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The complete guide to American Express Membership Rewards partners

July 05, 2022
25 min read
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It's no secret that American Express Membership Rewards points are my favorite transferable points currency. This is in large part due to its massive list of transfer partners.

You can transfer your Amex points to some of the world's most powerful airline loyalty programs, like Air Canada Aeroplan, Avianca LifeMiles and Etihad Guest. You can also transfer to three hotel programs: Choice Privileges, Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy.

Here, I'll run you through all of the Membership Rewards partners. I'll start by discussing each of the program's transfer partners and then dive into a small list of earning partners. Each section will give some background on the program, an example of when you'd want to use the program and its transfer rate.

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Cards you can use to earn Amex Membership Rewards

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Before we start, it's essential to understand that you need an eligible American Express card to earn Membership Rewards points. This includes most Amex-branded cards, like the American Express® Gold Card.

That said, you won't find credit cards like the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card or Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card on this list, as these cards earn miles and points in their respective currencies. Additionally, cash-back cards like the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express do not earn Membership Rewards points.

Several popular Membership Rewards-earning cards have heightened welcome offers — here's a look:

Look through our list of the best Amex cards and find one (or more) that works best for your purchases. I use a combination of Amex cards daily to earn the most rewards possible on all of my purchases. For example, I use the Amex Platinum to earn 5 points per dollar on flights and the Amex Gold to earn 4 points per dollar on dining at restaurants and groceries at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases each calendar year, then 1 point per dollar).

Related: How to redeem American Express Membership Rewards for maximum value

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Amex Membership Rewards transfer partners

Now, let's get to the fun part: transfer partners.

American Express has 17 airline and three hotel transfer partners. These partners include at least one useful option in each major alliance — SkyTeam, Star Alliance and Oneworld. Each partner has various use cases and I'll highlight a couple of them below for each.

Related: How long do American Express Membership Rewards take to transfer?

Here's a quick look at each transfer partner.

Aer Lingus AerClub

Aer Lingus AerClub is the loyalty program of Aer Lingus, an Irish airline based in Dublin. Unfortunately, there aren't any great uses for these points, and you can get a better deal on Aer Lingus flights when you transfer Amex points to British Airways.

Transfer time: Instant.

Transfer ratio: 1:1.

Related: Dublin’ down: A review of Aer Lingus’ new A330 business class

Aeromexico Club Premier

(Photo by Alejandro Gonzalez M/Shutterstock)

Aeromexico Club Premier is the loyalty program of Mexico City-based Aeromexico. This currency is best used on round-the-world itineraries that let you make multiple stops as you travel the world. These tickets can easily be worth tens of thousands of dollars when booked in business class.

Aeromexico prices award tickets a little differently than other airlines, using kilometers instead of miles. These tickets cost 224,000 kilometers in economy and 352,000 in business class. Since points transfer from Amex to Aeromexico at a 1:1.6 ratio, you'd need just 140,000 or 220,000 Amex points for economy or business class, respectively.

Transfer time: 24 hours.

Transfer ratio: 1:1.6.

Related: What you need to know about Aeromexico’s dynamic award pricing

Air Canada Aeroplan

Air Canada Aeroplan was completely revamped in 2020 and quickly became one of Amex's most valuable transfer partners. The new program kept standard award charts, lost fuel charges and added excellent stopover rules. Some of the best uses include maximizing a stopover to see two cities in one trip.

For example, you can book a flight from Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Mumbai, India, for just 105,000 points in business class. Plus, you can stop over in Hong Kong for as long as you'd like.

Take a look at the Aeroplan award chart (PDF link) and see if it makes sense to transfer Amex points to Air Canada for your next redemption.

Transfer time: Instant.

Transfer ratio: 1:1.

Related: Pros and cons of the new Air Canada Aeroplan loyalty program

Air France-KLM Flying Blue

(Photo by Markus Mainka/Shutterstock)

Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines share a joint loyalty program called Flying Blue. This SkyTeam loyalty program dynamically prices all awards but frequently offers great deals on international award tickets. For example, you can often find flights from the U.S. to Europe in business class for 53,000 points one-way.

