The American Express Membership Rewards program provides some amazing redemption options thanks to its many airline transfer partners. You can also transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to 3 hotel partners. However, transferring to airline partners is often the best use of your Amex points.
This means redemptions through Uber and for statement credits should be avoided if at all possible. In this article, we’ll show you the best ways to use and redeem your Amex points, which will get you the most bang for your buck.
So if you’ve earned enough Membership Rewards points for travel through your American Express cards and you’re ready for a trip, let’s take a look at the best ways to use your Amex points!
Earn Membership Rewards Points
If you want to start earning Membership Rewards or boost your current earnings, American Express has several credit cards that could fit your needs.
Here are the American Express credit cards you can use to earn Membership Rewards points for your trip:
Recommended American Express Cards (Personal)
|The Platinum Card® from American Express - There's currently a new welcome bonus offer of |60,000 100,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $6,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
This is our #1 card for accessing 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide, including Priority Pass (enrollment required). We leverage ~$4,900+ in benefits and perks from the card every year. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.
|American Express® Gold Card - This card has a welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership. |
We love using this card as it earns 4x Membership Rewards Points at restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and earns 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x).
With an annual fee of $250, there's no better card in our opinion if you eat out and/or shop at supermarkets regularly; and you'll have access to many benefits and perks. Terms apply and for rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, click here.
Recommended American Express Cards (Business)
|The Business Platinum Card® from American Express - Right now, there's a new welcome bonus of |85,000 120,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
See how we get $4,000+ in value per year by leveraging many of the benefits & perks, including access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Business Platinum, click here.
|American Express® Business Gold Card - one of our favorite Amex business cards because we earn 4x points across the top 2 select categories that we spend the most money in each month, such as Facebook or Google ads. The 4x points applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year. After that, you earn 1x.|
The current welcome bonus is 70,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $10,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Business Gold, click here.
|The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express - A super simple, no-annual-fee card that earns you 2x points on everyday business purchases, up to $50,000 in purchases per year. After that, earn 1x. Right now, you can earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus, click here.|
On top of points, American Express card benefits include airline fee credits, Global Entry program credits, free Wi-Fi, and more.
Depending on the benefits of the card, you may pay a higher annual fee — but you will also be able to collect more rewards.
Hot Tip: Take advantage of the many bonus categories American Express cards offer to earn even more points.
Transfer Membership Rewards Points to Partners
Amex has a bunch of airline and hotel transfer partners. Unlike Chase Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards do not transfer at a 1:1 ratio with all partners. However, Amex points open up a ton of award travel options thanks to their many transfer partners.
Additionally, American Express often runs transfer bonus promotions with individual transfer partners, which can be very useful if you need to book an award flight.
Transfers to partners usually complete almost instantly, but make sure to check the table below to see the estimated transfer time before you decide. Once you transfer points, you can’t undo the transfer.
Amex Airline Transfer Partners
With 18 airline transfer partners, you have access to award flights with airlines that are part of Oneworld, Star Alliance, and SkyTeam.
You even have access to partners that operate outside the major airline alliances, such as Etihad Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
|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|
|Etihad Airways||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Flying Blue Air France/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|
Amex Hotel Transfer Partners
If you need a hotel stay, you can transfer to one of 3 hotel partners. That being said, this is not the best way to use your points — you can get much more value by transferring to airline partners.
In a pinch, though, this can be a helpful option.
The 59 Best Ways to Use Your Amex Membership Rewards Points
As we mentioned above, transferring your points to airline partners is how you can get the most value out of your points.
The award flights described below are typically centered around North America. You’ll find first class, business class, and economy class options from the U.S., as well as some great deals between other regions.
Of course, there may be other great award redemptions available. Depending on how and where you like to travel, you may have some other favorite award options; if so please add a comment below and share your insights!
1. Fly Singapore Suites in an A380 (KrisFlyer Miles)
Most people transfer points to the Singapore KrisFlyer miles program because they’re after the Singapore Suites— Singapore Airlines’ first-class luxury experience. If you book 2 tickets with a loved one, you can even experience a double bed in the sky!
Awards for the suites cost 132,000 miles one-way from New York City to Singapore. Note that these suites are only available on the Airbus A380, so be sure to check the destinations when planning!
The A380 flies between Singapore and a number of cities including New York City (JFK), London, Sydney, Paris, Tokyo, and other large international cities. One way to experience Suites class is to book a flight between New York and Frankfurt one-way for 76,000 points.
Singapore Airlines is known for having one of the best (if not the best) first class/”suites” experiences. So if you can, definitely book award travel in Singapore Suites with your Amex points.
Another great thing about Singapore Airlines’ program is that they are transfer partners of all the major points currencies: American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy. So if you don’t have quite enough Membership Rewards points, you can top off your Singapore Airlines account from other currencies.
It is very tough to find more than 1 Singapore Suites Class seat available at the saver level, but you might be able to waitlist a second seat, book business class, and hope you clear the waitlist.
Hot Tip: Need help booking? See our step by step guide for booking Singapore Suites or first class.
2. Fly Lufthansa First Class to Europe (KrisFlyer Miles)
You’re going to get hit with a few fuel surcharges for this one, but even so, it’s one of the best ways to fly Lufthansa first class. Don’t forget about the First Class Terminal (Frankfurt only) and the First Class Lounges! They take an already amazing experience to another level.
Singapore Airlines charges 107,500 miles to fly one-way. The surcharges will cost you between 400 and 500 euro — it’s cheaper departing from Europe than the US.
Need help booking? Check out our step-by-step guide to booking first class on Lufthansa.
3. Fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class to Europe (KrisFlyer Miles)
Singapore Airlines has an entirely separate award chart for flights on Virgin Atlantic and requires fewer miles than using your Singapore miles on Star Alliance flights. You can fly to Europe in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class for only 100,000 miles round-trip.
If you are flying a Star Alliance partner, business class flights to Europe would cost 130,000 Singapore Airlines miles — 30,000 more! Availability on Virgin Atlantic in Upper Class tends to be quite good.
Need Help Booking? Check out our guide to booking Virgin Atlantic Upper Class!
4. Fly to the Middle East or North Africa From the U.S. (KrisFlyer Miles)
Singapore Airlines offers great pricing to fly to the Middle East and North Africa from the U.S. as well. You can redeem KrisFlyer miles for travel on Star Alliance member airlines like United, EgyptAir, Ethiopian, Swiss, and Lufthansa.
On these airlines, you’ll be able to get to the Middle East or North Africa for 45,000 miles one-way in economy class, 76,500 miles one-way in business class, or 99,000 miles one-way in first class.
5. Fly From the U.S. to Central or South Africa (KrisFlyer Miles)
Singapore Airlines has a pretty good award price for travel to Central and South Africa in business class. A one-way business class flight will cost you 96,500 miles when you fly with a Star Alliance partner airline.
This pricing is now higher than United, which requires 80,000 miles each way to fly Star Alliance partners to Central and South Africa. It also gives you the ability to combine your American Express Membership Rewards points, Chase Ultimate Rewards points, Citi ThankYou Rewards points, and Marriott points by transferring them to Singapore Airlines.
6. Fly to Europe From the U.S. in Economy (KrisFlyer Miles)
Singapore offers a great price to fly from the U.S. to Europe in economy class at only 27,500 miles each direction on Star Alliance member airlines. This is 2,500 miles less than U.S.-based competitors American, Delta, and United usually charge.
While 2,500 miles saved each way doesn’t necessarily seem like a lot, these savings can add up. If you save 5,000 miles on every round-trip flight, after 5 trips to Europe you’ll save almost enough for a one-way flight!
Hot Tip: Enjoy your trip home from Frankfurt even more if you have The Platinum Card® from American Express. You’ll get access to the Priority Pass program, which allows you to use 2 lounges in the airport: the Luxxlounge and the Sky Lounge.
7. Fly Between South Pacific Islands (KrisFlyer Miles)
This is an amazing deal if you are able to take an extended trip and want to do some Pacific Island hopping.
Singapore Airlines charges 12,500 miles, 31,000 miles, and 40,000 miles each way for travel in economy, business, and first class respectively within the South Pacific. In addition, if you book a round-trip ticket, you’ll be able to enjoy a stopover on another island for no additional cost!
United would charge the same 12,500 miles one-way in economy class, and their price is now comparable at 30,000 miles one-way for business class and 40,000 miles one-way for first class.
Availability can be tough to find on many of these routes, but if you have some flexibility, you can’t beat using your Singapore Airlines miles for travel between South Pacific Islands in business or first class.
h/t: Travel is Free
8. Fly United in Business or First Within the U.S. (KrisFlyer Miles)
Singapore Airlines has a handful of other sweet spots in their award chart, and flights on United within the U.S. in business or first class is one of them.
You can redeem KrisFlyer miles to fly on United Airlines within the U.S. for only 23,000 miles in business class or 34,500 miles in first class.
As a comparison, United charges 50,000 miles to fly business class round-trip within the U.S. and 70,000 miles to fly first class within the U.S.
If you’re planning to redeem your miles for domestic premium cabin travel, use Singapore Airlines miles instead of trading in Amex points for United miles to see your savings add up quickly!
9. Fly Between the Continental U.S. and Hawaii (KrisFlyer Miles)
You can also redeem your Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles for a good value between the continental U.S. and Hawaii in all classes of service for travel on Star Alliance Airlines.
One-way prices are 17,500 miles, 34,500 miles, and 46,000 miles in economy, business, and first class, respectively. For comparison, United would charge 22,500 miles, 40,000 miles, and 50,000 miles to book the exact same flights.
10. Fly Round-Trip in ANA Business Class to Japan (ANA Mileage Club)
ANA used to have an awesome distance-based award chart allowing 3 stopovers for no additional cost. This was a great deal, but now ANA has more common region-based award charts for:
- Flights operated by ANA
- Flights on ANA’s partner airlines
Unfortunately, booking awards with partners means you will be on the hook for carrier-imposed surcharges. Sometimes, lower fees on partner flights can be obtained through United, Turkish, Air New Zealand, and Air Canada (depending on the routes).
ANA allows 1 stopover and 1 open jaw (including backtracking) on both ANA and partner flights (some caveats apply). Thanks to this tiny bit of flexibility worked into the new scheme, you’ll still have a lot of options for multiple destinations on 1 ticket!
From our perspective, there are some great values to be had by transferring your Membership Rewards points to ANA Mileage Club. One of these is a great deal on flights to Japan.
ANA flights to Japan cost 85,000 miles round-trip in business class during regular season and can go as low as 75,000 miles during low season. Flights on partners will always cost 85,000 miles in business class.
Flying ANA in economy class will only cost you 40,000 miles in low season, while flights on partners will always cost 50,000 miles. Low season is considered January, February, and April…you might even be able to catch the Sakura Cherry blossoms!
Hot Tip: You can also transfer points from Marriott.
Need help booking? See our step by step guide for booking ANA business class.
11. North America to Asia Zone 1 (ANA Mileage Club)
ANA considers Asia Zone 1 as China, Guam, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines. A round-trip business class ticket will only cost 80,000 miles during the low season when flying on ANA.
