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TPG reader Mike messaged me to ask about his options for using Amex Membership Rewards points for travel:
“I have 30,000 points on my American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card; how should I redeem for an award flight?”
The easiest option is to use Pay with Points, which gets you 1 cent per point when booking through the Amex Travel portal. Using that method, your 30,000 points are worth $300. However, we can do much better!
The joy of Amex Membership Rewards (and other transferable points) is that you can use them with a wide variety of airline partners. Here’s the complete list of Amex airline transfer partners:
- Air Canada (Aeroplan)
- Flying Blue (Air France and KLM)
- Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific)
- British Airways
- El Al
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- Virgin America
- Virgin Atlantic
My personal recommendations would be Air Canada Aeroplan and British Airways Avios. Aeroplan offers some short-haul flights for 15,000 miles round-trip, so those 30,000 points could get you two round-trip flights, which is probably worth more than $300 — depending on your destination, of course. For more information, you can check Aeroplan’s flight reward chart.
British Airways is also great for short-haul flights, as you can get flights up to 650 miles (like New York to Montreal) for just 4,500 Avios each way. The fees are low when you redeem on American and Alaska, and British Airways doesn’t add last-minute booking fees, which is really helpful. In this case, your 30,000 points could get you up to six of those awards, or up to four awards at the next level (up to 1,150 miles). For more information, check out my post on Avios distance-based awards.
We’ve written extensively on using Amex Membership Rewards points — here are some related posts that you may also find useful:
- Redeeming Amex Membership Rewards for Maximum Value
- Best American Express Membership Rewards Redemptions
- 10 Ways to Use the Amex Premier Rewards Gold Sign-up Bonus
With some great bonus categories and an annual fee that’s waived for the first year, the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card has a lot going for it. If you don’t have PRG, now’s as good a time as any to add it to your wallet, as Amex added some great new benefits several months back.
- Receive 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
- 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
- No matter where you're traveling, when you use your Premier Rewards Gold Card there are no foreign transaction fees from American Express.
- $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 a year in baggage fees and more at one airline.
- Get a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, if available with The Hotel Collection at americanexpress.com/hc. Terms apply.
- There is a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $195.
- Terms and limitations apply.
- See Rates & Fees