Ever wondered what all the American Express Membership Rewards transfer partners in the UK actually are? – And more importantly, whether they are worth transferring your Membership Reward Points to?
You’ve got your lovely Points saved up from an Amex Gold or Platinum signup bonus, but getting maximum value from those Points can seem complex. In fact, many people just send them straight over to British Airways Avios in a bid to keep things simple, but I think that’s a mistake.
Avios are fantastic, but there’s a whole world of Points and Miles options out there and if you really want to unlock the real value of Amex MR Points, you need to get acquainted with some of the other options. It doesn’t have to be complicated and we’ll take things slow – I promise.
Before looking at each of the transfer partners in detail later in this series, let’s just start with a quick overview of what the American Express Membership Rewards transfer partners in the UK are.
The first thing to say is that there are three broad divisions of Amex MR transfer partner – airline frequent flyer programmes (like British Airways Executive Club), hotel loyalty programmes (like Hilton Honors), and ‘others‘.
To keep things simple, this piece is just going to introduce the airline programmes that you can transfer to, with a quick word about how useful each one can be. We’ll give the hotel programmes and other options the same treatment in a separate article.
Airline loyalty programmes:
Great transfer partners
British Airways Executive Club – Transfer ratio 1:1.
Probably the transfer partner you are already most familiar with. BA calls its Miles ‘Avios’ and there are many excellent uses for them.
Iberia Plus – Transfer ratio 1:1.
Iberia is owned by the same parent company as BA (IAG) and also uses Avios as its loyalty currency. Redeeming your Avios via Iberia Plus can sometimes result in a better deal than doing so through BA Executive Club (particularly if you want to fly with Iberia). Fortunately, you can transfer Avios between your Iberia Plus account and your BA Executive Club account for free, so can take advantage of the advantages of both.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club – Transfer ratio 1:1.
Another popular transfer choice, with lots of good redemption options.
Singapore KrisFlyer – Transfer ratio 1:1.
Probably the most valuable Amex Membership Rewards transfer partner and my personal favourite. The main negative is that KrisFlyer Miles expire after 3 years, but the advantages more than outweigh this.
Good transfer partners
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles – Transfer ratio 1:1.
There is some good value to be had, but the programme is a little complicated and that stops it being one of my primary recommendations.
KLM/Air France Flying Blue -Transfer ratio 1:1.
Solid programme, with excellent regular award discounts.
Etihad Guest – Transfer ratio 1:1.
Not as good as it used to be, but there are still some decent uses both on Etihad itself and with some of its partner airlines.
Ok transfer partners
SAS Eurobonus –Transfer ratio 1:1.
Delta SkyMiles – Transfer ratio 1:1.
Emirates Skywards – Transfer ratio 1:1.
All 3 here offer occasional, niche, opportunities to get good value by transferring your Amex Membership Rewards Points, but generally you will be considerably better off with the options higher up this list.
Bad transfer partners
Finnair Plus – Transfer ratio 1:1.
Terrible redemptions values (eg. 24,000 Miles for a one way Economy ticket between London and Helsinki. British Airways Executive Club requires a maximum of 7,500 Avios for the same flight).
Alitalia Millemiglia – Transfer ratio 1:1.
Bad redemption values, expensive surcharges, weird quirks. Also, Alitalia is facing bankruptcy. Don’t transfer your Amex MR Points here.
American Express Membership Rewards Transfer Partners in the UK Part 1 Conclusion
A lot of the value that Amex MR Points have comes from the fact that they are very flexible and can be transferred to such a wide range of partners. Of the 12 airline partners, I can think of examples where you might want to transfer to 10 of them – and that’s before we even get onto the hotel transfer partners and other options!
Don’t worry though, we are going to break all the options down for you piece by piece – bitesize Points and Miles!