Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
54 Best Ways To Redeem Amex Membership Rewards Points for Max Value
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The American Express Membership Rewards program provides some amazing redemption options thanks to its many airline transfer partners. You can also transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to several hotel partners, but transferring to airline partners is often the best use of your Amex points.
If you’ve earned enough Membership Rewards points with your Amex cards for travel and you’re ready for a trip, let’s take a look at the best ways to redeem your Amex points to get the most bang for your buck.
Earn Amex Membership Rewards Points
If you want to start earning Membership Rewards or boost your current earnings, American Express has several credit cards that could fit your needs.
Here are the American Express credit cards you can use to earn Membership Rewards points for your trip:
Recommended American Express Cards (Personal)
Business owner? See our list of the best Amex business credit cards.
On top of points, American Express card benefits include airline fee credits, Global Entry program credits, free Wi-Fi, and more.
Depending on the benefits of the card, you may pay a higher annual fee — but you will also be able to collect more rewards.
Transfer Amex Membership Rewards Points to Travel Partners
There are several ways to use your Amex Membership Rewards points, including flight upgrades with your selected airline, redemptions for travel on Amex Travel, statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, purchases on Amazon or Ticketmaster, or a charitable points donation. However, our favorite way to redeem points is for luxury travel when leveraging the Amex transfer partners.
Additionally, American Express often runs transfer bonus promotions with individual transfer partners, which can be very useful if you need to book an award flight.
Transfers to partners usually complete almost instantly, but make sure to check the table below to see the estimated transfer time before you decide. Once you transfer points, you can’t undo the transfer.
Amex Airline Transfer Partners
|Amex Airline Transfer Partner||Min Transfer||Transfer Ratio|
(Amex > Partner)
|Aer Lingus||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Air Canada||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Avianca LifeMiles||1,000||1:1||Almost instant|
|British Airways||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Cathay Pacific||1,000||1:1||Up to 1 Week|
|Delta Air Lines||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Etihad Airways||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Flying Blue Air France/KLM||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Singapore Airlines||1,000||1:1||1-2 days|
|Virgin Atlantic||1,000||1:1||1-2 days|
Hot Tip: American Express charges a small fee to transfer Membership Rewards to any U.S. domestic airline rewards program. The fee isn’t huge: only 0.06 cents per point up to a maximum of $99.
Amex Hotel Transfer Partners
If you need a hotel stay, you can transfer to one of 3 hotel partners. That being said, this is not the best way to use your points — you can get much more value by transferring to airline partners.
In a pinch, though, this can be a helpful option.
|Amex Hotel Transfer Partner||Min Transfer||Transfer Ratio|
(Amex > Partner)
|Choice Privileges||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
|Hilton Honors||1,000||1:2||Almost Instant|
|Marriott Bonvoy||1,000||1:1||Almost Instant|
The 54 Best Ways To Use Your Amex Membership Rewards Points
As we mentioned above, transferring your points to airline partners is how you can get the most value out of your points.
The award flights described below are typically centered around North America. You’ll find first class, business class, and economy class options from the U.S., as well as some great deals between other regions.
Of course, there may be other great award redemptions available. Depending on how and where you like to travel, you may have some other favorite award options; if so please add a comment below and share your insights!
1. Fly Singapore Suites in an A380 (KrisFlyer Miles)
Most people transfer points to the Singapore KrisFlyer miles program because they’re after the Singapore Suites — Singapore Airlines’ first-class luxury experience. If you book 2 tickets with a loved one, you can even experience a double bed in the sky!
Awards for the suites cost 148,500 miles one-way from New York (JFK) to Singapore (SIN). Note that these suites are only available on the Airbus A380, so be sure to check the destinations when planning!
The A380 flies between Singapore and a number of additional cities, including London (LHR), Sydney (SYD), Paris (CDG), Tokyo (NRT), and other large international cities. One way to experience Suites class is to book a flight between New York and Frankfurt (FRA) one-way for 97,000 points.
Singapore Airlines is known for having one of the best (if not the best) first class/suites experiences. So, if you can, definitely book award travel in Singapore Suites with your Amex points.
Another great thing about Singapore Airlines’ program is that it is a transfer partner of all the major points currencies: American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy. So if you don’t have quite enough Membership Rewards points, you can top off your Singapore Airlines account with other currencies.
It is very tough to find more than 1 Singapore Suites Class seat available at the saver level, but you might be able to waitlist a second seat, book business class, and hope you clear the waitlist.
Hot Tip: Need help booking? See our step-by-step guide for booking Singapore Suites or first class.
2. Fly Lufthansa First Class to Europe (LifeMiles)
Arguably, one of the classiest ways to fly to Europe in style is on Lufthansa first class. Don’t forget about the First Class Terminal (Frankfurt only) and the First Class Lounges! These take an already amazing experience to another level.
Avianca LifeMiles charges 87,000 miles to fly one-way. Best of all? Taxes and fees will be just $41 per person!
This is a stunning redemption, and flying Lufthansa without surcharges at reasonable rates is often difficult. Lufthansa first class awards are almost never available more than 15 days in advance to partners, so you’ll have to book pretty close to departure.
Luckily, Avianca LifeMiles doesn’t assess any close-in booking fees! Avianca LifeMiles provides the most affordable way to fly on Lufthansa first class from the U.S. to Europe without paying ~$600 in fuel surcharges each way.
