Using American Express Membership Rewards points for travel offers excellent flexibility, value, and a variety of options for cardholders. Although you can’t directly transfer Amex points to United Airlines, you can still use them to book United flights by transferring to United’s partner airlines within the Star Alliance network.
United Airlines isn’t a direct transfer partner of American Express, but worry not – several methods are available to utilize your hard-earned Amex points for United flights.
Some of the main methods explored in this article include transferring points to Star Alliance partners, booking through the AMEX Travel Portal, or using the American Express Business Platinum “Pay with Points” feature.
This article aims to guide you on effectively leveraging your Amex points, weighing the pros and cons of each approach, and ultimately making the most of your rewards for United flights.
- You can’t transfer Amex points directly to United, but you can transfer them to United’s Star Alliance partners to book flights on United.
- The Amex Travel Portal can be used for booking United flights with points
- Amex Business Platinum offers a “Pay with Points” feature with a 35% point rebate for United flights
Transfer Amex Points to Star Alliance Partners to Book United Flights
United Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, which means you can transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points to other Star Alliance partners and then use them to book United flights. There are four Star Alliance Amex transfer partners: Air Canada Aeroplan, ANA, Avianca LifeMiles, and Singapore KrisFlyer.
When booking an award flight with one of these partner airlines, ensure that the seat you aim to book on United is available as a saver award seat. You can often find phenomenal deals by booking through United partner airlines.
However, keep in mind that there might be potential drawbacks when transferring Amex points to Star Alliance partners. These include variable transfer times, limited availability, fuel surcharges, and complex booking processes.
To make the most out of your point transfer, here are a few tips and best practices you can follow:
- Check award availability on United and the partner airline before transferring your points.
- Utilize online tools such as Expert Flyer or Point.me to search for award availability.
- Compare different partner award charts and fees to find the best value.
By following these guidelines and knowing the pros and cons, you can make an informed decision when transferring your American Express Membership Rewards points to Star Alliance partners to book United flights.
Book United Flights through Air Canada Aeroplan
As a transfer partner of Amex and a member of the Star Alliance, Air Canada Aeroplan lets you use your transferred Amex points to book United flights. The program uses a distance-based award chart, which calculates the miles needed based on the regions visited and the total miles flown.
For instance, booking United flights within North America through Aeroplan could cost you as low as 6,000 miles for economy on short-haul routes under 500 miles or up to 12,500 miles in economy and 25,000 miles in business class for domestic routes under 2,750 miles. A flight from North America to Europe costs 35,000 in economy and 60,000 in business class.
There are several benefits to booking United flights through Air Canada Aeroplan. One major advantage is it lets you add one stopover to a one-way flight and two to a roundtrip flight for 5,000 points each. This gives you the flexibility to explore multiple destinations during your journey.
However, some drawbacks exist when using Air Canada Aeroplan for United bookings. High fuel surcharges can apply to specific routes, making your award flight more expensive. Partner availability can also be limited, as not all United flights offer “partner award space.” Aeroplan’s award chart can be complicated, with multiple zones and exceptions to consider.
Using Air Canada Aeroplan is a worthwhile option for booking United flights with your Amex points. Besides the benefits like cheap stopovers, consider factors like surcharges and award availability, and be prepared to navigate the distance-based award chart.
Book United Flights through ANA
ANA, also known as All Nippon Airways, is a transfer partner of American Express (Amex) and a member of Star Alliance. You can transfer your Amex Membership Rewards points to ANA’s frequent flyer program, ANA Mileage Club, and then use those miles to book United flights.
ANA has a partner flight award chart, which shows miles based on the region of origin and destination. This can be advantageous when booking United flights, as you may find lower award rates than using United miles directly.
For example, if you want to book a United flight within North America, ANA charges 40,000 miles roundtrip for economy and 55,000 miles roundtrip for business class, plus taxes and fees.
For United Flights from North America to Europe, ANA charges 55,000 miles roundtrip for economy and 88,000 miles roundtrip for business class, plus taxes and fees.
Booking United flights through ANA has benefits, such as low award rates and the potential for creative routings with stopovers and open jaws. You can maximize your miles by exploring multiple destinations on a single award ticket.
However, there are some drawbacks to booking United flights through ANA. First, you can only book roundtrip awards, although the program allows for creative stopovers and open jaws on most award tickets. Second, you can only use your miles to book tickets for you and your family. If you plan to travel with a friend, they’ll need their own ANA miles. Additionally, you might face limited availability on some partners and high taxes and fees on specific routes.
Overall, it’s worth considering transferring your Amex points to ANA Mileage Club to book United flights, especially if you can take advantage of lower award rates or unique routing opportunities. Just make sure to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.
Book United Flights through Avianca LifeMiles
Avianca LifeMiles is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards and a Star Alliance member, including United Airlines. You can transfer your Amex points to Avianca LifeMiles and use them to book United flights.
The Avianca LifeMiles program uses a zone-based award chart, charging miles based on the region of origin and destination. LifeMiles aren’t typically a great deal for redeeming on United flights, but it’s an option, and there are sometimes sweet spots.
To book a United flight with Avianca LifeMiles, simply login to your LifeMiles account and search for your desired award flight. Keep in mind that Avianca should have access to the same Star Alliance award availability as United and Air Canada. If you have any issues with finding award space, double-check your search using another Star Alliance search engine before transferring points to Avianca.
