Complete Guide to Amex Membership Rewards Transfer Partners [2021 Version]

Disclosure: Well Traveled Mile has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Well Traveled Mile and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

The American Express Membership Rewards program is one of the most well-known and respected credit card rewards programs thanks to its valuable points that can be used in many ways, including transferring to 22 airline and hotel programs. Transferring Amex points is usually the secret to getting the best possible value by making your points worth anywhere from 2-4 cents each or even more -- as long as you're strategic when choosing transfer partners and award flights.

Ready to start exploring the best American Express transfer partners? Here's an in-depth look at every Amex transfer partner, which have the most value, and how to transfer Membership Rewards points to partners.

Which Amex Cards Earn Membership Rewards Points?

Want to start earning points in the Membership Rewards program? There's an almost overwhelming number of Amex cards that earn Membership rewards points, including personal and business cards. Many offer sizable welcome offers that can be worth $1,000 or more when transferred to partners, but a few cards don't offer much in the way of welcome offers.

Here's an overview of the credit cards in the Membership Rewards program and where each one shines.

Personal Amex Membership Rewards Cards

There are 6 personal Amex cards that earn Membership Rewards cards. These cards fall into two categories: travel rewards and everyday spending rewards.

Platinum Card from American Express ($550 annual fee)

  • 60,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 during the first 3 months
  • 5x points on flights booked with airlines or and on hotels booked through
  • 1x points on all other spending

The Amex Platinum Card is a solid travel rewards cards that has a better rewards rate than most co-branded airline cards. You'll earn 5x points when you book flights through airlines and enjoy a host of travel perks like a $200 airline fee credit for incidentals, free Global Entry, and $200 in annual Uber credits.

American Express Gold Card ($250 annual fee)

  • 35,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 during the first 3 months
  • 4x points on dining
  • 4x points on supermarkets (on the first $25k per year)
  • 3x points on flights booked with airlines or
  • 1x points on all other spending

The American Express Gold card is one of the best values in the Membership Rewards program. It has the best rewards rate on supermarkets and dining plus 3x points when you book airfare through Amex Travel or airlines. You also get a $100 airline fee credit with your chosen airline.

American Express Green Card ($150 annual fee)

  • 45,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 during the first 3 months
  • 3x points on travel and worldwide restaurants
  • 1x points on all other spending

Want a starter travel card that earns Membership Rewards points? The Amex Green card is a good choice with a modest annual fee and a good rewards rate on dining and travel, including airfare, hotels, and rideshares. The Green card also includes travel perks like a $100 annual credit for CLEAR membership and a $100 credit for LoungeBuddy to purchase lounge access.

Amex Everyday Preferred Card ($95 annual fee)

  • 15,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 during the first 3 months
  • 3x points at supermarkets (on the first $6k per year)
  • 2x points at gas stations
  • 1x points on all other spending
  • 50% extra points when you make more than 30 transactions per billing period

Geared toward bonus spending on everyday transactions, the Amex Everyday Preferred card is more rewarding than it seems at first glance with a 50% bonus on the points you earn when you make at least 30 transactions per billing period.

Amex Everyday Credit Card (No annual fee)

  • 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 during the first 3 months
  • 2x points at supermarkets (on the first $6k per year)
  • 1x points on all other spending
  • 20% extra points when you make more than 20 transactions per billing period

While it has no annual fee and it's better than the Amex Blue card, the regular Amex Everyday credit card isn't the best choice if you want to earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Blue Card (No annual fee)
While the card has no annual fee, it's the most basic of all Membership Rewards credit cards. The American Express Blue card earns just 1x Membership Rewards points and doesn't have a welcome offer. You also can't transfer points to Amex transfer partners.

Business Amex Membership Rewards Cards

There are four business American Express cards that earn Membership Rewards. The Business Platinum card and Amex Business Gold card are the most beneficial, although you can benefit from the no-annual-fee Blue Business Plus card when paired with one of these two.

Business Platinum Card from American Express ($595 annual fee)

  • 75,000 bonus points after spending $10,000 during the first 3 months
  • 25,000 extra points after spending an additional $10,000 during the first 3 months
  • 5x points on flights and hotels through
  • 1.5x points on purchases of $5k+
  • 1x points on all other spending
  • 35% points back when you book a flight with Pay with Points

While the Amex Business Gold rewards you on popular business categories, the Business Platinum Card is the ideal travel companion. In addition to its high reward rate on airline purchases through Amex Travel, you'll get valuable travel perks like Amex Global Lounge Collection with access to Centurion lounges and a $200 airline fee credit.