First class from the U.S. to Europe will cost you just 87,000 LifeMiles + $31 in taxes and fees! Here are some great example routes you can take:
- Los Angeles (LAX) to Frankfurt (FRA) — availability is tough
- Houston (IAH) to Frankfurt (FRA) — availability is tough
- San Francisco (SFO) to Munich (MUC) — availability is sporadic
- Dallas Fort-Worth (DFW) to Frankfurt (FRA) — good availability
- Washington, D.C. (IAD) to Frankfurt (FRA) — good availability
- New York (JFK) to Frankfurt (FRA) — good availability
If Europe is on your list, we’ve written an extensive guide on flying to Europe with points and miles.
Need help booking? Check out our step-by-step guide to booking first class on Lufthansa.
Hot Tip: Enjoy your trip home from Frankfurt even more if you have Amex Platinum card. You’ll get access to the Priority Pass program upon enrollment, which allows you to use lounges in the airport, including the LuxxLounge and the Primeclass Lounge in Frankfurt.
3. Fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class to Europe (Flying Blue)
Air France-KLM Flying Blue is one of the few loyalty programs that can bypass the majority of fuel surcharges that Virgin Atlantic levies on its flights. You can fly to Europe in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class from 67,500 to 106,500 miles one-way plus taxes and fees of around $200 per person. This is in contrast to Virgin Atlantic’s own price of around 67,500 miles plus $800 in taxes and fees per person.
Availability on Virgin Atlantic in Upper Class tends to be quite good, so you shouldn’t have many issues booking this flight, especially far in advance.
Need help booking? Check out our guide to booking Virgin Atlantic Upper Class!
4. Fly to the Middle East or North Africa From the U.S. (KrisFlyer Miles)
Singapore Airlines offers great pricing to fly to the Middle East and North Africa from the U.S. as well. You can redeem KrisFlyer miles for travel on Star Alliance member airlines, including United, EgyptAir, Ethiopian, SWISS, and Lufthansa.
On these airlines, you’ll be able to get to the Middle East or North Africa for 52,000 miles one-way in economy class, 88,000 miles one-way in business class, or 114,000 miles one-way in first class.
5. Fly to Central or South Africa From the U.S. (KrisFlyer Miles)
Singapore Airlines has a pretty good award price for travel to Central and South Africa in business class. A one-way business class flight will cost you 111,000 miles when you fly with a Star Alliance partner airline.
This pricing is now higher than United, which requires 80,000 miles each way to fly Star Alliance partners to Central and South Africa.
6. Fly to Europe in Economy From the U.S. (KrisFlyer Miles)
Singapore offers a great price to fly from the U.S. to Europe in economy class at only 30,500 miles in each direction on Star Alliance member airlines.
7. Fly Between South Pacific Islands (KrisFlyer Miles)
This is an amazing deal if you are able to take an extended trip and want to do some Pacific Island hopping.
Singapore Airlines charges 13,500 miles, 34,500 miles, and 47,000 miles each way for travel in economy, business, and first class respectively within the South Pacific.
United would charge 12,500 miles one-way in economy class, 30,000 miles one-way for business class, and 40,000 miles one-way for first class.
Availability can be tough to find on many of these routes, but if you have some flexibility, you can’t beat using your Singapore Airlines miles for travel between South Pacific islands in business or first class.
8. Fly United in Business or First Within the U.S. (KrisFlyer Miles)
Singapore Airlines has a handful of other sweet spots in its award chart, and flights on United within the U.S. in business or first class is one of them.
You can redeem KrisFlyer miles to fly on United Airlines within the U.S. for only 26,000 miles in business class or 39,000 miles in first class.
As a comparison, United charges 50,000 miles to fly business class round-trip within the U.S. and 70,000 miles to fly first class within the U.S.
9. Fly Between the Continental U.S. and Hawaii (KrisFlyer Miles)
You can also redeem your Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles for a good value between the continental U.S. and Hawaii in all classes of service for travel on Star Alliance Airlines.
One-way prices are 19,500 miles, 39,000 miles, and 52,000 miles in economy, business, and first class, respectively. For comparison, United would charge 22,500 miles, 40,000 miles, and 50,000 miles to book the exact same flights.
10. Fly Round-trip in ANA Business Class to Japan (ANA Mileage Club)
ANA used to have an awesome distance-based award chart allowing 3 stopovers for no additional cost. This was a great deal, but now ANA has more common region-based award charts for:
Unfortunately, booking awards with partners means you will be on the hook for carrier-imposed surcharges. Sometimes, lower fees on partner flights can be obtained through United, Turkish, Air New Zealand, and Air Canada (depending on the routes).
ANA allows 1 stopover and 1 open-jaw (including backtracking) on both ANA and partner flights (some caveats apply). Thanks to this tiny bit of flexibility worked into the new scheme, you’ll still have a lot of options for multiple destinations on 1 ticket!
ANA flights to Japan cost 85,000 miles round-trip in business class during the regular season and can go as low as 75,000 miles during the low season. Flights on partners will always cost 85,000 miles in business class.
Flying ANA in economy class will only cost you 40,000 miles in the low season, while flights on partners will always cost 50,000 miles. The low season is considered January, February, and April. You might even be able to catch the Sakura Cherry blossoms!
Hot Tip: You can also transfer points from Marriott Bonvoy to ANA Mileage Club.
Need help booking? See our step-by-step guide for booking ANA business class.
11. North America to Asia Zone 1 (ANA Mileage Club)
ANA considers Asia Zone 1 as China, Guam, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines. A round-trip business class ticket will only cost 80,000 miles during the low season when flying on ANA.
