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5 great ways to redeem 120,000 Membership Rewards points

The Points Guy logo The Points Guy 10/27/2021 Andrew Kunesh
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With American Express cards offering so many attractive welcome bonuses and generous category bonuses, it’s easy to earn a lot of Membership Rewards points.

American Express recently launched yet another great welcome offer: Business owners can use The Business Platinum Card® from American Express to earn 120,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months of opening the account. These points are worth a whopping $2,400 based on TPG’s most recent Membership Rewards valuation of 2 cents apiece.

While it is good to keep some points in reserve for last-minute redemptions, the best advice is to “earn and burn” your points to avoid potential program devaluations. With that in mind, we’re sharing five great ways to use 120,000 American Express Membership Rewards points to inspire you to book your next vacation.

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In This Post

Why you should consider the Amex Business Platinum

a hand holding a white car: (Photo by Ryan Patterson/The Points Guy) © Provided by The Points Guy (Photo by Ryan Patterson/The Points Guy)

As discussed, the Amex Business Platinum is offering one of the best welcome offers in its recent history: 120,000 bonus Membership Rewards points after you spend $15,000 in the first three months of account opening.

But the introductory bonus isn’t the only draw of the card. It also earns 5 points per dollar spent on flights and prepaid hotel reservations made through Amex Travel and 1.5 points per dollar spent on U.S. purchases in select business categories and on purchases over $5,000, on up to $2 million in purchases each year. The eligible business categories include the following:

  • Construction material and hardware suppliers.
  • Electronic goods retailers and software and cloud system providers.
  • Shipping providers.

As you’d expect, all other purchases earn 1 point per dollar spent, irrespective of their purchase category. However, those bonus categories mean you can rack up a ton of Membership Rewards points on your everyday business spending, giving you valuable rewards you can use for discounted travel around the globe.

Plus, you’ll receive a handful of other benefits, some of which were recently added:

* Enrollment is required for select benefits; terms apply.

American Express Membership Rewards has 17 airline and three hotel transfer partners for you to choose from. And with frequent transfer bonuses, you can get even more value from your Membership Rewards points when you transfer them to airline miles. For each transfer partner discussed below, your Amex points transfer on a 1:1 basis to the airline.

Related: How to redeem American Express Membership Rewards for maximum value

Here are five lucrative redemptions from some of our favorite Membership Rewards transfer partners.

Fly to Hawaii for as few as 13,000 points

a herd of cattle walking across a beach next to a body of water: Use your Membership Rewards points to travel to Hawaii. (Photo by Matt Anderson/Getty Images) © The Points Guy Use your Membership Rewards points to travel to Hawaii. (Photo by Matt Anderson/Getty Images)

British Airways Avios offer tremendous value on direct flights between two destinations, depending on the distance. From the West Coast, you can book one-way economy flights on American Airlines and Alaska Airlines to Hawaii for just 13,000 Avios. This means 120,000 Membership Rewards points is more than enough points for four round-trip coach flights to Hawaii.

Eligible departure cities from which you can fly to Hawaii at that price include Anchorage, Alaska (ANC); Los Angeles (LAX); Phoenix (PHX); Portland, Oregon (PDX); San Diego (SAN); San Francisco (SFO); San Jose, California (SJC); and Seattle (SEA). British Airways will let you book from other cities, but due to its distance-based award chart, you’ll pay more Avios if your flight includes a connection.

(Screenshot courtesy of britishairways.com) © The Points Guy (Screenshot courtesy of britishairways.com)

For those of us who don’t live on the West Coast but still want to visit Hawaii, Singapore KrisFlyer should probably be your Amex transfer partner of choice. Again, Singapore Airlines won’t fly you to Hawaii itself, but its Star Alliance partner United Airlines will, as will its non-alliance partner, Alaska Airlines.

Focusing on United, the carrier operates nonstop flights to Hawaii from its various hubs, including Chicago (ORD), Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO) and Denver (DEN). Round-trip flights require just 35,000 KrisFlyer miles in economy regardless of the departure city in the continental U.S., even on the carrier’s longest nonstop flights to the Aloha State.

(Screenshot courtesy of singaporeair.com) © The Points Guy (Screenshot courtesy of singaporeair.com)

Related: The best ways to get to Hawaii using points and miles

Off-peak Iberia awards to Madrid

a desk with a computer on a table: Iberia A350 business class. (Photo by Christian Kramer/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy Iberia A350 business class. (Photo by Christian Kramer/The Points Guy)

If you’re dreaming of tapas and Spanish wine, flying to Madrid sounds like a great plan.

