“I Got Approved For The AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Card…Now What Do I Do With The Points?”

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Related:
AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Card Now Offering At Least 25,000 Signup Bonus Points!!!

AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Charge Card Linky (Clear your browser’s cache and cookies if you do not see the 25,000 point/no fee for first year offer. Do not login to your AMEX account when applying or you may not get the same offer)

A number of readers have asked me what they should be doing with 25,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points once they get them.
Frankly there’s no limit to what you can do with them, but here are a few of the possibilities.

The nice thing about AMEX Membership Rewards points is for example if you have multiple people applying for the card and getting 25,000 points they can all transfer the points into one person’s mileage account.
Additionally points generally transfer instantly, so once you find a free ticket you can transfer the points and grab it.

Here is the complete list of programs that you can transfer points to:
AeroMexico: 1,000 AMEX Points=1,000 Miles.
Air Canada: 1,000 AMEX Points=1,000 Miles.
AirTran: 1,500 AMEX Points=1 credit.
Alitalia: 1,000 AMEX Points=1,000 Miles.
ANA: 1,000 AMEX Points=1,000 Miles.
British Airways: 1,000 AMEX Points=1,000 Miles.
Continental: 1,000 AMEX Points=1,000 Miles.
Delta: 1,000 AMEX Points=1,000 Miles.
El Al: 1,050 AMEX Points=15 Points.
Air France/KLM Flying Blue: 1,000 AMEX Points=1,000 Miles.
Frontier: 1,000 AMEX Points=1,000 Miles.
Hawaiian: 1,000 AMEX Points=1,000 Miles.
Iberia: 1,400 AMEX Points=100 Points.
Jetblue: 250 AMEX Points=200 Points.
Mexicana: 1,000 AMEX Points=1,000 Miles.
Singapore: 1,000 AMEX Points=1,000 Miles.
Southwest: 1,500 AMEX Points=1 credit.
Virgin Atlantic: 1,000 AMEX Points=1,000 Miles.

There are also some hotel programs that you can transfer to, including
Hilton: 1,000 AMEX Points=1,300 Points.
Priority Club: 1,000 AMEX Points=1,000 Points, or 1,200 points until 06/30.
Starwood: 1,000 AMEX Points=333 Points.

With all those transfer options you can get a free domestic ticket on practically any airline by utilizing alliance/partner airline redemption.  You generally need to call up the airline to redeem on partners.

Every airline has different rates for award redemptions, but the key to the applicable mileage rate is the carrier booking the ticket, not the carrier doing the flying. For example ANA charges 60,000 miles to fly from NYC to Tel Aviv, regardless of if it’s on Air Canada, Continental, or USAirways. Continental charges 75,000 miles to fly the same route, regardless of which airline you’re flying on. USAirways charges 80,000 miles, again, regardless of whether you fly on them or Continental, or any other Star Alliance carrier.

Want an AA ticket? Transfer to British Airways and they’ll book you on AA.
Want a United or USAirways ticket? Transfer to Continental and they’ll book you on them.

Here are just a few transfer options:

Continental. Transfer your 25,000 points to Continental and you can get a free domestic ticket on Continental, United, or USAirways. Continental miles are also just about the only miles that never expire. A ticket to Israel is 75,000 miles in coach and 115,000 in business class. Continental is now a Star Alliance member and can book you on any of those 26 airlines or other partner airlines like Virgin Atlantic. Plus Continental does not charge any “fuel surcharges” on award tickets and they allow free date and route changes on award tickets.

ANA. Transfer your points to ANA where you can book an award ticket to Israel for just 60,000 miles in coach or 90,000 in business. ANA is part of the Star Alliance so they can book you on partner carriers with nonstop flights from North America like Air Canada, Continental, and USAirways. ANA doesn’t charge fuel surcharges on award tickets if the operating carrier also doesn’t charge them, so you won’t pay any ripoff fees when redeeming for travel on airlines like Continental and USAirways. You can also transfer your Starpoints into ANA (20,000 Starpoints=25,000 ANA)

-Air Canada: Transfer your points to Air Canada Aeroplan (25,000 AMEX=25,000 Air Canada Aeroplan) where 80,000 miles miles are enough for a Business Class ticket and 100,000 miles are enough for a First Class ticket on any Star Alliance airlines to Europe. Or 100,000 miles are enough for a Business Class ticket and 120,000 miles are enough for a First Class ticket to Asia and Europe as you can cross over both the Atlantic and the Pacific for a Round-The-World style ticket. Air Canada allows you to take 2 stopovers in addition to the final destination on award tickets which make for a great redemption value. There are also no fuel surcharges on Star Alliance award ticket redemptions. You can also transfer your Starpoints into ANA (20,000 Starpoints=25,000Air Canada Aeroplan )

-Air France/KLM: Transfer them to Flying Blue where all you need is 50,000 points in Coach or 80,000 in Business. The catch here is they do charge a fuel surcharge on award tickets. (Alitalia is also a transfer option that charges just 50K/80K to Israel but with fuel surcharges). Additionally they are part of the Skyteam alliance where availability isn’t as good as with the Star Alliance. However they also have promo awards that are good from various US cities throughout the year when 25,000 points is enough for a ticket to Europe or even Israel!

