39 Ways to Maximize American Express Membership Rewards Points

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Want travel flexibility with your rewards points? If so, you will want to accrue transferable points. American Express (Amex is a partner) Membership Rewards points are some of the best points that can be transferred out to airlines and hotel loyalty partners.  Understanding how your American Express Membership Rewards points work is very important if you want to gain maximum value for the points you’ve earned, so today we’re giving you 39 ways to redeem your Amex MR points.

In addition to transferring your American Express Membership Rewards points to travel partners, you can use the traditional method of cashing them out to approved partners for shopping, gift cards, Ticketmaster and even Uber.  Your best bet in getting the highest value however, is to transfer your Amex Membership Rewards points to select hotels and airlines, which we will outline for you here.

You can earn American Express Membership Rewards points with these Amex credit cards:

  • Platinum Card from American Express
  • Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
  • Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card
  • Amex EveryDay Credit Card
  • Mercedes-Benz Credit Card from American Express

Check out details below for some great ways you can capitalize on your membership rewards and enjoy travel to some pretty amazing places while you do it.  Also be sure to check your American Express Membership Rewards points website where you can look for updates and details regarding bonuses and promotional offers.  When these bonuses are accessible, you can gain an even higher yield for your points.  Conducting your research ahead of time will save you lots of miles and money!

Contents

Amex Membership Rewards: Hotel Transfer Partners

hotelshotel-partners

American Express has three hotel transfer partners.  Hilton Honors currently has the highest value for your transfer points as every 1,000 Amex points = 1,500 Hilton HHonors Points.  While booking a hotel with your Amex points will not yield the greatest value, it is something to consider, particularly if you don’t fly often.

Amex Membership Rewards: Airline Transfer Partners

airlines american express transfer partners

Amex Membership Rewards Transfer Partners

There are lots of options when transferring your Amex Membership Rewards points to their airline loyalty partners.  Here we have listed the transfer ratios for you.  Check back on your Amex Membership Rewards site for changes and promotions.  When booking flights, your best value for points transfer is with AeroMexico, in which case 1,000 Amex points = 1,600 Premier Points.

39 Specific Ways to Maximize American Express Membership Rewards Points

china

Use your Amex Membership Rewards to transfer points to approved partners and travel to nations throughout Asia.

The most important thing you can do before utilizing your Amex Membership Rewards points is to do your research.  Look for deals and offers online that will yield the best bang for your buck.  Here we’ve listed really great options for you to take into consideration.  Of course, this is not a comprehensive compilation, as rewards programs are constantly changing and adding bonuses so their members can compete in a global market.  Still, you might see some appealing offers here that you can capitalize on and get the best value for your points.

 

  1. Spend 3 nights at a category 1 hotel with Hilton Honors

Booking a hotel using your Amex Membership Rewards points will not provide you with as much value as a flight will.  However, there are some good options to consider, especially if you have no intentions of using your points for a flight.  When you transfer your membership rewards points you can get a three night stay at a category 1 hotel for a low 5,000 points per night.  There are currently 10 options for a category 1 hotel in Turkey alone as well as some category 1 hotel options in other cities around the world.

choice

  1. Book incredible rates at hotels in Europe with Choice Hotels

If you transfer your Amex Membership Rewards points to Choice Privileges Rewards, your transfer ratio is 1:1.  This makes it incredibly easy to find great hotel redemptions in Europe, and for a good price.  There are multiple options available to you through Choice Hotels including stays in Italy and Sweden that start at just 8,000 points per night.  Check back frequently for updates and offers for a stay in cities all over Europe.

aeromexico

  1. Book AeroMexico’s Go Round The World Pass

If you’re up for a round-the-world-trip, AeroMexico offers a sweet deal with their miles program.  You can redeem 224,000 km to fly around the globe in economy with up to 15 stopovers along your trip (there’s a five stop limit per continent). You’ll need to keep in mind that there will be fuel surcharges when you use this award redemption, but the value of a 15-stop flight is a rare jewel these days.  At a transfer ration of 1:1.6 , this is a steal.

aeroplan american express transfer partner

  1. Fly from the United States to Western Europe with Aeroplan

You can snag a round-trip flight in economy to Western Europe from the U.S. for only 60,000 miles with Air Canada.  This is similarly priced as other competitors, but you’ll also be eligible for 2 stopovers when you use Aeroplan.

