We’ve already introduced the diverse range of airline transfer partners and hotel (+ other) partners that Amex has in the UK and will be spending a lot more time looking at the benefits of each of them in detail, but first I thought it would be fun to put together a quick ‘top 5’ list, rating the best American Express Membership Rewards transfer partners.

Naturally, these attempts to order things are always highly subjective, so I very much welcome contrary opinions!

Without further ado, here’s the first part of my personal take on the top five best American Express Membership Rewards transfer partners, starting with number five:

5. Etihad Guest

There’s no question that Etihad Guest isn’t as rewarding as it used to be – but there are still enough interesting quirks to (just about!) justify a spot in my top 5 American Express Membership Rewards transfer partners.

Perhaps he most obvious advantage of Etihad Guest is Etihad itself – the airline offers some of the best Business Class and First Class cabins in the sky, at least in terms of the amount of space and privacy they provide.

Although the amount of Miles required these days is quite high (62,000 for Business Class one way between London and Abu Dhabi), it’s not uncompetitive compared to alternatives like British Airways or Emirates.

Etihad First Class ‘Apartment’

Upgrading cash Economy fares to Business Class using Miles can be good value too. Indeed, the helpful Etihad mileage calculator will show you exactly how many miles you need to upgrade your ticket, according to ticket type:

For example, an upgrade from Economy to Business between London and Abu Dhabi will cost between 41,271 and 68,771 miles, depending on your fare class.

As you can see from the above picture, relatively speaking the real “value” is in the upgrade from Business Class to First Class at just 39K miles (i.e. less than the cheapest miles upgrade from Economy to Business). However, this requires you to have bought a flexible Business Class ticket in the first instance, which won’t come cheap. I had a big win on this front once, when work paid for a Business Class flight with Etihad between London and the Far East, which I was able to upgrade to First for around 120k miles.

Where Etihad Guest really shines though, is with some of the redemptions it offers on partner airlines. How does Business Class to Seoul (from Prague) one way for just 25,610 Miles (and therefore 25,610 American Express Membership Rewards Points, given the 1:1 transfer rate) sound?

There are plenty of other great value redemption options too if you look carefully through the various partner award charts.

Come back tomorrow to discover which of the many other American Express Membership Rewards transfer partners has grabbed the number 4 spot in my top 5!

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