Ask an Expert: Best Ways to Use AmEx Points?

Photo (cc) by Masaru Kamikura

A Money Talks News reader recently wrote me with the following question:

I don’t get enough on my Gold AmEx for the $175/yr cost, so I just replaced it with a Chase Southwest Airlines Visa. But my question is: What’s the best way to use my 750,000 AmEx points? The merchandise is way overpriced. All my travel is tax deductible, so I won’t use the points to buy tickets at 100 points per dollar.

What’s the best airline to transfer points to?

Thanks,
Gary

Wow, we should all be so lucky to have more points than we know what to do with! Your first priority should be making sure that you keep your points. Do not cancel your card before redeeming them, or you’ll lose them.

There are 16 airline programs that you could transfer your points to: AeroMexico, Air Canada, Alitalia, ANA, Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific and DragonAir), British Airways, Delta, El Al, Flying Blue (Air France/KLM and others), Frontier, Hawaiian, Iberia, JetBlue, Singapore, Virgin America, and Virgin Atlantic.

To make matters more complicated, miles on most of the programs can be redeemed for flights on their airline partners. For example, British Airways miles can be redeemed on American Airlines. You also need to consider that some airlines, like Air Canada, are now charging hefty fuel surcharges on award flights.

Be sure to research these programs before you move your miles into them. Although it depends on your own travel needs, I would probably put some miles in British Airways for use on American Airlines, and move others to Delta and Singapore. This way, you will have access to flights on all three of the major alliances: SkyTeam, OneWorld, and the Star Alliance.

Finally, if you need more time to decide, you can always get the American Express Green card, which has only a $95 fee that is waived the first year. This will allow you to cancel your Gold AmEx and retain your points while you figure out what to do with them.

And if you still can’t figure it out, give me a call. I’ll be glad to take them off your hands!

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
3 Reasons You Can’t Rely on Medicare Alone
3 Reasons You Can’t Rely on Medicare Alone

Counting on Medicare to cover health care costs can jeopardize your retirement plans.

9 Houseplants That Remove Toxins From Your Indoor Air
9 Houseplants That Remove Toxins From Your Indoor Air

These plants may also do everything from reduce the amount of dust in your home to improve your productivity.

5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic
5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Sometimes the brand-name version is clearly superior.

The Most Common Reason That Older Adults Fall Down
The Most Common Reason That Older Adults Fall Down

The good news: It’s possible to avoid potentially devastating falls.

9 Ways to Get Affordable Vet Care
9 Ways to Get Affordable Vet Care

Medical care for your furry friends can be expensive. Here are some tips to get affordable vet care.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

Never Buy These 10 Things on Amazon
Never Buy These 10 Things on Amazon

Just because you can purchase something on Amazon doesn’t mean that you should.

7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make
7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

Sometimes a big-ticket purchase is nothing more than a big waste of money.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

This Cellphone Carrier Has the Worst Network Quality, Customers Say
This Cellphone Carrier Has the Worst Network Quality, Customers Say

One major wireless provider stands out for the least reliable call, messaging and data services.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.