  1. Book Aeroplan’s cheap short haul flight on Air Canada

Flights within Canada on Air Canada are often fairly expensive if you’re paying with cash.  You can book a short haul flight with Aeroplan rewards for just 15,000 miles round-trip. This includes flights on Air Canada Express, Air Canada and other partners that fly domestically.

  1. Use Aeroplan miles to travel with an infant child

If you’ve traveled by plane with an infant child, you know that the cost can vary drastically between airlines.  While some will only charge 10% of your ticket cost, others add additional fees and ticket costs that get quite expensive.  If you fly with Air Canada, you’ll only play $125 for a first class ticket which is 12,500 miles.  As far as using your Amex Membership Rewards points, Air Canada is a better option for using your miles to travel with an infant on your lap.

delta airlines american express membership rewards transfer partner

  1. Fly AirFrance business class when you book in advance with Delta SkyMiles

Use your SkyMiles reward transfer to book a flight with Air France in business class.  You’ll have to book at least 331 days in advance.  If you opt to fly Air France to Europe from the U.S., your best bet in getting a business class seat is to book at least 306-331 days before your departure date.

air-france

  1. Fly to Hawaii from the continental U.S. on Delta with AirFrance’s loyalty program

Flying Blue is a loyalty program for Air France.  You can redeem your Amex Membership Rewards points for a reasonably priced ticket from the continental U.S. to Hawaii using just 30,000 miles.  When booking this round-trip flight, you’ll also have less than $10 in fees.  This is an especially great deal if you’re flying from the East

  1. Enjoy AirFrance’s Flying Blue promo awards for huge savings

Throughout the year, Flying Blue has Promo Awards that offer special pricing on flights for economy and business class tickets.  These promotions range from 25% to 50% off tickets from Europe to specific cities all over the world.   If you book a flight for 50% off you can fly round-trip for 25,000 miles in economy or 50,000 miles in business class.  You need to keep in mind that your surcharges on flights like these have a tendency to be higher but the promo deal compensates for that, making this a great option to consider.

  1. Book a flight to the Caribbean from the U.S. with Flying Blue miles

You can save a 5,000+ miles on a flight from the United States to the Caribbean when you choose Air France’s Flying Blue miles program over most American airline competitors.   A round-trip flight will only cost 30,000 miles if you fly in economy class with Flying Blue.

alitalia

  1. Fly from U.S. to South America with Alitalia

If you want to travel from the U.S. to the southern part of South America, there is a great deal to consider through Alitalia.  You can head to Argentina or Chile with a round-trip economy ticket that costs just 50,000 miles.  Business class seats for the same flight will cost you 75,000 miles, which is a great deal.

  1. Book a trip to Europe from the U.S. with Alitalia

Travel to Europe from the United States is fairly common, so don’t settle for an expensive ticket.  Finding a good price for your ticket is easy when you transfer your Amex Membership Rewards points through Alitalia.  You can fly round-trip in economy for just 50,000 miles or in business for 80,000 miles.  If you’ve always wanted to eat genuine Spanish food or see the sights of Rome, this is a great way to do it!

ana

  1. Travel to Southern South America from the U.S. with All Nippon Airways

Another great option for reasonable travel to the southern part of South America from the United States is with All Nippon Airways.  While most award charts consider South America to be two regions, ANA considers it to be one region.  This will save you money when booking flights to countries like Uruguay, Chile or Argentina.  On a round-trip flight with United, you’d spend 60,000 miles to travel in economy, but with ANA you’d save an additional 10,000 miles for the same trip!

  1. Fly All Nippon Airways round-trip to Japan

Use your Amex Membership Rewards by transferring to ANA for a flight to Japan.  In this particular instance, you can fly round-trip in business class for just 85,000 miles during peak season.  Those rates go down even further during slow season (January, February and April). If you prefer to fly economy, you will only use 40,000 miles during slow season and that’s 10,000 miles less than you’ll spend on flights to Japan with other partners.

  1. Travel from North America to Asia Zone 1 via All Nippon Airways Mileage Club

ANA includes China, Guam, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the Philippines  in the category of “Asia Zone 1.”  If you want to book a round-trip business class ticket, you’ll only use 80,000 miles during low season.  You can save even more when you fly economy and only use 45,000 miles for a round-trip flight.

