[Updated 1 Oct 2015] to reflect British Airways Transfer Ratio
American Express Membership Rewards(MR) points can be transferred to an array of frequent flyer mile programs and redeemed for flights. The catch is that flights within each program are subject to availability. Therefore I always search availability before transferring MR points because the transfer process cannot be reversed. The most recent MR transfer I made was to the ANA Mileage club for my own personal travels around New Zealand later this year.
There are some worthwhile redemptions through the transfer of MR points and some that aren’t so attractive. If you need assistance finding availability and redeeming your Membership Rewards points for flights, we offer an frequent flyer mile booking service.
LIST OF AIRLINE TRANSFER PARTNERS
American Express MR points can be transferred to 23 different programs at a 1:1 ratio and these are:
- Delta Skymiles
- Air France Flying Blue
- Alitalia Mille Miglia
- ANA Mileage Club
- Asia Miles
- Singapore Kris Flyer
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
The exceptions to the 1:1 ratio are:
- Jet Blue 250 MR points= 200 points
- El Al Israel Airline 1,000 MR points = 20 points
- Virgin America 2:1
- British Airways 250:200
In either scenario, Membership Rewards points must be transferred over in increments of 1,000 points.
HOW TO TRANSFER MEMBERSHIP REWARDS POINTS TO AIRLINE MILES
Assuming you have found availability through one of these airline partners and you’re eager to book, you’ll need to link that particular frequent flyer mile account with your Membership Reward Account. For the sake of this tutorial, I’m going to use Iberia Plus as an example to show how to link and transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points to the link frequent flyer mile program.
NOTE: be sure to have your American Express MR earning credit card on-hand because you’ll be asked to verify your card details.
- CREATE an account with the frequent flyer mile program you want to transfer your MR points to if you don’t already have an account. For instance, if you want to transfer your points to Aeroplan, you’ll need to create an Aeroplan frequent flyer mile account. Once you have created an account and have an account number, proceed to step 2.
- LOGIN TO YOUR MEMBERSHIP REWARDS ACCOUNT through your online account access on American Express or directly at Membership Rewards.
- ENTER Frequent flyer mile account number and ENTER credit card verification details and SELECT “link programs”
- CLICK ON “Iberia Plus” NOTE: sometimes it takes a few minutes to have the newly linked account appear in which case Log out and Log back in a few minutes later.
- ENTER the number of points to be transferred(transfers can only be done in increments of 1,000 points), SELECT “transfer this amount.”
- ENTER credit card verification details as done in Step 9 and CONFIRM.
These are the transfer times based on my own personal experience:
- Air France – instant
- Aeroplan – instant
- ANA – 72 hours(transfer initiated on Thursday night and the points posted on Sunday night)
- British Airways – instant
- Delta – instant(must pay $.0006 per mile transferred capped at $99)
- Emirates – instant
- Hawaiian – instant
- Iberia – 72 hours(transfer initiated on Wednesday night and the points posted on Saturday night)
Again, these are my own empirical observations with transfer times. Please don’t take the ANA or Iberia transfer times as gospel, it’s simply there to serve as a guideline.
There are transfer bonuses every now and then offering additional miles when MR points are transferred to a specific frequent flyer mile program. The most frequent ones I’ve seen occurring are transfers to the British Airways programs. In contrast, I’ve only see a bonus on transfer to Emirates Skyward miles only once(though it’s not a very attractive program to be redeeming miles from).
CAN I TRANSFER MEMBERSHIP REWARDS POINTS TO SOMEONE ELSE?
In the past, MR points can be transferred to any linked frequent flyer mile account. American Express has now limited the transfer of MR points to frequent flyer mile accounts matching the name of account holder of the American Express MR earning credit card or an authorized user of the credit card.