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Update: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN has exciting new benefits, and a great new limited time offer. Learn more about the current offer here.
In general my three favorite points currencies are American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest.
The reason I like these currencies is because they’re so flexible, meaning you can pool your points in a currency that somewhat limits your devaluation risk. So if one of their airline transfer partners devalues their award chart, there are still many other programs you can transfer to.
While Chase Ultimate Rewards transfers are instant and Starwood Preferred Guest transfers vary wildly and can take a really long time, one of the most consistent programs for transfer times is American Express Membership Rewards.
Membership Rewards has 17 airline transfer partners, and the amount of time it takes to transfer points, along with the transfer ratios, are as follows:
|Membership Rewards Transfer Partner||Transfer Ratio||Transfer Time|
|Aeromexico Club Premier||1000 : 1000||~ 4 to 5 days|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Air France KLM Flying Blue||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|All Alitalia MilleMiglia Club||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|ANA Mileage Club||1000 : 1000||~ 2 to 3 days|
|British Airways Executive Club||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||1000 : 1000||~ 1 day|
|Delta SkyMiles||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|El Al Matmid||1000 : 20||Instant|
|Emirates Skywards||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Frontier Early Returns||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Hawaiian HawaiianMiles||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Iberia Plus||1000 : 1000||~ 1 to 2 days|
|JetBlue TrueBlue||250 : 200||Instant|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||1000 : 1000||~ 12 to 24 hours|
|Virgin America Elevate||200 : 100||Instant|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1000 : 1000||~ 1 to 2 days|
It’s worth noting that there’s no cash co-pay for points transfers, aside from a federal excise tax offset fee when transferring Membership Rewards points to a US carrier (which includes Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, JetBlue, and Virgin America). This tax is $0.0006 per point, with a maximum fee of $99.
The absolute best card for accruing Membership Rewards points is the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, which offers 3x points on airfare purchased directly with airlines, 2x points on gas purchased at US gas stations & groceries purchased at supermarkets. There’s also an increased 40,000 point sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN right now, both of which come with lots of great benefits.