If you’re looking at flying with a partner airline, the deal isn’t quite as good at 95,000 miles (the same cost as flying ANA during high season). Flights in economy class cost 45,000 miles.
12. Fly Etihad Business Class to Africa or the Middle East (Air Canada Aeroplan)
Aeroplan charges between 85,000 and 100,000 points to fly one-way on Etihad business class to the Middle East or Africa. You can also book first class tickets for 120,000 to 130,000 points.
If your total flight distance is 6,001 to 8,000 miles, you’ll spend 85,000 points in business and 120,000 in first class.
If your total flight distance is 8,001 or more miles, you’ll spend 100,000 points in business and 130,000 points in first class.
Etihad’s business class has received great reviews — you won’t be disappointed with this redemption.
Need help booking? Check out our step-by-step instructions on how to book Etihad business class!
13. North America to Asia Zone 2 (ANA Mileage Club)
ANA considers Asia Zone 2 to be India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. If you just read its website, you might stop there — but Asia Zone 2 also includes the “stan” countries including Uzbekistan, Pakistan, and Kazakhstan.
Some of these countries are typically very expensive to get to from North America, so using miles can present incredible value opportunities. Round-trip business class to Asia Zone 2 countries only costs 100,000 miles during the low season or 55,000 miles in economy class.
Need help booking? Check out our step-by-step guide to booking business class with ANA’s Star Alliance partner EVA Air — one of the best business class products in the sky.
Hot Tip: Flying to Asia also carries lower fuel surcharges compared with flying directly to Japan on ANA — even when your flights to Asia go through Japan!
14. North America to Europe on Partners (ANA Mileage Club)
The mileage cost of flying one of ANA’s partner airlines to Japan isn’t as good redeeming miles for ANA flights directly, but the award chart does have a few solid partner redemption options.
You can fly round-trip from the U.S. to Europe in business class for only 88,000 miles, or fly in economy class for 55,000 miles. This price used to be a lot better than it is now, but it’s still better than some competitors.
Watch out for carrier-imposed surcharges that can really add up — if you can, find availability on LOT Polish, Air Canada, Turkish Airlines, or United Airlines to avoid higher taxes and fees.
15. North America to Africa or the Middle East in Economy (ANA Mileage Club)
ANA also offers good pricing in economy class to Africa and the Middle East. A round-trip flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Cape Town (CPT) would cost you only 65,000 miles in economy class.
United would charge 80,000 miles for the same round-trip flight.
16. Intra-Africa/Middle East Flights (ANA Mileage Club)
Flights within Africa can be very expensive, but with ANA you have a pretty great option to use miles instead.
You’ll only need 30,000 miles round-trip in economy class for flights within Africa and the Middle East when you fly Star Alliance partners including South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, and Egypt Air.
17. Flights to Southern South America From the U.S. (ANA Mileage Club)
Many award charts split South America into 2 regions: northern South America and southern South America. Sometimes this is beneficial, but other times it is not.
If you are looking to travel specifically to southern South America, you can make use of the fact that ANA considers South America as 1 region.
Since ANA doesn’t fly to South America, you’ll utilize the ANA Partner Award Chart. ANA only charges 88,000 miles round-trip in business and 55,000 miles round-trip in economy class.
If you want to visit a southern South American country such as Argentina or Chile, you would pay 110,000 United miles in business class or 60,000 miles round-trip in economy class. If you are planning to go to a northern South American country (like Peru or Columbia) or a Central American country (like Costa Rica or Nicaragua), you’re better off booking with United.
18. Book an Around the World Trip (ANA Mileage Club)
A lot of airline programs have gotten rid of their Around the World award charts, but ANA basically turned its old distance-based program into an Around the World chart when it made its program changes.
If you have time and want to make a bunch of stops on your trip, this is a fantastic redemption! When making an ANA partner redemption, you can make up to 8 stopovers on a round-the-world trip.
There are some restrictions to consider, such as only 3 stopovers in Europe and 4 in Japan, and you must choose only 1 direction in which to travel (east or west).
Also, you cannot return to your home country in fewer than 10 days. Finally, you can’t use an open-jaw in North America, South America, or Latin America.
However, you can put together some incredible trips if you have the time, flexibility, and patience to plan them out! The cost is calculated based on the mileage flown. Itineraries start at 20,000 points in economy (for trips of 0 to 2,000 miles) and go up to 450,000 points in first class (for trips of 44,001 to 50,000 miles).
19. Continental U.S. to Hawaii on Delta in Economy (Flying Blue)
One great redemption from the Flying Blue program is for flights to Hawaii from the continental U.S.
Round-trip flights cost 30,000 Flying Blue miles and less than $10 in fees. Considering that flights from the East Coast usually cost $500 to $900 round-trip, we’re talking some great redemptions even at the lower end of the value spectrum.
The new variable award pricing has many people confused, but award prices start at 30,000 Flying Blue miles round-trip and can go higher from there. Be sure to look for mileage prices around 30,000 or else you’ll be paying way more than you want!
20. Flying Blue Promo Rewards (Flying Blue)
Flying Blue has special Promo Rewards that are usually 25% to 50% off economy class and business class award tickets from Europe to certain cities around the world.
The Promo Award that most U.S.-based flyers will find useful is the Europe to North American Cities option. When an award is 50% off, it will only cost 12,500 miles to fly each way in economy, or 25,000 miles in business class.