The Business Platinum Card also comes with an extra perk you won't get with any other Amex card: a 35% rebate when you book flights with points through Amex Travel. When you combine this with the International Airline Program, you may get better deals than you would by transferring your points to partner airlines, especially when booking premium fares.

American Express Business Gold Card ($295 annual fee)

  • 35,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 during the first 3 months
  • 4x points on two categories where you spend the most each month (on the first $100k combined)
  • 1x points on all other spending
  • 25% points back when you book a flight with Pay with Points

It's hard to beat the Amex Business Gold card for bonus points on business expenses. You get 4x points on the two categories where you spend the most each month with categories that include airfare, gas stations, restaurants, shipping, technology providers, and select media advertising.

American Express Business Green Rewards Card ($95 annual fee, waived the first year)

  • 15,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 during the first 3 months
  • 2x points on purchases at
  • 1x points on all other spending

The Business Green Rewards card doesn't have a very compelling welcome offer and the bonus category isn't worth all that much as you're limited to hotels and airfare booked directly through Amex Travel.

Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express (No annual fee)

  • 2x points on everyday spending up to $50,000 per year without category restrictions
  • 1x points afterward

The Amex Blue Business Plus card is the most basic business credit card that participates in Membership Rewards. While it may seem basic and it has no welcome offer, it can be a good complement to the Business Platinum card or the Business Gold card to earn 2x Amex points on purchases that don't fall into bonus categories.

Amex Airline Transfer Partners

One of the reasons American Express Membership Rewards points are so valuable is Amex's extensive list of airline partners. The Membership Rewards program has 19 airline transfer partners, including partners in all three major airline alliances -- Oneworld, Star Alliance, and SkyTeam -- plus some interesting non-alliance airlines.

With most partners, your points convert to miles at a 1:1 ratio. There are some notable exceptions like AeroMexico which has a 1:1.6 ratio to account for the program's use of kilometers instead of miles and El AL which gives you just 1 Matmid mile for every 50 Amex points.

  • AeroMexico Club Premier: 1 Amex points : 1.6 miles
  • Air Canada Aeroplan: 1:1
  • AirFrance/KLM FlyingBlue: 1:1
  • Alitalia MilleMiglia: 1:1
  • Aer Lingus AerClub: 1:1
  • ANA Mileage Club: 1:1
  • Aviance LifeMiles: 1:1
  • British Airways Executive Club: 1:1
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles: 1:1
  • Delta Air Lines SkyMiles: 1:1
  • EL AL Matmid: 50:1
  • Emirates Skywards: 1:1
  • Etihad Airways Guest Miles: 1:1
  • Hawaiian HawaiianMiles: 1:1
  • Iberia Plus: 1:1
  • JetBlue TrueBlue: 1:0.8
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer: 1:1
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer: 1:1
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club: 1:1

Amex offers frequent transfer bonuses that can give you an even better value when you transfer points to Amex airline partners. Some transfer bonuses are targeted, such as a recent 25% transfer bonus to Cathay Pacific. In some cases, transfer bonuses can even be stacked when the airline's loyalty program is offering a bonus on transfers.

Amex Hotel Transfer Partners

You can also transfer Membership Rewards points to three hotel programs. These transfers are almost instant but the transfer ratio depends on the partner:

  • Choice Privileges: 1:1
  • Hilton Honors: 1:2
  • Marriott Bonvoy: 1:1

While the Hilton Honors transfer ratio seems like a good deal, Hilton points have an inflated value and are really only worth 0.5 cents each. The same is true for Marriott Bonvoy -- you can get a better value for your Membership Rewards points.

Choice Privileges can be a good use of your Amex points, however, as long as you're getting a great value or you're just topping off your Choice Privileges balance. It's easy to get a value of 1 cent or more per point through Choice Privileges. A great use of your points is booking free hotel stays in expensive European cities for just 8,000 to 35,000 points.

Here are just a few great ways to use Choice Privileges points:

  • Comfort Grand Hotel Central, Oslo, Norway: 15,000 points with cash rates between $150 and $400 per night
  • Clarion Hotel Stockholm, Sweden: 20,000 points with cash rates between $150 and $250 per night
  • SKT Petri, Ascend Hotel Collection, Copenhagen, Denmark: 20,000 points with cash rates between $300 and $500 per night
  • Prince Park Tower Tokyo, Japan: 35,000 points with cash rates between $250 and $600 per night
  • Royal Lancaster London, UK: 35,000 points with cash rates between $400 and $650 per night

How to Transfer American Express Points to Partners

Transferring Membership Rewards points to partners is easy. After logging into your American Express account, select "Rewards" then choose "Transfer Points."

