*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.
This article was last updated Feb 04, 2019. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
Your American Express® card has accumulated a nice pile of Membership Rewards® points and you’re in a giving mood. What’s the best way to share your points wealth?
The easiest way is to transfer your points to friends and family directly into their loyalty programs of American Express’s 18 airline and three hotel partners. But this will only work if that friend or family member is an authorized user on your card account.
So, in order to transfer Membership Rewards points to a spouse, child or friend, you will have to add them as authorized users first. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to transfer your points to their registered airline or hotel loyalty program accounts for free.
How to add an authorized user
To create a new authorized user, log into your AmericanExpress account online and choose ‘Add Someone to Your Account’ from the ‘Account Services’ section. You’ll be prompted to select the card and enter personal information about the new authorized user.
Screenshots taken from americanexpress.com on February 4, 2019
A primary card member can authorize an additional card member to redeem points. If you are an authorized card member, you can also transfer points to a linked loyalty program. By limiting points transfers to just authorized users, your Membership Rewards points are more secure, making it less likely someone can transfer points to an unknown account without your knowledge.
Once added, the primary cardholder’s Membership Rewards points can be transferred to an authorized user’s chosen loyalty program account. Partners include 18 airline programs (Aer Lingus Aerclub, Aeromexico Club Premier, Air Canada Aeroplan, Air France KLM Flying Blue, Alitalia MilleMiglia, ANA Mileage Club, Asia Miles, Avianca LifeMiles, British Airways Executive Club, Delta SkyMiles®, El Al Matmid, Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, Hawaiian Miles, Iberia Plus, JetBlue® TrueBlue, Singapore KrisFlyer, Virgin Atlantic FlyingClub), as well as three hotel programs (Choice Privileges® Rewards, Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy™).
Most airline and hotel transfers are 1,000 points to 1,000 miles except for El Al Matmid (1,000 points for 20 Matmid points) and JetBlue (250 points for 200 True Blue points).
A transfer to authorized user accounts is quite the bargain compared to the excise tax offset fee of 6 cents per point with a maximum fee of $99 charged to cardholders who want to transfer their own points to a loyalty program.
Eligible cards that allow points transfers and the cost for additional cardholders are:
- The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
- The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express
- American Express® Gold Card*: $35 for each additional card, after 5
- Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
- Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
- Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
- Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express*
- Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express*: $175 for each additional Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express; $0 for additional Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express.
- Hilton Honors American Express Card
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
- Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express members have the option to add up to five authorized users to their account with the American Express® Gold Card for $35.
However, additional cardmembers don’t get the perks that make The Platinum Card® from American Express so attractive, including airport lounge access and myriad travel fee credits. If having those perks for an additional cardmember is important, then you can add up to three authorized users for $175 a year.
Before randomly adding new users to your account, know that an authorized user has no repayment liability on an account, and, if given a card of their own, their behavior can negatively impact your credit. You may be better off redeeming your points instead of transferring them for friends or family travel directly at the Membership Rewards website.
*The information related to The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express has been collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. These offers and/or promotions may have since changed, expired, or are no longer available.
Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.