British Airways: Transfer the 25,000 points to British Airways and they can book you a free ticket on Oneworld partner American Airlines.  AA has some of the best award availability of any domestic airline.  While British Airways has massive fuel surcharges when flying on British Airways, there are no fuel surcharges when flying on partner airlines. Note that you can’t use British Airways miles for transatlantic flights on AA.

Airtran, Frontier, Jetblue, and Southwest are all fine transfer options if you are after domestic tickets.

Priority Club: Transfer them to Priority Club where currently 25,000 AMEX=30,000 Priority Club. With 30,000 Priority Club you can book 6 nights in a Points Break hotel like I was able to do at the Crown Plaza Jerusalem recently.

-There are tons of other great transfer options as well, post your favorite in the comments!

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57 Comments on "“I Got Approved For The AMEX Premier Rewards Gold Card…Now What Do I Do With The Points?”"

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tzvi

so which one do you think is better for a trip to europe ana or continental because it sounds you can use both of them for the same airlines? but which one do you spend less miles for the same flight?

israel

Dan van you please advise as well what can be done with the 50 000 bonus miles that united offered for signing up for their credit card .
Can they be transfered as well to priority club for hotel stays

Dan/Ctownbochur

@tzvi:
ANA will charge fuel surcharges on airlines that charge a fuel surcharge. So they won’t charge for Continental, USAirways, or United, but they will for most other airlines.

Air Canada is a good option for Europe as long as you don’t fly on Air Canada as they dont don’t charge fuel surcharges on Star Alliance awards and have good mileage rates.

Continental is also a good option for travel to Europe.

@israel:
Only points like AMEX or Starwood are so flexible that they can be transferred to all kinds of different programs.
Once they are in an airline program like United you are generally stuck with those miles-they can’t be transferred.

PIMPLE

Dan, it seems to be that you may as well transfer your points to ANA and get a trip to israel for low ANA mileage, but just use continental since they are partners…
can that be done?

tzvi

thank you. which airline charges the least for a business ticket to europe?plus fees of course. thank you so much for your help

Tian

Hi Dan! Just applied for the gold card thru your link. Any recommendations for redeeming one-way tickets? I have enough SPG points & Delta skymiles to redeem for a one-way ticket from Minneapolis (MSP) to Beijing (PEK) in late june/early july, but i still wanna save as many points as possible.. It’d be greatly appreciated if you could give me some suggestions.. Thanks!!

ana

who is ana also do you get anything when you have this card and fligh

Dan/Ctownbochur

@PIMPLE:
Absolutely!

@tzvi:
Air Canada for 80,000 miles is probably the cheapest with no fuel surcharges.

@Tian:
I believe that British Airways has one-way awards. Delta has notoriously bad availability.

tzvi

when you have amex points do you only transfer them right before you want to book travel bec of the specific airline that has availiblity or just put in continetal for example and just use it any other of there 25 partners

PIMPLE

So then why would anyone even bother transferring any miles to continental? they may as well just transfer it over to ANA, but fly continental. getting the ANA rates
right?

starwoods

Starwood: 1,000 AMEX Points=333 Points.
what way around is it b/c i want to know does it make sense to transfer my point to starwoods then transfer them to american on a 25,ooo for 20,000

Dan/Ctownbochur

@tzvi:
You just need to transfer the points before you close the credit card.

@PIMPLE:
ANA can be great, but…
ANA has a distance based chart, it won’t always be less miles that Continental.
Additionally
-ANA miles expire after 3 years, while Continental miles never expire.
-Continental never charges a fuel surcharge on award tickets, while ANA does for travel on many airlines.

Dan/Ctownbochur

@starwoods:
There is no way around it, transferring AMEX to Starwood is a bad idea.
If you want Starwood points your best bet is to open a Starwood card.

cba

Can I transfer these points to my SPG account, and then on to the airline of my choice from there?

David

Just as an FYI, Transfers from AMEX to ANA (or SQ) are not instant and can take 5-7 days to process.

abe

Dan if your flying to or from Israel your best bet would be to do it through ANA not continental is that correct?
Also is ANA availability the same as continental to from Israel?

bob

Can you book any one way tickets from Israel with ANA or others?