You'll need to link your hotel or airline loyalty account to your Membership Rewards account before you can make a transfer. Choose which program you want to link, provide your member number and verify your Amex card information to link your accounts then select the amount you want to transfer.

With most partners, transfers are almost instant, but some partner transfers can take up to a few days.

Amex Travel Portal vs Transfer Partners

Before transferring Amex Membership Rewards points to an airline partner, make sure you check the Amex Travel portal first -- especially if you have the Business Platinum Card from American Express which gives a 35% rebate on flights booked with points.

With the Amex Platinum or Business Platinum card, you also have access to an overlooked benefit: the International Airline Program (IAP) which gives you premium fare discounts with more than 20 carriers such as Delta, British Airways, and Lufthansa. To qualify for the discount, you need to book through the IAP landing page, not Amex Travel, and book a first, business, or premium economy class fare.

Sometimes booking through Amex will cost fewer points than transferring your Membership Rewards points to a partner airline. When you book with points through Amex Travel, your points act like cash so you can still earn miles on the airline.

Best Amex Airline Partners

While you can get a great value transferring Membership Rewards points to Choice Privileges, you'll usually get the best value by transferring points to one of several Amex airline transfer partners. Not all partners are worth using your Amex points, though; these airline partners have at least several sweet spots worth your time.

Air Canada Aeroplan

Transfer time: Instant
Aeroplan is currently one of the most valuable Amex airline partners thanks to its zone-based award chart for Star Alliance partners and Air Canada flights and affordable award charts.

Looking for cheap domestic award flights? Transfer Amex points to Air Canada and book awards on partner United for roundtrip economy flights for 25,000 miles or reach Western Europe in business class for 110,000 miles. You can also fly between the U.S. and Canada for 25,000 miles for long-haul flights and 15,000 miles for short-haul flights.

Transferring Membership Rewards points to Air Canada miles can make sense right now, although be aware that Air Canada has announced a new Aeroplan program will launch in 2020 and the details are still unknown.

Air France/KLM Flying Blue

Transfer time: Instant
There are drawbacks to the Flying Blue program including confusing rules and partner surcharges, but it's a valuable Amex transfer partner for flying from the mainland U.S. to Hawaii, Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean for just 30,000 to 35,000 miles roundtrip or from the U.S. to Europe.

You get the best value when you transfer Membership Rewards points to Flying Blue to book promo awards. Flying Blue Promo Rewards change every week but let you book awards for up to 50% off certain dates, routes, and airlines. You may see deals to fly from the U.S. to Europe for just 10,750 miles one-way.

Aer Lingus AerClub

Transfer time: Instant
It's easy to overlook Aer Lingus: they use the same Avios as British Airways and Iberia Plus but with different award prices and availability. Despite its complexity, there are a few sweet spots to explore by transferring Amex points to Aer Lingus -- especially flights to Ireland.

One great way to get maximum value for your Membership Rewards points is booking an award flight on Aer Lingus from the East Coast to Ireland. You'll pay just 13,000 Avios with no fuel surcharges if you fly during the off-peak season. You can also add a connection to popular European or Mediterranean destinations and pay as little as 4,000 miles extra thanks to the program's per-segment distance-based awards.

ANA Mileage Club

Transfer time: 2-3 days
American Express is one of the most valuable partners to earn miles for Japan-based All Nippon Airways as Amex points transfer at a 1:1 ratio compared to 3:1 with Marriott, 10:1 with Hilton, and 5:1 with IHG Rewards Club.

Want to get the best value when you transfer Amex points to ANA? Fly roundtrip from North America to Japan on ANA starting at 75,000 miles in business class during the low season or up to 90,000 miles during the high season. You can save miles by flying economy to and from Japan for 40,000 miles during the low season compared to 70,000 miles or more with most airline programs. You can also fly to Europe from the U.S. starting at 55,000 miles roundtrip with partners United, Turkish Airlines, Air Canada, and more.

Avianca LifeMiles

Transfer time: Instant
LifeMiles is one of the most valuable Amex transfer partners because it doesn't pass on fuel surcharges (although you do pay a $25 award booking fee) and there are no close-in fees. This is a huge perk if you want an award flight on a partner known for hefty surcharges like Lufthansa. That's not all LifeMiles has going for it. They also offer frequent bonuses when you buy miles plus you can use a combination of points and cash to maximize your Ame points.

