Amex Transfer Partners: Which are Best?

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Amex Membership Rewards points are transferable to many airline and hotel partners. Below you’ll find a complete list of Amex transfer partners as well as quick tips for best uses.

Tips

Read all about Membership Rewards points here: Amex Membership Rewards Complete Guide.

Don’t transfer yet: Don’t transfer points until high value awards are available and you are ready to book them.  Transfers are one-way only.  Membership Rewards points are valuable for their flexibility. Once you transfer, you are locked into a single program that may or may not have awards available.

Transfer to friend’s loyalty account: You can transfer points to a friend’s loyalty account as long as you add them as an authorized user or employee to one of your Membership Rewards accounts.  Once your friend has been an authorized user for 90 days you can transfer points to their loyalty accounts.

Watch for transfer bonuses: Amex often offers improved transfer ratios through limited time transfer bonuses.

Always have at least 1 transferable account: Some Membership Rewards cards do not directly allow point transfers (such as the discontinued Blue for Business card), but most do. As long as you have at least one card that permits transfers, then you’re good to go.  The best fee-free options that allow transfers are: Blue Business Plus (my preferred choice) and Amex EveryDay.

Don’t forget about the pay with points option: Usually, paying for travel with Amex points results in poor value: 1 cent per point or less.  However, the Amex Business Platinum card makes it possible to get approximately 1.5 cents per point value or more on certain flights.  See our Membership Reward’s Guide for details.

Current Transfer Bonuses

If Amex is running any transfer bonuses, details will appear here:

Transfer Bonus DetailsEnd Date Sortable
Qantas Transfer Bonus: Get Up To 25% Bonus Points & Earn Status Credits (Targeted?)2020/11/30
15% Bonus: Bank Points to Singapore KrisFlyer2020/12/27

Amex Transfer Partners: Hotels

Transfers to hotel programs from Amex rarely results in good value except when transfer bonuses are in effect.  Here are the standard offerings:

Rewards ProgramAmex Transfer RatioBest Uses
Choice1 to 1Choice Privileges points seem to be randomly quite valuable within the US, but dependably valuable internationally in expensive locations such as Scandinavia and Japan
Hilton1 to 25th Night Free awards
Marriott Bonvoy1 to 15th Night Free awards

Amex Transfer Partners: Airlines

It is free to transfer Membership Rewards points to foreign airlines. For transfers to US airlines, however, Amex usually charges an “excise tax offset fee” of $0.0006 per point (with a maximum fee of $99). Airlines subject to this fee are noted below.  Note though that Amex has waived these fees through 12/31/2020.

Best Amex Airline Transfer Partners

The following airline transfer partners represent the best potential value in my opinion.

Rewards ProgramAmex Transfer RatioBest Uses
Air Canada Aeroplan1 to 1Redeem for Star Alliance flights and/or flights with Air Canada partners (such as Etihad). As of 11/8/20: No fuel surcharges; $39 CAD award booking fee; 5,000 points to add stopover on one-way award. See: Air Canada Aeroplan: Everything you need to know.
ANA Mileage Club1 to 1Redeem for Star Alliance flights. Multiple stopovers allowed. Very good award prices for round-the-world travel. See also: How To Find Business Class Awards To Europe For 88,000 Miles Or Points.
Avianca LifeMiles1 to 1Avianca LifeMiles can be great for Star Alliance awards. They offer reasonable award prices and no fuel surcharges on awards. They also offer shorthaul awards within the US (for flying United, for example) for as few as 7,500 miles one-way. Best of all, their mixed-cabin pricing can lead to fantastic first-class award prices. See this post for details.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1 to 1Virgin Atlantic miles can be usefully thought of as a way to get a discount off Virgin Atlantic flights (high fuel surcharges make the flights far from free), but there are some better uses. Use miles to upgrade paid flights or to fly partner airlines. A fantastic use is to fly ANA in business or first class thanks to Virgin’s generous ANA partner award chart. Or, if you can find saver level Delta awards for nonstop international travel, you can often book through Virgin Atlantic far cheaper than with Delta directly. Virgin Atlantic also offers great award prices for Air France premium economy awards.

