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Perhaps one of the most mysterious aspects of credit card award travel is learning how to boost rewards with transfer partners — namely hotel and airfare accommodations. In most cases, transferring your rewards to travel partners provides a higher redemption value than redeeming rewards for statement credits, cash or gift cards.
The American Express Membership Rewards program is one of the most popular award travel ecosystems. It offers a large variety of transfer partners, and its network includes many popular airlines and hotels. If you have an eligible Amex credit card and want to stretch your points value further, redeeming your points through the Amex travel portal or for partner travel should be top of mind.
In this guide, we’ll go over all Amex transfer partners, some pros and cons of transferring points and how to maximize your rewards.
American Express airline partners
Amex’s airline partners typically offer transfers at a 1,000:1,000 (or 1:1) rate. However, many Amex airline partners have alliances that allow you to expand your flight options and, at times, boost the value of your points. It may take some time to connect the dots to find great deals, but if you’re flexible with your dates and destinations, there are plenty of deals that can get well over the 1:1 redemption ratio. And if you’re strategic about your redemptions, your Amex Membership Rewards points value could be 2.0 cents per point or more, according to our points and miles valuations guide.
For instance, you may not think you’d get much use out of transferring points to an airline like British Airways. However, you can use the British Airways Executive Club currency, called Avios, to book flights on all oneworld Alliance carriers. Unfortunately, using Avios on British Airways flights carries substantial fuel surcharges, making your points much less valuable with those flights.
However, if you focus on British Airways partner flights, you can score significant value due to the airline’s distance-based award chart. There are a number of U.S.-based short-haul flights where you may be able to get economy fares starting at just 6,000 points — whereas these same award flights on another airline could cost 20,000 points or more for the same destinations and dates. When you start looking at aspirational travel options like international flights in first or business class, you stand to earn even more value for your points.
Again, it might take a little time to make these connections and understand exactly how the alliances work, but you can garner significant discounts for flights once you get the hang of it.
Here’s the chart of Amex airline partners along with their transfer ratios:
|Airline partner||Transfer ratio||Transfer time|
|Aer Lingus||1,000:1,000||Up to 48 hours|
|AeroMexico||1,000:1,600||Up to 48 hours|
|Aeroplan||1,000:1,000||Up to 48 hours|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue||1,000:1,000||Up to 48 hours|
|ANA Mileage Club||1,000:1,000||Up to 4 days|
|Avianca LifeMiles||1,000:1,000||Up to 72 hours|
|British Airways Executive Club||1,000:1,000||Up to 48 hours|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||1,000:1,000||Up to 48 hours|
|Delta SkyMiles||1,000:1,000||Up to 48 hours|
|Emirates Skywards||1,000:1,000||Up to 48 hours|
|Etihad Guest||1,000:1,000||Up to 48 hours|
|Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles||1,000:1,000||Up to 48 hours|
|Iberia Plus||1,000:1,000||Up to 48 hours|
|JetBlue TrueBlue||250:200||Up to 48 hours|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||500:500||Up to 48 hours|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||1,000:1,000||Up to 48 hours|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1,000:1,000||Up to 48 hours|
Should you transfer Amex points to an airline partner?
For the most part, transferring Amex points to an airline partner will offer you more value. Here are some pros and cons to consider when transferring points:
- Get higher redemption values for your points
- Some alliance partners can expand route options and potentially boost points value
- Get great deals on first and business class award fares
- Blackout dates and limited availability apply
- Can take up to 48 hours (or longer) to transfer rewards to some transfer partner programs
- Transferring points from your Amex card to a loyalty program is not reversible
American Express hotel partners
Transferring your Amex rewards to hotel partners may not offer as much value as transferring rewards to airline partners, but it can still be a good use of your points (under the right circumstances), and you may find better deals and value for off-peak accommodations.
Here’s a look at Amex’s hotel partners:
|Hotel partner||Transfer ratio||Transfer time|
|Hilton Honors||1,000:2,000||Up to 24 hours|
|Choice Privileges||1,000:1,000||Up to 48 hours|
|Marriott Bonvoy||1,000:1,500||Up to 48 hours|
Should you transfer Amex points to a hotel partner?
- Can find good deals on hotel bookings depending on your destination and travel dates
- Can use fewer points on a five-night stay since Hilton and Mariott offer the fifth night free on five-night stays (terms apply)
- Could find additional perks and free stays to complement your points if you have hotel elite status or access to Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection
- May not get a great redemption ratio by transferring points to Amex hotel partners
- There may be blackout dates or high prices in peak season that further decrease the value of your points
- Transferring points from your Amex card to a loyalty program can’t be reversed
How to transfer Amex Membership Rewards points
Before making any transfers, you must connect your hotel or airline loyalty account to your Amex account. Note that the name on your loyalty account(s) must match either your name or the name of an authorized user on your credit card account. Once your loyalty program account(s) is linked, you can transfer your Amex points.
- Log in to your American Express account online.
- Under “Rewards,” select “Transfer Points” to see a list of all available American Express transfer partners.
- From here, you can transfer your Amex points to an Amex travel partner. Note that all partners have a set minimum and maximum number of points you can transfer. Typically, you must transfer at least 1,000 points.
- After the estimated transfer timeframe is up (typically after 48 hours), log in to your loyalty program account and complete your desired booking.
How to maximize value when transferring points
If you want to get the most out of your Membership Rewards points, here are a few tips that can help:
- Consider being flexible with your travel destinations and dates to score the best deals.
- Watch out for transfer bonuses through Amex Offers that boost your points value by 20 to 50 percent.
- First, verify that award reservations are available for the dates you’d like to travel (reserve your accommodations first, if possible). Then, transfer your points and make your reservation.
- Check for alternative booking options, like alliances that have distance-based award charts versus dynamic award flight pricing.
- Check award pricing for business and first-class fares for more luxurious travel options at lower rates.
- Be mindful of additional costs, like fuel surcharges (British Airways) and federal excise taxes for transfers to U.S.-based airlines (Delta, JetBlue or Hawaiian).