Surcharges tend to be a little higher on Flying Blue awards, but they’re not terrible. If you consider how many miles you’re saving, it might be just what you need.
21. Make Use of Flying Blue’s Weird Region Definitions (Flying Blue)
Flying Blue has some very odd region definitions that can make for some incredible awards! Specifically, consider the fact that Israel, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya are all considered part of Europe.
Right away, this means 50,000 miles for round-trip itineraries in economy class from the U.S. and 100,000 miles for round-trips in business class. But wait, it gets even better! Since these locations are all considered part of Europe, Promo Rewards will also be available to these locations.
22. Fly to Mexico for the Same Price as Flying Around the U.S. (Flying Blue)
Most airline award programs separate Mexico from the U.S. in their award charts. With Flying Blue, you’ll be able to fly from the U.S. to Mexico for only 18,500 miles each direction at the lowest redemption price in economy — the same price you’d pay to fly somewhere in the U.S.
23. Fly to the Caribbean From the U.S. (Flying Blue)
Flying Blue also has a pretty solid price for flights to the Caribbean. At the lowest award pricing, round-trip flights in economy class will only set you back 37,000 miles.
For more information, check out our guide to flying to the Caribbean with points and miles.
24. Insanely Cheap Economy Flights to the South Pacific (Flying Blue)
Flying Blue charges a ridiculously low number of miles for flights to Tahiti and other islands in the South Pacific: only 35,000 miles for a one-way economy class ticket. Taxes and fees will be around $100 per person each way
There’s really only 1 valid route here:
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Tahiti (PPT)
25. Fly to Oceania From the U.S. (Aeroplan)
There are some good Aeroplan redemptions worth mentioning.
You can fly from the U.S. to Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific (Oceania) for 120,000 miles round-trip in economy class. Where this award really shines is with the ability to make 1 stopover in each direction in addition to your final destination for just 5,000 points per stopover!
If you’re already flying so far, why not add a few days and extra stops to your trip?
This won’t be the lowest possible price to get to Oceania, but if you can make use of the stopovers it might be worth paying more miles than a carrier like United would charge.
Hot Tip: Bilt Rewards, Capital One, Chase, and Marriott Bonvoy also have Air Canada Aeroplan as transfer partners, so you can combine your points from those programs with your Membership Rewards points.
26. Fly to Western Europe From the U.S. (Aeroplan)
Air Canada charges 70,000 to 110,000 points to fly round-trip in economy class from the U.S. to Western Europe.
While this is the same price charged by many other airlines (such as United), you also have the ability to make a stopover for 5,000 points in each direction in addition to your destination when booking with Air Canada.
The same routes cost 120,000 to 180,000 points in business class and 180,000 to 260,000 points in first class! In other words, you can fly Lufthansa first class for as few as 90,000 points each way.
27. Fly to the Middle East From the U.S. (Aeroplan)
Air Canada charges 110,000 to 140,000 points to fly round-trip in economy class from the U.S. to the Middle East, again with the ability to make a stopover in each direction in addition to your final destination for 5,000 additional points per stopover.
Flights that span 6,001 to 8,000 miles in distance will cost 55,000 points one-way in economy, 90,000 points in business, and 130,000 points in first class.
Meanwhile, flights longer than 8,000 miles in distance will cost 70,000 points one-way in economy, 110,000 points in business, and 140,000 points in first.
28. Short-haul Flights on Air Canada (Aeroplan)
Flights on Air Canada within North America are generally quite expensive when purchased in cash.
But any short-haul flights on any Star Alliance partner that are shorter than 500 miles in flight distance will start at 6,000 Aeroplan points each way. Flights between 501 and 1,500 miles will cost 10,000 Aeroplan points each way.
29. Fly to Nunavut, Yukon, or the Northwest Territories From the U.S. (Aeroplan)
These provinces of Canada are so expensive to get to; we’re talking easily over $1,000 from the U.S. (and we’ve even seen prices over $2,000 round-trip).
However, awards to these locations can be booked for such a tiny number of miles — only 25,000 round-trip! If you like visiting off-the-beaten-track destinations, this is a great (and cheap) award. For 25,000 points round-trip, your total flight distance in each direction can be as much as 2,750 miles.
A $2,000 round-trip ticket for only 25,000 miles nets you a fantastic value of 8 cents per point, which is on par with first class redemptions.
30. Travel With a Lap Child (Aeroplan)
The cost of traveling with an infant varies by airline when booking award tickets. Some airlines charge 10% of the cash ticket, which can be absolutely brutal if you are traveling in a premium cabin.
Air Canada has a very simple and reasonable structure for the cost of traveling with an infant: CA$25 or 2,500 miles per ticket.
Generally, we would recommend paying cash for these infant fees, since the value per mile would only be less than 1 cent per point after currency conversion.
However, if you are looking to cover as much of your trip as possible with your miles, Air Canada is one of the better options when traveling with a lap child.
Make sure that if you are traveling with a lap child, you always book a round-trip ticket. The lap child fee is per ticket, so if you book 2 one-way tickets you’ll pay this fee twice.
31. Fly on Qatar Airways Qsuites (British Airways Avios)
One of the best ways to redeem Amex points for an amazing business class product on an ultra-long-haul flight is on Qatar Airways Qsuites.
The 2 most obvious partners are Cathay Pacific Asia Miles or British Airways Executive Club, but we generally find redemption rates on U.S.-Middle East itineraries to be the best through British Airways.