Want some good reasons to transfer Amex points to Avianca LifeMiles? Here are some great award options:

  • Domestic flights on United in Zone 1 for 7,500 miles
  • U.S. to Europe in business class for 63,000 miles
  • First-class from the U.S. to Europe on Lufthansa for 87,000 miles without surcharges
  • First-class from the U.S. to North or South Asia on ANA for 90,000 miles

British Airways

Transfer time: Instant
There are big drawbacks to the British Airways program that may make you think twice about using it. British Airways is known for its hefty fuel surcharges and the cost for award seats to and from the UK is exorbitant. Still, you can get a good value when you transfer Amex points to British Airways with the right approach.

British Airways Avios have a great value when used for non-stop, short-haul domestic flights in economy with awards as low as 4,000 miles when you fly fewer than 651 miles. You'll also see low award prices within Asia, especially for business in expensive markets. Book with partner Cathay Pacific and fly in the fully flat business class between Ho Chi Minh City and Hong Kong for 16,500 Avios plus around $59 in fees. You can even fly from the West Coast to Hawaii on Alaska for just 13,000 Avios with good award availability.

To get the best value with British Airways, make sure you book nonstop flights because award prices are segment-based and don't book transatlantic flights to or from the UK.

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Transfer time: 2-3 days
There's no getting around Cathay Pacific's unusual award chart with prices determined by whether you fly on Cathay alone or include other Oneworld partners. With that said, Cathay Pacific can be a valuable transfer partner in some scenarios.

You can use Asia Miles to fly roundtrip from the U.S. to Europe in business class for 100,000 miles or fly first-class from the U.S. to Hong Kong and on to London for 125,000 miles. You can also book short-haul flights under 750 miles within Asia for just 7,500 Asia Miles.

Delta SkyMiles

Transfer time: Instant
As a general rule, you won't get the best value when you transfer Membership Rewards points to Delta SkyMiles. Your best bet is taking advantage of Delta's promo sales on award flights which can yield a good value. Recently, Delta offered discounted domestic routes as low as 5,000 miles roundtrip in economy or 10,000 miles roundtrip in Main Cabin plus other getaways like Raleigh to Nassau, Bahamas for just 27,000 miles roundtrip.

Aside from SkyMiles promos and certain routes, you'll get better award prices on Delta by instead transferring your points to Virgin Atlantic and booking a partner award.

Emirates Skywards

Transfer time: Instant
In many cases, you'll get a better value booking Emirates awards through a partner like Alaska, but there are some good finds within the Skywards program as long as you stick with roundtrip awards. Just keep in mind partner surcharges are passed on and there's a different award chart for each partner.

You can find decent redemption rates when flying to North Africa from the U.S. with roundtrip prices starting at 85,000 miles for economy. While it's not the best deal, you can also fly from Japan to Hawaii or Australia for 40,000 miles on partner Japan Airlines.

Etihad Guest Miles

Transfer time: Instant
The Etihad Guest program is almost never worthwhile for booking for booking Etihad awards, however, it does have some good options when booking partner awards. There are drawbacks, though; Etihad has separate award charts for every partner and you need to book over the phone.

Want to get the best value when you transfer Membership Rewards points to Etihad? Try booking American Airlines flights at pre-devaluation costs with one-way flights from the U.S. to Japan or Europe for 50,000 miles. Just 44,000 miles is enough for a business class flight from New York to Casablanca on a 787 Dreamliner with partner Royal Air Maroc, or you can use 59,000 miles to fly from the West Coast to Seoul.

Iberia Plus

Transfer time: 2-3 days
Iberia's program has major drawbacks including a complex rewards program. Still, there are some sweet spots in the program that make it worthwhile.

You can fly from the East Coast to Madrid, Spain in business class for just 34,000 miles during the off-peak season compared to 30,000+ miles for economy one-way flights with other programs. You'll also get a great value on multi-city and short-haul roundtrip award flights. These awards are not segment-based which allows you to make several stops to explore different cities.

Qantas Frequent Flyer

Transfer time: Instant
While it's usually better to book Qantas flights with a partner for a better value, there are some sweet spots in the Qantas program. You can get a great value when you transfer Membership Rewards points to Qantas for short-haul domestic flights on American or within Australia for 8,000 miles.

There are also some sweet spots with partners. You can book an award flight on El AL and fly business class from the East Coast to Tel Aviv for 78,000 miles without surcharges or from the East Coast to Dubai roundtrip for 80,000 points in economy. Book an award on American to fly from the East Coast to Western Europe for just 45,000 miles in economy or business class for 100,000 miles.

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

Transfer time: 1-2 days
KrisFlyer is one of the best Membership Rewards transfer partners thanks to its loose rules and numerous sweet spots. With KrisFlyer, you can book one-way awards on all carriers and most partner flights can be combined. You can also have up to six segments and one free stopover on a roundtrip award.

