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30 Best Ways To Redeem Amex Membership Rewards Points for Max Value

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As we mentioned above, transferring your points to airline partners is how you can get the most value out of your points.

The award flights described below are typically centered around North America. You’ll find first-class, business-class, and economy-class options from the U.S., as well as some great deals between other regions.

Of course, there may be other great award redemptions available. Depending on how and where you like to travel, you may have some other favorite award options; if so please add a comment below and share your insights!

1. Fly Singapore Suites in an A380 (KrisFlyer Miles)

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Singapore Airlines’ new A380 Suites features a double bed and separate lounge chair. Image Credit: Greg Stone

Most people transfer points to the Singapore KrisFlyer miles program because they’re after the Singapore Suites — Singapore Airlines’ first-class luxury experience. If you book 2 tickets with a loved one, you can even experience a double bed in the sky!

Awards for the suites cost 148,500 miles one-way from New York (JFK) to Singapore (SIN). Note that these suites are only available on the Airbus A380, so be sure to check the destinations when planning!

The A380 flies between Singapore and a number of additional cities, including London (LHR), Sydney (SYD), Paris (CDG), Tokyo (NRT), and other large international cities. One way to experience Suites class is to book a flight between New York and Frankfurt (FRA) one-way for 97,000 points.

Singapore Airlines is known for having one of the best (if not the best) first class/suites experiences. So, if you can, definitely book award travel in Singapore Suites with your Amex points.

Another great thing about Singapore Airlines’ program is that it is a transfer partner of all the major points currencies: American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One MilesChase Ultimate RewardsCiti ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy. So if you don’t have quite enough Membership Rewards points, you can top off your Singapore Airlines account with other currencies.

It is very tough to find more than 1 Singapore Suites Class seat available at the saver level, but you might be able to waitlist a second seat, book business class, and hope you clear the waitlist.

Hot Tip:Need help booking? See our step-by-step guide for booking Singapore Suites or first class.

2. Fly Lufthansa First Class to Europe (LifeMiles)

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Lufthansa first class in the nose of the 747-8 is like your own private jet, but with even better service. Image Credit: Cherag Dubash

Arguably, one of the classiest ways to fly to Europe in style is on Lufthansa first class. Don’t forget about the First Class Terminal (Frankfurt only) and the First Class Lounges! These take an already amazing experience to another level.

Avianca LifeMiles charges 87,000 miles to fly one-way. Best of all? Taxes and fees will be just $41 per person!

This is a stunning redemption, and flying Lufthansa without surcharges at reasonable rates is often difficult. Lufthansa first class awards are almost never available more than 15 days in advance to partners, so you’ll have to book pretty close to departure.

Luckily, Avianca LifeMiles doesn’t assess any close-in booking fees! Avianca LifeMiles provides the most affordable way to fly on Lufthansa first class from the U.S. to Europe without paying ~$600 in fuel surcharges each way.

First class from the U.S. to Europe will cost you just 87,000 LifeMiles + $31 in taxes and fees! Here are some great example routes you can take:

  1. Los Angeles (LAX) to Frankfurt (FRA) — availability is tough
  2. Houston (IAH) to Frankfurt (FRA) — availability is tough
  3. San Francisco (SFO) to Munich (MUC) — availability is sporadic
  4. Dallas Fort-Worth (DFW) to Frankfurt (FRA) — good availability
  5. Washington, D.C. (IAD) to Frankfurt (FRA) — good availability
  6. New York (JFK) to Frankfurt (FRA) — good availability

If Europe is on your list, we’ve written an extensive guide on flying to Europe with points and miles.

Need help booking? Check out our step-by-step guide to booking first class on Lufthansa.

Hot Tip:Enjoy your trip home from Frankfurt even more if you have Amex Platinum card. You’ll get access to the Priority Pass program upon enrollment, which allows you to use lounges in the airport, including the LuxxLounge and the Primeclass Lounge in Frankfurt.

3. Fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class to Europe (Flying Blue)

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Enjoy Virgin’s Upper Class with Flying Blue miles. Image Credit: Virgin Atlantic

Air France-KLM Flying Blue is one of the few loyalty programs that can bypass the majority of fuel surcharges that Virgin Atlantic levies on its flights. You can fly to Europe in Virgin Atlantic Upper Class from 67,500 to 106,500 miles one-way plus taxes and fees of around $200 per person. This is in contrast to Virgin Atlantic’s own price of around 67,500 miles plus $800 in taxes and fees per person.

Availability on Virgin Atlantic in Upper Class tends to be quite good, so you shouldn’t have many issues booking this flight, especially far in advance.

Need help booking? Check out our guide to booking Virgin Atlantic Upper Class!

4. Fly to the Middle East or North Africa From the U.S. (KrisFlyer Miles)

Singapore Airlines offers great pricing to fly to the Middle East and North Africa from the U.S. as well. You can redeem KrisFlyer miles for travel on Star Alliance member airlines, including United, EgyptAir, Ethiopian, SWISS, and Lufthansa.

On these airlines, you’ll be able to get to the Middle East or North Africa for 52,000 miles one-way in economy class, 88,000 miles one-way in business class, or 114,000 miles one-way in first class.

5. Fly to Central or South Africa From the U.S. (KrisFlyer Miles)

Singapore Airlines has a pretty good award price for travel to Central and South Africa in business class. A one-way business class flight will cost you 111,000 miles when you fly with a Star Alliance partner airline.

This pricing is now higher than United, which requires 80,000 miles each way to fly Star Alliance partners to Central and South Africa.

6. Fly to Europe in Economy From the U.S. (KrisFlyer Miles)

Singapore offers a great price to fly from the U.S. to Europe in economy class at only 30,500 miles in each direction on Star Alliance member airlines.

7. Fly Between South Pacific Islands (KrisFlyer Miles)

This is an amazing deal if you are able to take an extended trip and want to do some Pacific Island hopping.

Singapore Airlines charges 13,500 miles, 34,500 miles, and 47,000 miles each way for travel in economy, business, and first class respectively within the South Pacific.

United would charge 12,500 miles one-way in economy class, 30,000 miles one-way for business class, and 40,000 miles one-way for first class.

Availability can be tough to find on many of these routes, but if you have some flexibility, you can’t beat using your Singapore Airlines miles for travel between South Pacific islands in business or first class.

8. Fly United in Business or First Within the U.S. (KrisFlyer Miles)

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Flying on United Polaris is a great way to try a new product en route to Europe. Image Credit: Stephen Au

Singapore Airlines has a handful of other sweet spots in its award chart, and flights on United within the U.S. in business or first class is one of them.

You can redeem KrisFlyer miles to fly on United Airlines within the U.S. for only 26,000 miles in business class or 39,000 miles in first class.

As a comparison, United charges 50,000 miles to fly business class round-trip within the U.S. and 70,000 miles to fly first class within the U.S.

9. Fly Between the Continental U.S. and Hawaii (KrisFlyer Miles)

You can also redeem your Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles for a good value between the continental U.S. and Hawaii in all classes of service for travel on Star Alliance Airlines.

One-way prices are 19,500 miles, 39,000 miles, and 52,000 miles in economy, business, and first class, respectively. For comparison, United would charge 22,500 miles, 40,000 miles, and 50,000 miles to book the exact same flights.

10. Fly Round-trip in ANA Business Class to Japan (ANA Mileage Club)

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ANA business class. Image Credit: Stephen Au

ANA used to have an awesome distance-based award chart allowing 3 stopovers for no additional cost. This was a great deal, but now ANA has more common region-based award charts for:

  1. Flights operated by ANA
  2. Flights on ANA’s partner airlines

Unfortunately, booking awards with partners means you will be on the hook for carrier-imposed surcharges. Sometimes, lower fees on partner flights can be obtained through United, Turkish, Air New Zealand, and Air Canada (depending on the routes).

ANA allows 1 stopover and 1 open-jaw (including backtracking) on both ANA and partner flights (some caveats apply). Thanks to this tiny bit of flexibility worked into the new scheme, you’ll still have a lot of options for multiple destinations on 1 ticket!

From our perspective, there are some great values to be had by transferring your Membership Rewards points to ANA Mileage Club. One of these is a great deal on flights to Japan.

