Can I Convert Amex Membership Rewards to AAdvantage Miles?

May 3, 2015

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TPG reader Randy tweeted me to ask about points transfers:

@thepointsguy– “How easy is it to convert American Express Membership Rewards points to American Airlines miles?”

I think the American Airlines AAdvantage program has some of the most valuable frequent flyer miles out there. American has fairly low redemption thresholds (especially in first class to places like Asia), and is a member of the Oneworld alliance, so you can redeem on great partners like JAL or Cathay Pacific.

I often get asked if you can convert Amex Membership Rewards to AAdvantage miles, and unfortunately you can’t transfer directly. You can, however, convert from Amex to SPG at an awful ratio of 3:1, then from SPG to American Airlines at 1:1 (or 1:1.25 if you transfer 20,000 points). For example, 60,000 Amex points would transfer to 20,000 Starpoints and then 25,000 AAdvantage miles. You’d be losing over half of your overall value, so I don’t recommend this option unless you’re desperate.

You have a few options for earning AA miles via credit card spending. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

If you want AAdvantage miles, you have a few alternatives. You could get the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard, which offers a good sign-up bonus and some useful benefits:

For the best day-to-day earning rate, the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card American Express earns one Starpoint per dollar spent, and you can then transfer to American Airlines as described above (20,000 points becomes 25,000 miles). That means with this card you’re effectively earning 1.25 AAdvantage miles per dollar spent, which is better than most of the American Airlines co-branded credit cards.

The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.   

Transfers from Starwood aren’t always instantaneous, so you do need to plan ahead. I think the lesson to learn here is to always check out the transfer partners before you really commit to a certain loyalty currency or travel rewards card. Membership Rewards points can be really valuable, but they’re not a great fit for transferring to AAdvantage!

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

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