If you’re looking at flying with a partner airline, the deal isn’t quite as good at 95,000 miles (the same cost as flying ANA during high season). Flights in economy class cost 45,000 miles.
12. Fly Etihad Business Class to Africa or the Middle East (ANA Mileage Club) — Not Currently Available
ANA only charges 104,000 miles to fly round-trip on Etihad to the Middle East or Africa. You’ll give up 195,000 miles to fly in first-class…not quite as good of a deal, but still worth it if you really want to book the Etihad Apartments on the Airbus A380.
Etihad’s business class has received great reviews — you won’t be disappointed with this redemption. United would charge you 140,000 miles to fly round-trip in business class on Star Alliance partners, so using ANA miles will save you a ton of points.
Need help booking? Check out our step-by-step instructions on how to book Etihad business class!
13. North America to Asia Zone 2 (ANA Mileage Club)
ANA considers Asia Zone 2 to be India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. If you just read their website, you might stop there — but Asia Zone 2 also includes the “stan” countries like Uzbekistan, Pakistan, and Kazakhstan.
Some of these countries are typically very expensive to get to from North America, so using miles can present some incredible value opportunities. Round-trip business class to Asia Zone 2 countries only costs 100,000 miles during low season, or 55,000 miles in economy class.
Need help booking? Check out our step-by-step guide to booking business class with their Star Alliance partner EVA Air — one of the best business class products in the sky.
Hot Tip: Flying to Asia also carries lower fuel surcharges compared with flying directly to Japan on ANA — even when your flights to Asia go through Japan!
14. North America to Europe on Partners (ANA Mileage Club)
The mileage cost of flying one of ANA’s partner airlines to Japan aren’t as good redeeming miles for ANA flights directly, but the award chart does have a few solid partner redemption options.
You can fly round-trip from the U.S. to Europe in business class for only 88,000 miles, or fly in economy class for 55,000 miles. This price used to be a lot better than it is now, but it’s still better than some competitors.
Watch out for carrier-imposed surcharges that can really add up — if you can, find availability on SWISS Air, Air Canada, or United to avoid higher taxes and fees.
15. North America to Africa or the Middle East in Economy (ANA Mileage Club)
ANA also offers good pricing in economy class to Africa and the Middle East. A round-trip flight from Los Angeles to Cape Town, South Africa would cost you only 65,000 miles in economy class.
United would charge 80,000 miles for the same round-trip flight.
16. Intra-Africa/Middle East Flights (ANA Mileage Club)
Flights within Africa can be very expensive, but with ANA you have a pretty great option to use miles instead.
You’ll only need 30,000 miles round-trip in economy class for flights within Africa and the Middle East when you fly Star Alliance partners like South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, and Egypt Air.
17. Flights From the U.S. to Southern South America (ANA Mileage Club)
Many award charts split South America into 2 regions: northern South America and southern South America. Sometimes this is beneficial, but other times it is not.
If you are looking to travel specifically to southern South America, you can make use of the fact that ANA considers South America as 1 region.
Since ANA doesn’t fly to South America themselves, you’ll utilize the ANA Partner Award Chart. They only charge 88,000 miles round-trip in business and 55,000 miles round-trip in economy class.
If you want to visit a southern South American country like Argentina or Chile, you would pay 110,000 United miles in business class or 60,000 miles round-trip in economy class. If you are planning to go to a northern South American country (like Peru or Columbia) or a Central American country (like Costa Rica or Nicaragua), you’re actually better off booking with United.
Currently, there isn’t an award chart available on ANA’s website for travel from North America. In some cases, it is possible to look up the opposite route (e.g., Japan to North America is the same price as North America to Japan). When that isn’t possible, refer to the user-made award chart for ANA from Travel is Free.
18. Book an Around the World Trip (ANA Mileage Club)
A lot of airline programs have gotten rid of their Around the World award charts, but ANA basically turned their old distance-based program into an Around the World chart when they made their program changes.
If you have time and want to make a bunch of stops on your trip, this is a fantastic redemption! When making an ANA partner redemption, you can make up to 8 stopovers on a round-the-world trip.
There are some restrictions to consider, such as only 3 stopovers in Europe and 4 in Japan, and you must choose only 1 direction in which to travel (east or west).
Also, you cannot return to your home country in fewer than 10 days. Finally, you can’t use an open jaw in North America, South America, or Latin America.
However, you can put together some incredible trips if you have the time, flexibility, and patience to plan them out! The cost is calculated based on the mileage flown. Itineraries start at 20,000 points in economy (for trips of 0-2,000 miles) and go up to 450,000 points in first class (for trips of 44,001-50,000 miles).
19. Continental U.S. to Hawaii on Delta in Economy (Flying Blue)
Air France and KLM share a loyalty program called Flying Blue. One great redemption from the Flying Blue program is for flights to Hawaii from the continental U.S.
Round-trip flights cost 30,000 Flying Blue miles and less than $10 in fees. Considering that flights from the East Coast usually cost $500-$900 round-trip, we’re talking some great redemptions even at the lower end of the value spectrum.
The new variable award pricing has many people confused, but award prices start at 30,000 Flying Blue miles round-trip and can go higher from there. Be sure to look for mileage prices around 30,000…or else you’ll be paying way more than you want!
20. Flying Blue Promo Awards (Flying Blue)
Flying Blue has special “Promo Awards” that change every few months throughout the year. Promo Awards are usually 25%-50% off economy class and business class award tickets from Europe to certain cities around the world.
The Promo Award that most U.S.-based flyers will find useful is the Europe-North American Cities option. When an award is 50% off, it will only cost 12,500 miles to fly each way in economy, or 25,000 miles in business class.