ANA flights to Japan cost 85,000 miles round-trip in business class during the regular season and can go as low as 75,000 miles during the low season. Flights on partners will always cost 85,000 miles in business class.

Flying ANA in economy class will only cost you 40,000 miles in the low season, while flights on partners will always cost 50,000 miles. The low season is considered January, February, and April. You might even be able to catch the Sakura Cherry blossoms!

Hot Tip: You can also transfer points from Marriott Bonvoy to ANA Mileage Club.

Need help booking? See our step-by-step guide for booking ANA business class.

11. North America to Asia Zone 1 (ANA Mileage Club)

ANA considers Asia Zone 1 as China, Guam, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines. A round-trip business class ticket will only cost 80,000 miles during the low season when flying on ANA.

If you’re looking at flying with a partner airline, the deal isn’t quite as good at 95,000 miles (the same cost as flying ANA during high season). Flights in economy class cost 45,000 miles.

12. Fly Etihad Business Class to Africa or the Middle East (Air Canada Aeroplan)

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Etihad Airways Airbus A380 business class. Image Credit: Greg Stone

Aeroplan charges between 85,000 and 100,000 points to fly one-way on Etihad business class to the Middle East or Africa. You can also book first class tickets for 120,000 to 130,000 points.

If your total flight distance is 6,001 to 8,000 miles, you’ll spend 85,000 points in business and 120,000 in first class.

If your total flight distance is 8,001 or more miles, you’ll spend 100,000 points in business and 130,000 points in first class.

Etihad’s business class has received great reviews — you won’t be disappointed with this redemption. 

Need help booking? Check out our step-by-step instructions on how to book Etihad business class!

13. North America to Asia Zone 2 (ANA Mileage Club)

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Thai Airways’ 787-8 business class features seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. Image Credit: Thai Airways

ANA considers Asia Zone 2 to be India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. If you just read its website, you might stop there — but Asia Zone 2 also includes the “stan” countries including Uzbekistan, Pakistan, and Kazakhstan.

Some of these countries are typically very expensive to get to from North America, so using miles can present incredible value opportunities. Round-trip business class to Asia Zone 2 countries only costs 100,000 miles during the low season or 55,000 miles in economy class.

Need help booking? Check out our step-by-step guide to booking business class with ANA’s Star Alliance partner EVA Air — one of the best business class products in the sky.

Hot Tip:Flying to Asia also carries lower fuel surcharges compared with flying directly to Japan on ANA — even when your flights to Asia go through Japan!

14. North America to Europe on Partners (ANA Mileage Club)

The mileage cost of flying one of ANA’s partner airlines to Japan isn’t as good redeeming miles for ANA flights directly, but the award chart does have a few solid partner redemption options.

You can fly round-trip from the U.S. to Europe in business class for only 88,000 miles, or fly in economy class for 55,000 miles. This price used to be a lot better than it is now, but it’s still better than some competitors.

Watch out for carrier-imposed surcharges that can really add up — if you can, find availability on LOT Polish, Air Canada, Turkish Airlines, or United Airlines to avoid higher taxes and fees.

15. North America to Africa or the Middle East in Economy (ANA Mileage Club)

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Visit beautiful Cape Town, South Africa for only 65,000 miles round-trip in economy class. Image Credit: Tobias Reich via Unsplash

ANA also offers good pricing in economy class to Africa and the Middle East. A round-trip flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Cape Town (CPT) would cost you only 65,000 miles in economy class.

United would charge 80,000 miles for the same round-trip flight.

16. Intra-Africa/Middle East Flights (ANA Mileage Club)

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When you visit the Middle East, don’t forget to stop and see the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Nick Fewings via Unsplash

Flights within Africa can be very expensive, but with ANA you have a pretty great option to use miles instead.

You’ll only need 30,000 miles round-trip in economy class for flights within Africa and the Middle East when you fly Star Alliance partners including South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, and Egypt Air.

17. Flights to Southern South America From the U.S. (ANA Mileage Club)

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Escape to Patagonia, where the view is amazing in every direction. Image Credit: ecstk22 via Adobe Stock

Many award charts split South America into 2 regions: northern South America and southern South America. Sometimes this is beneficial, but other times it is not.