  1. Fly from North America to Asia Zone 2 via All Nippon Airways Mileage Club

Asia Zone 2 includes India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Myanmar, according to All Nippon Airways.  You can also travel to Uzbekistan, Pakistan and Kazakhstan using APA here as well.  Depending on where you’re travel to in Asia Zone 2, your fares can be quite expensive.  Using your Amex Membership Rewards points might be a much better option for a great value.  A round-trip business class ticket will cost only 100,000 miles during the low season and nearly half that at 55,000 miles in economy.

asia

  1. Travel from the U.S. East Coast to Europe with Asia Miles

Asia Miles gives a huge incentive to customers by offering up to four stopovers on a round-trip award ticket.  If you’re flying from the United States East Coast, you could book a trip in economy class for 60,000 points round-trip.  Hit multiple cities on your travels and get a great value for your miles.

  1. Fly First Class from New York to Vancouver with Asia Miles

When looking at the best options of redemption for your Amex Membership Rewards points, flying with Asia Miles is a good choice.  With Asia Miles you can get from New York to Vancouver in a first-class seat with Cathay Pacific.  At only 35,000 miles each way, this is a fabulous way to affordably check out first-class and travel to an amazingly beautiful place on the planet.

british

  1. Book a short-haul flight with British Airways

Unfortunately, the current transfer ratio from Amex Membership Rewards points to British Airways is only a 1.25:1 ratio.  While this change is less than its previous 1:1 ratio, there are still great deals to consider.  Short-haul flights, for example, will cost 5,625 Amex Membership Rewards points when you’re flying less than 650 miles outside the United States.

  1. Go to Europe from the United States East Coast via British Airways

Transfer your points to Avios through British Airways and book a flight from the East Coast to Europe on Air Berlin.  There are a few options available that will only cost 20,000 Avios each way in economy class.  This is a particularly great choice because in addition to the low cost, Air Berlin generally has lower surcharges than many other competitors.

  1. First class flight from New York to Vancouver using British Airways Avios

Travel in Cathay first class from JFK, New York to Vancouver for a mere 37,500 Avios each way.  This is also an insane deal for you to consider if you need to travel to the Pacific Northwest. You can easily book a flight from Vancouver to Seattle and get from East Coast to West Coast on a budget.

  1. Travel from Miami to Lima with British Airways

A super inexpensive way to travel from Miami to Lima, Peru is via British Airway Avios with a cost of only 15,625 Amex Membership Rewards points.  This economy class award ticket is hardly more than you’d pay for a flight within the continental United States!

  1. Enjoy British Airways low fees for last minute travel

When you book a last minute flight with British Airways with their Avios program, you will not incur additional fees as with some other competitors.  Furthermore, if you have to cancel a flight last minute, you’ll only pay the cost of your taxes for the cancellation (up to $40).  If you aren’t sure about a particular flight, or you have to make last minute changes to your plans, British Airways is the way to go.

  1. Fly to Japan from L.A. California on British Airways

If you’re headed to Tokyo from Los Angeles, California, you can snag an economy class ticket for 31,250 Amex Membership Rewards points via Japan Airlines.  Even though the transfer from your Amex points to Avios is at a 1.25:1 ratio, this option is reasonable, especially considering that you’ll pay less than $40 in taxes for this flight.

 delta airlines amex mr transfer partners

  1. Use Delta’s SkyMiles to fly Chinese airlines in renown business class

Using Delta’s SkyMiles you have the option to book a China Eastern or China Airlines flight in business class.  These airlines have well-recognized business class options and in the case of transferring your Amex Membership Rewards points, they are reasonably priced.  For either airline, you can use 80,000 SkyMiles one way for your business class ticket.  As long as there is availability to your desired destination, China Eastern would the finer choice but in the long run, both are good selections.

  1. Book low-mileage flights within the U.S. using Delta’s SkyMiles program

Amex charges a minimal fee of 0.06 cents per point to transfer your Membership Rewards points to Delta’s SkyMiles program.  There is a maximum charge of $99 for a U.S. domestic airline.  Even with  this consideration, Delta offers great selections for short flights within the continental United States.  Depending on availability, you could find a flight for as low as 5,000 SkyMiles on specific flights.  You’ll want to check Delta’s pricing before booking your flight, as the cost of redemption for SkyMiles can change closer to the departure date.

etihad

  1. Snag crazy cheap flight to Europe with Etihad Airways

Brussels Airlines is a partner of Etihad Airways and offers insanely inexpensive flights to Europe.  A round-trip flight from New York to Brussels, for example, will only cost you 36,625 miles in business class.  You heard that right!  As you can imagine, these deals are often difficult to find. If there is availability, this is a top of the line savings to check out.