Surcharges tend to be a little higher on Flying Blue awards, but they’re not terrible. If you consider how many miles you’re saving, it might be just what you need.
21. Make Use of Flying Blue’s Weird Region Definitions (Flying Blue)
Flying Blue has some very odd region definitions that can make for some incredible awards! Specifically, consider the fact that Israel, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya, are all considered part of Europe.
Right away, this means 50,000 miles for round-trip itineraries in economy class from the U.S. and 100,000 miles for round-trips in business class. But wait, it gets even better! Since these locations are all considered part of Europe, Promo Awards will also be available to these locations.
22. Fly to Mexico for the Same Price as Flying Around the U.S. (Flying Blue)
Most airline award programs separate Mexico from the U.S. in their award charts. With Flying Blue, you’ll be able to fly from the U.S. to Mexico for only 12,500 miles each direction at the lowest redemption price — the same price you’d pay to fly somewhere in the U.S.
23. U.S. to the Caribbean (Flying Blue)
Flying Blue also has a pretty solid price for flights to the Caribbean. At the lowest award pricing, round-trip flights in economy class will only set you back 30,000 miles.
This is 5,000 miles less than what most of the major American airlines will charge to fly to the same destination. For more information, check out our guide to flying to the Caribbean with points and miles.
24. Insanely Cheap Economy Flights to the South Pacific and Australia (Flying Blue)
Flying Blue charges a ridiculously low number of miles for flights to Tahiti and other islands in the South Pacific: only 30,000 miles for a one-way economy class ticket. There are some really sneaky tricks you can employ using this pricing to get to regions that are generally more expensive.
For example, it is possible to route through Sydney, Australia on the way to South Pacific Islands. Usually, flying to Australia would cost 50,000 miles in economy class from the U.S., but if you happen to miss your flight and just stay in Sydney, you can save 20,000 miles.
This trick, unfortunately, would not work on the return flight to the U.S.
Alternatively, if you just want to fly to Tahiti, you can fly nonstop on Air Tahiti Nui in economy for only 25,500 miles each way at the lowest-level pricing. Availability for this pricing is plentiful too!
25. U.S. to Oceania (Aeroplan)
While Aeroplan experienced a major change in their program in late 2020, there are some good redemptions worth mentioning that we hope will stick around for a while.
You can fly from the U.S. to Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific (Oceania) for 120,000 miles round-trip in economy class. Where this award really shines is with the ability to make 2 stopovers in addition to your final destination! If you’re already flying so far, why not add a few days and extra stops to your trip?
This won’t be the lowest possible price to get to Oceania, but if you can make use of the stopovers it might be worth paying more miles than a carrier like United would charge.
Hot Tip: Marriott also has Air Canada Aeroplan as a transfer partner, so you can combine your Marriott points with your Membership Rewards points.
26. U.S. to Western Europe (Aeroplan)
Air Canada charges 80,000 miles to fly round-trip in economy class from the U.S. to Western Europe. While this is the same price charged by many other airlines like United, you also have the ability to make 2 stopovers in addition to your destination when booking with Air Canada.
The same routes cost 140,000 miles in business class and 200,000 miles in first class! In other words, you can fly Lufthansa first class for 100,000 miles each way.
27. U.S. to the Middle East (Aeroplan)
Air Canada charges 110,000 miles to fly round-trip in economy class from the U.S. to the Middle East, again with the ability to make 2 stopovers in addition to your final destination.
Similarly, Aeroplan will charge 175,000 miles to fly round-trip in business class and 240,000 miles to fly round-trip in first class (if you can find a route that works).
28. Short-Haul Flights on Air Canada (Aeroplan)
Flights on Air Canada within North America are generally quite expensive when purchased in cash.
But any short-haul flights on any Star Alliance partner will only cost 6,000 Aeroplan points each way.
These provinces of Canada are so expensive to get to; we’re talking easily over $1,000 from the U.S. (and we’ve even seen prices over $2,000 round-trip).
However, awards to these locations can be booked for such a tiny number of miles — only 25,000 round-trip! If you like visiting off-the-beaten-track destinations, this is a great (and cheap) award for you.
A $2,000 round-trip ticket for only 25,000 miles nets you a fantastic value of 8 cents per point, which is on par with first class redemptions.
30. Travel With a Lap Child (Aeroplan)
The cost of traveling with an infant varies by airline when booking award tickets. Some airlines charge 10% of the cash ticket, which can be absolutely brutal if you are traveling in a premium cabin.
Air Canada has a very simple and reasonable structure for the cost of traveling with an infant. For travel in economy, you’ll pay $50 or 5,000 miles; premium economy, $75 or 7,500 miles; business, $100 or 10,000 miles; and first class, $125 or 12,500 miles.
Generally, I would recommend paying cash for these infant fees, since the value per mile would only be $.01. However, if you are looking to cover as much of your trip as possible with your miles, Air Canada is one of the better options when traveling with a lap child.
Make sure that if you are traveling with a lap child that you always book a round-trip ticket. The lap child fee is per ticket, so if you book 2 one-way tickets you’ll end up paying this fee twice.
Hot Tip: When going to multiple destinations, you may want to rent a car to save time. You can use basic cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to get car rental insurance as well as roadside assistance.
31. Short-Haul Flights (British Airways Avios)
British Airways has always offered some great deals, especially for short-haul flights. Amex Membership Rewards has a transfer ratio of 1:1 which makes transferring them to British Airways a solid choice.
For short-haul flight deals, try searching for flights up to 650 miles outside of the U.S. These flights will only cost you 6,000 Avios each way! This can present incredible value in areas of the world where distances are short but flights are expensive, like Japan. For flights within North America, the price is 7,500 Avios.