Right now, you’ll pay just 70,000 British Airways Avios + ~$102 in taxes and fees for a one-way business class ticket between the U.S. and Doha (DOH), with departures from cities such as Chicago (ORD), San Francisco (SFO), and Washington, D.C.
32. Short-haul Flights (British Airways Avios)
British Airways has always offered some great deals, especially for short-haul flights. Amex Membership Rewards has a transfer ratio of 1:1 which makes transferring points to British Airways a solid choice.
For short-haul flight deals, try searching for flights up to 650 miles outside of the U.S. These flights will only cost you 4,750 Avios each way for travel on British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus!
On partner-operated flights, that number is 6,000 Avios one-way. This can present incredible value in areas of the world where distances are short but flights are expensive, like Japan.
For flights within North America, the price is 7,500 Avios.
Hot Tip: British Airways is notorious for having high fees attached to its flights, but fees are much lower when you redeem Avios for flights on American Airlines and Alaska Airlines.
33. Fly to Hawaii From the U.S. West Coast (British Airways Avios)
One-way, direct flights from the West Coast to Hawaii in economy class on Alaska Airlines or American Airlines will only cost you 13,000 British Airways Avios plus $5.10 in taxes and fees!
This might be the best economy class redemption from the continental U.S. to Hawaii.
34. Fly to Europe From the U.S. East Coast (Iberia Avios)
You can get from the U.S. East Coast to Dublin on Aer Lingus for just 13,000 Avios off-peak with low surcharges.
In addition, you can transfer Membership Rewards points to Iberia Avios. If you ever book flights on Iberia, you will want to book with Iberia Avios, not British Airways Avios (even though you have the ability to book with both).
You can also transfer miles between British Airways’ and Iberia’s programs. In order to transfer, your account must be at least 90 days old, and you must have had some kind of points activity on your account (a transfer from American Express counts).
Some good one-way business class redemptions on Iberia to Europe are Chicago (ORD)/Boston (BOS)/New York (JFK) to Madrid (MAD) for 34,000 miles plus $581.70 in taxes and fees or Miami (MIA) to Madrid (MAD) for 42,500 miles plus $581.70 in taxes and fees. If flying on the highly competitive Los Angeles (LAX) to Madrid (MAD) route, you’ll shell out 62,500 Avios plus $581.70 in taxes and fees.
35. Miami to Lima, Peru (British Airways Avios)
If you’re looking to venture somewhere other than Europe, a flight from Miami (MIA) to Lima (LIM) in Peru is a great option.
This award only costs 13,000 British Airways Avios plus $21 each way in economy; that’s not much more than it would cost to fly within the U.S.!
36. Low Fees (British Airways Avios)
British Airways doesn’t charge a fee for booking last-minute travel. This means that if you don’t have status with another airline, you have a good option to book last-minute travel for no fees.
As far as cancellation fees go, they’re also pretty reasonable. If booking from the U.S., your cancellation fee will cost $55 per person per ticket.
37. Fly From Santiago to Easter Island (Cathay Pacific Asia Miles)
Getting to Easter Island is not cheap; round-trip flights start around $850. Rather than dropping some serious cash, you can use only 15,000 Cathay Pacific Asia Miles plus minimal taxes and fees to fly from Santiago (SCL) to Easter Island (IPC).
38. Fly From Los Angeles to Tokyo — Maybe Even in First Class! (British Airways Avios)
Flying from Los Angeles (LAX) to Tokyo (HND/NRT) on Japan Airlines puts you right in the 25,750 Avios distance bracket. If you want to fly the same route in first class, it will set you back 103,000 Avios plus $160.90 in taxes and fees each way.
Business class could be a happy medium for this itinerary at 77,250 Avios plus $160.90.
Hot Tip: Bilt Rewards, Capital One, Chase, and Marriott Bonvoy also partner with British Airways and transfer at a 1:1 ratio.
39. Fly British Airways First Class With a Companion by Using Miles and the Travel Together Ticket (British Airways Avios)
If your goal is to use your miles to fly first class on British Airways, be prepared to pay a cash surcharge — though you’ll still be saving a ton over the cost of a cash ticket.
Flying British Airways first class from Chicago (ORD) to London (LHR) will cost you as few as 68,000 British Airways Avios during off-peak dates, and as much as 80,000 Avios during peak dates (plus a little over $700 to $1,000 in taxes and surcharges in each direction).
This ticket will give you a second seat for a companion on the same flight in the same cabin when you book a reward flight on a British Airways mainline flight originating in and returning to the U.S. You will need to book a round-trip ticket.
You will still need to pay the taxes and fees on the companion ticket as well as your own, but you’re only paying points for 1 person! The Travel Together Ticket (once earned) is good for 2 years, meaning you’ll need to book your departure date within 2 years of receiving it.
Need help booking? Read our guide to help you book British Airways first class using points!
40. Fly Cathay Pacific First Class (Cathay Pacific Asia Miles)
Want a chance to experience Cathay Pacific first class?
On select flights between the U.S. and Hong Kong, you can access one of the world’s most exclusive first class products starting at 110,000 Asia Miles one-way.
Business class on the same flight would cost 70,000 Asia Miles.
Hot Tip: American Express occasionally offers bonuses of up to 25% when transferring points to Asia Miles. Wait for one of these to come up to get an even better deal on the awards listed above!
Need help booking? See our step-by-step guide to booking Cathay Pacific first class.
