Q: What are the current American Express Rewards airlines partners?
A: One of the best things about several of the higher end American Express charge cards and 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. mergers) that have taken place over the last several years, the list of participating Membership Rewards partner airlines can change periodically. By way of disclosure, American Express is a CreditCardForum advertising partner.
At the time of the latest update (Q3 2015) listed below are the current American Express 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
- 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 Avios = 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
- Emirates = 1,000 Skywards 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 100 Elevate points = 200 Membership Rewards Points (note: from my experiance Elevate pts = 2.2 cent value each)
Other airlines are not AmEx airline transfer partners, but let you buy tickets for a pre-negotiated number of points. While these should be current, this information is subject to change without notice, so always consult American Express directly to confirm their current airline partners and conversion rates.
The Membership Rewards airlines listed above aren’t necessarily your only flight-related redemption option, however. Not too long ago American Express 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 American Express card that offers the best rewards program for flights are neither their charge cards nor their co-branded airline cards, but rather the Starwood Preferred Guest card, believe it or not.
Why? Because you earn at least one Starpoint per dollar spent. Those Starpoints can be converted to about 30 different frequent flier programs, usually with a 1-for-1 conversion. Now compare that to the American Express Membership Rewards airlines list which is much shorter. To learn more about this card and to get bonus Starpoints, check out our Starwood American Express review to learn more.
This post was written or last updated January 19, 2016