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How to transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to family members

by on Wed June 18, 2014 • 19 Comments

Amex has changed the way it processes online transfers of Membership Rewards points to outside mileage accounts with its many valuable airline and hotel partners.

You can no longer transfer to accounts that don’t match the name of an authorized cardholder.

So for example if your name is C.F. Frost you can only transfer to mileage accounts that have the name C.F. Frost associated with them.

Not even if it’s a family member living at your address.

That’s an inconvenience if you enjoyed easily being able to transfer Membership Rewards points to a spouse or child’s account to better pool points.

But there is still a way to transfer points to family members.

The key is they must be authorized additional cardholders first.

You can add additional cardholders to your account online.

Just login and choose ‘Add Others to Your Account’ from the summary of your account. You’ll be prompted to select the card and enter personal information about the new authorized user.

It’s more of a hassle, and you only want to do this with your closest family members like your spouse, but it does let you pool points any time.

And your Membership Rewards points are more secure this way, making it less likely someone can transfer points to an unknown account without your knowledge.

What about The Platinum Card?

The Platinum Card poses a problem for this strategy because if you add an additional cardholder you have to pay a $175 per year fee.

The good news is the additional cardholder gets to take advantage of the lounge access and other travel benefits of the Card, but it’s an expensive price to pay if you just want to pool some points with your spouse.

The way around this is to sign up for a no annual fee Amex EveryDay Card, then add your spouse as an authorized user to that card.

The Amex EveryDay is part of the full fledged Membership Rewards program, so when you activate the card it will link to your main Membership Rewards account, and additional cardholders of your Amex EveryDay can take advantage of point transfers from your main Membership Rewards account.

That lets you avoid the $175 additional cardholder fee for The Platinum Card. But you do have to go through the process of applying for the brand new EveryDay credit card.

What about non-family?

Where this hurts are couples who don’t yet share their finances, or members who like to send points to friends and family as gifts to help top off an account.

Officially the program was never meant to allow this, but the way the website was implemented let you take advantage of those opportunities.

Those options are now gone.

And these rules are similar to Chase Ultimate Rewards, which has been known to audit and crack down on accounts that sent points to people outside the cardholder’s household.



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19 thoughts on How to transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to family members

  1. Anna

    I wanted to transfer my boyfriends American Express reward points to my daughter Delta Skymiles …if my daughter adds him to her Delta Skymiles account can he then transfer the points to her account online through his account?


      @Anna – Your boyfriend would need to add your daughter as an authorized user on his Amex account to do the transfer to her SkyMiles account.

  2. barry melody

    I wish to transfer points to my daughter in Australia –she has an Amex card Can this be done? B Melody.


      @barry – Unfortunately no, the programs across countries aren’t shared. Though you can book an award ticket with her as the passenger.

    2. Julie George

      You can order a ticket for your daughter by using your account. No need to transfer points into her name. My familyhas been doing this for years.

  3. JM

    I have a question about transferring Amex points- say one spouse has Amex everyday,and the other spouse has SPG card…. can the Amex everyday spouse transfer points directly into the SPG account of the spouse? If both are AU on each others accounts? I understand ( I think) that one person can hold AmexED and SPg, and transfer the points into SPG, I need to know about the spouses options.-thanks


      @JM – Yes you can transfer to your spouse, though the Amex to SPG transfer rate isn’t very favorable. To do it, you’ll need to set up your wife as an authorized user (free) on your EveryDay card.

  4. Diamond Vargas

    I’m not sure I fully understand. So if I add a family member who lives at the same address as an authorized cardholder to my Platinum card, what exactly will that allow me to do — directly transfer my Membership Rewards points to that person’s account, or transfer my MR points to that person’s external airline / hotel partner accounts ? What about if I add that same person as an authorized cardholder to my Delta or SPG Amex — will I be able to transfer Membership Rewards points to that person, or will I only be able to transfer MR points to that person’s Delta and SPG accounts? Thanks in advance for the clarification.


      @Diamond Vargas – That will allow you to transfer your MR points to that person’s external airline / hotel partner accounts. The person needs to be an authorized user of one of your MR based cards.

    1. MileCards

      @dave – Here is the language using JetBlue as an example:

      “Please note, multiple TrueBlue accounts may be linked to one Membership Rewards account. When transferring points, you can choose which TrueBlue account you would like the points to go to. The last name on the account of each additional card holder must match what American Express has or the link cannot be established.”,Kb=askBlue,case=obj(395303)

  5. Mike

    Can one transfer to an authorized user spouse on-line or must this be done by telephone. If it can be done on-line what is the process? Thanks.

    1. MileCards

      @Mike – You can do it online and it’s the same process as today once your authorized user activates a card. There will be a dropdown to select that user’s account when you set up a link and transfer.


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