Hot Tip: British Airways is notorious for having high fees attached to their flights, but fees are much lower when you redeem Avios for flights on American Airlines and Alaska Airways.
32. West Coast U.S. to Hawaii (British Airways Avios)
One-way, direct flights from the West Coast to Hawaii in economy class on Alaska Airlines or American Airlines will only cost you 13,000 British Airways Avios plus $5.10 in taxes and fees!
This might be the best economy class redemption from the continental U.S. to Hawaii.
33. East Coast U.S. to Europe (British Airways Avios)
You can get from the U.S. East Coast to Dublin on Aer Lingus for just 13,000 Avios off-peak with low surcharges.
In addition, you can transfer Membership Rewards points to Iberia Avios. If you ever book flights on Iberia, you will want to book with Iberia Avios, not British Airways Avios (even though you have the ability to book with both).
You can also transfer miles between British Airways’ and Iberia’s programs. In order to transfer, your account must be at least 90 days old, and you must have had some kind of points activity on your account (a transfer from American Express counts).
Some good one-way business class redemptions on Iberia to Europe are Chicago/Boston/New York to Madrid for 34,000 miles plus $581.70 in taxes and fees, or Miami to Madrid for 42,500 miles plus $581.70 in taxes and fees.
If flying on the highly competitive Los Angeles to Madrid route, you’ll shell out 62,500 Avios plus $581.70 in taxes and fees.
34. Miami to Lima, Peru (British Airways Avios)
If you’re looking to venture somewhere other than Europe, a flight from Miami to Lima, Peru is a great option.
This award only costs 13,000 British Airways Avios plus $21 each way in economy; that’s not much more than it would cost to fly within the U.S.!
35. Low Fees (British Airways Avios)
British Airways doesn’t charge a fee for booking last-minute travel. This means that if you don’t have status with another airline, you have a good option to book last-minute travel for no fees.
As far as cancellation fees go, they’re also pretty reasonable. If booking from the U.S., your cancellation fee will cost $55 per person per ticket.
36. Fly From Santiago to Easter Island (British Airways Avios)
Getting to Easter Island is not cheap; round-trip flights start around $850. Rather than dropping some serious cash, you can use only 13,000 Avios plus $9.04 in taxes and fees to fly from Santiago to Easter Island.
37. Fly From Los Angeles to Tokyo — Maybe Even in First Class! (British Airways Avios)
Flying from Los Angeles to Tokyo on Japan Airlines puts you right in the 25,750 Avios distance bracket. If you want to fly the same route in first class, it will set you back 103,000 Avios plus $160.90 in taxes and fees each way.
Business class could be a happy medium for this itinerary, and would cost 77,250 Avios plus $160.90.
Need help booking? See our step-by-step guides for booking Japan Airlines first class and business class.
Hot Tip: Chase Ultimate Rewards also partners with British Airways and transfers at a 1:1 ratio.
38. Fly British Airways First Class With a Companion by Using Miles and the Travel Together Ticket (British Airways Avios)
If your goal is to use your miles to fly first class, be prepared to pay a cash surcharge — though you’ll still be saving a ton over the cost of a cash ticket.
Flying British Airways first class from Chicago to London will cost you as little as 68,000 British Airways Avios during off-peak dates, and as much as 80,000 Avios during peak dates (plus a little over $700-$1,000 in taxes and surcharges in each direction).
You can stretch your Avios even further with a Travel Together Ticket. The Travel Together Ticket is earned through spending $30,000 in a year on the British Airways Visa Signature® Card.
This ticket will give you a second seat for a companion on the same flight in the same cabin when you book a reward flight on a British Airways mainline flight originating in and returning to the United States…meaning that you will need to book a round-trip ticket.
You will still need to pay the taxes and fees on the companion ticket as well as your own, but you’re only paying points for 1 person! The travel together ticket (once earned) is good for 2 years, meaning you’ll need to book your departure date within 2 years of receiving it.
Need Help Booking? Read our guide to help you book British Airways First Class using Points!
39. Fly Cathay Pacific First Class (British Airways Avios)
Want a chance to experience Cathay Pacific on a route that won’t break the bank? Check out a flight from Bangkok to Hong Kong.
Even one-way flights in economy class tend to be quite expensive, but you can experience first class on this route for only 33,000 Avios and $40 in taxes and fees.
A business class redemption on the same route would cost 16,500 Avios — but why not splurge for first when it only costs a little bit extra?
Hot Tip: American Express occasionally offers bonuses of up to 40% when transferring points to British Airways. Wait for one of these to come up to get an even better deal on the awards listed above!
Need help booking? See our step-by-step guide for booking Cathay Pacific first class.
40. U.S. to Europe and North Africa (Alitalia MilleMiglia)
A flight from the U.S. to Europe or North Africa booked with Alitalia will only cost 50,000 miles round-trip in economy class or 80,000 miles round-trip in business class. Both classes of service present significant savings over a lot of other airline program offerings.
Remember that Alitalia’s partner award chart is much worse for redemptions than their own award chart. And unfortunately, Alitalia devalued their own award chart starting on March 1, 2019. This means that round-trip economy will cost 60,000 miles, while business will cost 140,000 miles.
Booking a flight with Alitalia miles transferred from Amex Membership Rewards is a great way to get to Italy, but there are many other options in Europe for the same number of miles if delicious pasta isn’t your thing.
Hot Tip: Alitalia is also a transfer partner of Marriott, so you can top up your Alitalia miles if you have a lot of extra Marriott Bonvoy points!
