American Express Membership Rewards are earned with several different Amex cards. To clarify before we get started, American Express Membership Rewards (commonly referred to as Amex MR) are NOT the same thing as the SPG points you often see me referring to on this blog. Although American Express issues the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card, that card earns Starpoints, not Membership Rewards.
I will compare some of the most common MR-earning Amex cards in a different post, because it is a lot of information!
Like Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex points can be used several different ways, including redeeming for travel through their travel booking portal (this is not to be confused with airline and Chase shopping portals that I use to earn points), but my favorite is to transfer to partners. As always, please do not use these points to buy gift cards! Or merchandise. Not a good use of points.
This post will cover the Amex MR transfer partners.
Airline and hotel partners:
Update 7/2017: Great news!! British Airways and Iberia are now 1:1 transfer ratios. Even better news: through September 2017, Amex is giving a 40% bonus when transferring membership Rewards to British Airways. This means that for every 1000 MR, you get 1400 BA Avios!
You might look at this and think this is useless because there are hardly any airlines you ever plan to use. Well, I’m here to teach you about transfer partners! It is very important to have a basic understanding about airline alliances and partners because this is a huge part of maximizing your redemption values. For your convenience I made a little cheat sheet list that I will keep up-to-date. Here is the list for reference. There will be many posts to follow about the best uses of American Express Membership Rewards because there are so many great ways to redeem them.
A few of my favorite Amex MR redemptions
- Airfrance/KLM are partners with Delta. Transfer to Airfrance/KLM then use to book Hawaii tickets on Delta. The exact same flight costs less miles to book economy tickets to Hawaii through KLM than through Delta, even though both programs are transferable from MR.
- If booking through Delta, the flight is 22,500 miles each way or 45,000 miles round trip.
- The same flight on Delta but booked with KLM/AirFrance FlyingBlue is 15,000 miles each way or 30,000 miles roundtrip.
- Use Airfrance/KLM for low-point redemptions to Europe by taking advantage of their promo awards
- Use British Airways to book short-distance American Airlines flights. See Mexico post. (although it is 250 points for 200 Avios, so if you have Chase Ultimate Rewards, it would be a better value to use that since UR transfer at 1:1. If you do not have UR or have lots of MR to use, this is still a good value for shorter- distance flights)
- Singapore Airlines to Europe
- 22,500 miles on Singapore each way in economy to Europe (Houston to Manchester or New York to Frankfurt)
- 27,500 each way on Star Alliance partners (such as United and Lufthansa)
- 65,000 each way in business on Singapore and on Star Alliance partners
As stated above, there are lots more options with American Express Membership Reward points. I’m working on a more comprehensive guide to American Express Membership Rewards and I will post it in sections soon. I am also working on guides for SPG and Chase Ultimate Rewards.
It’s lots of information so I’m going to break it down into a few parts.