5 amazing ways to use 60,000 Membership Rewards points for your next trip

Oct 22, 2020

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the latest information. 

There are many ways to boost your account balances during the pandemic, such as making purchases through online shopping portals or using the right card for groceries and dining.

However, one of the quickest ways to rack up points and miles is through welcome offers on top travel rewards credit cards. For instance, American Express® Gold Card now comes with an increased welcome offer of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on the card in the first six months of account opening.

Today, I want to go through some great ways to use these points for your next trip — whenever that may be.

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You can transfer Membership Rewards points to Singapore Airlines. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

In This Post

Transferring Amex Membership Rewards points

The best use of Membership Rewards points involves transferring your points to an airline partner and then redeeming the miles through that program. While the program does allow for many direct redemptions (including Amazon and gift cards), you will get maximum value through partner programs.

(Photo by Eden Batki / The Points Guy)

This valuable flexibility is one of the main reasons why every traveler should earn transferable points in at least one of the major programs.

Keep in mind too that this list is just a sample of different options that may appeal to a wide swath of readers. Every traveler has his or her own way of determining what makes a “valuable” redemption, so be sure to explore additional rewards if the list below doesn’t appeal to you.

So, that being said, what are some of the fantastic ways to redeem 60,000 Membership Rewards points? In no particular order:

Round-trip economy tickets from the U.S. to Hawaii on American or Alaska for two

If you’re looking to get to the now-reopened Hawaiian Islands for (almost) free, consider transferring your Membership Rewards points to British Airways Avios. Those points would transfer at a 1:1 ratio.

The distance-based program charges as little as 13,000 British Airways Avios per person each way from a gateway along the U.S. West Coast. Of course, you wouldn’t be flying on British Airways but leveraging one of their partners — American Airlines or Alaska Airlines.

For instance, a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu costs just 13,000 Avios — two people would be able to fly round-trip with some extra Membership Rewards to spare.

Screenshot courtesy of British Airways

However, you’ll pay more for flights from the Midwest or East Coast, thanks to British Airways’ distance-based award chart. British Airways also prices by segment, so connecting itineraries cost more too.

You can book directly on British Airways’ website for American flights, but you’ll have to call in for Alaska.

Related: The best ways to earn British Airways Avios

One-way business class flight to Europe or Asia on American Airlines

Another great program to which you can transfer your Membership Rewards points is Etihad Guest, again at a 1:1 ratio. The Middle Eastern loyalty program has a number of redemption sweet spots, but one of my favorites is with American.

American Airlines 777-200 (Photo by JT Genter/The Points Guy)

This is due to the fact that, as of the time of writing, Etihad is still using a pre-devaluation award chart for flights on American. That means the following:

  • One-way business-class tickets to Europe are just 50,000 miles (57,500 if booked through American)
  • One-way business-class tickets to Asia 1 (Japan and Korea) are just 50,000 miles (60,000 if booked through American)
  • One-way business-class tickets to Asia 2 (Hong Kong and China) are just 55,000 miles (70,000 if booked through American)

Of course, the big trick is finding award availability on these flights. I’m a big fan of ExpertFlyer to help with this search, as it will allow you to set alerts for award seats on specific flights. (ExpertFlyer is owned by TPG’s parent company, Red Ventures.)

Related: Review of American Airlines business class, JFK-LHR

One-way business class flight to Europe on any Star Alliance carrier

If you’d rather have more flexibility when it comes to choosing your carrier and routing to Europe, consider transferring your Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan, the loyalty program of Air Canada.

Austrian Airlines Business Class Cabin
An Austrian Airlines business class cabin. (Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

While Aeroplan will be overhauled later this year and into 2021, you’ll still be able to get at least a one-way business class ticket to Europe for as little as 60,000 miles.

For now, it costs 57,500 miles for a one-way business-class ticket from the U.S. to Europe.

Most importantly, there are several airlines with flights, including Austrian, Lufthansa, Swiss and United. You’ll need to pay some fuel surcharges on these flights (which will be going away when the new Aeroplan launches), but the comfort of crossing the Atlantic in business class can make this more than worthwhile.

Related: Everything you need to know about the new Aeroplan program

10 one-way flights of 650 miles or less outside North America

A fourth great target for your Membership Rewards points is again with British Airways. The carrier’s Executive Club program offers some very attractive redemption options thanks to its distance-based award chart.

For example, a one-way flight covering 650 miles or less is just 6,000 Avios. This is a fantastic option for traveling into or out of Oneworld hub airport like London-Heathrow or Tokyo-Narita. Unfortunately, you cannot redeem these 6,000 Avios-flights in North America. Instead, all flights under 1,151 miles are priced at 9,000 Avios — still a pretty good deal.

A Cathay Pacific Boeing 777. (Photo by Emily McNutt/The Points Guy)

These low-priced awards are especially useful in pricey markets, such as travel within Europe or Asia. I’ve been able to take advantage of these awards from Hong Kong on Oneworld carrier Cathay Pacific, where cash fares in the local market can be quite expensive.

Related: How to maximize the British Airways award chart

One-way business-class flight from Singapore to Australia

This award is technically just above the 60,000 point threshold but with the spending required to hit the welcome offer on the Amex Gold, this redemption is easily within reach once flights restart.

A business class seat on Singapore Airlines. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

If you’ve been wanting to try out one of Singapore Airlines’ renowned premium classes, consider transferring your Membership Rewards points to the KrisFlyer program and booking a one-way flight in business class between Singapore and Australia.

The carrier flies into several airports, including Sydney and Melbourne. Each of these flights will set you back 62,000 miles for several hours of bliss on board one of the airline’s long-haul aircraft.

If there’s no availability on your preferred date, you can always waitlist for the award.

Related: Singapore Airlines A350 business class review

Bottom line

Keep in mind that all of the above options are just a sampling of what you can do with American Express Membership Rewards points given the bonus on the Amex Gold. There are truly so many options when it comes to 60,000 Membership Rewards points.

Your balance can be even higher if you utilize the Amex Gold card’s 4x on dining worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1x). The current bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on the card in the first six months of account opening won’t last forever. The card has a $250 annual fee (see rates & fees).

Just remember to make the most of these points for your next trip, whenever you’re ready to do so.

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, click here.

Additional reporting by Nick Ewen. 

Featured photo by JT Genter/The Points Guy

American Express® Gold Card

With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
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Annual Fee
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Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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