41. U.S. to Northern South America (Alitalia MilleMiglia)
Flying to northern South America on flights booked with Alitalia miles is an insane deal.
Seriously: it will cost you only 40,000 Alitalia miles to fly round-trip between the U.S. and countries like Peru and Colombia in economy class. Round-trip! Flights in business class will cost 80,000 miles round-trip.
42. U.S. to Southern South America (Alitalia MilleMiglia)
Getting a little further south costs more miles, but it’s still a pretty good deal. Flights from the U.S. to southern South American countries like Chile and Argentina cost 80,000 miles round-trip in economy class.
However, business class is not a great deal at all at 160,000 miles round-trip.
43. Fly Etihad With No Carrier-Imposed Surcharges (Aeroplan)
When looking at a lot of foreign carriers, you have to be careful about whether or not carrier-imposed surcharges are going to be passed on when booking an award ticket. Thanks to Etihad’s partnership with Air Canada’s Aeroplan program, you don’t need to worry about that.
Use your Aeroplan points, you can fly from New York to Abu Dhabi for 85,000 miles in business class, or 120,000 in first class. Similarly, on a shorter trip between London and Abu Dhabi, you can fly in business class for 45,000 miles and first class for 65,000 miles.
Need help booking? Give our step-by-step instructions on how to book Etihad business class a look!
Hot Tip: Use cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express to get rental car elite status with Avis, Hertz, and National.
44. East Coast to Europe With 4 Stopovers (Asia Miles)
One of the most amazing things about the Asia Miles award program is the ability to make 4 stopovers on a round-trip award.
On flights from the East Coast, you should be able to fly in economy class for 70,000 points round-trip, or business class for 110,000 points round-trip. An example routing you might want to consider is New York City (JFK) – Madrid (MAD) – London (LHR) – Berlin (BER) – Helsinki (HEL) – New York City (JFK).
You will want to be careful who you fly with to avoid fuel surcharges, but flights on Aer Lingus to Europe will generally have low surcharges.
Asia Miles has 2 award charts: one especially for Cathay and another for all other Oneworld flights. The number of partners you are flying will dictate the number of stops you are allowed to make.
If using the Cathay chart, you are allowed to fly Cathay Pacific and 1 other partner; and you can make 2 stopovers on a round-trip booking or 1 stopover on a one-way booking.
However, if you are not flying on Cathay at all, or are flying 2+ different partners, you will want to reference the Oneworld chart. When booking from the Oneworld chart, you are allowed 4 stopovers and 2 open jaws on a round-trip booking.
You have the option to redeem online with Cathay Pacific, British Airways, and Qantas. Call to speak to an agent for other airlines, or fill out the online form to request airline award bookings.
Keep in mind that you will want to focus on avoiding carrier-imposed surcharges when making these bookings. In addition to flying Aer Lingus and Air Berlin, you should also consider flights on LATAM, American Airlines (within the Americas), and Air New Zealand.
Other partners will likely have carrier-imposed surcharges — but depending on the miles you are spending and the amount of the surcharge, it could still be a good deal.
45. Book One of the Few Remaining Round-The-World Trips (Aeromexico)
There’s very little information available about AeroMexico’s award program, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some sweet deals to be had by using their miles! Award prices were increased in mid-2015, but even so, there’s some value in the program.
AeroMexico’s miles currency is actually called Club Premier Points. The units are “km” (presumably for kilometers), so we’re going to refer to them as “km.”
An award redemption that’s still worth considering is AeroMexico’s Go Round The World Pass. For 224,000 km or 352,000 km, you can fly around the world in economy class or business class, respectively, making up to 15 stopovers (5 per continent) along the way.
You will need to be careful about fuel surcharges when booking this award, but if you’re able to make use of all or most of the 15 stops, you can get some serious value from this pass in either class of service.
Just for fun, here’s a fabulous, extreme routing that uses all 15 stopovers:
- Honolulu (HNL) – Los Angeles (LAX) on Delta Air Lines
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Atlanta (ATL) on Delta Air Lines
- Atlanta (ATL) – New York City (JFK) on Delta Air Lines
- New York City (JFK) – Paris (CDG) on Air France
- Paris (CDG) – Amsterdam (AMS) on KLM
- Amsterdam (AMS) – Rome (FCO) on Alitalia
- Rome (FCO) – Johannesburg (JNB) on Alitalia
- Johannesburg (JNB) – Nairobi (NBO) on Kenya Airways
- Nairobi (NBO) – Dubai (DXB) on Kenya Airways
- Dubai (DXB) – Kunming (KMG) on China Eastern Airlines
- Kunming (KMG) – Bangkok (BKK) on China Eastern Airlines
- Bangkok (BKK) – Jakarta (CGK) on Garuda Indonesia Airlines
- Jakarta (CGK) – Hong Kong (HKG) on China Airlines
- Hong Kong (HKG) – Seoul (ICN) on Korean Air
- Seoul (ICN) – Sydney (SYD) on Korean Air
- Sydney (SYD) – Los Angeles (LAX) on Delta Air Lines
46. Fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class to or From Europe (SkyMiles)
Delta’s award chart has gotten a little tricky over the past year or so, mainly because they don’t actually publish an award chart anymore. This makes it difficult to know whether or not you’re getting a good price on an award you are planning to book.
If transferring Amex points to Delta, one award you’ll definitely want to consider is flying Virgin Atlantic in Upper Class to or from Europe for 85,000 Delta miles.
It’s better to fly back to the U.S. on Virgin Atlantic because you will get access to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London Heathrow.
Need Help Booking? Check out our step-by-step guide to booking Virgin Atlantic Upper Class!
