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TPG Lounge readers’ best American Express Membership Rewards redemptions

Sept. 22, 2019
7 min read
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We recently asked our TPG Lounge members to share the best redemptions they’ve ever had with the American Express Membership Rewards program. Here’s a look at some of our favorite answers. (Some responses have been lightly edited for style and clarity).

Epic flights to Europe and the Middle East

Some TPG Lounge members told us how they'd transferred their American Express Membership Rewards points (MR points) to one of the program's partner airlines so they could arrive to their final destinations in style aboard some the best business- and first-class products in the sky.

"I’m sure there are better ones on this list but I’ve consistently booked the throne seat in business class on Swiss Air from Los Angeles (LAX) to Frankfurt (FRA) for 55,000 Amex MR points and only a $40 fuel charge. My biggest success with Amex MR points is the consistency of getting this flight, even during peak seasons." — Zachary S.

"Back in 2012 when we could book round-trip business-class flights to Europe on Delta for only 100,000 SkyMiles per person, I transferred 200,000 Amex MR points — earned from a targeted 100,000 Business Platinum and 75,000 PRG [welcome offer] as well as spending — to fly Delta between Chicago (ORD) and Paris (CDG)." — Shana G.

"80,000 Amex MR points transferred to Aeroplan, then Lufthansa, to fly first class from Prague (PRG) to Frankfurt (FRA) to Washington, DC (IAD) to Denver (DEN). They picked me up in a Porsche [and took me] to the best lounge ever, then another Porsche to the 747. " — James C.

"Transferred Amex MR points to LifeMiles and booked a round-trip flight in Lufthansa’s first class to Frankfurt three days before departure." — Jose S.

Lufthansa's first-class product was a big hit with our TPG Lounge crowd. (Photo by Zach Honig / The Points Guy)
Lufthansa first class was a big hit with our TPG Lounge crowd. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

"Booked Qatar Airways QSuites from Doha (DOH) to Zurich (ZRH) by transferring Amex MR points to British Airways and redeeming just 37,500 Avios plus 112 euros in taxes and fees for seven hours in the world's best business class thanks to Zurich being in a lower mileage band than, say, London. This is now a bit more expensive post-2019 partner devaluation, but still a good deal." — Matthew T.

"46,000 Amex MR points transferred to Virgin Atlantic for a Delta One nonstop flight from New York (JFK) to Tel Aviv (TLV) during the 30% bonus." — Dennis D.

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"98,000 Amex MR points to Emirates to fly in first class on the A380. It was everything I ever wanted. The best is flying out of Dubai though, so you can take advantage of the first-class lounge and free a la carte dining." — Johnny Z.G.

Official Application Link: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Adventures in Asia

Continuing that trend, many TPG Lounge readers said they'd used Amex MR points to fly to and from Asia in first and business class on Cathay Pacifc, EVA Air, ANA and Delta.

"I try to wait for the British Airways bonuses and use those to jet around Asia in Cathay Pacific's business class or Cathay Dragon, which has excellent J class seats, too." — Albert G.

"47,000 Amex MR points transferred to Virgin Atlantic for a one-way flight from Beijing (PEK) to Detroit (DTW) in Delta One Suites during the 30% transfer bonus period. It was my second time in the Suites but I loved it so much. It’s the only product I’ve flown where I can actually get some sleep." — Brian M.

"46,000 Amex MR points transferred to Virgin Atlantic during the 30% promotion, redeemed for a one-way flight from Seattle (SEA) to Beijing (PEK) on Delta One (normally 60,000 points). Got it for two people round-trip. That’s 184,000 instead of 240,000. I took the risk of transferring first, then deciding on the exact dates, which was partly due to the low cancellation and change fee of $50 per person per trip. And yes, you can book Delta flights directly on the Virgin Atlantic website if there is available award space." — Shu Y.

"I used 77,000 Amex MR points of the sign-up bonus to snag my return trip in EVA Air business class from Bali (DPS) to Los Angeles (LAX) via Taipei (TPE). It was probably a $3,000 ticket so it was a nice redemption rate via Air Canada's Aeroplan program." — Tom M.