MrsM

One more reason to transfer to one airline over the other: If mileage needed is the same (always check before transferring), when you book on one airline for another airline’s seat, you sometimes (usually in my case) do NOT get to pick seats ahead of time. When you book that airline’s seats with that airline’s miles, you usually get to pick seats ahead of time. This matters to some people like me who travel with children and needs certain seating assignments.

@PIMPLE:

M. Pipuk

The Amex link says that the 25,000 miles offer NOT for existing AMEX card members. Anyone with a AMEX Starwoods card can’t get the 25K bonus??

Dan/Ctownbochur

@David:
Good to know, thanks!

@abe:
ANA availability will be the same as Continental Saver availability. You generally can’t book an airlines “Anytime” availability via partners.

@bob:
I believe you can book one-ways with ANA, but it will be more than half the miles.

@MrsM:
You can almost always pick the seats by calling up the carrier that you are actually flying on.
True, the ticketing carrier may not be able to assign seats, but a s quick phone call to the actual airline you are flying on is all it takes to reserve seats and a kosher meal.

@M. Pipuk:
AMEX means that people that already have a Premier Rewards Gold card do not qualify for the 25,000 points.

As a Starwood cardholder you will absolutely get the points.

And even if you got the Premier Rewards Gold card last time, I’d say based on past experience with AMEX charge cards that there’s a very good chance of getting the signup points again.

tzvi

but when i look on ana chart lets say for a flight to paris it would only cost 68,000 vs 80,000 on air canada so isnt this a better option?

Yossi

Given the talk about a possible merger of United and Continental, it would seem like a great idea to rack up mileage on both these airlines.

Dan/Ctownbochur

@tzvi:
Correct, NYC-Paris would be 43,000 miles in coach and 68,000 miles in business via ANA.
https://www.ana.co.jp/eng/amc/reference/tukau/teikeiair_1.html
http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=jfk-cdg-jfk

However be prepared to pay fuel surcharges unless you only fly Continental, USAirways, and United.

Whereas with Air Canada miles you have way more options to Europe without paying fuel surcharges. And business class on Swiss or Singapore for example will probably be a lot nicer than on, say, United.

@Yossi:
If I had a buck for each airline merger rumor…

tzvi

i see bec on air canada it makes no difference what airline you fly there is no surcharge?

tzvi

alos it said on air canada website that us to europe 1 it would be 85,000 for a business class seat. is this correct?

Ike

How long do you have to have the AMEX card open for? Can I close it after a month?

Dan/Ctownbochur

@tzvi:
As long as you don’t fly on Air Canada there shouldn’t be fuel surcharges. Of course this can change at any time. Also bear in mind that Air Canada miles have expiration dates, whereas Continental miles do not.

@tzvi:
You need to look at their Star Alliance chart for the correct rate:
http://www1.aeroplan.com/use_your_miles/travel/flights/air_reward_chart.do?p=staralliance

@Ike:
Yes. You should get the points on the statement right after spending the $1,000 and you can then transfer the points out and close the card.

MrsM

Dan, that has not been my experience. I always call the other airline as that is what I am instructed to do and 100% of time, only a request for an aisle or window is accepted at best. Never a seat assignment. I recently went through this problem and since I am flying with kids, it became a real issue. I posted on flyertalk for advice and was surprised that many airlines do this when the award travel was booked through a partner. Perhaps some airlines are more accommodating but not the ones I have flown with.

@Dan/Ctownbochur:

spgguy

I live in Toronto and I have never been able to redeem on partner airlines to israel with aeroplan, except for crazy prices and crazy stopovers.
How would you suggest I book it, when I call them they say, I should check online for availability, but there is nothing there.
can i make my own tickets with Continental and a stopover in new York
PLEASE HELP I HAVE SO MANY AEROPLAN MILES and i need to get to israel often, but it never works out.
THANKS

Dan/Ctownbochur

@MrsM:
Which airline did not give you seat assignments?

@spgguy:
Air Canada miles are not worth using to Israel. They charge a whopping 105K in coach and 150K in business for Star Alliance flights. You can search award availability on Continental.com. ANA also hasa good search too but it’s a little complicated to use.

LEVI CH

I have 80,000 delta miles.. there is never availability to israel… any ways around? does delta have a partner airline? also the 30,000 amex points im getting now , should i transfer them to delta?

Dan/Ctownbochur

@LEVI CH:
Delta availability is the pits…absolutely awful.

You can check their Skyteam partner availability, like on Air France, KLM, or Alitalia.

And no, I don’t recommend transferring points to Delta.

spgguy

For Aerolplan itself, its not bad but the fuel surcharge is over $500.
Any way to trade them for Continental miles.

Dan/Ctownbochur

@spgguy:
Yes, if you use Air Canada miles for travel on Air Canada miles they charge a huge fuel surcharge…which is why you should use those miles for Star Alliance flights.
Their Star Alliance rates are great for Europe and Asia, but poor for Israel.

abe

Trying to find a ticket from TLV to NY direct for succos nothing avail through ANA, I also checked random dates from TLV to NY can not find anything is it me or is it very hard to get award tix with them?