  1. Travel with an infant on Etihad

In addition to really sweet deals on Brussels Airlines, Etihad charges a mere 10% of the mileage cost for your infant to travel with you on your lap.  Especially on low-cost flights economy and business class tickets, you can travel with your small child for a very low cost.  That business class ticket from New York to Brussels would only cost you 3,663 miles for your infant ticket!

hawaiian

  1. Hop over to Hawaii from North America with Hawaiian Airlines

Since Hawaiian Airlines offers a 1:1 transfer ratio from your Amex Membership Rewards points, you can get a great deal on a flight.  Flying from North America to Hawaii will only cost you 20,000 miles one-way with the Coach SuperSaver award.  You can also upgrade your flight to the First Class Saver award if you call reservations at least 26 hours before your flight departure.  Snag this deal for only 25,000 miles and have points leftover for your hotel expenses while you’re there!

krisflyer american express membership rewards transfer partner

  1. Fly in top rated suites with Singapore Airlines

The Singapore KrisFlyer miles program is an incredible transfer opportunity for your Amex membership rewards points.  Singapore Airlines’ suites tickets are world famous for their first class luxury.  Suites feature a luxury double bed among other options and are relatively affordable in comparison to their counterparts.  There are first class suite tickets available as low as 25,000 miles.  Check out their award chart for other options and details.

  1. Travel on Singapore Airlines between continental U.S. and Hawaii

Another great option with Singapore Airlines is to redeem your KrisFlyer miles for a flight between the continental United States and Hawaii.  You have the option to fly all classes of service on Star Alliance Airlines.  Prices for a one-way trip range between 17,500 miles and 40,000 miles.

  1. Book an economy ticket on Star Alliance airlines from Europe to U.S. using KrisFlyer miles

You can book a flight from the United States to Europe for just 27,500 miles one-way on a Star Alliance member airline.  This is a savings of 2,500 miles in comparison with other competitors in the U.S. like Delta and American.  All of these savings really add up and make this a deal worth exploring!

  1. Fly to the Middle East or Northern Africa from the U.S. on Singapore Airlines

If you’re traveling for the United States to either the Middle East or North Africa, Singapore Airlines offers awesome prices.  Your Amex membership rewards can be transferred for KrisFlyer Miles on Star Alliance airlines, which includes EgyptAir, Ethiopian, Lufthansa, Swiss and United.  You can travel for 37,500 miles in economy, 57,500 miles in business or 75,000 miles in first class (one-way).

  1. Fly Singapore Airlines from the United States to Africa with KrisFlyer Miles

When you want to head to Central or South Africa, consider flying with Singapore Airlines.  Using your KrisFlyer transfer miles, you’ll pay 72,500 each way for a business class ticket.  This is a great savings in comparison to United’s cost of 80,000 miles each way for the same ticket with a Star Alliance partner flight.

  1. Use KrisFlyer Miles to travel Virgin America to Europe

When using KrisFlyer Miles through Singapore Airlines, another option is to fly via Virgin America to Europe.  This will cost even less than a Star Alliance flight.  Take a trip to Europe in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class for a mere 100,000 miles round-trip!  The availability on these flights is generally good and you’re guaranteed to save thousands of miles taking this route.

  1. Fly first class from Lufthansa to Europe with Singapore Airlines

If you’ve been interested in flying Lufthansa First Class, this is the best way to do it.  You will have some surcharges around 400 Euro, but even so, you’re overall cost is very competitive in the current market.  With your Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer Miles you’ll pay around 160,000 miles to fly round-trip.

virgin-atlantic

  1. Fly to Dubai from the U.S. with Virgin Atlantic

At a 1:1 transfer ratio, booking a flight with Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club is another great travel option.  For an economy class ticket, you’ll spend just 73,500 miles for a round-trip ticket from Boston, Chicago, or Washington D.C. to Dubai.  Whether your booking a flight for business, or just to enjoy the luxury shopping, modern architecture and incredible food, it’s a flight worth considering.

  1. Head to London from Atlanta using Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club miles

This is a trip worth taking, especially if you’re down with flying in economy class.  At a low cost of only 35,000 miles, you can travel round-trip in economy from Atlanta to London.  That’s an incredible steal.  A premium economy ticket will set you back 55,000 miles for the same trip, but is still a great choice to think about.  Keep in mind, there may be carrier imposed surcharges or other taxes and fees to budget for as well.