47. Fly Chinese Airlines in Business Class (SkyMiles)
Many of the Chinese airlines are praised for their business class products. When using your Delta miles, you have the ability to book both China Eastern and China Airlines in business class for 85,000 SkyMiles in each direction.
While both airlines are good, China Airlines is generally considered to be slightly superior. Assuming there is availability to your destination, you should consider booking China Airlines over China Eastern.
Don’t forget you can also fly Delta One to Asia for only 80,000 SkyMiles.
Need some help? Use our Delta award flight booking guide to simplify the process.
Hot Tip: Marriott also partners with Delta Air Lines, and there are many ways to earn lots of Marriott points. American Express Membership Rewards points also transfer to Delta.
48. Short Flights Within the U.S. (SkyMiles)
All of the airlines seem to be getting in on the low-mileage short flights game. Delta now charges only 7,000 SkyMiles for select short flights within the U.S., like San Francisco to Seattle. These redemptions can be a great deal, especially if there is availability at the last minute when flight prices tend to be higher.
A month out, flight prices for SFO to SEA are currently only $89 on select days, making the redemption not as good. Since Delta’s award pricing is so variable, it always makes sense to compare the award price to the cash price on any day you are looking at flying.
When considering transferring your Amex Membership Rewards points to Delta, there is something else you need to consider: American Express charges a small fee to transfer Membership Rewards to Delta SkyMiles. The fee isn’t huge: only 0.06 cents per point up to a maximum of $99 when you are transferring to any U.S. domestic airline rewards program, including Delta.
If Delta has award availability on a flight you want, this fee probably shouldn’t be enough to stop you from transferring your miles and booking the ticket, but it’s something to be aware of nonetheless.
49. Book Cheap Flights to Europe on Brussels Airlines (Etihad)
Etihad isn’t part of an airline alliance, but they do have a lot of different airline partners. They also have different award charts for each partner.
One very important partner you need to be aware of is Brussels Airlines. Each route you are allowed to fly is listed in this chart with the pricing for one-way bookings.
A round-trip economy class booking from New York to Brussels will cost 54,000 miles, and round-trip business class will cost 88,000 miles. Availability is tough to find, but it is there; if you can book it, this can be a great redemption. Any of the Brussels Airlines flights are worth booking with Etihad miles.
50. Access American Airlines Business and First Class Pre-Devaluation Prices to Some Destinations (Etihad)
American Airlines significantly devalued their business and first class prices earlier this year, but you can still get access to these prices by using Etihad miles.
Etihad has a different award chart for each airline, but as long as you are redeeming for only American Airlines flights, there are some great values to be found:
- Europe (50,000 in business, 62,500 in first)
- Asia 1 (50,000 in business, 62,500 in first)
- Asia 2 (55,000 in business, 67,500 in first)
- South Pacific (62,500 in business, 67,500 in first)
Hot Tip: Need Help Booking? See our step-by-step instructions on booking American Airlines first class.
51. Fly From Prague to Seoul in Czech Airlines Business Class (Etihad)
Etihad has a few absolutely crazy low prices on their award charts, and this is one of them.
You can fly in business class on Czech Airlines from Prague to Seoul for a crazy 25,610 miles. That’s less than most airlines would charge you to fly in economy!
52. Fly to Casablanca With Royal Air Maroc (Etihad)
Etihad even has a combination of distance-based and zone-based award charts depending on which partner you’re looking to book with. When redeeming Etihad miles for flights on Royal Air Maroc, you’ll be looking at a distance-based award chart.
A flight from New York to Casablanca would fall into the longest flight category (2,001+ miles) and would cost just 22,000 miles one-way in economy class or 44,000 miles one-way in business class.
Hot Tip: Marriott Bonvoy and Citi ThankYou Rewards also partner with Etihad. Use cards like the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, or the Citi Premier℠ Card to earn more points for your award.
53. Travel With an Infant (Etihad)
Etihad is another airline on which traveling with an infant lap child is reasonable — they only charge 10% of the mileage cost of the ticket for your infant to travel on your lap.
For example, if you’re thinking about booking the Brussels Airlines business class flight for 44,000 Etihad miles from JFK to BRU, you would only need to budget an extra 4,400 miles to book a lap child ticket.
54. Fly Lufthansa First Class Without Surcharges to Europe (87,000 Miles)
This is a stunning redemption, and flying Lufthansa without surcharges at reasonable rates is often difficult. Lufthansa first class awards are almost never available more than 15 days in advance to partners, so you’ll have to book pretty close to departure.
Luckily, LifeMiles doesn’t assess any close-in booking fees! Avianca LifeMiles provides the most affordable way to fly on Lufthansa first class from the U.S. to Europe without paying ~$600 in fuel surcharges each way.
First class from the U.S. to Europe will cost you just 87,000 LifeMiles + $31 in taxes and fees! Here are some great example routes you can take:
- Los Angeles (LAX) to Frankfurt (FRA) – availability is tough
- Houston George Bush (IAH) to Frankfurt (FRA) – availability is tough
- San Francisco (SFO) to Munich (MUC) – availability is sporadic
- Dallas Forth-Worth (DFW) to Frankfurt (FRA) – good availability
- Washington, D.C. (IAD) to Frankfurt (FRA) – good availability
- New York City (JFK) to Frankfurt (FRA) – good availability
If Europe is on your list, we’ve written an extensive guide on flying there with points and miles.
Hot Tip: Need help booking? Check out our step-by-step guide for booking Lufthansa first class!
55. Fly Transcontinental Business Class in the U.S. on United Airlines (25,000 Miles)
Another great sweet spot has to do with the recent surprise announcement by United Airlines that they will fly the 787-10 between Newark and Los Angeles/San Francisco (LAX/SFO) starting in early 2019.