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Unfortunately, you'll pay moderate fuel surcharges ($250-$400) on most international business-class routes. That said, always check Flying Blue to see if it makes sense for your next international SkyTeam redemption. It's often cheaper than booking similar awards with Delta SkyMiles or Alitalia MilleMiglia.

Transfer time: Instant.

Transfer ratio: 1:1.

Related: Complete guide to Flying Blue monthly Promo Rewards

All Nippon Airways Mileage Club

ANA Mileage Club has become a popular American Express transfer partner for points and miles enthusiasts. That’s because you can score some excellent award deals. However, the carrier only allows round-trip award bookings. For example, a trip from the U.S. to Europe in business class costs just 88,000 miles round-trip on Star Alliance partners.

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Further, you can use ANA Mileage Club miles for an excellent deal on off-peak ANA flights. These start at just 75,000 miles round-trip for an off-peak, round-trip ticket from the U.S. to Asia on ANA metal. Plus, you can add a stopover on your trip, giving you the chance to see two cities for the price of one.

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The last great way to redeem ANA Mileage Club miles is on round-the-world tickets. Pricing is reasonable, and the routing rules are straightforward. This article goes into detail on how I was able to book my own ANA round-the-world trip, and how you can too.

One thing to note: Unfortunately, ANA does pass on fuel surcharges to the consumer. This means you'll pay $1,000-plus for a business-class round-trip ticket to Europe on partners like Swiss and Lufthansa. Thankfully, carriers like ANA, United and LOT Polish Airlines — among others — charge low or no surcharges, so you can skirt the surcharges if you know where to look.

Transfer time: 48 hours.

Transfer ratio: 1:1.

Related: TPG Lemonade session: ANA Mileage Club

Avianca LifeMiles

(Photo by Juan BARRETO/AFP)

Avianca LifeMiles is another excellent Star Alliance transfer partner. Like ANA, the airline has kept a standard award chart, so there's no dynamic pricing to worry about. You'll find the best deals on one-way business- and first-class flights to Europe and domestic flights on United, but there are other good redemptions out there too.

On the U.S.-to-Europe side, you'll pay 63,000 LifeMiles for most business-class flights. You can get this price down a little by choosing to fly in economy on the short leg of an economy ticket. For example, suppose I book this Lufthansa flight from New York to Prague via Frankfurt in business class but book Frankfurt to Prague in economy class. In that case, the flight drops to 62,000 LifeMiles one-way.

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Again, domestic United flights are another excellent deal. The LifeMiles award chart is split into three regions that roughly correspond to the East Coast, Midwest and West Coast. The more regions you fly, the more points you'll pay. We've found the cheapest domestic awards cost just 6,500 LifeMiles one-way in economy.

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Unlike ANA Mileage Club, Avianca LifeMiles doesn't pass on fuel surcharges. You'll pay the standard taxes and fees plus a $25 booking fee. This makes it an excellent option for booking tickets on high-surcharge carriers like Lufthansa.

Transfer time: Instant.

Transfer ratio: 1:1.

Related: What does Avianca’s bankruptcy filing mean for the LifeMiles program?

British Airways Executive Club

British Airways Executive Club is one of the most commonly used Amex transfer partners. You can use its currency — dubbed Avios — to book flights on all Oneworld carriers. You'll want to avoid using them on British Airways flights as they add substantial fuel surcharges, but you can get a great deal when booking partner flights.

The British Airways award chart is distance-based, so longer flights will cost more points. In the U.S., one of the best ways to redeem British Airways Avios is on domestic short-haul American Airlines and Alaska Airlines flights. You'll pay just 7,500 Avios for flights up to 600 miles and 9,000 Avios for a one-way flight up to 1,151 miles with minimal taxes and fees.

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Transfer time: Instant.

Transfer ratio: 1:1.

