There’s no doubt that American Express Membership Rewards points can be a handy thing to have, especially when you leverage a high vale transfer partner. Amex is linked to 22 partners in total, but not all of them are created equal. To find out which transfer partner offers the best value, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with their terms and conditions, keeping an eye out for any hidden fees and surcharges while you do it. It can be a tricky business, but to help set you on the right track, we’ve ranked the 10 best Amex transfer partners that will offer the biggest bang for your points. Here they are.
Aeromexico is a global airline with a focus on Mexico and the Americas. The transfer ratio is excellent, with each Amex Membership Reward Point earning 1.6 Club Premier miles. To get the most value from your points, your best option is to look for offseason tickets from the US to Central America and the Caribbean, or domestic flights within Mexico. Just be mindful that fuel surcharges apply, and awards seats are capacity-controlled, so you’ll need to book early to avoid disappointment.
Transferring your points to budget carrier Jet Blue doesn’t come without its downsides (the number of points required for flights is tied to the cost of the fare and is fairly standardized, so there’s not many sweet spots) but there’s plenty of upsides too. For a start, the value of points is consistently high for most fares, resulting in an excellent redemption value. Secondly, there are no blackout dates, so you don’t have to restrict your travel plans. Finally, award seats aren’t capacity-controlled, so as long as there’s a seat available, you’ll have no problem using your points to book it.
8. Choice Privileges
If you want to use your points against hotel bookings, Choice Privileges, which offers a 1:1 Membership Rewards transfer, makes a good choice. Once you’ve transferred the points over, you can use them against one of the extensive hotels in the Preferred Hotels and Resorts portfolio, which includes thousands of luxury boutique hotels scattered around the world.
7. All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club
As AwardWallet Blog notes, ANA Mileage Club offers excellent value for roundtrips on Star Alliance carriers like United, Air Canada, Air New Zealand, Air China, and Copa Airlines. Unfortunately, it does pass on fuel surcharges from its partner airlines, so be careful about which flights you book. Fly with Lufthansa and Singapore, for example, and you can expect to pay between $300 and $450 in fees. Fly with United, on the other hand, and you can expect to get away with less than $100 in surcharges. While the fees are a nuisance, Amex cardholders who don’t have a huge amount of miles to play around with will find its award pricing exceptional value, with roundtrip awards from the US to Europe generally costing just 55,000 points in economy and 88,000 points in business class, and awards from the US to Australia or New Zealand costing 60-75000 miles in economy and 105,000-120,000 miles in business.
6. Marriott Bonvoy
If you’re a Marriott Bonvoy loyalist, it makes sense to transfer your membership awards to them. In fairness, certain other hotel programs offer a better point value, but there’s still plenty of benefits to be had. There are no blackout dates or capacity controls, and you’re free to use the points at any of the 6700 pus properties in the chain’s expansive portfolio.
5. British Airways
If you’re considering transferring your points to British Airways, there’s one thing you should be aware of first – it applies huge fuel surcharges to its trans Atlantic flights, which could easily add several hundred dollars to the cost of your booking. Fortunately, there’s an easy way around the problem – simply limit your bookings to short flights with Avios in Europe and use a partner airline like American Airlines for domestic US flights, neither of which will incur fuel surcharges. As an additional advantage, there are no blackout dates – do book early, though, as awards capacity can sometimes be limited.
4. Singapore KrisFlyer
KrisFlyer is the loyalty program of Singapore Airlines and SilkAir. Unlike many other programs, Krisflyer doesn’t pass on fuel surcharges when you fly with its own airlines, which could potentially save you hundreds of dollars over other programs. The only flipside is that awards seats are subject to booking restrictions and blackout dates, meaning some flexibility with your travel dates might be required.
3. Hilton Honors
Recommended by CreditCard.com as one of Amex’s best transfer partners, Hilton is an excellent option for frequent travelers loyal to the Hilton umbrella. Encompassing brands like the luxurious Conrad and Waldorf Astoria, as well as budget-friendly options like the Hampton Inn and Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton’s expansive portfolio covers almost every major travel destination. Each property has a maximum point amount, so you’ll need to check the terms before booking. There are no blackout dates or capacity control, so you shouldn’t face any problem when it comes to redeeming your points – providing the hotel of your choice has a standard room available, you can use your points to book it.
2. Delta SkyMiles
Transferring your points to Delta makes a sound choice. With excellent flight coverage within the US and regular promo sales on award flights, it’s a great way to make the most of your award points. To maximize their value, look out for short-haul domestic flights, which come with the most sweet spots.
1. Avianca LifeMiles
Recommended by NerdWallet as one of the best Amex transfer partners, Avianca offers excellent awards on Star Alliance carriers like United, Air Canada, and Lufthansa. Its chief advantage is the fact it doesn’t pass on fuel surcharges from its partner airlines, which could save you hundreds of dollars compared to booking the same flight with certain other programs. Another benefit includes the option to choose between economy, business, and first-class tickets on a flight-by-flight basis. Most other programs will charge you the full business class rate for all flights on a mixed-class itinerary even if only one of the segments is in business class. Avianca won’t, thus offering excellent cost savings. Award seats are capacity controlled, but considering its high point value, large flight coverage, and segment by segment pricing, it still ranks as one of the very best Amex partners.