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American Express is like Citi ThankYou points and Chase Ultimate Rewards in being called a “convertible” currency. The reason for that is that one of the most valuable uses of those points is that you can transfer them to a variety of airline, hotel and other travel partners.
I’ve transferred American Express Membership Rewards points to Air Canada to get around the close-in booking fee that United charges.
American Express frequently runs transfer bonuses to its transfer partners, and there has been a bonus from American Express to 2 different airlines for the past couple of weeks. This transfer bonus is ending shortly – in the case of Etihad on June 15th (Wednesday) and in the case of Hawaiian Airlines on June 21st, so I thought I would post a reminder in case you were meaning to transfer and had it slip your mind.
Through June 15th (Wednesday), you can get 30% more when transferring your American Express points to Etihad (H/T Frequent Miler). That means 1000 American Express points becomes 1300 Etihad Guest points. Etihad might seem like not a great transfer partner, but they have some interesting airline partners.
Richard (aka The Points Jock) talked through some of the interesting redemptions with Etihad during his talk at the FT4RL conference (SEE: #FT4RL: All-inclusive Africa trip for 7 nights for 135,090 points including flights from the USA).
2 options that are intriguing are: 1) You can still book American Airlines flights at the pre-devaluation prices (so the “old” off-peak to Europe, for example) – similar to how you can also do that with Alaska miles. 2) They partner with Royal Air Maroc, which means you can get a business class flight to Africa for only 44K Etihad miles (only 34K American Express points during this transfer)
American Express 25% transfer to Hawaiian Airlines
You can also get a 25% bonus transferring American Express Membership Rewards to Hawaiian Airlines (H/T: One Mile at a Time). This deal is through June 21st. Hawaiian Airlines was one of the credit cards I got on my very first churn. I ended up transferring them 1:2 to Hilton HHonors points, which was probably not the best usage of points, but hey :-). The transfer ratio from Hawaiian to Hilton is now 1:1.5 anyways.
The Hawaiian Airlines award chart is not fantastic, but one possible good redemption is for intra-island award flights, which range between 7,500 and 10,000 Hawaiian miles per flight. You can also use Hawaiian miles to fly on Hawaiian metal from the US to Hawaii (20K in economy one-way). One thing to note is that since this is a US-based airline, you will be charged the American Express excise tax.
Bottom line: If you’re planning on transferring American Express points to either Etihad or Hawaiian Airlines, better do it soon!