowed as well.
As with other Etihad redemptions, taxes and surcharges are required. We recommend using the ITA Flight Matrix to determine the approximate cost of the taxes, fees, and carrier-imposed surcharges prior to booking.
British Airways and Qantas will provide the best search engine for this redemption. Similar to Brussels Airlines, a phone call to Etihad is required to book American Airlines award flights. You can contact the Etihad Guest Service Center 24 hours a day at +1 (0) 877-690-0767.
Examples of American Airlines nonstop flights to Hong Kong and China include:
- Dallas (DFW) – Hong Kong (HKG)
- Chicago (ORD) – Shanghai (PVG)
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Beijing (PEK)
Hot Tip: Need help booking? Check out our step-by-step guide on booking American Airlines business class.
5. Fly to Morocco in Business Class on Royal Air Maroc (44,000 Etihad Miles)
Another high-value Etihad redemption to consider is Royal Air Maroc from the U.S. to Morocco. Mirroring Etihad’s other airline partners, Royal Air Maroc uses its own award chart.
The Royal Air Maroc award chart is driven by distance and class of your cabin. We suggest using Great Circle Mapper to determine the distance of your award. For U.S. to Morocco flights, use the 2001 and above portion of the award chart.
Royal Air Maroc requires a low amount of miles for both economy and business class redemptions. A couple of additional positives about this partnership include the ability to book one-way flights as well as a stopover.
When utilizing this redemption, keep in mind 3 items:
- Taxes, fees, and surcharges will have to be paid at the time of award ticketing. Based on a recent search, the fuel surcharges will be ~$230 for both economy and business class round-trip flights
- Open jaws are not allowed
- Royal Air Maroc availability cannot be searched online
To find award availability and book a Royal Air Maroc flight, you will need to contact the Etihad Guest Service Center at +1 (0) 877-690-0767.
Royal Air Maroc has 2 nonstop flights between Morocco the U.S.:
- New York (JFK) – Casablanca (CMN)
- Washington, D.C. (IAD) – Casablanca (CMN)
6. Fly to Japan and Korea in Business Class on American Airlines (50,000 Etihad Miles)
It’s time for yet another Etihad redemption: American Airlines flights to Asia. Similar to American Airlines flights to Hong Kong and China, the airline also has nonstop flights to both Japan and Korea at competitive rates.
As a reminder, the American Airlines chart is zone-based, meaning any flight from the U.S. to either country will require the same number of miles. The highlight of this chart is that you are looking at a ~13-hour flight for only 50,000 Membership Rewards points transferred directly to Etihad!
You can head to both British Airways and Qantas to find award availability for American Airlines flights to Asia. Once you locate American Airlines award availability, call the Etihad Guest Service Center at +1 (0) 877-690-0767 to redeem miles for your award flight. Taxes, fees, and surcharges will need to be paid at the time of booking.
Examples of American Airlines flights to Japan and Korea include:
- Dallas (DFW) – Seoul (ICN)
- Chicago (ORD) – Narita (NRT)
Hot Tip: We’ve also dug into the best ways you can fly to Japan using points and miles!
7. Fly Between Prague and Seoul in Business Class on Czech Airlines (25,610 Etihad Miles)
When I first heard about this redemption, I was extremely skeptical — less than 30,000 Membership Rewards points for a nearly 10-hour flight?!
The Czech Airlines award chart prices are based on the city you’re flying to. Most of the cities in the chart are in Europe, making it extremely easy to miss the last city on the list: Seoul.
This redemption’s obvious highlight is the price compared to other long-haul flights in business class. If economy is more your style, you’re only looking at 12,805 miles one-way to fly from Prague to Seoul!! Another positive within the Czech Airlines award chart is that one-way flights are allowed.
Even with a low mileage requirement, the chart does have a downside to consider. The taxes, fees, and surcharges are required at the time of booking, and can be substantial. Based on a recent search, business class surcharges are ~$394, while economy surcharges are $270.
Czech Airlines is a SkyTeam member, and availability can be searched on klm.com or airfrance.com. When you are ready to book your flight, call the Etihad Guest Service Center at +1 (0) 877-690-0767 to redeem your miles.