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: Twice daily from February 14, 2019, up to 3 times daily from March 8, 2019
- Newark to Los Angeles: Once daily from January 7, 2019, up to 2 times daily from February 14, 2019
Trying United Polaris across the U.S. will set you back only 25,000 miles each way!
56. Avianca Promo Awards
Avianca Vuela will routinely run promo awards for different destinations all around the world. There’s some solid opportunity to eke extra value from your LifeMiles due to the discounts offered here.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to read carefully and be sure to book the awards when the sale is actually occurring. The promo awards are typically only valid if booked within a short window of time (2-3 weeks).
Some example promos include:
- New York City (JFK) – Seoul-Incheon (ICN): Round-trip for 144,000 miles in Asiana Airlines first class (regular price = 180,000)
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Beijing (PEK): Round-trip for 144,000 miles in Air China first class (regular price = 180,000)
- Seattle (SEA) – Taipei (TPE): Round-trip for 120,000 miles in EVA Air business class (regular price = 150,000)
- San Francisco (SFO) – Taipei (TPE): Round-trip for 120,000 miles in EVA Air business class (regular price = 150,000)
57. East Coast to Dubai Round-trip on Emirates: Economy for 80,000 Points or Business for 168,000 Points (Qantas)
Emirates is known to have one of the best economy products and a fantastic business class. They are currently not in an alliance and only partner with a handful of airlines, which makes these award redemptions a little tougher to snag.
There are several East Coast cities in this points range that fly direct to Dubai, including Boston (BOS), New York (JFK), and Toronto (YYZ). For Emirates award flights, you should reference the first award chart; since the one-way distance is less than 7,000 flown miles, Zone 7 pricing applies.
Need Help Booking? Read our guide on how to book Emirates business class using points.
58. Spend 3 Nights at a Category 1 Hotel (Hilton Honors)
Up until this point, we have only talked about American Express airline transfer partners, but you’ll also have access to booking hotels by making use of their hotel transfer partners.
Generally, you won’t get as much value from your Membership Rewards points by booking a hotel compared with a flight, but there are still some deals worth considering if you really need a hotel stay.
For example, one good option is booking a Category 1 Hilton hotel like the Hampton Inn in Florence, Alabama.
With Membership Rewards, you can transfer 10,000 points to get 15,000 Honors points good for 3 nights at a Category 1 hotel. That’s 5,000 points per night — an exceptional deal! [Note that Hilton recently removed their “category” award chart from their website.]
Your options are a little more limited with Category 1 hotels than Category 2, but you’ll still have options domestically and internationally. So how about a stay at the Hilton in Alexandria, Egypt or the DoubleTree by Hilton in Anhui, Suzhou?
Hot Tip: Use The Amex Platinum to get complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status! You can also check out the various Hilton credit cards to find more ways to earn a bunch of Hilton Honors points, such as the Hilton Honors American Express Card.
59. Book Great Rates at Hotels in Italy, Sweden, or Roatan (Choice Hotels)
Membership Rewards points can be transferred to Choice Privileges at a 1:1 ratio, making it easy to find excellent hotel redemptions in Europe. For example, you can stay in Italy, Sweden, and other countries in Europe starting at 8,000 points per night. During peak season, these hotels can easily cost hundreds of euros per night.
Here are some of the best redemptions for Choice Hotels award stays:
- 1 night at the Clarion Suites Roatan on the island of Roatan, Honduras is 12,000-16,000 points transferred to Choice Hotels points
- 1 night in a hotel in downtown Venice or Rome, Italy is 10,000-25,000 points transferred to Choice Hotels points
- 1 night in a hotel in downtown Stockholm, Sweden is 10,000 points transferred to Choice Hotels points
- 1 night in a hotel in downtown Malmö, Sweden is 8,000 points transferred to Choice Hotels points
Hot Tip: You can also earn lots of Choice Privileges points by using the Barclays Choice Privileges® Visa Signature® Card.
How to Transfer Your American Express Membership Points to Transfer Partners
Step 1: Navigate to the American Express website and log in to your account.
Step 2: Select a credit card account that earns Membership Rewards points.
This might be the American Express® Gold Card or The Amex Platinum, among others.
Cards like the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card and the Hilton Honors American Express Card don’t earn Membership Rewards.
Step 3: On the top right-hand side, choose “Rewards.” On the next page, choose “Transfer Points” from the drop-down menu.
Step 4: Choose your desired airline or hotel partner. If you have not already linked the selected airline loyalty program account number, you will do so now.
Step 5: Once your account is linked, choose how many points you would like to transfer. Generally, you are required to transfer in chunks of 1,000 points. You will be required to verify you are the cardholder by entering your 4-digit card ID and your 3-digit security code (both can be found on your card).
Step 6: After entering the number of miles you need, you’ll be taken to a confirmation page to confirm all of your information.
Hot Tip: All transfers are final and cannot be reversed, so make sure to double-check that everything is correct!
The above list outlines your best ways to redeem Membership Rewards points for air travel and hotel stays. There are a lot of options to choose from in terms of the partner airlines and hotels, but only some of these will maximize your redemption value!
With some calculated Membership Rewards transfers, you can fly Singapore Suites to experience their famous double bed, or get 4 stopovers in great world cities on your flight to Europe. Use your imagination!
To maximize the points you get for any flights you must purchase to take advantage of these deals, the Amex Gold Card is a great option — you’ll earn 3x points for flights purchased directly through the airlines or on amextravel.com. There are also many different Membership Rewards credit cards to choose from.