American Express (Amex) Membership Rewards Guide: Transfer Partners & How To Transfer Points

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American Express Membership Rewards points are one of the most (if not the most) valuable points out there. If you’re just getting started with miles and points, Membership Reward points provide a great opportunity to expand your horizon as the program has access to a variety of partners (more on that below).

Once you are apply, are approved, and receive your shiny new Amex card, the next step is understanding WHO you can transfer your points to and HOW to do it. After reading this guide you’ll be ready to book your bucket list getaway!

EARNING MEMBERSHIP REWARDS

American Express has several personal and business credit cards that allow you to earn Membership Reward points. Let’s take a look…

American Express Personal Cards:

The Platinum Card from American Express [READ MORE] – Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards Points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months of Card Membership. While the annual fee is high the card comes with lots of benefits that help negate the annual fee.
The American Express Gold Card [READ MORE] – Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
The Amex Express Green Card [READ MORE] – Earn 30,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card [READ MORE] – Earn 20,000 Membership Rewards points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
Amex EveryDay Credit Card [READ MORE] – Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months of Card Membership.

American Express Business Cards:

The Business Platinum Card from American Express [READ MORE] – Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
The American Express Business Gold Card [READ MORE] – Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express [READ MORE] – Earn 2X Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 in purchases per year (1X thereafter). This no-annual fee card offers strong rewards for small businesses. No other card matches it for base earning on up to the first $50,000 per year.
The Business Green Rewards Card [READ MORE] – Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards you they spend $3,000 on qualifying purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

AMERICAN EXPRESS TRANSFER PARTNERS

The Membership Rewards program currently has 19 airline transfer partners. The great thing about having so many airline partners is not only do you have the direct Amex airline transfer partners (listed below), but you’ll get access to indirect partners through the airline alliances. For example, you can transfer Amex points to:

  • Delta Air Lines and book award flights on Air France / KLM (SkyTeam Alliance)
  • Singapore Airlines and book award flights on United Airlines (Star Alliance)
  • British Airways and book award flights on American Airlines (Oneworld Alliance)

American Express Airline Transfer Partners

American Express Airline
Transfer Partner
Transfer Ratio
(Amex to Airline)
Transfer Time
Aer Lingus1:1Instant
AeroMexico1:1.6~24 hours
Air Canada1:1Instant
Air France / KLM1:1Instant
Alitalia1:1Instant
ANA1:1~48 hours
Avianca1:1Instant
British Airways1:1Instant
Cathay Pacific1:1~48 hours
Delta1:1Instant
El Al1000:20Instant
Emirates1:1Instant
Etihad1:1Instant
Hawaiian Airlines1:1Instant
Iberia1:1~48 hours
JetBlue250:200Instant
Qantas1:1Instant
Singapore Airlines1:1~24 hours
Virgin Atlantic1:1Instant

Membership Rewards can also be transferred to 3 hotel rewards programs.

American Express Hotel Transfer Partners

Chase Hotel Transfer PartnerTransfer Ratio
(Chase to Hotel)
Transfer Time
Choice Hotels1:1Instant
Hilton Hotels1:2Instant
Marriott Rewards1:1Instant

STEP-BY-STEP: TRANSFER POINTS TO PARTNERS

So, now that we know how to earn points (read: credit cards), and we know where we can transfer them to (read: travel partners), it’s time to transfer those points.

Step 1: Login to your American Express account and search for a box that contains your current points balance. It should look similar to the box below (and hopefully the balance is similar to the one I’ve given myself). 😉 Click on the “Explore Rewards” box and you will be taken to another page.

Step 2: The next page will contain a list of several options that you can do with your points, including “Transfer Points.”

After selecting the “Transfer Points” tab, click “View All.”

Step 3: On the next screen, you will see the list of Amex travel partners. Simply select “transfer points” under the program that interest you.

Note: If it is your first time visiting this page, you will have to link your frequent flyer accounts with Amex. If you do not have a frequent flyer / membership number to the 22 program listed above, I recommend you sign up today. It’s free and you’ll thank me later.

As an example, I selected Air Canada Aeroplan and was prompted on how many points I wanted to transfer.

Step 4: After successfully transferring your points, sign into the airline (or hotel program) where you transferred your points and book your award flight or award stay.

Step 5: Tag 1tattedpassport when you’re sitting in business class AND when you’re stuntin’ for the ‘gram in your bucket list destination.

FEES FOR TRANSFERRING AMEX POINTS

Of the major transferrable points currencies, Amex is the only one that charges to transfer points.

Amex Membership Rewards charges a federal excise tax for points transfers to US frequent flyer programs (which include Delta, Hawaiian, and JetBlue). That means non-US frequent flyer programs, as well as hotel programs, don’t have any fees.

For those programs with fees, the cost is 0.06 cents per transferred point, up to a maximum of $99. In other words, transferring 100,000 points would cost $60 (100,000 x .0006 = $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 I GET AROUND THESE FEES?

Again, with Amex having so many airline partners, you have access to all three major airline alliances and thus do not have to pay fees. I recommend read THIS again.

FINAL STAMP

American Express Reward points are extremely valuable because of their flexibility and should be a staple in your points-earning strategy. If you are just getting started with miles and points, Membership Rewards are a solid bet!

It’s worth noting that throughout the year, Membership Rewards has random transfer bonuses to specific partners. If you have a future redemption in mind, it may be worth transferring at that point because you’re paying even less for an award.

Here is a list of transfer bonuses that I’ve observed since 2017:

AMEX TRANSFER
PARTNER
TRANSFER
BONUS
END DATE
Virgin Atlantic30%07/01/19
Qantas20%06/30/19
Air France25%04/29/19
Avianca15%04/01/19
Hilton30%11/30/18
Aeromexico25%11/30/18
British Airways and Iberia40%11/15/18
Virgin Atlantic30%09/12/18
Air France25%06/15/18
Hilton Honors33%12/15/17
Virgin Atlantic30%11/30/17
Jet Blue25%11/30/17
British Airways or Iberia40%09/17/17
Hawaiian Airlines25%06/30/17
Jet Blue25%05/30/17
Virgin Atlantic30%05/30/17

With MembershipRewards, you’ll have lots of ways to earn and redeem your points. Before you know it, you’ll be taking a trip of a lifetime…and then doing it again…and again!

Do you have any questions about Membership Rewards?

RELATED ARTICLE: Chase Ultimate Rewards Guide: Transfer Partners & How to Transfer Points

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