Use KrisFlyer miles to fly on United from the U.S. to Hawaii for 17,500 (less than United's award price) or to Europe for 27,500 miles. You'll get good award prices on nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Tokyo or Singapore or Singapore and Hong Kong. The award chart for partner Alaska is also generous with economy awards ranging from 7,000 to 12,500 miles within Cuba, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Canada, and Mexico.

Just be aware of some drawbacks to the KrisFlyer program. Partner surcharges are passed on and there's a fee of $25 or 2,500 miles to book an award flight over the phone, a process you need to go through for partner awards.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Transfer time: Instant
While it's almost never worthwhile to book Virgin Atlantic award flights with Flying Club miles thanks to massive surcharges on their own flights, the Virgin Atlantic program still offers a good value for some partner awards.

Virgin Atlantic's Flying Club gives you access to Delta award space not available with other partners and there are sweet spots with lower award prices than Delta charges for its own award flights. For example, you can book a nonstop cross-country award flight for 12,500 on Delta with Flying Club miles instead of 25,500 with Delta.

Using Flying Club miles on ANA awards can also yield a good value. Dreaming of a trip to Japan? Then ANA partner awards through Virgin Atlantic are one of the best ways to use Membership Rewards points to get there without the hefty cash price. Virgin Atlantic's ANA award chart is one of the rare examples of low award prices without the hefty surcharges that usually come with them. While you will face surcharges you wouldn't pay if you booked an ANA flight through LifeMiles or United, the surcharges aren't too bad.

You can fly from Hawaii to Japan for just 90,000 Virgin Atlantic miles roundtrip first-class or 110,000 miles one-way in first-class from the mainland.

Not-So-Great Amex Partners

Some American Express transfer partners offer excellent value and some have more limited sweet spots. These partners, however, have even more limited value and are usually best to avoid except in very specific circumstances like topping off your account balance for an award.

  • AeroMexico. While Amex has a transfer ratio of 1:1.6 that considers the fact that the AeroMexico program uses kilometers, not miles, the program still has few sweet spots and transfers can take days or almost two weeks.
  • Alitalia. While you could previously get a good value on Alitalia award seats, the devaluation in February 2020 destroyed a lot of the program's value and there are fuel surcharges.
  • EL AL. The Matmid program is virtually worthless with high award rates, a terrible search engine, and low saver award availability. You're much better off booking EL AL award seats with a partner like Qantas.
  • Hawaiian Airlines. Hawaiian doesn't have the best award chart, but it can be worthwhile to transfer Amex points to Hawaiian Airlines in some cases, especially with a transfer bonus if you're flying from the West Coast to Hawaii.
  • JetBlue. JetBlue does not have an award chart. The cost of an award seat is loosely tied to the cash price and your TrueBlue points will be worth around 1.3 to 1.4 cents each. You're probably better off saving your Membership Rewards points.

Wrap Up

While a handful of Amex transfer partners are best avoided, the Membership Rewards program offers tremendous value in large part due to its many airline and hotel partnerships. From award flights to Asia, Hawaii, Ireland, and the rest of Europe, you'll find plenty of sweet spots to explore with most partners to maximize the value of your Membership Rewards points.


What airlines are partners with American Express?

There are 19 Amex airline transfer partners:

  • AeroMexico Club Premier
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • AirFrance/KLM FlyingBlue
  • Alitalia MilleMiglia
  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • ANA Mileage Club
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Delta Air Lines SkyMiles
  • EL AL Matmid
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Airways Guest Miles
  • Hawaiian HawaiianMiles
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

What hotels does American Express partner with?

Amex has three hotels partners to which you can transfer Membership Rewards points:

  • Choice Privileges
  • Hilton Honors
  • Marriott Bonvoy

Where can I transfer Amex points?

Amex Membership Rewards points can be transferred to 22 partner hotel and airline partners. You cannot transfer Membership Rewards points to someone else's Amex account.

Can you combine Amex points from different cards?

American Express allows you to easily link your Amex accounts that earn Membership Rewards points into a single account. Your points earned across different cards will be pooled together.

How much are Membership Rewards points worth?

Membership Rewards points are worth 1 to 1.35 cents each when redeemed for travel through Amex but they're worth 2 cents or more each when transferred to airline or hotel partners.

Can you transfer Membership Rewards points to someone else?

You can't transfer Membership Rewards points to other person's Membership Rewards account, not even a spouse or authorized user. You can transfer Amex points to another person's airline loyalty program, however, as long as they are an authorized user on your Amex account.

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