American Express Membership Rewards points are some of the most coveted rewards currency available, particularly when used to travel through their network of airline transfer partners. But not all partners are created equal.
This guide to Amex’s 18 airline and 3 hotel partners will show you how to maximize the value of your transfers. Points usually transfer at 1:1 ratio; however, certain programs provide additional value through sweet spot awards or similar.
Aeromexico, Mexico’s national airline, boasts an extensive network of routes between North America, Central and South America, Europe and Asia. A founding member of SkyTeam airline alliance and partner of Delta Air Lines, Air France and KLM for connecting flights.
AeroMexico Rewards members can accrue and redeem miles on domestic and international flights, as well as earn and redeemed elite status benefits like lounge access and discounted fares both domestically and internationally. What many travelers don’t realize is that AeroMexico also provides a robust transfer partnership with American Express.
Aeromexico Rewards members can take advantage of Aeromexico’s Star Alliance partner flights to book award tickets with them for an added benefit – for instance a round-trip economy flight between Chicago and Paris can be booked for just 160,000 points provided that it falls between available dates – making Aeromexico an attractive choice when planning international trips!
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club is an affordable choice among Amex transfer partners for U.S. travelers looking for flights to Europe, Australia or Asia from the U.S. It should be noted that award flights require at least 24 hour layover and may cost more in taxes and fees compared to other airlines.
Although American Airlines may have certain limitations, their frequent flight sales and attractive elite status benefits make them worthwhile if you have some extra Amex points sitting around. When possible, however, transfer points to an airline partner as they often offer higher redemption rates and premium service options that provide greater value for your dollar.
Marriott Hotels & Resorts is another powerful point-earner with Aeromexico, boasting an outstanding transfer partner: Marriott Bonvoy allows members to accrue miles at over 1,300 properties worldwide and redeem them through Aeromexico with ease; points can be transferred in at a 3:1 ratio for transfers totalling 60,000 points or more transferred over.
Air Canada Aeroplan
Air Canada Aeroplan has built up some impressive international capabilities since becoming Canada’s most prominent airline and founding member of Star Alliance in 2022. Their rewards program won Best Airline Reward Program at the Frequent Traveler Awards (now known as the FT People’s Choice Awards).
Aeroplan has an expansive list of partner airlines, from all Star Alliance members to non-alliance partners such as Azul Brazilian Airlines, Etihad Airways and Bamboo Airlines. Plus, their program does not charge fuel surcharges on award tickets making booking domestic economy flights as well as short hauls across Europe, Asia Africa South America especially valuable.
Aeroplan offers more than just flight redemptions; hotel and car rental redemptions can also be booked through its program to save on redemption costs compared to booking directly through partner airlines.
Aeroplan charges a CA$39 ($30) partner award booking fee on each ticket purchased, which can drastically decrease the value of low-cost rewards. In this respect, its program resembles Delta SkyMiles and other U.S. airline loyalty programs which impose similar charges.
Aeroplan has an outstanding search engine to quickly find reward availability, as well as published award charts for each partner airline – something rare in today’s loyalty landscape, which often relies on dynamic pricing strategies. Therefore, Aeroplan stands out among airline-based programs as one of the most valuable programs.
American Express card partners that partner with Aeroplan offer co-branded credit cards that offer exceptional value to frequent travelers. These cards provide one free checked bag per primary cardholder and up to eight other passengers; travel protection benefits; and 2 to 3 points per dollar spent, regardless of your travel plans.
Transferring AMEX Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan can be done instantly in 1,000 point increments; please note, though, that only five transactions between each year may be conducted for this transfer.
Virgin Atlantic is one of the premier Amex transfer partners, and for good reason. While its route network may be limited, it provides quality hard and soft products, competitive redemption rates and access to luxurious lounges – not to mention offering lower out-of-pocket costs than many of its airline transfer partners.
Virgin Atlantic revolutionized the airline industry when it debuted, quickly earning itself a name as an innovator with exceptional service and unique destinations. Since then, it has expanded into a global carrier operating a fleet of over 180 aircraft that fly to destinations in over 30 countries – as well as prioritising sustainability, corporate resilience and customer comfort as core principles.
Virgin Atlantic miles can be redeemed by booking flights on its website or calling its reservation center. When using your points to book, provide details such as departure and arrival cities, number of travelers, travel dates and other requested details such as round-trip or one-way flights and cabin class options ranging from Economy to Upper Class – once chosen you can pay either with cash or both points and money to cover ticket costs.
Virgin Atlantic also offers a robust partner program, enabling customers to earn and redeem rewards with other airlines – providing maximum value when redeeming. However, not all airline partners are created equal: booking a New York to London flight on Virgin Atlantic metal may cost more in points than doing the same itinerary via Delta, United or American.
Air France provides another way for customers to collect Flying Club points through hotel and car rental partner programs, credit card partnerships like Chase Ultimate Rewards or Citi ThankYou Points, bonus categories, everyday spending and transfer options – making building up Flying Club points even simpler! Before selecting one program over another it’s essential to carefully compare all available programs; earning points through Chase Ultimate Rewards may work better for some travelers while thankYou Points may offer better value to other travellers.