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Earning credit card rewards seems like a simple process, right? You make purchases with your card, then you’re awarded points. But what happens when it comes time to spend them? American Express Membership Rewards feature 20 different transfer partners, and not all of them will give you good value.
Here's a look at the best AmEx transfer partners, the value that they provide and which ones you should avoid.
The best AmEx transfer partners
Most of the time, your points will transfer over to American Express travel partners at a 1:1 ratio, meaning that one AmEx point becomes one hotel or airline point. We’ve noted exceptions below. Just keep in mind that NerdWallet currently values AmEx points at 2 cents each when transferred to partners, so always make sure you are getting a good value. Here are some of the best AmEx transfer partners:
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
Air Canada Aeroplan
Air Canada’s Aeroplan program underwent an overhaul in late 2020, doing away with fuel surcharges on flights and adding the ability to book stopovers for 5,000 points. As a member of the world’s largest airline alliance, Star Alliance, Air Canada has 25 partners where you can redeem your Aeroplan points.
Decent award pricing on saver-level seats will get you to Europe in business class for 60,000 points, making this one of AmEx’s most valuable transfer partners.
For these reasons, among others, Aeroplan points sits near the top of our NerdWallet valuations at a rate of 1.9 cents per point.
ANA Mileage Club
Another member of Star Alliance, ANA is known for its generous partner award chart. Although it’s hampered by the need to book round-trip flights, you can still find your way to and from Europe in business class for a total of 88,000 miles. This is industry-leading, which is one of the reasons ANA miles are our most highly valued with a rate of 2 cents per point and one of the best airlines to transfer AmEx points.
» Learn more: Your guide to the ANA Mileage Club
As the flag carrier for Colombia, Avianca Airlines is notorious for its clunky website and poor customer service. However, thanks to its generous reward redemptions, we’ve valued Lifemiles at a rate of 1.2 cents per point.
While this is lower than the value we give AmEx points, Avianca is bolstered by the fact that you can book mixed-cabin itineraries on flights. This allows you to save miles on short-haul routes so you can enjoy yourself when it really matters.
Delta Air Lines SkyMiles
Although Delta doesn’t have a ton of sweet spots, it occasionally offers flash sales that’ll give you outsized value for your SkyMiles. And unlike other airlines, you can redeem miles for basic economy flights, thus dropping the costs of your redemptions even lower. If you’re flexible, you can score deals such as Los Angeles to Orlando for as little as 15,000 miles roundtrip, making our valuation of SkyMiles a hearty 1.5 cents per point.
» Learn more: Your guide to earning Delta Air Lines SkyMiles
Decent AmEx transfer partners
British Airways Avios
Avios are also interchangeable with programs from Aer Lingus, Iberia Plus and Qatar Airways. Combined, these programs have transfer partnerships with all the major transferable points currencies, making them exceedingly easy to earn.
Aer Lingus joins the group of decent transfer partners thanks to its interchangeability with other Avios programs. It also boasts the opportunity to fly from the East Coast to Dublin for 13,000 miles one way, making this sweet spot one of the most valuable for crossing the Atlantic.
Air France-KLM Flying Blue
We value Air France-KLM Flying Blue miles at 1.4 cents each thanks to their usability as a member of SkyTeam, where you’ll find flights with partners such as Delta Air Lines, Czech Airlines and Aeromexico. Notably, you can redeem 55,000 miles for a one-way flight in business class to Europe, though you’ll usually be subject to some higher-than-average fees.
» Learn more: The complete guide to Air France-KLM Flying Blue
Emirates Skywards miles are ranked at a value of 1 cent per point. Although the airline keeps increasing fuel surcharges, it has also limited the amount of award inventory partners can access. This means that if you’re looking to book its coveted first-class seats, you’ll need to do so directly with the airline or with Qantas Airways.
Emirati airline Etihad has maintained the same partner award chart for years, meaning you can get your hands on quite a few sweet spots for redemptions. This includes options with partner American Airlines, with premium transcontinental routes that include lay-flat beds. Using Etihad miles will score you a seat on these Flagship Business routings for 25,000 miles one way.
Iberia Plus Avios
As with Aer Lingus, Qatar Airways and British Airways, Iberia’s Avios can be exchanged interchangeably between these programs. Although Iberia is not a super well-known airline, it does maintain a sweet spot in transatlantic business class by charging as little as 34,000 miles one way for a ticket.
Like other airlines, Qantas uses a distance-based award chart for flights, which means you’ll find your best value on short-haul routings. Perhaps the best use of Qantas points is flying with partner Air Tahiti Nui from Los Angeles, where a one-way ticket in economy will cost just 25,200 points.
As a member of Star Alliance, Singapore Airlines has access to flights from carriers such as United Airlines, Air Canada, Lufthansa and Swiss. While Singapore has recently devalued its award charts, we still value its miles at 1.1 cents each thanks to its decent redemptions on partner airlines, among other reasons.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Virgin Atlantic isn’t a member of any one airline alliance, but it does have strong links with plenty of partners. For this, we give Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points a value of 1.1 cents each. Perhaps its best sweet spot is the ability to book business class awards with ANA for 45,000 miles one way.
» Learn more: The guide to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
The worst AmEx transfer partners
AmEx points transfer over to AeroMexico at a 1:1.6 ratio, meaning 1,000 AmEx points becomes 1,600 AeroMexico points. Despite this, AeroMexico has no discernible sweet spots and booking award tickets is best done over the phone.
Embattled airline Cathay Pacific has had a rough few years, cutting its route network significantly amid various issues. Despite this, you can still use your Asia Miles to book a round-the-world ticket for good value if you’re up for the challenge.
» Learn more: Cathay Pacific — what to know
The first hotel featured on this list, Choice Hotels makes a poor transfer partner of AmEx, especially since it partners with Citi ThankYou points to give you double the value for your points while it only transfers with AmEx at a 1:1 ratio.
Hawaiian Airlines Hawaiian Miles
We value Hawaiian Airlines miles at a solid 1 cent each, but still consider the airline to be a bad transfer partner. Without any good sweet spots to mention, you’ll be stuck using your AmEx points for half their value if you transfer to this airline.
» Learn more: Your guide to Hawaiian Airlines
AmEx points transfer to Hilton Honors points at a 1:2 ratio, so you’d think they’d be a good option — wouldn’t you? Sadly, no. We value Hilton points at just 0.6 cent per point, so you’d still be redeeming your AmEx points for just 1.2 cents each when transferring to Hilton. However, you can still get good value out of these transfers if you use your Hilton points exclusively for high-end hotels such as the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, where room rates are always more than $1,000 per night.
» Learn more: What to know about the Conrad Maldives
JetBlue runs its award program on a dynamic pricing system that’s tied to the cash price of your ticket. So while we value JetBlue TrueBlue points at 1.5 cents each, you’ll basically never get more value than that as the points required for a ticket directly correlate to its cost.
The last option on this list, Marriott Bonvoy points make a poor transfer partner of American Express. The hotel program recently eliminated its fixed award chart in favor of dynamic pricing, which means your hotel costs can vary dramatically based on demand. Marriott points are valued at 0.7 cent and you can transfer AmEx points over at a 2:3 ratio.
If you want to redeem your AmEx points for good value
We’ve figured out the value of many different point programs. However, airline sweet spots and easy-to-earn miles may make some AmEx transfer partners better than others.
If you’re looking for good uses of your AmEx points, keep an eye out for these best transfer partners — and be sure to avoid those that’ll give you subpar value for your points.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card