American Express is a credit card industry pioneer in many ways. One of which is the invention of transferrable points. Amex’s transferrable points are called Membership Rewards (MR) points and they can be very valuable. Fortunately, there are a plethora of ways to redeem American Express Membership Rewards points. Amex offers the same redemption options across all MR point-earning cards unlike Chase and Citi.


Transfer Partners

Transfer partners are by far American Express’ most valuable and popular redemption option for MR points. Amex’s partners are best suited towards domestic and international flights. However, they also have a few hotel options.

MR points transfer at a 1:1 ratio (except where noted) to the following partners:


  • Choice Privileges
  • Hilton (1 MR = 2 Hilton Honors Points)
  • Marriott


  • Aer Lingus
  • Aeromexico (5 MR = 8 Premier Points)
  • Air Canada
  • Air Italia Millemiglia
  • Asia Miles / Cathay Pacific
  • Avianca Lifemiles
  • British Airways
  • Delta Airlines
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Guest
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Iberia
  • JetBlue (5 MR = 4 TrueBlue Points)
  • KLM Flying Blue / Air France
  • Nippon Airways
  • Qantas
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

Your mileage may vary for each partner. But for most partners, you should be able to easily redeem your points for at least 1.5 cents per point (CPP).


Bidding For Airline Upgrades

This is the newest redemption option from American Express. And as its name implies, this option is an online auction that lets you bid for seat upgrades. Points are worth a flat 1 CPP. Airlines set a minimum bid for any ticket, as well as suggested higher bids to win the auction. Upon bidding, cardholders will be notified closer to departure whether their bid is successful.

Upgrades are not always better priced than purchasing the upgrade for cash. That depends on the airline, auction scenario, and equivalent cash price.


Gift Cards

Gift cards are another decent way to redeem points. This method is best for those who have fewer than 1,000 points to redeem and they need to redeemed quickly.

Most gift cards will provide a value between 0.6 and 0.9 CPP. American Express’ own gift cards are on the lower extreme with a value of 0.5 CPP. However, certain brands will have gift cards with values of at least 1 CPP on the upper extreme.



Using points for merchandise can be done in two ways: American Express’ own online store and online shopping with some major retailers

American Express’ Online Store

American Express has an online store that lets cardholders redeem points for merchandise. However, cardholders should steering clear of this option for two reasons. The first is that a lot of their products are overpriced. And the second is that points are worth 0.8 CPP with this option, further inflating the prices.

Pay With Points at Checkout

This option lets cardholders use points to help pay for merchandise at various online stores. Retailers include Expedia, Amazon, and Best Buy. But points can be worth between 0.5 and 1 CPP when paying with points at checkout. This is subpar value.


American Express’ Travel Portal

Amex’s travel portal is like Chase’s, but cardholders will get a lot less value when using it. Points are worth just 0.7 CPP when using them to book travel. This is terrible value, especially since Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth a minimum of 1 CPP when redeemed via the Chase Travel Portal.


Statement Credit

MR points can also be redeemed for statement credits. But this is not the best way to redeem as points are worth just 0.6 CPP. A cash back credit card is better for those who prefer redeeming rewards for a statement credit.


Final Draw

American Express is the pioneer of transferrable points and partners. However, redeeming their points is more difficult than redeeming points from Chase, Citi, and even Capital One. That is because there are a lot of options that provide less than 1 CPP in value. The make takeaway of this post is that American Express Membership Rewards points are best used for transferring to partners. Do not fall for the illusion of choice.