41. Fly Etihad With No Carrier-imposed Surcharges (Aeroplan)
When looking at a lot of foreign carriers, you have to be careful about whether or not carrier-imposed surcharges are passed on when booking an award ticket. Thanks to Etihad’s partnership with Air Canada’s Aeroplan program, you don’t need to worry about that.
Using your Aeroplan points, you can fly from Washington, D.C. (IAD) to Abu Dhabi (AUH) for 85,000 points in business class or 120,000 points in first class. Similarly, on a shorter trip between London (LHR) and Abu Dhabi (AUH), you can fly in business class for 45,000 points and first class for 65,000 points.
Need help booking? Give our step-by-step instructions on how to book Etihad business class a look!
Hot Tip: Use cards such as the Amex Platinum card to get rental car elite status upon enrollment with Avis, Hertz, and National.
42. East Coast to Europe With 2 Stopovers (Asia Miles)
One of the most amazing things about the Asia Miles award program is the ability to make 2 stopovers on a round-trip award.
On flights from the East Coast, you should be able to fly in economy class for 70,000 points round-trip or business class for 110,000 points round-trip. An example routing you might want to consider is New York (JFK) – Madrid (MAD) – Helsinki (HEL) – New York (JFK).
You will want to be careful which airline you fly with to avoid fuel surcharges, but flights on Iberia and Finnair will generally have low surcharges.
Asia Miles has 2 award charts: one for Cathay and another for all other Oneworld flights. The number of partners you are flying will dictate the number of stops you are allowed to make:
- If using the Cathay chart, you are allowed to fly Cathay Pacific and 1 other partner; and you can make 2 stopovers on a round-trip booking. Stopovers on one-way flights are not allowed.
- If you are not flying on Cathay at all, or are flying 2+ different partners, you will want to reference the Oneworld chart. When booking from the Oneworld chart, you are allowed 4 stopovers and 2 open-jaws on a round-trip booking.
You have the option to redeem online with Cathay Pacific, British Airways, and Qantas. Call to speak to an agent for other airlines or fill out the online form to request airline award bookings.
Keep in mind that you will want to focus on avoiding carrier-imposed surcharges when making these bookings. In addition to flying Aer Lingus and Air Berlin, you should also consider flights on LATAM, American Airlines (within the Americas), and Air New Zealand.
Other partners will likely have carrier-imposed surcharges — but depending on the miles you are spending and the amount of the surcharge, it could still be a good deal.
43. Book One of the Few Remaining Round-the-World Trips (Aeromexico)
Aeromexico’s miles currency is called Club Premier Points. The units are “km” (presumably for kilometers), so we’re going to refer to them as “km.”
An award redemption that’s worth considering is Aeromexico’s Go Round The World Pass. For 224,000 km or 352,000 km, you can fly around the world in economy class or business class, respectively, making up to 15 stopovers (5 per continent) along the way.
You will need to be careful about fuel surcharges when booking this award, but if you’re able to make use of all or most of the 15 stops, you can get some serious value from this pass in either class of service.
Just for fun, here’s a fabulous, extreme routing that uses all 15 stopovers:
- Honolulu (HNL) – Los Angeles (LAX) on Delta Air Lines
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Atlanta (ATL) on Delta Air Lines
- Atlanta (ATL) – New York (JFK) on Delta Air Lines
- New York (JFK) – Paris (CDG) on Air France
- Paris (CDG) – Amsterdam (AMS) on KLM
- Amsterdam (AMS) – Rome (FCO) on KLM
- Rome (FCO) – Johannesburg (JNB) on Air France
- Johannesburg (JNB) – Nairobi (NBO) on Kenya Airways
- Nairobi (NBO) – Dubai (DXB) on Kenya Airways
- Dubai (DXB) – Kunming (KMG) on China Eastern Airlines
- Kunming (KMG) – Bangkok (BKK) on China Eastern Airlines
- Bangkok (BKK) – Jakarta (CGK) on Garuda Indonesia Airlines
- Jakarta (CGK) – Hong Kong (HKG) on China Airlines
- Hong Kong (HKG) – Seoul (ICN) on Korean Air
- Seoul (ICN) – Sydney (SYD) on Korean Air
- Sydney (SYD) – Los Angeles (LAX) on Delta Air Lines
44. Fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class to or From Europe (SkyMiles)
Delta’s award chart has gotten a little tricky over the past year or so, mainly because it doesn’t actually publish an award chart anymore. This makes it difficult to know whether or not you’re getting a good price on an award you are planning to book.
If transferring Amex points to Delta, one award you’ll definitely want to consider is flying Virgin Atlantic in Upper Class to or from Europe for 85,000 Delta miles.
It’s better to fly back to the U.S. on Virgin Atlantic because you will get access to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London Heathrow.
45. Fly Chinese Airlines in Business Class (SkyMiles)
Many of the Chinese airlines are praised for their business class products. When using your Delta SkyMiles, you have the ability to book both China Eastern and China Airlines in business class for 120,000 SkyMiles in each direction.
While both airlines are good, China Airlines is generally considered to be slightly superior. Assuming there is availability to your destination, you should consider booking China Airlines over China Eastern.
Don’t forget you can also fly Delta One to Asia starting at 120,000 SkyMiles.
Need help booking? Use our Delta award flight booking guide to simplify the process.
Hot Tip: Marriott Bonvoy also partners with Delta Air Lines and there are many ways to earn lots of Marriott Bonvoy points.