  1. Use Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club miles to travel to India from New York

A one-way ticket from New York to Delhi will cost a low 38,750 miles in economy class.  This is a really affordable option that won’t set you back 40,000+ miles in your Membership Rewards points.  Be sure to calculate your taxes and fees before booking your flight to get a better idea of the total ticket cost.

Frequently Asked Questions

Hawaii

Relax on the Hawaiian shores with a low-cost trip using your Amex Membership Rewards points.

What is the American Express Membership Rewards points program?

American Express provides its cardholders with an incentive program called Membership Rewards.  Each time you use your credit card for approved purchases, you earn rewards that can be cashed in for gift cards, shopping, travel, entertainment and more.  Through this program, you can use your points by making purchases on the Amex website, or you can opt to transfer your points to approved partners.  In the case of your Amex card, the highest value of redemption is on airline and hotels via partner redemption options.

Which American Express cards are eligible for American Express Membership Rewards points?

Apply for an Amex credit card and enjoy membership bonuses and special limited time offers.  As you can see below, there are quite a few options when it comes to the Membership Rewards program.  Cards that are eligible for membership rewards points include:

  • Amex EveryDay Credit Card – no annual fee card
  • Platinum Card from American Express – 5x on airfare booked directly from airlines and many other premium perks
  • Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express -3x on airfare booked directly with airlines
  • Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card
  • Mercedes-Benz Credit Card from American Express

How do I sign up for American Express Membership Rewards?

Once you’ve been approved for an Amex credit card, you are automatically enrolled in the Membership Rewards program.  Many cards provide a sign-up bonus or limited time offer just for signing up for the card!  You begin to accumulate additional points as soon as you use your card.  See the terms and conditions for each specific card for details regarding how to earn extra points on your daily purchases.

Can I easily check my Membership Rewards account?

After you create a unique username and password for your American Express card account, you can log in easily to check the status of your Membership Rewards points.  The Point Summary will show you how many points you have earned and are eligible to redeem.

Do my American Express Membership Rewards points expire?

Your American Express Membership Rewards points have no expiration date as long as your credit card is active. However, you do need to carefully read the program terms, as they may be forfeited as described.

What are Amex Membership Rewards pending points?

Each month you will earn points as you spend money with your card.  Before the end of the billing cycle, points will show on your statement as pending.  When a full billing cycle has ended and you pay your bill, they will become redeemable points in your account.

How do I transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to approved partners?

Visit your American Express Membership Rewards website to transfer your points to a loyalty program.  Click the Get Started link under the Transfer Points tab.

how-to-use-points

Visit your membership rewards website to transfer points to an approved partner.

You’ll be redirected to the page where you can select your preferred method of transfer.  Scroll down to the hotel or airline of your choice and click on the link provided.

points-transfer

Select your preferred method of points transfer and redeem with an approved provider.

When you arrive at the page for your transfer, you’ll need to enter in the amount of Amex Membership Rewards points you’d like to transfer.  Your redeemable transfer points will show up in the box below.   You’ll need to read and accept the terms and conditions before logging in to continue the process.

log-in-to-continue

Log in to transfer your Membership Rewards points.

Once you’ve logged in and transferred your points, be aware that you cannot reverse the decision.  Carefully look over your selection to make sure it is correct before submitting the request.  Also, be sure to check back frequently for available offers that will get you even more bang for your buck.  Promotions will be added throughout the year and may provide you an incredible deal that you just can’t pass up.

Enjoy the journey!

london

Visit London and other cities throughout Europe for a fraction of a ticket price when you transfer your Amex Membership Rewards points.

We’d love to hear back about your travel plans and how much you saved using your Amex Membership Rewards points. If you find another incredible deal not listed here, let us know.

Enjoy redeeming your points and exploring the big, beautiful world in which we live!

Geoff Whitmore

The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

39 Ways to Maximize American Express Membership Rewards Points
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About the Author

Geoff Whitmore
Geoff Whitmore is lead traveler/writer at noobtraveler.com, a blog dedicated to educating its readers on credit cards, reward points, and and cost-saving travel techniques. The blog particularly focuses on new travelers (or as they like to call them, “Noobs”), and it teaches its readers how to save BIG. All the while, the site maintains a humorous writing style that is both fun and informative.

1 Comment on "39 Ways to Maximize American Express Membership Rewards Points"

  1. on your example of traveling from the US to Southern South America using 75K Millemiglia miles in business class…. what carrier would that be on? Delta? How do you find award availability

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