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TPG reader Candace tweeted me to ask about an American Express account she’s closing:
@thepointsguy — “I’m closing my Amex card with 80,000 Membership Rewards points, but they don’t partner with my preferred airline. What should I do with my rewards?”
To pre-emptively transfer your valuable points to a partner airline is risky. What happens if your plans change? Or what if you really need (for example) British Airways Avios, but you’ve already sent your points to Aeroplan?
The best option for your situation is to get the no-annual-fee Amex Everyday Card from American Express. This card will allow you to keep your Membership Rewards account open at no cost. You can keep your points there — they don’t expire — and then transfer them to an airline partner whenever you have the need to travel.
The Everyday card is actually a good card to have anyway, since it’s the only card with no annual fee that earns Membership Rewards, and it offers a few bonus categories. If you currently have a charge card, you might not be able to change it to Amex Everyday (meaning you may have to apply for it as a new account). Either way, that card is a no-brainer in my opinion.
Alternatively, if you have a strong sense of how you plan to redeem those points, you could find a partner for your preferred airline. So if you don’t want to keep any Amex cards open, you could take advantage of some valuable transfer partners:
- For short-haul awards, British Airways Avios are amazing. (Not so much for long-haul, business, or first class.)
- I recently transferred Amex points to Aeroplan so I could fly first class to Europe for 62,500 miles, which is pretty awesome these days. That’s what some airlines are charging at the lowest level for business class, so even though Aeroplan adds fuel surcharges, those awards can be worthwhile.
- Singapore KrisFlyer also offers some great premium awards.
- All Nippon Airways (ANA) has some sweet spots in its award chart.
Those are the airlines that I would probably transfer to if I had to. Good luck!