You can book Iberia Plus one-way off-peak award flights to Madrid very inexpensively — even in business class. Flights from Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD) and New York-JFK to Madrid are available for just 17,000 Iberia Plus Avios each way in economy, while business class is 34,000 Avios each way. For travelers coming from Los Angeles, you’ll pay 21,250 Avios in economy and 42,500 in business class.

Peak dates on Iberia’s award chart are summertime and various other dates scattered throughout the year. Aside from mid-June to mid-September, off-peak flights are available on most travel dates. If you have some flexibility with your travel dates, it is fairly easy to avoid those higher-priced flights. With the Business Platinum Card’s introductory bonus and minimum spending, you’d have more than enough points for three one-ways from the U.S. to Spain going this route.

Related: The cheapest ways to book a trip to Spain with points and miles

Business class to Japan on the cheap

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

While Japan isn’t currently open to American tourists, you can always speculatively book a trip for 2022.

When you transfer Amex points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, you can book your flight on ANA at a huge savings. From the West Coast, one-way business-class flights to Japan are only 45,000 Flying Club points each way, while East Coast flights cost 47,500 points each way. And since you’re booking your flight without knowing if Japan will be open in time, you can change or cancel your flight for a reasonable $50 fee.

On board, you’ll find one of the best business-class products in the sky with spacious lie-flat seats (and even suites on some of the airline’s refurbished 777-300ERs), excellent dining and great service. This is an incredible value on long-haul flights to Japan as you’ll arrive feeling refreshed — something that usually can’t be said when you fly coach. Like the redemption above, the Business Platinum Card’s welcome bonus plus the points you earn via spending should be just about enough for three one-way flights between the U.S. and Japan.

Related: How to book a $20,000 ANA first-class ticket for just $34

American Airlines international business class with Etihad Guest

a store inside of a car: (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Although Etihad is not a member of any alliance, it does have a non-alliance partnership with American Airlines. Using the Etihad Guest award chart, some American Airlines flights require fewer miles than if you booked using American’s own AAdvantage miles. In fact, Etihad’s award chart largely aligns with American’s pre-2016 devaluation award chart.

Some of the best deals include one-way business-class flights from the U.S. to Central America for 30,000 miles or to Europe for 50,000 miles. You can enjoy your flight to Europe in American’s Flagship First class for just 62,500 miles one-way. After meeting the Business Platinum’s minimum spending requirement, you can book any of these round-trip awards with points to spare.

Related: Flight review: American Airlines Boeing 777-200 business class from New York to London

Domestic awards with Avios, LifeMiles and SkyMiles

You can use your Membership Rewards points to fly all the major domestic airlines, including United. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images) © The Points Guy You can use your Membership Rewards points to fly all the major domestic airlines, including United. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

When booking domestic awards, you have several transfer options with your Membership Rewards points. Having multiple transfer options for domestic flights is a huge benefit in itself, as you have the flexibility to choose your options based on destination, availability and flight times.

As part of a distance-based award program, British Airways Avios work best for direct flights between two destinations. Avios can be redeemed for Alaska Airlines and American Airlines flights with prices that start at just 7,500 Avios each way for flights under 651 miles. Longer flights — and those that require connections — cost more.

(Screenshot courtesy of britishairways.com) © The Points Guy (Screenshot courtesy of britishairways.com)

Avianca LifeMiles is another international frequent flyer program with a domestic partner carrier. LifeMiles can be redeemed for United flights with some flights pricing for a mere 6,500 miles each way. Longer flights — think transcontinental routes — can cost up to 13,500 LifeMiles one-way depending on departure and destination.

graphical user interface, text, application: (Screenshot courtesy of lifemiles.com) © The Points Guy (Screenshot courtesy of lifemiles.com)

In addition to international travel partners, Amex has domestic partners as well. Delta SkyMiles is a Membership Rewards transfer partner that offers good value on certain flights. You can often find flights for well under 10,000 SkyMiles one-way in basic economy, even on business-heavy routes. Many of these flights can be expensive as a cash fare, which makes booking with miles that much more appealing.

(Screenshot courtesy of delta.com) © The Points Guy (Screenshot courtesy of delta.com)

Related: 6 award chart ‘sweet spots’ that will save you money on domestic flights

Bottom line

With 120,000 American Express Membership Rewards points and 17 airline transfer partners, you have a world of opportunity with your points.

Whether you’re interested in international or domestic travel, you can transfer Membership Rewards to the program’s airline partners to take advantage of award chart sweet spots. If you don’t have enough points to book one of these flights, American Express cards that earn Membership Rewards have some attractive welcome bonuses that could boost your points balance in a hurry.

Featured photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy.

SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.

And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free. 

These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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