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
15% transfer bonus: Amex Membership Rewards to Avianca LifeMiles2021/05/31
40% transfer bonus American Express Membership Rewards to Marriott2021/06/15
40% transfer bonus American Express Membership Rewards to Hilton2021/06/15

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. Best value is usually found with very low end or very high end Hilton hotels.
Marriott Bonvoy1 to 15th Night Free awards. Opportunities to get outsized value exist but can be hard to find.

Amex Transfer Partners: Airlines

It is free to transfer Membership Rewards points to foreign airlines. For transfers to US airlines, however, Amex 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.

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). 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. ANA offers many great sweet-spot awards, including flying around the world in business class for as few as 115K miles! See also: ANA - a terrific Membership Rewards gem.
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 offers quite a few sweet spot awards including ANA first class between the US and Japan for as low as 110K points round-trip; and US to Europe on Delta One business class for only 50K points one-way. See: Best uses for Virgin Atlantic points (Sweet Spot Spotlight).

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 when booking with Iberia rather than 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.  See also: Complete guide to Avios - British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus.
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles1 to 1Cathay Pacific has a decent distance based award chart, but 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. For long distance flights, it is possible to reduce the cost of first class by adding on a business class flight. See this post for details.
Delta SkyMiles1 to 1 plus excise taxDelta no longer charges change or cancellation fees on awards originating in North America. Flash award sales can offer great value. See: Best uses for Delta miles.
Emirates Skywards1 to 1The best use of Emirates miles is to fly Emirates itself. See: Emirates Sweet Spot Awards - First class from 30K miles round trip.
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), Alaska Airlines economy awards, or for Star Alliance awards (including United Airlines).

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 Indirect Transfer
Amtrak Guest Rewards12.5K to 5K via JetBlue
IHG10K to 10K via Virgin Atlantic
Wyndham2 to 1 via Hawaiian (1 to 1) then Caesar's Total Rewards (2 to 1)

See Also

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