Q: What are the current American Express Rewards airlines partners?
A: One of the best things about American Express credit cards is that you can redeem your Membership Rewards points for frequent flyer miles with a number of different partner airlines. However, due to shake-ups in the airline industry (i.e. bankruptcies, mergers) that have taken place over the last several years, the list of participating AmEx rewards airlines does change periodically.
At the time of the last update (Jan 2013) here’s the current AmEx airline partners:
- Delta Airlines = 1,000 SkyMiles® = 1,000 Membership Rewards Points
- AeroMexico = 1,000 Club Premier® Miles = 1,000 Membership Rewards Points
- Air Canada = 1,000 Aeroplan® Miles = 1,000 Membership Rewards Points
AirTran = 1 A+ Rewards credit(s) = 1,500 Membership Rewards Points(no longer a transfer partner as of March 1, 2012 due to AirTrans’ merger with Southwest Airlines)
- Alitalia Airlines = 1,000 MilleMiglia Miles =1,000 Membership Rewards Points
- All Nippon Airways = 1,000 ANA Mileage Club Miles = 1,000 Membership Rewards Points
- British Airways = 1,000 BA Miles = 1,000 Membership Rewards Points
- Cathay Pacific Airways = 1,000 Asia Miles = 1,000 Membership Rewards Points (Note: The “Asian Miles” program has 20 airline partners including Air China, American Airlines, Air New Zealand, Gulf Air, Mexicana, and more. Therefore if you convert your American Express points to Asia Miles, you might be able to use them on more than just Cathay Pacific).
- EL AL Israel Airlines = 20 Matmid Points = 1,000 Membership Rewards Points
- Air France & KLM = 1,000 Flying Blue® Award Miles = 1,000 Membership Rewards Points
- Frontier Airlines = 1,000 EarlyReturns® Miles = 1,000 Membership Rewards Points
- Hawaiian Airlines = 1,000 HawaiianMiles® = 1,000 Membership Rewards Points
- Iberia Plus Airlines = 1,000 Avios Points = 1,000 Membership Rewards Points
- JetBlue Airways = 200 TrueBlue® Points = 250 Membership Rewards Points
- Singapore Airlines = 1,000 KrisFlyer® Miles = 1,000 Membership Rewards Points
- Virgin Atlantic = 1,000 Flying Club Miles = 1,000 Membership Rewards Points
- Virgin America = 200 points = 100 Elevate points (note: from my experiance Elevate pts = 2.2 cent value each)
The following are not AmEx airline transfer partners, but let you buy tix for a pre-negotiated number of points:
- Swiss Air Lines = economy tickets to Europe for 60k to 65k points + $396 in taxes/fees, departing from select US cities
- Cathay Pacific Airways = economy tickets to Hong Kong from 60k points + $845 in taxes/fees and from 125k points with $359 in taxes/fees
- Qantas = economy class ticket to Australia from 92,000 points + $656 in taxes/fees and from 22,000 points + $1,115 in taxes/fees/charges
- South African Airways = economy ticket to South Africa from 95,000 points + $482.85 in taxes/fees. Companion ticket from 50,000 points + $482.85.
Obviously these are subject to change w/o notice at anytime, so always consult AmEx directly for current partners and conversions.
The Membership Rewards airlines listed above aren’t necessarily your only option. Not too long ago AmEx began offering “Pay with Points” which allows you to use your Membership Rewards points to pay for all our part of your flight through their travel booking website. The prices are shown in dollars and then you can use some or all of your Membership Rewards points to pay for the ticket -when you go this route, you can use your points to pay for tickets that are not Membership Rewards airline partners. However the drawback of this method is you most likely won’t be getting the best value for your points when you use them for “Pay with Points” payments.
Your best option for reward flights with American Express?
Ironically, the AmEx which offers the best rewards program for flights are not the charge cards, not their partner airline cards, but rather their Starwood card believe it or not.
Why? Because you earn at least 1 Starpoint per $1 spent. Those Starpoints can be converted to nearly 30 different frequent flyer programs, usually on a 1 for 1 conversion. Now compare that to the American Express Membership Rewards airlines list which is much shorter and not always on a 1 for 1 basis. To learn more about this card and to get bonus Starpoints, check out our Starwood American Express review to learn more.
Or if you are sick of hassling with frequent flyer miles and just want straight up statement credits to offset virtually any travel purchase, then check out this new card from Barclays. It earns the equivalent of 2% on every purchase, without any limits to how much you can earn.
This post was written or last updated November 6, 2013