How Long Do Amex Membership Rewards Points Transfers Take?

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How Long Do Amex Membership Rewards Points Transfers Take?
How Long Do Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Transfers Take?
How Long Do Citi ThankYou Points Transfers Take?
How Long Do Starwood Preferred Guest Points Transfers Take?


If you’re collecting miles & points through credit card spend, I always recommend doing what you can to accrue transferrable points currencies. That’s because these points are much more flexible than when you’re earning an individual airline or hotel points currency. You have the flexibility to transfer these points to all kinds of travel partners, and you’re safeguarded from a devaluation in a specific points currency.

With that in mind, I figured I’d write a series of posts about the three major transferrable points currencies — Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou — talking about how long it takes to transfer points, along with the other basic details you need to know about transferring points.

How many airline and hotel partners does Amex Membership Rewards have?

As of now, Amex Membership Rewards has 20 airline and hotel partners — that includes 17 airline partners and three hotel partners.

Amex-Membership-Rewards-Partners-1 Amex-Membership-Rewards-Partners-2 Amex-Membership-Rewards-Partners-3

How long does it take to transfer Amex Membership Rewards points?

Below is a chart with how long it typically takes to transfer Membership Rewards points:

Membership Rewards Transfer PartnerTransfer RatioTransfer Time
Aeromexico Club Premier1000 : 1600~ 4 to 5 days
Air Canada Aeroplan1000 : 1000Instant
Air France KLM FlyingBlue1000 : 1000Instant
Alitalia MilleMiglia Club1000 : 1000Instant
ANA Mileage Club1000 : 1000~ 2 to 3 days
British Airways Executive Club250 : 200Instant
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles1000 : 1000~ 1 day
Delta SkyMiles1000 : 1000Instant
El Al Matmid1000 : 20Instant
Emirates Skywards1000 : 1000Instant
Etihad Guest1000 : 1000Instant
Hawaiian HawaiianMiles1000 : 1000Instant
Iberia Plus1000 : 1000~ 1 to 2 days
JetBlue TrueBlue250 : 200Instant
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1000 : 1000~ 12 to 24 hours
Virgin America Elevate200 : 100Instant
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1000 : 1000~ 1 to 2 days
Choice Privileges1000 : 1000Instant
Hilton Honors1000 : 1500Instant
Starwood Preferred Guest1000 : 333Instant

As you can see, transfers to all but six partners are typically instant, and even the partners that aren’t instant process points transfers pretty quickly.

Are there fees associated with transferring Amex Membership Rewards points?

Of the three major transferrable points currencies, Amex is the only one that charges to transfer points. Amex Membership Rewards charges a federal excise tax for points transfers to U.S. frequent flyer programs. That means non-U.S. frequent flyer programs, as well as hotel programs, don’t have any fees.

For those programs with fees (which include Delta, Hawaiian, JetBlue, and Virgin America), the cost is 0.06 cents per transferred point, up to a maximum of $99. In other words, transferring 100,000 points would cost $60. If you transfer more than 165,000 points then there’s no incremental cost to transfer points, since you’ll have paid the $99 fee, and the fee is capped at that.

Can you transfer Amex points to someone else’s Amex account?

No you can’t. Amex lets you combine the Membership Rewards points you’ve earned across all your cards that earn Membership Rewards points, but you can’t transfer your balance of Membership Rewards points to someone else’s Amex account.

Can you transfer Amex points to someone else’s airline or hotel accounts?

Nowadays Amex only lets you transfer your Membership Rewards points to an airline or hotel account that’s in your name or the name of an authorized user on one of your cards. Fortunately Amex lets you add authorized users on many of their cards at no additional fee, which is a great way to transfer points to someone else.

What cards earn Amex Membership Rewards points?

Some of the best cards for earning Amex Membership Rewards points include the following:

Note that you can earn the sign-up bonus on each of the above cards, and pool all those points towards one Membership Rewards account. Having multiple Amex cards is a great way to maximize your points earning potential.

Singapore-Suites
Redeem Amex Membership Rewards points for travel in Singapore Suites Class

Should you transfer Amex points to travel partners?

In general the best use of Amex Membership Rewards points is to convert them into airline miles. However, you only want to do this once you’ve figured out the award you want to book, have verified availability, and are sure you understand how that program works.

However, there’s one other great value for redeeming Amex points, but only if you have The Enhanced Business Platinum® Card from American Express. If you have this card then you can get a 35% refund on all “Pay With Points” redemptions, when either redeeming for travel in first or business class, or redeeming for travel on your designated airline.

You ordinarily get one cent of value per point using the Pay With Points option, so when you’re getting a refund of 35% you’re potentially getting 1.35 cents of value per point, which is pretty good. In other words, you can book just about any airline ticket you want, and each point will get you 1.35 cents of value towards that redemption.

Personally I value Amex Membership Rewards points at ~1.7 cents each.

Bottom line

Amex Membership Rewards points are one of my favorite points currencies out there. Not only does Amex have some great transfer partners, but the points are pretty easy to rack up as well, between the 5x points offered on airfare with The Platinum Card® from American Express, the 4.5x points offers at U.S. supermarkets and and 1.5x points offered on everyday spend with The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, etc.

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Comments

  1. Very useful post Lucky, thanks!

    I’m planning ahead for a trip in 2Q18 to Europe.

    Based on a combination of low cost (miles and fees) and availability, what is the best partner to look for first? Could be different recommendation in different directions if fees are lesser coming back from Europe.

    (I’m guessing the order is ANA, Aeroplan, and then Delta, but don’t know all the partners mentioned.)

  2. It’s worth mentioning — to save someone some inevitable stress and surprise — that with the instant transfer partners, you often need to sign out of your account with the airline and sign back in to see the points posted in your frequent flyer account.

  3. Nice article Lucky, but in the Netherlands the AMEX transfer partners are crap. I really do not understand why the transfer partners aren’t universal! In fact I don’t understand why AMEX doesn’t provide the same benefits as the US for instance. The sign-up bonus here in the Netherlands for a 700 euro a year AMEX Platinum card is 20.000 reward points. There is no such thing as 5x triple points on dining or shopping. One spend euro is 1 reward mile, which means I have to spend 78K euro to get 62.500 Miles (5 reward points = 4 flying blue miles). There is no other option either, the other banks (ING, ABN etc..) do not provide a reward system for creditcards. Furthermore, you would think that because KLM is Dutch there would be an instant transfer time between AMEX and Flying Blue but sadly no.. it takes 3 days!

    I am really curious how other frequent flyers are acquiring miles when they do not have the benefits that US creditcards give.

  4. Ben, it took almost 3 business days for my AMEX points to post to Kris Flyer. Hopefully it was a one-off situation and the norm is the 12-24 hour period.

  5. Unless your account is under review. Now going on 2 months for my Amex card, they are checking if I obtained the points according to the rules. A few weeks I understand but 2 months? WTF

  6. Can you transfer MR points to Iberia at 1:1 then transfer them to BA / Avios.com at 1:1 too? This would get you 20% more avios than transferring direct to BA.

    I know you can do this in the UK and have done it before. I think you just have to have had your Iberia account for 90 days to do it, it’s pretty quick and easy as far as I remember.

    Any restrictions in the US that will stop me doing that? (I’m earning MR on a US Amex now)

  7. You omitted a few MR earning Amex Cards. Personal and Business Green Cards, standard personal Blue and Blue for Business and the Mercedes Benz credit card all earn those valuable Membership Rewards points.

  8. Can I transfer my AMEX points to my mom’s Singapore or Cathay Pacific account if I add her as an authorized user on my Premier Gold card or Everyday Preferred card?

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