If you are looking to travel specifically to southern South America, you can make use of the fact that ANA considers South America as 1 region.

Since ANA doesn’t fly to South America, you’ll utilize the ANA Partner Award Chart. ANA only charges 88,000 miles round-trip in business and 55,000 miles round-trip in economy class.

If you want to visit a southern South American country such as Argentina or Chile, you would pay 110,000 United miles in business class or 60,000 miles round-trip in economy class. If you are planning to go to a northern South American country (like Peru or Columbia) or a Central American country (like Costa Rica or Nicaragua), you’re better off booking with United.

18. Book an Around the World Trip (ANA Mileage Club)

A lot of airline programs have gotten rid of their Around the World award charts, but ANA basically turned its old distance-based program into an Around the World chart when it made its program changes.

If you have time and want to make a bunch of stops on your trip, this is a fantastic redemption! When making an ANA partner redemption, you can make up to 8 stopovers on a round-the-world trip.

ANA round the world trip
An example round-the-world trip is found on the ANA website. As long as you are always traveling in the same direction (east or west), you can make up to 8 stopovers before returning home! Image Credit: ANA

There are some restrictions to consider, such as only 3 stopovers in Europe and 4 in Japan, and you must choose only 1 direction in which to travel (east or west).

Also, you cannot return to your home country in fewer than 10 days. Finally, you can’t use an open-jaw in North America, South America, or Latin America.

However, you can put together some incredible trips if you have the time, flexibility, and patience to plan them out! The cost is calculated based on the mileage flown. Itineraries start at 20,000 points in economy (for trips of 0 to 2,000 miles) and go up to 450,000 points in first class (for trips of 44,001 to 50,000 miles).

19. Continental U.S. to Hawaii on Delta in Economy (Flying Blue)

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The Hawaiian Islands are covered in palm trees and greenery and have cliffs that fall off into the clear blue water. Image Credit: Luca Bravo via Unsplash

One great redemption from the Flying Blue program is for flights to Hawaii from the continental U.S.

Round-trip flights cost 30,000 Flying Blue miles and less than $10 in fees. Considering that flights from the East Coast usually cost $500 to $900 round-trip, we’re talking some great redemptions even at the lower end of the value spectrum.

The new variable award pricing has many people confused, but award prices start at 30,000 Flying Blue miles round-trip and can go higher from there. Be sure to look for mileage prices around 30,000 or else you’ll be paying way more than you want!

20. Flying Blue Promo Rewards (Flying Blue)

Flying Blue has special Promo Rewards that are usually 25% to 50% off economy class and business class award tickets from Europe to certain cities around the world.

The Promo Award that most U.S.-based flyers will find useful is the Europe to North American Cities option. When an award is 50% off, it will only cost 12,500 miles to fly each way in economy, or 25,000 miles in business class.

Surcharges tend to be a little higher on Flying Blue awards, but they’re not terrible. If you consider how many miles you’re saving, it might be just what you need.

21. Make Use of Flying Blue’s Weird Region Definitions (Flying Blue)

Flying Blue has some very odd region definitions that can make for some incredible awards! Specifically, consider the fact that Israel, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya are all considered part of Europe.

Right away, this means 50,000 miles for round-trip itineraries in economy class from the U.S. and 100,000 miles for round-trips in business class. But wait, it gets even better! Since these locations are all considered part of Europe, Promo Rewards will also be available to these locations.

22. Fly to Mexico for the Same Price as Flying Around the U.S. (Flying Blue)

Most airline award programs separate Mexico from the U.S. in their award charts. With Flying Blue, you’ll be able to fly from the U.S. to Mexico for only 18,500 miles each direction at the lowest redemption price in economy — the same price you’d pay to fly somewhere in the U.S.

23. Fly to the Caribbean From the U.S. (Flying Blue)

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Relax on a Caribbean beach for only 30,000 Flying Blue miles. Image Credit: Claudia Altamimi via Unsplash

Flying Blue also has a pretty solid price for flights to the Caribbean. At the lowest award pricing, round-trip flights in economy class will only set you back 37,000 miles.