Related: 18 ways to earn more British Airways Avios

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles is another Oneworld transfer partner that can come in handy when considering booking partner awards. Your best bet is using Asia Miles to book Cathay Pacific flights. You'll get a solid redemption value and you have access to Cathay Pacific award space that's not bookable with partner miles. The airline has a standard award chart for its flights, which you can see on the Asia Miles website.

As discussed, the award chart is reasonable for Cathay Pacific flights. This business-class flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles costs just 70,000 points and $121.77 after taxes and fees when standard award space is available. Longer flights from Chicago and New York, on the other hand, cost 85,000 points one-way.

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Transfer time: 48 hours.

Transfer ratio: 1:1.

Related: Best websites for searching Oneworld award availability

Delta SkyMiles

Delta SkyMiles is one of the few domestic transfer partners on this list. Delta is a SkyTeam member, but you'll generally get the best deals on domestic tickets. The airline has a dynamic award chart that charges exorbitant amounts of miles for international tickets — especially in business class.

You can score some excellent deals on SkyMiles award tickets too. You can often find award tickets starting at just 4,500 SkyMiles one-way in basic economy, which can be a great deal depending on the flight's cash cost. I always recommend running a quick SkyMiles search when looking for a domestic ticket to see if you can find a good deal.

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You can also use the program to get a good deal on flights to Canada. Some flights are operated by Delta while others are operated by its partner WestJet. Delta awards are priced dynamically while WestJet awards consistently price at 12,500 SkyMiles for a one-way ticket from the U.S. to Canada when you book at least a month prior to departure.

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Transfer time: Instant.

Transfer ratio: 1:1.

Related: Best sweet spots with Delta SkyMiles

Emirates Skywards

Transferring your Amex points to Emirates Skywards is a good way to book Emirates flights with your Amex points. You can book everything from Emirates' fifth-freedom routes from New York to Europe to first-class tickets from Los Angeles to Dubai. Flights to Dubai have high fuel surcharges, but you can avoid them by flying Emirates from the U.S. to Europe.

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The program has standard, distance-based award pricing for all of its award tickets. You can use its mileage calculator to find how many miles the program requires for each of its routes. Be sure to check out our complete guide to Emirates Skywards before you book, as there are some nuances to keep in mind.

Transfer time: Instant.

Transfer ratio: 1:1.

Related: The best programs for booking Emirates awards

Etihad Guest

(Photo by Aerovista Luchtfotografie/Shutterstock)

Etihad Guest is one of the most interesting Amex transfer partners. The airline isn't a member of an airline alliance, but it has individual partnerships with over a dozen airlines worldwide. Some of these include American Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Royal Air Maroc. Each has its own award chart with unique sweet spots.

Etihad's American Airlines is one of the most useful. It's kept pre-2016 AAdvantage devaluation award pricing for years now, meaning it's cheaper to book American flights with Etihad points. Some great examples of award pricing include from the U.S. to Europe and transcontinental domestic flights in Flagship first class for 62,500 points and 32,500 points one-way, respectively.

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You can also use Etihad Guest miles to book flights from the U.S. to Brussels in Brussels Airlines business class for just 44,000 points one-way. This is an exceptional deal and by far one of the best ways to fly to Europe using your points and miles.

Using Etihad Guest to book Etihad flights, however, is not such a great deal. Award space is hard to find and pricing on saver flights is high. So that said, I recommend sticking to partner flights if possible.

Transfer time: Instant.

Transfer ratio: 1:1.

Related: Here are 9 of our favorite ways to use Amex Membership Rewards points

Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles

HawaiianMiles are best used on economy-class flights to Hawaii. The airline prices its award tickets based on a standard award chart, but each award has multiple tiers. You'll pay the lowest price on awards with saver award space, while flights with more demand cost more points.

The prices are reasonable too. For example, a one-way ticket from Honolulu to Los Angeles costs 20,000 points in economy class and 40,000 points in business class when saver space is available. This is a reasonable cost if you want to try Hawaiian Airlines. However, you may get a better deal using Avios to fly American or Singapore miles to fly United.

