I’m about to tell you about the six best award redemptions when using American Express Membership Reward points. So sit back, strap in, and get ready to learn some points knowledge!
Maximize Your Rewards
So, chances are you probably worked really hard to accumulate your Membership Rewards points through your Platinum Card or Gold Card and you’re not really sure what the best way is to put these points to use. It is my recommendation to NOT use it for Amazon purchases or gift cards.
Quite simply, you can get a lot more in point value when using Amex transfer partners. For the most part you are able to transfer your Amex point balance to the sixteen airlines and three hotels at a 1-to-1 point ratio (Note:there are a few exceptions to this). By using these transfers, you are able to get up to two cents or more per point ($0.02) compared to one cent per point ($0.01) by just getting cash back.
Let’s start with number one which is Etihad Airways. Etihad has a lot of value in its award chart and probably one of my favorite options with American Express. One of the options with Etihad miles is that you can go from North America to Europe in economy during off peak season for only 40,000 Etihad miles round-trip. When compared to United Airlines, which costs roughly 60,000 miles roundtrip, this redemption looks even stronger. When using these Etihad miles to get to Europe, you’ll be flying on an American Airlines flight.
Another transfer and redemption option would be if you choose to fly to Japan from North America, you can transfer to ANA, a Japanese airline. This round trip redemption costs about 40,000 ANA miles during off-peak season. There are a number of other fantastic redemptions available throughout Asia with ANA. It’s worth noting that ANA only allows round trip redemptions however.
The next option is transferring your balance over to British Airways for short haul flights in the US. If you transfer over to British Airways, which is also a transfer partner of Chase, you can combine points within that single account. You will be able to find flights as cheap as 4,500 British Airways Avios between destinations within the US. This is one of the primary ways that I use BA Avios.
I flew from New York to Miami and it only set me back 7,500 Avios each way (15,000 round trip). Compare this to American Airlines miles which would have been an additional 10,000 miles for a round trip cost of 25,000 miles. So even though you’ll be flying on an American Airlines flight, booking through British Airways using Avios can oftentimes be a better redemption when flying within the US.
If you’re looking to go to Hawaii from the west coast of the US, Singapore Airlines is a great option. You are able to transfer to Singapore Airlines at a 1-to-1 ratio from your American Express Membership Rewards account. So if we look at a realistic itinerary, we can fly from west coast of the US to Hawaii round trip, in economy, using an Alaskan Airlines flight, for about 24,000 Krisflyer miles.
If you don’t happen to live on the west coast, then you can use the option noted above with British Airways and purchase a short haul flight to the west coast and then take advantage of this 24,000 mile round trip deal with Singapore Airlines.
Before Transfering Points
Before you make any of these transfers, it’s really important to know that all transfers are final. So don’t simply rush into transferring points. Make sure you do your research to make sure the deal is still there, and depending on the airline, you can put that seat on hold so you can transfer with confidence knowing there is award availability. Just remember to ALWAYS check availability FIRST since transfers are final and cannot be undone. Never transfer without having an idea of how you’re going to use those points first.
Something else to keep in mind is that whenever you transfer to yourself through an airline account, there is a little bit of a fee. If you transfer to all the international airline transfer partners, you won’t see that fee and that’s super convenient for all of you international Wise Flyers. But if you transfer to a domestic carrier like Delta, American Express does charge an excise fee of $0.006 cents per point up to a total of $99.
Unfortunately, you can’t transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points to anybody else, so you’ll have to transfer them to your own account.
If you want to learn more about American Express cards and how to take advantage of them you could click this link here (INSERT LINK)! Now that you have a few tips, go see if you can put them to use and check back soon for more Wise Flys tips!