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
15% transfer bonus from American Express Membership Rewards to Avianca LifeMiles2022/12/07
25% transfer bonus from American Express Membership Rewards to Air France/KLM Flying Blue2022/12/07

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 ProgramBest UsesAmex Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
ChoiceChoice Privileges points seem to be randomly valuable within the US, but dependably valuable internationally in expensive locations such as Scandinavia and Japan1 to 1 (Instant)
Hilton5th Night Free awards. Best value is usually found with very low end or very high end Hilton hotels. Bonus: award nights are not subject to resort fees.1 to 2 (1 day)
Marriott Bonvoy5th Night Free awards. Opportunities to get outsized value exist but can be hard to find.1 to 1 (~1 day)

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 ProgramBest UsesAmex Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Air Canada AeroplanRedeem 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.1 to 1 (Instant)
Air France KLM Flying BlueMonthly Air France Promo Awards often represent very good value. Air France miles can be used to book Sky Team awards, including Delta awards. Air France often offers very good business class award pricing between the US and Europe & Israel.1 to 1 (~10 minutes to 1 day)
ANA Mileage ClubRedeem 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.1 to 1 (~1 day)
Avianca LifeMilesAvianca 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.1 to 1 (Instant)
Cathay Pacific Asia MilesCathay 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.1 to 1 (Instant)

Useful Amex Airline Transfer Partners

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

Rewards ProgramBest UsesAmex Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
British Airways AviosWhile flights on British Airways itself often incur outrageously high fuel surcharges, many BA partners charge low or no fuel surcharges. Excellent value can be had in redeeming BA points for short distance flights. It's possible to move points (Avios) between Iberia, British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Qatar. See also: Avios Sweet Spots for Award Tickets.1 to 1 (Instant)
Delta SkyMilesDelta 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.1 to 1 plus excise tax (Instant)
Emirates SkywardsThe best use of Emirates miles has been to fly Emirates itself. Unfortunately fuel surcharges can be steep. See: Emirates Sweet Spot Awards - First class from 30K miles round trip. 1 to 1 (Instant)
Etihad GuestEtihad 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.1 to 1 (Instant)
Iberia AviosIberia 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. It's possible to move points (Avios) between Iberia, British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Qatar.  See also: Avios Sweet Spots for Award Tickets.1 to 1 (~12 - 72 hours (slower over weekend))
JetBlueJetBlue 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.250 to 200 plus excise tax (Instant)
Qantas Frequent FlyerBest 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)1 to 1 (Instant)
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyerUse 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).1 to 1 (Instant)
Virgin Atlantic Flying ClubVirgin Atlantic offers a few great sweet spot awards including ANA first class between the US and Japan for as low as 55K points one-way; and US to Europe on Delta One business class for 50K points one-way. See: Best uses for Virgin Atlantic points (Sweet Spot Spotlight).1 to 1 (Instant)

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 ProgramBest UsesAmex Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Aer Lingus AviosIberia 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. It's possible to move points (Avios) between Iberia, British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Qatar.  See also: Avios Sweet Spots for Award Tickets.1 to 1 (Instant)
AeroMexico ClubPremierAeroMexico 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.1 to 1.6 (1 to 2 days)
Hawaiian MilesHawaiian 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.1 to 1 plus excise tax (Instant)

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
IHG10K to 10K via Virgin Atlantic
Wyndham2 to 1 via Hawaiian (1 to 1) then Caesar's Total Rewards (2 to 1)

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MillionMileGuy

Should have had 2 extra columns: Mileage expiration policy and Fuel Surcharges (high, medium, low)

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WR2

100% of my MR have gone to either ANA, VS(for ANA F), and just a few to CX to top off for a redemption. The new aeroplan might get some soon though, looking for a one way J from Australia to the US with a stopover in Asia, so the new program hopefully will be the best option, if there’s availability.