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Transfer time: Instant.

Transfer ratio: 1:1.

Related: Best ways to redeem points and miles on Hawaiian Airlines

Iberia Plus

Like British Airways, Iberia Plus uses Avios as its loyalty currency. The airline has a standard award chart for all Iberia and partner flights, which can be pretty reasonable.

Your best bet for using Iberia Plus Avios is redeeming for off-peak awards on Iberia flights from Boston, Chicago or New York to Madrid. These flights cost just 17,000 Avios in economy, 25,500 in premium economy and 34,000 in business class one-way.

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Transfer time: 48 hours.

Transfer ratio: 1:1.

Related: 3 versions of Avios: When to use Aer Lingus, Iberia and British Airways

JetBlue TrueBlue

JetBlue's TrueBlue loyalty program prices award flights based on the cost of a cash flight; the more a flight costs, the more points you'll pay to book it. The TPG team has found that you'll get roughly 1.3 cents per point when redeeming miles, but you may get slightly more or less depending on your specific flight.

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I don't usually recommend transferring Amex points to JetBlue because of the limited value you'll get from your miles. Additionally, points transfer at a weak 250:200 transfer ratio. This means 10,000 Amex points transfer to 8,000 JetBlue points, so you'll lose value in the transfer too.

Transfer time: Instant.

Transfer ratio: 250:200.

Related: How to earn points in the JetBlue TrueBlue program

Qantas Frequent Flyer

Qantas Frequent Flyer is another popular Amex transfer partner. Qantas is a Oneworld member that has non-alliance partnerships with a handful of airlines around the world. Like many international airlines on this list, Qantas has a standard award chart for award flights.

One time you may want to transfer Amex points to Qantas is to book El Al award tickets. Amex lost El Al as a transfer partner in 2020, but Qantas is a great way to book flights on the Israeli airline. El Al awards booked with Qantas require fewer points than if you were to transfer Amex points to El Al in the past.

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Transfer time: Instant.

Transfer ratio: 1:1.

Related: A review of Qantas first class on the A380, Melbourne to LAX

Singapore KrisFlyer

(Photo by viper-zero/Shutterstock)

Singapore KrisFlyer is another Star Alliance transfer partner. It has two award charts: one for Singapore Airlines awards (PDF link) and another for Star Alliance award tickets (PDF link). You can also use the airline's miles calculator tool to view how many miles a Singapore-operated award flight costs. Just note that the program was recently devalued in July 2022, so you'll pay more than in years past.

On the Singapore side, you'll pay a fair amount of points for these flights. That said, it's the only program you can use (sans Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan) to book premium-cabin awards on Singapore Airlines flights. This includes the first-class Singapore Suites and business class on the world's longest flight.

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Some partner tickets are reasonable too. One of the best uses is spending 19,500 for a one-way ticket from the mainland U.S. to Hawaii on United Airlines.

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The program does tack on fuel surcharges for partner awards, if applicable. This is not the case for United award tickets, but it can be costly on flights operated by Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa and other airlines that add fuel surcharges.

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Transfer time: Up to 24 hours.

Transfer ratio: 1:1.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

You can use Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points for flights operated by Virgin Atlantic and its partners. We generally recommend staying away from booking Virgin Atlantic flights with these points as you're subject to high fuel surcharges.

For example, you can use 50,000 points to book a one-way flight from the U.S. to Europe in Delta One business class with minimal taxes and fees. Unfortunately, Virgin Atlantic devalued other Delta awards in early 2021, but the Europe sweet spot has remained.

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You can also use Virgin Atlantic points to score a great deal on ANA first and business class. First-class awards start at just 110,000 points round-trip from the U.S. to Tokyo, which is an excellent deal. You can see Virgin Atlantic's full ANA award chart below.

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Transfer time: Roughly 24 hours.

Transfer ratio: 1:1

Related: Can I book an open jaw or stopover on ANA with Virgin Atlantic miles?

