Can I Transfer Amex Membership Rewards to Someone Else?
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I love transferable points. I’ve said it time and time again; the best way to protect yourself from program devaluations is to built up points in one of the three major transferable points programs: American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest.
TPG reader Blayne recently tweeted at me:
“@thepointsguy Can I transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to a Delta Skymiles account with a different name?”
The answer used to be sort of; technically Amex prohibited it, but in reality you could transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to whomever you wanted. Unfortunately, however, Amex has really cracked down on this.
Basically what’s happening is that a lot of people are selling their Membership Rewards points to brokers, and those brokers turn around and sell award tickets to people looking for cheap business class fares. It’s a huge business and a shadowy market. I’ve met a lot of people who have sold miles successfully, but it’s a huge risk, because Amex will shut your account down if they catch you, and you’ll lose all your points. I don’t recommend it.
So recently Amex has instituted many more controls. You can now only really transfer points to a spouse or additional cardholder, since Amex wants to make sure that the people you transfer points to are people you actually know, and that you’re not selling them. If the person you want to transfer to is a spouse or has an additional card, then you’ll have no problem. Otherwise it’s going to be tricky.