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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 currently there is a 30% bonus from American Express to 2 different airlinest
Through June 15th, 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 30% transfer to Virgin Atlantic
You can also get a 30% bonus transferring American Express Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic (H/T: One Mile at a Time). This deal is through May 31st. Virgin Atlantic DOES charge fuel surcharges on their flights, which to me makes them not really worth flying (except in certain rare cases), but they do have a few partners, including Delta, Hawaiian, Virgin America and Singapore Airlines
Note that this is NOT Virgin America, which has been in the news lately by virtue of being bought out by Alaska Airlines.