How to Spend 120,000 Amex Points

What would you do with 120,000 Amex rewards points? That’s the enviable dilemma faced by one member this week.

This member recently applied for an Amex Platinum Charge card, which is currently offering a large sign-up bonus of 100,000 Amex points. But by taking advantage of a referral, such as the ones found in our Referral Offers forum, this member’s point haul increased to a whopping 120,000 points.

So I have signed to the Platinum Amex charge card and I am delighted to see that my 120,000 bonus points have arrived.

First preference would be to fly to Europe or Dublin/Cork more specifically in Business class from Sydney. There are two of us and we are only looking at one ways. Which airline would offer the best bang for buck here? Etihad would be my preference but not great value there it must be said. Anyone else?

Amex points can be transferred to an impressive list of ten airline frequent flyer programs. These include our two local programs, Qantas and Velocity Frequent Flyer. A number of other valuable overseas programs also make the list, including Singapore KrisFlyer, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Etihad Guest. The frequent flyer programs of Air New Zealand, Malaysia Airlines and Emirates are also options, however we generally don’t recommend transferring to these programs as they charge a high number of points for redemptions.

As our member wishes to fly in the pointy-end to Europe, one member recommends transferring the points across to the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program. Singapore Airlines offers excellent on-board service, and redemptions to Europe in Business and First class are very reasonable value. Singapore Airlines also offers a 15% discount for booking award travel online. If this member was travelling alone, they would already have enough points for a First class ticket to Europe on Singapore Airlines!

You’re not quite there yet…… But close. For 2 pax in J on SQ to LHR/CDG, etc. you need 161,500 points (95K each person SYD-SIN-LHR and then 15% discount for booking online). In F you would need 225,250 (132,500 each less online discount).

Another member recommends the American Airlines AAdvantage program. This program has a number of valuable sweet spots for premium travel, particularly on oneworld flights to Asia. Although AAdvantage is not an Amex transfer partner, it is possible to convert Amex points to AAdvantage indirectly. You would need to first convert the points to Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), one of Amex’s three hotel transfer partners. From SPG, points can then be transferred to AAdvantage.

The Amex Platinum card has one of the highest annual fees of any card in the Australian market, at just over $1,000 per year. However, this fee is justified by an unbeatable range of benefits. Apart from the current bonus points on offer – enough for a First class ticket to Europe – cardholders also benefit from complimentary Virgin Australia, Priority Pass, Delta and American Express airport lounge access. Other benefits include elite status with four hotel loyalty programs and a $300 travel credit every year. If you travel frequently, the high annual fee may pay for itself.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]