Choice Privileges

Choice Privileges is one of Amex's hotel transfer partners. The program is known for its budget-friendly hotels worldwide, including well-known brands like Cambria Hotels, Comfort and Sleep Inn.

Award prices vary by property and date. I've found that you're generally best off paying cash for most Choice awards instead of transferring Amex points. You'll get a relatively small amount of value from your points compared to our valuation of Membership Rewards points at 2 cents apiece.

For example, a one-night stay at The Paul Hotel NYC costs $316.50 after tax in September. The same night can be booked for 25,000 points, giving you a value of just 1.26 cents per point. In this case, I recommend either using existing Choice points to cover the stay or paying the cash rate instead.

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Transfer time: Instant.

Transfer ratio: 1:1.

Related: 6 ways Choice Privileges should improve its loyalty program

Hilton Honors

(Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

Hilton Honors is another Amex hotel transfer partner. Points transfer to Hilton at a favorable 1:2 transfer ratio, so 10,000 Amex points equal 20,000 Hilton points. Hilton also prices awards dynamically, and prices can be astronomical when booking on high-demand peak dates. For example, this New Year's Eve, a stay at the Hilton Garden Inn New York/Central Park South-Midtown West costs 70,000 points.

You can still get solid deals when booking stays on standard and off-peak dates. At the same time, it generally isn't worth transferring Amex points to Hilton to do this. You're likely to get a low redemption value, so you'll want to focus your efforts on earning Hilton points outright if you plan to redeem points for Hilton stays.

Transfer time: Instant.

Transfer ratio: 1:2.

Related: Maximizing redemptions with Hilton Honors

Marriott Bonvoy

Finally, we have Marriott Bonvoy. This program recently moved to dynamic award pricing, but will keep 93% of properties within their peak and off-peak pricing bands through 2022.

Like Choice and Hilton, however, we rarely recommend transferring points to Marriott. Redemptions cost a relatively high number of points compared to the value you'll get from a free night. This will often cause you to get a low cent-per-point value, so like Hilton, consider earning Marriott points elsewhere to fuel your hotel redemptions.

Transfer time: Instant.

Transfer ratio: 1:1.

Related: Best ways to redeem Marriott Bonvoy free nights

Amex Membership Rewards-earning partners

You can earn bonus Amex points when you shop online with Rakuten. (Photo by LWA/Getty Images)

More often than not, you'll earn Amex points with a credit card. That said, Amex has a pair of partners you can use to earn bonus points — on everyday expenses and when buying or selling a house. Here's a look.


Rakuten is a cash-back shopping portal that lets you earn rewards when you make purchases with select merchants. Simply click through the Rakuten portal before you make a purchase online and you'll receive a portion of your purchase back in the form of a check, PayPal transfer or Membership Rewards points.

That's right — you can earn Amex points with Rakuten. After signing up for an account, choose Membership Rewards points as your payout currency. You'll get 1 point per 1 cent earned, which can add up depending on how often you shop.

As a reminder, the number of points you'll earn varies by merchant. At the time of writing, Apple purchases earn 2 points per dollar spent, depending on what type of rewards you’re registered for. Rakuten often runs promotions that boost earning rates for select merchants as well.

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You can earn a ton of extra Amex points with Rakuten, so I recommend signing up if you don't already have an account.

Related: The beginners guide to airline shopping portals

Real Buyer Network

Another option for earning additional Membership Rewards points comes when you're ready to buy (or sell) your house.

If you're not currently working with an agent, consider using a participating agent from Real Buyer Network. If you do, you'll earn up to 1 Amex point for every $1 of the sale or purchase price of the home at closing. This can be a great way to boost your account if you're in the market to buy or sell a home.

You can visit this page to start the process of being matched with a participating RBN agent.

Bottom line

American Express Membership Rewards points are some of the most valuable loyalty points on the market. This is in large part due to its extensive list of airline and hotel transfer partners. Here, I gave you a quick look at each partner — refer to this list as you decide how to best redeem your points.

Additional reporting by Juan Ruiz.

Featured image by NurPhoto via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.