Last year, I got the Amex Premier Rewards Gold card as part of my plan to earn points for flying my family to New Zealand. The card came with 50,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $2000 in three months, annual fee waived the first year. And it served its purpose, as I transferred points to Aeroplan to book a one-way ticket on United from Auckland to Dallas.
But now, the card’s yearly fee of $195 is coming due (and next year it will have a $250 annual fee). I still have 30,000 MR points due to getting some referral bonuses (thank you to whoever you are!). I decided to cancel the card, so I need to find a home for my MR points.
Note for newbies: If you a cancel a credit card that has points specific to that bank (like Amex Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards), you will lose your points after you cancel the card. If you cancel a co-branded card with airline or hotel points (like the Southwest Rapid Rewards card or the World of Hyatt card), your points will remain in your airline or hotel loyalty account after your cancel your card.
Options for Transferring and Keeping Amex MR Points
Amex Membership Rewards program has many transfer partners, including 18 airline partners. Airline transfer options include Avianca LifeMiles (a member of the Star Alliance, so you can book flights on United), Delta Airlines, British Airways (for booking flights on American Airlines), Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue and more.
On the hotel side, you can transfer Amex MR points to Choice Privileges, Hilton Honors or Marriott Bonvoy. You can also redeem Membership Rewards points for gift cards to many retailers and travel companies including Walmart, Amtrak, movie theaters, Carnival Cruise Line and more.
If I had another credit card with Amex membership rewards, like the Amex Platinum card, I wouldn’t have to worry about losing my points or deciding where to transfer them. I could apply for another Amex card, like the Amex EveryDay Preferred. Or, I could downgrade my Amex Gold card to the Amex Green card that has a $95 annual fee.
British Airways Is the Winner
I only had to mull over my options for less than a minute to determine that the best choice for me is to transfer my Amex MR points to British Airways. My husband and I both accumulated British Airways Avios in the past through the Chase British Airways card. BA Avios were very useful to us to use on AA award flights since we fly out of an AA hub.
We used Avios to fly to Hawaii last year. We also used Avios to fly to Puerto Vallarta and Denver at just 7500 points per one-way ticket from DFW. My family has a household account so that we can easily combine our points for award bookings.
Next year for spring break, we are tentatively planning a trip to Costa Rica. Award flights on AA cost 15,000 miles. But, if we are lucky enough to find award availability on a direct flight, that same flight only costs 10,000 BA Avios:
Have you canceled an Amex Platinum or Amex Gold card after a year? Did you transfer your Amex MR points, or downgrade your card?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.