Useful Amex Airline Transfer Partners

The following transfer partners can offer great value under certain circumstances:

Rewards ProgramAmex Transfer RatioBest Uses
Air France KLM Flying Blue1 to 1Monthly Air France Promo Awards often represent very good value. Air France miles can be used to book Sky Team awards, including Delta awards.
Avios1 to 1While flights on British Airways itself often incur outrageously high fuel surcharges, many BA partners charge low or no fuel surcharges. Great value can be had in redeeming BA points for short distance flights. Iberia offers very low award prices on their own flights. Round trip partner awards can offer good value under some circumstances as well. Fuel surcharges are often lower than when booking through British Airways. Aer Lingus shares the "Avios" currency with British Airways and Iberia. In most cases it is best to move points to one of those programs in order to book awards for less.
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles1 to 1Cathay Pacific has a decent distance based award chart, but as of April 2020 they no longer allow stopovers longer than 24 hours. Cathay Pacific Asia Miles can be a good option for booking American Airlines flights with a distance based award chart, especially if other OneWorld Alliance miles aren't available.
Delta SkyMiles1 to 1 plus excise taxAward flights to Canada are often a great deal. Partner awards often have terrific availability, but you may pay more miles than with other programs.
Emirates Skywards1 to 1Emirates has different award charts for each airline partner. Sometimes they allow one-way awards, sometimes they do not. In general, award prices are fairly high, but there are a few sweet spots such as New York to Milan for 90K round trip in business class.
Etihad Guest1 to 1Etihad has a very competitive award chart for American Airlines flights, among others.  For example, they charge only 50,000 miles one-way for business class flights from North America to Europe. Partner awards must be booked over the phone.
JetBlue250 to 200 plus excise taxJetBlue points offer the most value when cheap ticket prices are available and when award taxes are high relative to the overall cost of the ticket (more details can be found here). The JetBlue Plus Card and the JetBlue Business Card offer a 10% rebate on awards, so you can get more value by holding one of these cards.
Qantas Frequent Flyer1 to 1Best use is probably for flights on El Al with no fuel surcharges. Also useful for short AA flights. Qantas offers distance based award charts similar to Cathay Pacific. Both are OneWorld Alliance members. I recommend comparing award prices across both programs before transferring to either. Qantas offers round the world business class awards for only 280,000 points (but with many restrictions)
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1 to 1Use to book Singapore Airlines First Class awards (generally reserved for their own members) or for Star Alliance awards. Low change fees and no close-in booking fees make this a very good program for booking United Airlines flights.

The Other Amex Airline Transfer Partners

Here are the transfer partners that didn’t make my “best of” lists, above. Note that some of these are still worth considering under certain circumstances.

Rewards ProgramAmex Transfer RatioBest Uses
AeroMexico ClubPremier1 to 1.6AeroMexico is a SkyTeam partner. Club Premier points can be used to book flights on AeroMexico, SkyTeam alliance members (such as Delta or Korean Air), or on select partner airlines. Unfortunately many have reported that awards are extremely difficult to book through AeroMexico so we do not recommend transferring points to this program. If you want to fly AeroMexico, look to transfer points to another SkyTeam partner (such as Air France) and then book AeroMexico with that program.
Alitalia MilleMiglia1 to 1Alitalia is a member of the SkyTeam alliance. Unfortunately, fuel surcharges can be quite high, and partner awards cannot be booked online. Worse, after numerous devaluations, few sweetspots exist in this program.
Hawaiian Miles1 to 1 plus excise taxHawaiian Airlines’ award prices tend to be quite high, but there are some not-terrible uses: fly to neighboring islands for 7.5K miles, fly first class round-trip from Hawaii to South Pacific islands for as few as 95K miles, fly first class round-trip from Hawaii to Australia for as few as 130K miles.

Amex Transfer Partners: Indirect

In some cases it is possible to transfer to an airline or hotel program in order to then transfer from that program to another program. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide whether or not it is a good idea to transfer in these ways (hint: these transfers usually represent poor value).

Rewards ProgramAmex Transfer RatioIndirect Transfer NotesBest Uses
IHG1 to 1** Transfer first to Virgin Atlantic, then convert Virgin Atlantic miles 1 to 1 to IHG. Note: I do not recommend this. See: Virgin Atlantic transfers to IHG no longer count towards status
Wyndham2 to 1** Transfer to Hawaiian Airlines miles, then to Caesar's Total Rewards 2 to 1, then to Wyndham 1 to 1. Details here.Wyndham often allows booking multi-room suites for the same price as a standard room. It's sometimes possible to get great value from points in that way.

See Also

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