Czech Airlines flies nonstop to Seoul on the following route:
- Prague (PRG) – Seoul (ICN)
8. Fly From Japan to Australia in Business Class on ANA (40,000 Avianca Miles)
Have you ever wanted to fly ANA business class? Well, you can do so for ridiculously cheap prices using LifeMiles! You’ll fly for almost 10 hours nonstop, and it’ll only cost you 40,000 miles!
ANA flies their 787 Dreamliner, which only has business class, but it’s sure to be comfortable with lie-flat seats and delicious Japanese catering.
You can take ANA’s only flight to Australia on this route:
- Tokyo-Haneda (HND) to Sydney (SYD)
Hot Tip: Need help booking? Check out our step-by-step guide to booking ANA business class.
9. Fly to Hawaii in Business Class on United (69,000 KrisFlyer Miles)
Singapore Airlines has a solid redemption for United flights to Hawaii with their KrisFlyer program. The North America region includes the U.S. and Canada, but it excludes Hawaii (it’s part of the Hawaii, Central America region). All United flights from the North America region to Hawaii require the same number of points in either business class or economy.
The KrisFlyer Star Alliance award chart is zone-based with 12 zones, and prices are driven by the destination, origin, and class of service you’re flying.
One highlight of the Star Alliance chart is the ability to book one-way flights. When flying United to Hawaii, the main benefit is the fact the taxes, fees, and surcharges should be low, since United doesn’t levy fuel surcharges like other airlines.
Award availability for these flights can be found on united.com. Once you locate United award availability, search for that same flight on singaporeairlines.com and book the flight online. If the flight doesn’t show on Singapore Airlines, call Singapore Airlines‘ Houston, Los Angeles, New York, or San Francisco offices to book the award.
Examples of nonstop United flights include:
- Newark (EWR) – Honolulu (HNL)
- San Francisco (SFO) – Kona (KOA)
- Chicago (ORD) – Maui (OGG)
Hot Tip: Need help booking? Read our step-by-step guide on how to book United business class flights.
10. Fly to South America in Business Class on American Airlines (50,000 Etihad Miles)
Another American Airlines redemption to consider with Etihad is an award flight to South America. The American Airlines award chart breaks South America into 2 zones, with 20,000 additional Etihad miles required between Zone 1 and Zone 2.
South America Zone 2 includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile (excluding Easter Island), Paraguay, and Uruguay. South America Zone 1 is combined with Central America and includes countries within the northern half of the continent.
The highlights of this redemption are threefold:
- One-way flights are allowed
- Taxes, fees, and surcharges are reasonable
- Stopovers are permitted
For one-way flights from the U.S., the taxes and fees will be ~$30 (based on a recent search from multiple U.S. departure cities and South American arrival cities).
Use the search engines at AA.com, britishairways.com, and qantas.com to find award availability, and then call the Etihad Guest Service Center to book your flight.
Examples of American Airlines flights to South America include:
- Dallas (DFW) – Buenos Aires (EZE)
- Los Angeles (LAX) – São Paulo (GRU)
Need help booking? Check out our step-by-step guide on booking AA business class.
List of Airline Partners
|Amex Airline Transfer Partner||Min Transfer||Transfer Ratio|
(Amex > Partner)
|Air Canada||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Aer Lingus||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Avianca LifeMiles||1,000||1:1||Almost instant|
|British Airways||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Cathay Pacific||1,000||1:1||Up to 1 Week|
|Delta Air Lines||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|EL AL||1,000||50:1||Almost Instant|
|Etihad Airways||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|FlyingBlue AirFrance/KLM||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Singapore Airlines||1,000||1:1||1-2 days|
|Virgin Atlantic||1,000||1:1||1-2 days|
List of Hotel Partners
|Amex Hotel Transfer Partner||Min Transfer||Transfer Ratio|
(Amex > Partner)
|Choice Privileges||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Hilton Honors||1,000||1:2||Almost Instant|
|Marriott Bonvoy||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
American Express Membership Rewards is a program to consider if you’re looking for great award opportunities, as the value of some of these redemptions is impressive.
Earning transferable Membership Rewards points from both welcome offers and everyday spending will enable you to reach many of these destinations in style.
We’re also huge fans of collecting Membership Rewards points, because the transfer to most airlines is instant and at a 1:1 ratio. Happy redeeming!