If you’re like me, you recently applied for the AMEX Platinum credit card with the 60,000 Membership Rewards sign-up bonus and you’re wondering what you can do with those points. I applied for this card for benefits like lounge access and airline credits rather than the points, but this got me wondering where I can go with that stash. I decided to take a look and put a short list together.
1. One-way ticket to Paris in business class
For this redemption you’ll transfer 45,000 Membership Rewards to Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles 1:1 and book on one of Cathay Pacific’s partners. I’m a big fan of non-stop travel so for me, American Airlines is the best option, but this depends on where you’re traveling from and your tolerance with stops.
It should be noted that Cathay’s Asia Miles is a distance-based award program which means award redemption rates are bucketed into zones determined by distance. Anything West of Dallas or Chicago is going to bucket you out of the 45,000 mile one-way zone and into the next tier which is 70,000.
You’re able to redeem flights to London or Dublin for the same rate as well, but be wary of flying on British Airways planes as you’ll always be routed through London and incur enormous surcharges.
2. Round-trip ticket to Hawaii in business class
Transferring 60,000 Membership Rewards to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer at a 1:1 rate will get you enough to fly round-trip to Hawaii in Business Class on a Star Alliance partner airline like United.
One thing to note is that KrisFlyer does impose fuel surcharges on award tickets on partner airlines, but if you choose an airline like United, they do not charge these extra fees on domestic travel. The best part is that Hawaii is included in that.
Searching for award space on KrisFlyer can be frustrating. As a start, I would look for award space on ANA, Aeroplan, and of course United.com. Be wary of phantom award space! I’ll be writing a detailed post on how to book these awards so stay tuned.
Another option here (especially if airline loyalty doesn’t matter) is to transfer Membership Rewards 1:1 to Flying Blue and book award tickets on Delta. The cost for a round-trip in business is 60,000 Flying Blue miles. The experience of booking with Flying Blue is a lot better than Singapore, but the availability isn’t always there.
3. Multiple tickets on flights up to 650 miles
Using British Airways Avios, which use a distance-based award chart, you can book multiple flights 650 miles or less for only 4,500 Avios each way. Though you can’t book these quick jaunts in North America, these are very useful for short hops elsewhere in the world. Now that the transfer rate from Membership Rewards to Avios is 1:1, the value is even better.
For example, let’s say I’m in London on business and want to take a short trip to Nice, France, here is the total cost:
On the surface, I would say paying $73 and points for a trip to Nice is not a great value, but tickets can be $150 or more so I’d say it’s decent savings.
4. Round-trip ticket to Amsterdam in economy
Transferring 50,000 Membership Rewards to Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio will allow you to book a round-trip flight to Amsterdam from the U.S. I used Amsterdam as an example here, but you’re able to get this rate for any European city. Flying Blue is SkyTeam affiliated so you’ll be able to book on airlines such as Delta, KLM, Air France, Alitalia, etc.
5. Round-trip ticket to Argentina in economy
Transferring 50,000 Membership Rewards to British Airways Avios can get you a round-trip ticket from Miami or New York to Buenos Aires for 50,000 Avios and about $11 in fees. Play around with the BA Avios calculator to find your cost. Note that you will have to change the website country to United Kingdom for the calculator to work.
You can find a ton of value with the AMEX Platinum card as long as you get creative and can be flexible. This is just an example of where you can go, but there are definitely other options out there and possibly more valuable routings.
If you’re having trouble finding decent itineraries, ask in the comments or join my brand new Award Travel Mastermind Group on Facebook. I’d be more than willing to help!
Author’s Note: Transfer chart updated for accuracy (1/6)