For more information, check out our guide to flying to the Caribbean with points and miles.

24. Insanely Cheap Economy Flights to the South Pacific (Flying Blue)

Flying Blue charges a ridiculously low number of miles for flights to Tahiti and other islands in the South Pacific: only 35,000 miles for a one-way economy class ticket. Taxes and fees will be around $100 per person each way

There’s really only 1 valid route here:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Tahiti (PPT)

25. Fly to Oceania From the U.S. (Aeroplan)

There are some good Aeroplan redemptions worth mentioning.

You can fly from the U.S. to AustraliaNew Zealand, and the South Pacific (Oceania) for 120,000 miles round-trip in economy class. Where this award really shines is with the ability to make 1 stopover in each direction in addition to your final destination for just 5,000 points per stopover!

If you’re already flying so far, why not add a few days and extra stops to your trip?

This won’t be the lowest possible price to get to Oceania, but if you can make use of the stopovers it might be worth paying more miles than a carrier like United would charge.

Hot Tip: Bilt Rewards, Capital One, Chase, and Marriott Bonvoy also have Air Canada Aeroplan as transfer partners, so you can combine your points from those programs with your Membership Rewards points.

26. Fly to Western Europe From the U.S. (Aeroplan)

Air Canada charges 70,000 to 110,000 points to fly round-trip in economy class from the U.S. to Western Europe.

While this is the same price charged by many other airlines (such as United), you also have the ability to make a stopover for 5,000 points in each direction in addition to your destination when booking with Air Canada.

The same routes cost 120,000 to 180,000 points in business class and 180,000 to 260,000 points in first class! In other words, you can fly Lufthansa first class for as few as 90,000 points each way.

27. Fly to the Middle East From the U.S. (Aeroplan)

Air Canada charges 110,000 to 140,000 points to fly round-trip in economy class from the U.S. to the Middle East, again with the ability to make a stopover in each direction in addition to your final destination for 5,000 additional points per stopover.

Flights that span 6,001 to 8,000 miles in distance will cost 55,000 points one-way in economy, 90,000 points in business, and 130,000 points in first class.

Meanwhile, flights longer than 8,000 miles in distance will cost 70,000 points one-way in economy, 110,000 points in business, and 140,000 points in first.

28. Short-haul Flights on Air Canada (Aeroplan)

Flights on Air Canada within North America are generally quite expensive when purchased in cash.

But any short-haul flights on any Star Alliance partner that are shorter than 500 miles in flight distance will start at 6,000 Aeroplan points each way. Flights between 501 and 1,500 miles will cost 10,000 Aeroplan points each way.

29. Fly to Nunavut, Yukon, or the Northwest Territories From the U.S. (Aeroplan)

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Head north, north, and further north to visit a place where few people live: Nunavut, Canada. Image Credit: Damon on road via Unsplash

These provinces of Canada are so expensive to get to; we’re talking easily over $1,000 from the U.S. (and we’ve even seen prices over $2,000 round-trip).

However, awards to these locations can be booked for such a tiny number of miles — only 25,000 round-trip! If you like visiting off-the-beaten-track destinations, this is a great (and cheap) award. For 25,000 points round-trip, your total flight distance in each direction can be as much as 2,750 miles.

A $2,000 round-trip ticket for only 25,000 miles nets you a fantastic value of 8 cents per point, which is on par with first class redemptions.

30. Travel With a Lap Child (Aeroplan)

The cost of traveling with an infant varies by airline when booking award tickets. Some airlines charge 10% of the cash ticket, which can be absolutely brutal if you are traveling in a premium cabin.

Air Canada has a very simple and reasonable structure for the cost of traveling with an infant: CA$25 or 2,500 miles per ticket. 

Generally, we would recommend paying cash for these infant fees, since the value per mile would only be less than 1 cent per point after currency conversion.

However, if you are looking to cover as much of your trip as possible with your miles, Air Canada is one of the better options when traveling with a lap child.

Make sure that if you are traveling with a lap child, you always book a round-trip ticket. The lap child fee is per ticket, so if you book 2 one-way tickets you’ll pay this fee twice.

 

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