Book United Flights through Singapore KrisFlyer
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, allowing you to transfer your earned points at a 1:1 ratio. What makes this valuable for United flyers is that Singapore Airlines is a Star Alliance member like United, which means you can use KrisFlyer miles to book award flights on United Airlines.
When booking United flights using KrisFlyer miles, refer to the separate Star Alliance partner award chart provided by Singapore Airlines. This award chart can help you determine how many KrisFlyer miles are needed to fly United on specific routes.
For example, booking a roundtrip economy flight within North America will cost you 28,000 KrisFlyer miles, while redeeming a roundtrip award flight from North America to Europe in business class requires 162,000 miles. Keep in mind that these requirements may vary depending on flight distance and demand.
Book United Flights through the Amex Travel Portal
The Amex Travel Portal is an alternative way to use your American Express Membership Rewards points to book United flights. By using the portal, you can directly apply your points towards the cost of your flight at a fixed rate of 1 cent per point. This allows you to pay for your United Airlines tickets in full or partially with points or by combining points with cash.
For instance, the United flight below from Dulles International Airport (IAD) to London Heathrow Airport (LHR), which costs $572, would require 57,200 Amex Membership Rewards points to book. Alternatively, you could use 30,000 points (worth $300) and pay the remaining $272 in cash. The portal displays the number of points needed next to the cash price of the flight, helping you decide the best way to utilize your rewards.
One of the main benefits of booking your United flights through the Amex Travel Portal is simplicity. You don’t have to worry about transferring points to various airline partners or navigating complex award charts. Additionally, the portal doesn’t have blackout dates or availability issues, giving you more flexibility in selecting your flights.
However, knowing the potential drawbacks of using the Amex Travel Portal to book United flights is essential. When redeeming points at a fixed rate of 1 cent per point, you might not be getting the highest value for your points, especially compared to the travel partners mentioned above.
Nonetheless, booking through the Amex Travel Portal can still be a viable option for your United flights, particularly for those who value simplicity and flexibility. Make sure to compare all your relevant options, including business class fares and hotel chains, before making your final decision.
Book United Flights Using Amex Business Platinum “Pay with Points” (35% Point Rebate)
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express offers a unique benefit that allows you to use your Membership Rewards points to pay for flights while receiving a 35% point rebate. This feature, known as “Pay with Points,” makes it incredibly valuable to utilize your Business Platinum Card when booking flights, especially on United Airlines.
When you book economy flights on your selected airline or business/first-class flights on any airline using the “Pay with Points” feature, Amex will refund 35% of the points you use. The rate offered is 1 cent per point, meaning every 100 points will convert to $1 when booking flights. After applying the 35% point rebate, your points effectively have a value of 1.54 cents each.
To book a United flight using the “Pay with Points” feature, simply determine the cash price of your desired flight and calculate the number of points you will need. For example, the $572 United flight above would typically require 57,200 points to cover the expense. With the 35% point rebate, you would receive a rebate of 20,020 points, leaving you with a net cost of only 37,180 points.
Aside from the higher point value, booking United flights using the Business Platinum “Pay with Points” feature also offers other benefits. There are no blackout dates or availability limitations, allowing you to book flights with greater flexibility. In addition, you can still earn United miles and elite credits on paid flights using points. Finally, booking is simple – you can book your flight online through the Amex Travel portal or by calling American Express directly.
By taking advantage of the Amex Business Platinum “Pay with Points” feature, you can enjoy significant savings on United flights while reaping the benefits of a premium travel credit card. Maximizing your points by utilizing this feature is a smart way to maximize your hard-earned rewards.
How to Earn Amex Membership Rewards Points
Earning Amex Membership Rewards points is simple and can be accomplished through everyday spending on eligible American Express cards. Using these cards allows you to accumulate points for various travel and shopping options, making them a flexible and valuable currency.
Several personal and small-business cards earn Amex Membership Rewards points. Some popular options include:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- American Express® Gold Card
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
Take advantage of bonus categories, welcome offers, referral bonuses, and special promotions to further boost your points earnings.
Using your American Express Membership Rewards points for United Airlines flights can be achieved through various methods:
- Transferring points to Star Alliance partner airlines like Air Canada Aeroplan, ANA, Avianca LifeMiles, and Singapore KrisFlyer
- Booking through the American Express Travel Portal
- Using the Business Platinum “Pay with Points” feature
Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. Transferring points to airline partners may offer better redemption rates. However, transferring points to these partners can require some research to find available award flights and might involve dealing with foreign call centers.
Booking through the American Express Travel Portal is straightforward but may not offer the best redemption rates. However, using the Amex Business Platinum card’s “Pay with Points” feature gets you a 35% rebate on points spent for flights, making it a valuable option for some travelers.
When looking to book United flights with your Amex points, it’s essential to compare these different methods and find the best value for your points.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I transfer Amex points to United Airlines?
You cannot directly transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to United Airlines. However, you can use your Amex points to book United flights by transferring them to one of United’s Star Alliance partners, such as Air Canada Aeroplan, ANA, Avianca LifeMiles, and Singapore KrisFlyer. These partners offer a 1:1 transfer rate for American Express Membership Rewards.