Have you flown in EVA AIr's business class yet? (Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)
Have you flown in EVA AIr's business class yet? (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)

"65,000 Amex MR points round-trip to Tokyo from Columbus (CMH). Paid $59 each way to upgrade to Delta Comfort +." — Tara W.D.

"Used my bonus to redeem flights from New York (JFK) to Seoul (ICN) to Manila (MNL) to Tokyo (NRT) to JFK, all in business class with a cash value of about $12,000." — Gino

"[Transferred] Amex MR points to Virgin Atlantic — with the 30% transfer bonus — to get two ANA first-class tickets from Los Angeles to Japan round-trip, flights that were valued at $35,000." — Jason F.

"Redeemed 170,000 Amex MR points, thanks to 30% transfer bonus, for two round-trip first-class tickets on ANA for next April to visit Japan during cherry blossom season! Best redemption value ever at 23 cents per point!" — Christopher B.C.

"Did the exact same thing for our recent trip to Japan. 85,000 MR points to fly round-trip in ANA first class. Best redemption ever!" — Peter H.

Round-the-world dream trips

Not that we're jealous — okay, we're totally jealous — but a few TPG Lounge members were able to parlay their MR points into epic round-the-world journeys in business class.

"250,000 Amex MR points to fly the family around the world in business class." — Steven L.

"[Using the] Virgin Atlantic 30% bonus to fly round-trip in ANA first class to Japan was the best value. The most interesting was arguably 110,000 points per person for a round-the-world trip in J via ANA to gift our son with seven new countries for his seventh birthday." — Ashley W.H.

"I booked two Star Alliance round-the-world tickets in business class by transferring 115,000 Amex MR points per person to ANA and paying $310 in taxes and fees per person. We saw Tokyo, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Phuket, New Delhi, Dubai, Istanbul and Boston while drinking champagne and enjoying lie-flat seats between stops." — Jo B.

"An ANA around-the-world award from Toronto (YYZ) to Taipei (TPE) to Bali (DPS) to Istanbul (IST) to Athens (ATH) to Zurich (ZRH) to YYZ, all in business class on EVA Air, Turkish Airlines, Swiss Air and Air Canada. 125,000 Amex MR points plus $450 in taxes. You do have to call in to book the award but it only took about 30 minutes." — Kyle M.

Featured image by Asiana offers one of the cheapest ways to book Lufthansa first class, but they do pass on massive fuel surcharges. Photo by Zach Honig / The Points Guy
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.

TPG featured card

Best luxury travel rewards card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

5X points
5XEarn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
5XEarn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 Points
Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$695

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

Sometimes it's worth a large investment to reap the benefits of a great credit card. That's exactly the case with the Amex Platinum card. In exchange for the annual fee, you'll unlock access to the Amex Membership Rewards program that let you access airline and hotel transfer partners, along with new lifestyle and travel credits. This card is also incredibly rewarding for travel purchases, helping you rack up a ton of Membership Rewards points for your next award trip.

Pros

  • The current welcome offer on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $1,600.
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more. (Enrollment required for select benefits.)
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.

Cons

  • The high annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning higher rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee statement credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards.
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • Get up to $300 back per calendar year on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required. Learn more.
  • Breeze through security with CLEAR® lanes available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership when you use your Card. Learn more.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for The Platinum Card® from American Express
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best luxury travel rewards card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

5XEarn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
5XEarn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 80,000 Points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

Sometimes it's worth a large investment to reap the benefits of a great credit card. That's exactly the case with the Amex Platinum card. In exchange for the annual fee, you'll unlock access to the Amex Membership Rewards program that let you access airline and hotel transfer partners, along with new lifestyle and travel credits. This card is also incredibly rewarding for travel purchases, helping you rack up a ton of Membership Rewards points for your next award trip.

Pros

  • The current welcome offer on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $1,600.
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more. (Enrollment required for select benefits.)
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.

Cons

  • The high annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning higher rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee statement credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards.
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • Get up to $300 back per calendar year on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required. Learn more.
  • Breeze through security with CLEAR® lanes available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership when you use your Card. Learn more.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees