American Express Rewards Airlines

Posted by CreditCardGuru

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.

Additional Options
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

29 comments... read them below or add your own

  1. sandra Venticinque April 16, 2014 at 1:55PM

    How many miles per dollar do you get with the Amex cards

  2. William Waggoner March 8, 2014 at 7:33PM

    I miss Continental and Amex. They were great. Now it’s like “who cares”. IMHO of course. I have limited my use of Amex because of the Continental/United fiasco. Been a member since 84.

  3. donna February 18, 2014 at 1:05PM

    with American Express the Peter Principle is alive and flourishing! What happened??

  4. JL100 June 30, 2013 at 12:13PM

    Delta owes Amex big for pre-buying a lot of skymiles and helping Delta out of bankruptcy. Now to get rid of that liability to Amex, Delta charges a ton of points for every flight. I always have to use 40-50,000 per domestic flight with skymiles. US Air is better on redemptions, but now both have $200 change fees if you ever change your plans. Trying to stick with Chase/Southwest as much as possible for flying – no change fees and bigger jets and better service.

  5. emma jacobs June 26, 2013 at 2:19PM

    i just spent the last several hours trying to use my 300+ rewards miles, it’s a nightmare…. Delta are crazily high and completely out of line with anyone else, the taxes for BA and Virgin are out of line and Flying blue wants you to do it blind, AMEX really needs to take a close look at their program.

  6. max m June 3, 2013 at 2:54PM

    For AMEX miles, I have an Alitala Magnifico class ticket from Miami direct non-stop with BED to Rome on July 23, 2013, I got in February – and can transfer miles and get an economy return I reserved for Aug 8, 2013 direct non-stop Rome to Miami. Due to medical reasons, I will not be able to go then. Alitalia permits award ticket holders to transfer tickets to another person. I have to transfer additional miles by Wed June 5 to get the return ticket (I only have 32,000 miles and 60,000 is required for the return). So the round-trip required 108,000. If someone wants to transfer 108,000 miles from their American Express points to my Alitalia club it would give me until next June to be medically able to use the points for new award tickets. Getting the bed at least for the overnight trip leg s virtually impossible (and the required points have gone up since I got my award ticket) so if there is someone out there who would like to do this it would be great to know – unsure how to connect. There is something AMEX told me about called points.com but not sure how can connect through that either. I can prove identity etc. Just a peculiar situation due to medical situation.

  7. Jim May 16, 2013 at 7:31AM

    This is a nightmare. American Express should be ashamed. It could not be more complicated and time consuming. Don’t offer the points if you’re going to make it so hard to use them. I’ll now switch to using my Visa and Master cards whenever possible.

  8. arnie malamud March 9, 2013 at 10:49AM

    Delta really is getting worse as far as points needed for trips. Just completed Business class RT to the far east on FF points. Delta wanted 480,00 for two tickets. Got them on United for 230,000. Really dont know what to do with over 120,000 membership miles. Perhaps transfer to Delta and then use their partner airlines

  9. ExConFlyer January 20, 2013 at 8:59PM

    Like many have said, AMEX points are not nearly as valuable as before when they had Continental, and United is NOT even close to Continentals performance! I don’t understand why Mexicana is on the partner list under Cathay Pacific when they stopped flying years ago!!!! Maybe AMEX should pursue American Airlines?????

  10. harshy mysore January 12, 2013 at 12:11PM

    Delta points are essentially outof line for flights. Will be discontinuing my Amex card since Amex has lost many Airline partners such as united.Instead planning on Chase cards.

  11. kkm January 10, 2013 at 7:59PM

    Can anyone help with amex points and turkish airways upgrades? I would like to upgrade my turkish airlines tickets on points – any advice?
    Thanks :)

  12. Mark r November 18, 2012 at 7:25AM

    I run all my business expenses through Amex and rack up about 400,000 points a year. I spent a huge amount of time learning the continental system and flew first class to china for miles several times. Before continental merged, I transferred about 250k points. I just booked a business class flight to Hong Kong for 60,000 miles (and $19.45 in fees). Score! But united points expire so I have to use them up. The return flight will probably cost me 150k.

    I learned to use the continental system. Now I need to either change airlines, or change credit cards. Would love some guidance as to other options. Are there other Amex airlines that are as good?

    My options are to learn to use another system (Singapore air?), figure out the star alliance thing and book through, nippon(?), or get another credit card (which one?)

  13. Cici August 4, 2012 at 5:17AM

    I agree that the expiration of the agreement with Continental was very disappointing , and I am out of Houston as well. United is no Continental to be sure. But since complaining about it really can’t change the facts, I decided to just see the bright side and make the best out of what still is available. If you have time to plan a trip many months in advance and are willing to be flexible about options for exact dates, it still is really possible to make the most out of your Amex miles and have the dream destinations that are advertised. We have signed up for frequent flyer accounts with just about every airline we have occasion to fly and have decided that in this new economy, any additional benefit is welcome and we are just grateful to be able to travel sometimes still. Patience and gratitude are undervalued virtues in this fast paced world…

    Good luck to all and happy travels!

    P.S. British Airways IS awful, but what can you really do but avoid them?

  14. Dave June 6, 2012 at 6:01PM

    We had a good experience with British Airways to London. The taxes and fees are high but that is life in the UK. BA frequent flyer person was super helpful and friendly.

  15. Ripped Off!! June 5, 2012 at 1:04PM

    I am from Houston and have over 400,000 miles, no direct flights from HOU-LAX, when I signed up for Amex I could use Continental/United as promised. Total rip off now. I will join any class action suit anyone wants to file

    • Keith Casey July 14, 2012 at 11:52PM

      I had the same experience. I tried to move all my FF points to Continental. Amex asked me why and I said it was because I had been notified that Continental would no longer accept Amex points. I was told not to transfer them because Continental (Now United) was a member of Star Alliance and I could use the points with anyone in the Star Alliance.

    • Jan Kilinski September 20, 2012 at 2:24PM

      Grow up!!!!

    • Ruesch September 23, 2012 at 9:43AM

      Then you should sue United Airlines for being the worst run organization in the sky!!!

  16. Andrea May 31, 2012 at 12:42PM

    Even worse I transferred my points to Brit air and they converted to Avios, so now a trip to Europe is between 50 and 60,000 points plus 650 in fees…

  17. PAK May 29, 2012 at 1:23PM

    This list is horrible. I can’t book any flights with these airlines. Continental was nice, but it’s gone now! BA is total crap because they never have availability anywhere, unless you’re flying directly to London. Delta, don’t even get me started. Never again.

    • saroj June 16, 2012 at 5:37AM

      you can book any star alliance flight through all nippon which is listed in amex list of airlines

      • Keith Casey July 14, 2012 at 11:54PM

        HOW?

  18. Laura April 12, 2012 at 7:38PM

    Not a huge surprise that the Amex airline list is so awful since Amex ‘s customer service has gotten so bad. As for Delta- what a complete rip-off when it comes to points. They should be ashamed of themselves- and Amex should be ashamed for using them for a partner! 350,000 points for business class to Europe??? The MOST for American is 250,000! I think I need to cancel my Amex cards!

  19. Karen April 10, 2012 at 1:48PM

    Since AmEx dropped Continental/United I don’t use my AmEx card very often at all. I used to use it for EVERY SINGLE purchase, but not anymore. Now my only domestic choice would be Delta and they never have seats available.

  20. karen April 2, 2012 at 3:55PM

    I was shocked to see so few partnerships! I’ve been saving my reward points for years in anticipation of an exotic trip, but I see I’ve totally wasted my time with American Express.

  21. jill W. February 5, 2012 at 11:47AM

    I found it very misleading of AMEX to claim 75,000 points can get you 3 domestic tickets on Partner airlines. When I tried to redeem with Delta more than 1 month in advance 1> no tickets were available for 25,000 form Dallas to NYC! Only 1 ticket left at 32,500 and the other would be 40,000 points. the third ticket would cost me over $700! Talk about bait and switch! Shame on you, Am EX. I expected so much more.

  22. Karen Wilton February 2, 2012 at 3:09PM

    Wow. This is list is HORRIBLE! What the heck happened? There are such poor choices for domestic choices! I guess I will be looking into other reward options.

  23. John Donley January 24, 2012 at 5:50AM

    I believe frequent flyers should file a class action lawsuit against all airlines. Why? The airlines encourage consumers to purchase tickets on their airline, promising the consumer that he’ll be able to fly to “dream ” destinations; then when the frequent flyer tries to make a reservation, the airlines says it has no frequent flyers seats available. Why the airlines do not tell you up front that it’s highly unlikely that you will not find a seat when you decide to fly? This action on the part of airlines is misleading and amounts to false advertising.

    If the airlines are going to encourage passengers to buy a tickets on their particular airlines they should not limit the number of seats per flight but should make all seats available to frequent flyers just as they are made available by those purchasing tickets. I have been on flights with many vacant seats, yet the airlines refuse to give those vacant seats to frequent flyers.

    It is time that the airline stopped treating frequently flyers like second class citizens

  24. Katie Pecora October 9, 2011 at 6:02PM

    I was disappointed that American Express has lost many of the domestic reward partners including Continental. Although Delta is still a partner, they are totally out of line and charge more than all other airlines when trying to make an award ticket. I checked with other airlines to make a ticket from Rochester,N.Y. to Charleston S.C. and the total roundtrip would be 57,500 miles and 3 other airlines the same ticket would be only 25,000 miles. American Express needs to look into this situation and try to negotiate getting other domestic carriers back in the program. I feel Delta is taking advantage of their reward customers by requiring so many more points than other airlines.

Leave a Comment

*