46. Short Flights Within the U.S. (SkyMiles)
All of the airlines seem to be getting in on the low-mileage short flights game. Delta now charges only 7,000 SkyMiles for select short flights within the U.S., like San Francisco (SFO) to Seattle (SEA). These redemptions can be a great deal, especially if there is availability at the last minute when flight prices tend to be higher.
A month out, flight prices for SFO to SEA are currently only $89 on select days, making the redemption not as good. Since Delta’s award pricing is so variable, it always makes sense to compare the award price to the cash price on any day you are looking at flying.
47. Book Cheap Flights to Europe on Brussels Airlines (Etihad)
Etihad isn’t part of an airline alliance, but it does have a lot of different airline partners. It also has different award charts for each partner.
One very important partner you need to be aware of is Brussels Airlines. Each route you are allowed to fly is listed in this chart with the pricing for one-way bookings.
A round-trip economy class booking from New York to Brussels will cost 54,000 miles, and round-trip business class will cost 88,000 miles. Availability is tough to find, but it is there. If you can book it, this can be a great redemption. Any of the Brussels Airlines flights are worth booking with Etihad miles.
One-way flights are half the price of a round-trip ticket.
48. Access Attractive American Airlines Business and First Class Prices to Select Destinations (Etihad)
You can get some incredible value on American Airlines premium cabin flights by using Etihad miles.
Etihad has a different award chart for each airline, but as long as you are redeeming for only American Airlines flights, there are some great values to be found:
- Europe (50,000 in business, 62,500 in first)
- Asia 1 (50,000 in business, 62,500 in first)
- Asia 2 (55,000 in business, 67,500 in first)
- South Pacific (62,500 in business, 67,500 in first)
Hot Tip: Need help booking? See our step-by-step instructions on booking American Airlines first class.
49. Fly to Casablanca With Royal Air Maroc (Etihad)
Etihad has a combination of distance-based and zone-based award charts depending on which partner you’re looking to book with. When redeeming Etihad miles for flights on Royal Air Maroc, you’ll be looking at a distance-based award chart.
A flight from New York (JFK) to Casablanca (CMN) would fall into the longest flight category (2,001+ miles) and would cost just 22,000 miles one-way in economy class or 44,000 miles one-way in business class.
Hot Tip: Capital One, Citi, and Marriott Bonvoy also partner with Etihad. Use cards such as the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card, Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, or the Citi Premier® Card to earn more points for your award.
50. Travel With an Infant (Etihad)
Etihad is another airline on which traveling with an infant lap child is reasonable — it only charges 10% of the mileage cost of the ticket for your infant to travel on your lap.
For example, if you’re thinking about booking the Brussels Airlines business class flight for 44,000 Etihad miles from JFK to BRU, you would only need to budget an extra 4,400 miles to book a lap child ticket.
51. Fly Transcontinental Business Class in the U.S. on United Airlines (Avianca)
Another great sweet spot is on United Airlines 787-10 routes between Newark (EWR) or New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO).
You’ll be able to fly transcontinental on United’s awesome Polaris business class! Its planned schedule is as follows:
- Newark (EWR) to Los Angeles (LAX): Up to 7 times daily
- Newark (EWR) to San Francisco (SFO): Up to 8 times daily
- New York (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX): Up to 2 times daily
- New York (JFK) to San Francisco (SFO): Up to 2 times daily
Trying United Polaris across the U.S. will set you back only 25,000 miles each way when booking through its Star Alliance partner Avianca LifeMiles!
52. Avianca Promo Awards
Avianca will routinely run promo awards for different destinations all around the world. There’s some solid opportunity to eke extra value from your LifeMiles due to the discounts offered here.
Keep in mind that you’ll need to read carefully and be sure to book the awards when the sale is actually occurring. The promo awards are typically only valid if booked within a short window of time, usually 2 to 3 weeks.
Some example promos include:
- New York (JFK) – Seoul-Incheon (ICN): Round-trip for 144,000 miles in Asiana Airlines first class (regular price = 180,000)
- Los Angeles (LAX) – Beijing (PEK): Round-trip for 144,000 miles in Air China first class (regular price = 180,000)
- San Francisco (SFO) – Taipei (TPE): Round-trip for 120,000 miles in EVA Air business class (regular price = 150,000)
- Seattle (SEA) – Taipei (TPE): Round-trip for 120,000 miles in EVA Air business class (regular price = 150,000)
53. East Coast to Dubai Round-trip on Emirates: Economy From 72,500 Points or Business From 145,000 Points (Emirates Skywards)
Emirates is known to have one of the best economy products and a fantastic business class. It is currently not in an alliance and only partners with a handful of airlines, which makes these award redemptions a little tougher to snag.
You can earn Emirates miles through transfers at a 1:1 ratio from Amex Membership Rewards. For Business Saver tickets booked round-trip, you can spend as few as 145,000 miles; for one-way tickets, you’ll spend around 115,000 miles.
Taxes and fees are extremely high, though, hovering at around $1,200 one-way.
There are several East Coast cities that have nonstop flights to Dubai on Emirates, including Boston (BOS), Miami (MIA), New York (JFK), and Washington, D.C. (IAD).
Try to catch the business class product on the A380 as opposed to the 777-300ER!
Need help booking? Read our guide on how to book Emirates business class using points.
54. Book Free Nights at Hilton Properties (Hilton Honors)
Up until this point, we have only talked about American Express airline transfer partners, but you’ll also have access to booking hotels by making use of its hotel transfer partners.
