American Express Adds New Membership Rewards Transfer Partner: Star Alliance’s LifeMiles

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A year ago Citibank added Avianca’s LifeMiles as a points transfer partner. Now American Express Membership Rewards has done so as well.

LifeMiles is a fantastic Star Alliance program. I have a few hundred thousand of their miles, and I’ve never used them to travel on Avianca. Instead I use them for premium cabin awards on airlines like Lufthansa, Asiana, and Thai Airways. And I use their cash and points awards to book United’s domestic first class.


10 Cent Per Mile Redemption on a Domestic Award

Lifemiles has No fuel surcharges and a reasonable award chart. However not all connections are bookable, you’re pretty much limited to the options you see on their redemption website (which is serviceable) and telephone customer service is challenging (e-mail is better).

That said LifeMiles often sells miles inexpensively, less than 1.5 cents apiece, so it’s hard for me to make the case to transfer American Express or Citi points there — rather than buying LifeMiles as-needed and transferring elsewhere to currencies that are harder to obtain inexpensively.

The new American Express® Gold Card offers 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar at U.S. restaurants and on up to $25,000 in annual purchases at U.S. supermarkets. It earns 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines and amextravel.com. Meanwhile the Platinum Card® from American Express earns 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar on airline purchases.

As a result I’ve got a nice 7 figure balance to work with, and it’s nice to know there are so many places I can transfer them.

  • Star Alliance: Aeroplan, ANA, Singapore, LifeMiles
  • oneworld: AsiaMiles, British Airways, Iberia
  • SkyTeam: Aeromexico, Alitalia, Air France KLM, Delta
  • Non-alliance: Etihad, Emirates, El Al, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic
  • Hotels: Choice, Hilton, Starwood (soon to be Marriott)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. Gary Leff always with the passive brag… “several hundred thousand of their miles”…. “seven figure balance” of Amex points….. do either of those have anything to do with the ability to transfer Amex points to LifeMiles? But congrats

  2. I don’t quite understand the logic behind spending money on LifeMiles and then hoarding Amex points. Amex points don’t earn interest.

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