Dan/Ctownbochur

@abe:
You need to click on “connecting flights,” and there should be plenty of availability.
What dates did you try?

anon

can you fly BA transatlantic with other oneworld partners (not AA)?

Dan/Ctownbochur

@anon:
Yes.

abc

@Dan/Ctownbochur:

You CANNOT book one way on ANA!

Dan/Ctownbochur

@abc:
Thanks for clarifying.
From their site it seems open-jaws are permitted, but the final destination city must be in the same country as the origin city.

sholom

is there a hefty canadian tax to pay when booking a star alliance flight through air canada

mordy

hey dan, regarding the chase one-pass debit card for the 25k mile deal…i called chase to link my one pass account and no one knows how to do it! They send me to the continental department- which is basically the one pass reservation center. This has happened 10 times now! any suggestions?

Dan/Ctownbochur

@sholom:
Not for non-Air Canada flights.

@mordy:
Try 877-292-4273.

spgguy

what else do you do witn aeroplan miles, if I am not going to Asia or europe
Any good uses

mordy

number worked! thanks.

flyingace

@MrsM I flew CO and Delta on an Air France award. Continental gave me all the seats I requested, including the bassinet and an empty seat for a car seat. Delta would not confirm bulkhead seats as they are on a first come first serve basis, even for an infant.

Dan/Ctownbochur

@spgguy:
You can fly domestic if you’d like.

@mordy:
Great!

@flyingace:
Driving Every Loyal Traveler Away.

Yosef

Hi Dan , thank you so much for all your hep, I was looking to sign up for a credit card, I have the jet blue one now but I wanted one with points that I can use for other airlins to , and going to like Isreal . So which credit card to you sugest I sign up for
, THE GOLD CARD OR THE STARWOODS. Thank you so much

Yoel

What does ANA charge for fuel surcharge on a TLV – NY business class flight if booked on a Lufthansa flight?

levi ch

dan please give me some suggestions what to do with the 80,000 delta miles? should i use it to go to australia? i have to fly there in december?

also i have e – certificates from united any idea on what to do with them.. does anyone want to buy them off me..

i have like 2,800 in e certificates with united.

Mordy

Dan, thanks again for all the advice and help. Can you provide a summary as to how often you can apply for cards from the same bank/company? Eg: Amex, Chase MC or Visa, Citi MC or Visa. Are personal and business cards considered totally separate so that I can apply for both within a couple of days of each other? Are MC and Visa considered totally separate or is based only upon which bank it is that’s issuing it?

Avi

Hey Dan, quick q about SPG points. I was just checking my account, and noticed that while every month I was paying my bill and getting the points (about 1000 a month), suddenly a month ago, I was randomly given 85,000 free points. I checked my account history, and found it described as “SPG AX LOYALTY BONUS OPEN-ALL”. Don’t know what that means and looking for help. I’m slightly afraid that if I ask them, they’ll confiscate them or something, but I wanted to make sure it’s ligit. Thanks.

MrsM

The most recent case was booking Singapore Airlines through CO. CO couldn’t do it, called Singapore and they couldn’t do it. I will get seat assignment when I check in they said. They did accept a request for an aisle but could not assure me I will be seating with the rest of my party. Said they try and sit everyone together but that was it, try. One leg has aisle confirmed, the other leg has aisle only requested.

I fly CO and USAir on award so the other problem was probably with a US partner. Can’t remember which.

@Dan/Ctownbochur:

Marks

Okay, so im trying to figure out the cheapest way to get from NY to Israel on points. I have 40,000 SPG which turns into 50k when i transfer. So It seems Alitalia requires only 50k but then i have to pay a fuel surcharge? How much is that surharge? What Airlines don’t require a surcharge that are only 50k? Any????

Mordy

dan, if I just got the gold rewards card, can I apply for the starwoods amex or do i have to wait a certain amount of time?

Moshe

I recently saw that Capital One has a new card that awards double miles for every purchase, every day. Granted they probably are not transferrable like starwwods is, but in terms of more miles per dollar it would seem this is a way better deal, no?

Dan- just want to thank you for being so thorough and answering everybody’s questions. It is really appreciated, especially to learn the ins and outs of this sugya. thanks!

Dan/Ctownbochur

@Mordy:
There’s no official time that you have to wait.

@Moshe:
I’m not familiar with the exact card, but Capital One and Citibank are notorious for launching cards with one set of rewards and then severely devaluing the rewards. Leaving you with lots of work towards building up a nice balance and having the rug pulled out from under you.

Whereas with Starwood or AMEX points even if one mileage program has a bad devaluation there are so many other programs to transfer to.

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