IMPORTANT: American Express changed the sign-up bonus rules in March 2019. This means this article is now out of date and you should not rely on it. Read this post for more information but please read the smallprint before applying for any credit cards.
Unlike the BA AMEX or Virgin MasterCard credit cards, AMEX offers an airline credit card which allows you to transfer points to many airlines. This means that travellers in the UK have the ability to fly business or first class with airlines other than British Airways or Virgin Atlantic if they use this card. Let’s take a look at why the AMEX Gold is the most flexible airline credit card in the UK.
The most flexible airline credit card
Multiple transfer partners
The AMEX Gold is such a flexible airline credit card that it allows holders to transfer to 12 airline partners. The number of different airlines that offer a branded credit card is limited in the UK. However, this card allows you to book travel with airlines such as Emirates, Delta, Singapore Airlines and Etihad.
Many of these airlines consistently win awards for the quality of their service. Why not use your AMEX Gold membership rewards to bag yourself a luxury flight with one of these airlines instead?
Here’s the full list of AMEX Gold airline partners.
Airline reward partners
|Airline||Exchange rate||Minimum transfer|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Miles||1:1||1,000|
As you can see, they all convert at the same rate to points in the respective airline reward club. However, before you transfer, it pays to do a little research to ensure you do not end up throwing away valuable points. Most reward programmes have expiry policies so points will not remain in your account indefinitely if you do not use them.
How to make the most of your AMEX rewards
If you want to figure out which is the best conversion option for you, the first thing to determine is where you want to go.
Then check which of the transfer partners fly to your selected route. You could use Skyscanner to speed up this process. Lastly, you need to check the relevant reward scheme to see how many points you need for your preferred journey. If there are multiple partners who fly to your destination, it pays to research the points that each requires for the same route, as they can vary dramatically.
You can then decide which transfer partner to select but be realistic. If you want to fly next month, the chances of you successfully scoring a reward flight are slim. If, on the other hand, you are flexible with dates and plan far in advance, you have a greater chance of success.
There is no going back once you have made your decision to transfer, so it pays to do your research beforehand. Whilst this card is the most flexible airline credit card in the UK, it is not infallible.
Click on each of the links below to see full details of each airline’s policy for points expiry. It may pay to leave reward points in your AMEX account until you commit to a destination and airline. That way, you can ensure your points do not languish in an account until you find reward flights to a destination of your choice. For instance, I am about to transfer 95,000 points to Virgin so that we can fly Upper Class to Las Vegas in 2020 when my husband turns 50.
Expiry policies are strict. It would be tragic to convert your hard earned points and see them go to waste. So, don’t miss out.
Transfer partners expiry policies
|Alitalia||Miles expire if there has been no account activity in 24 months.|
|Asia Miles||Asia Miles are valid for three years from the month the miles are credited. There is an option to renew them for a further three years subject to a service fee.|
|British Airways||Never if you record at least one activity in your Executive Account every 36 months.|
|Delta||No expiry date|
|Emirates||Your miles are valid for three years from the date of travel. You can pay to extend their validity also.|
|Etihad||2 to 3 years depending on tier status|
|Finnair||Points are valid for 18 months from the latest activity date. Any new activity extends the validity date for all points for a further 18 months|
|Air France||Air France miles do not expire as long as you satisfy one of the conditions on their website. These include taking a flight once every two years, achieving status and using an eligible bank card.|
|Iberia||Providing that you earn or spend Avios at least once every 36 months your Avios balance will not expire|
|SAS||Points expire four years after the qualification period in which they were earned|
|Singapore Airlines||KrisFlyer miles are valid for 36 months from the end of the month in which the last account activity transpired.|
|Virgin Atlantic||Flying Miles expire after 36 months if there has been no activity on the account.|
Still need more information?
If you still need convincing that this card is the most flexible airline credit card in the UK, you may wish to check out the UK’s best airline credit cards. Then, if you decide to go ahead and apply for the card, be sure to use this referral link for the AMEX Gold as you will earn an extra 2,000 rewards on sign up (once you satisfy the minimum spend requirement.)