Generally, you won’t get as much value from your Membership Rewards points by booking a hotel compared with a flight, but there are still some deals worth considering if you really need a hotel stay.
For example, one good option is booking a lower-tier Hilton hotel like the Hampton Inn in Florence, Alabama.
With Membership Rewards, you can transfer 10,000 points to get 20,000 Honors points good for up to 3 nights at Hilton’s most affordable properties.
Your options are a little more limited with entry-level hotels in the Hilton portfolio, but you’ll still have options domestically and internationally. So how about a stay at the Hilton in Alexandria, Egypt, or the DoubleTree by Hilton in Anhui, Suzhou?
Hot Tip: Use the Amex Platinum card to get complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status upon enrollment! You can also check out the various Hilton credit cards to find more ways to earn a bunch of Hilton Honors points, such as the Hilton Honors American Express Card.
55. Book Great Rates at Hotels in Italy, Sweden, or Honduras (Choice Hotels)
Membership Rewards points can be transferred to Choice Privileges at a 1:1 ratio, making it easy to find excellent hotel redemptions in Europe. For example, you can stay in Italy, Sweden, and other countries in Europe starting at 8,000 points per night. During peak season, these hotels can easily cost hundreds of euros per night.
Here are some of the best redemptions for Choice Hotels award stays:
- Clarion Collection Hotel Principessa Isabella in Rome is 16,000 points per night
- Clarion Suites Roatan in Honduras is 12,000 to 16,000 points per night
- Hotel C Stockholm, Ascend Hotel Collection is 16,000 points per night
- Hotel Christiania Teater, Ascend Hotel Collection in Olso is 20,000 points per night
Hot Tip: You can also earn lots of Choice Privileges points by using the Choice Privileges® Mastercard®.
How To Transfer Your American Express Membership Points to Transfer Partners
Step 1: Navigate to the American Express website and log in to your account.
Step 2: Select a credit card account that earns Membership Rewards points.
This might be the Amex Gold card or the Amex Platinum card, among others.
Cards like the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card and the Hilton Honors card don’t earn Membership Rewards.
Step 3: On the top right-hand side, choose Rewards. On the next page, choose Transfer Points from the drop-down menu.
Step 4: Choose your desired airline or hotel partner. If you have not already linked the selected airline loyalty program account number, you will do so now.
Step 5: Once your account is linked, choose how many points you would like to transfer. Generally, you are required to transfer in chunks of 1,000 points. You will be required to verify you are the cardholder by entering your 4-digit card ID and your 3-digit security code (both can be found on your card).
Step 6: After entering the number of miles you need, click Review Transfer and complete the transfer.
Hot Tip: All transfers are final and cannot be reversed, so make sure to double-check that everything is correct!
The above list outlines your best ways to redeem Membership Rewards points for air travel and hotel stays. There are a lot of options to choose from in terms of the partner airlines and hotels, but only some of these will maximize your redemption value!
With some calculated Membership Rewards transfers, you can fly Singapore Suites to experience the famous double bed, or get 4 stopovers in great world cities on your flight to Europe. Use your imagination!
To maximize the points you get for any flights you must purchase to take advantage of these deals, the Amex Gold card is a great option — you’ll earn 3x points for flights purchased directly through the airlines or on amextravel.com. There are also many different Membership Rewards credit cards to choose from.
The information regarding the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Choice Privileges® Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, click here.
Featured Image Credit: Alex Miller
Frequently Asked Questions
Amex’s points program is called Membership Rewards. The points you earn, redeem and transfer are Amex Membership Rewards (MR) points.
The value of an Amex point depends on where you are redeeming your points. A really bad redemption, such as redeeming points for purchases at Amazon.com, has a value of about 0.5 cents per point.
Other airline and hotel partners of Amex return a value up to 8 cents per point!
That’s like getting a $100 ticket for the equivalent of about 1,250 Membership Rewards points.
Fly one-way to Hawaii from the U.S. for as low as 18,500 Membership Rewards points transferred to Air France-KLM Flying Blue.
Fly one-way to Europe from the U.S. for as few as 12,500 Membership Rewards points transferred to Air France-KLM Flying Blue.
The short answer is no. The IRS and tax court decided, alongside American Express, to treat frequent flyer miles or mileage awards as nontaxable.
To transfer your MR points to airlines or hotel partners:
- You will need an American Express card that is eligible for the Membership Rewards program.
- Sign in to your Amex credit card account at americanexpress.com.
- Log in and select an eligible card to find the Membership Rewards balance on the right side.
- Select Rewards and then Transfer Points.
- Press View All right under the Transfer Points button.
- On the loaded page, choose one of these programs.
- If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to link your account with that program by selecting Link your [Partner Award Program Name] Account under see more information.
- When the page loads, link your account by selecting Linked travel programs on the right side and then Link additional programs.
- Select the partner award program to which you are transferring points (assuming you have already signed up for that program) and click Continue.
- Enter your card and transfer partner program details.
- Return to the page listing the partner program for transferring the points.
- Enter the number of points you will need, press Calculate, and then Transfer this amount.
Note: Once you transfer points, you cannot transfer them back!
Membership Rewards points earned will appear as “pending” in your account at the end of a billing cycle, which is after your statement closes. This means you can sometimes wait months for points to post — whether from purchases or welcome bonuses.
In their “pending” state, points are eligible to be used if you are in a hurry to use them. As long as your account is in good standing, call up Amex and ask the representative to turn pending points into posted points immediately. This may require speaking to a few different agents or a supervisor to make it happen.
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