Best Way to Redeem American Express Membership Reward Points for Travel: Virgin Atlantic 30% Bonus

One of the best ways to use American Express Membership Rewards points is transferring them out to travel partners. American Express periodically has point transfer promotions, which provide even better value.

There are some sweet spot economy redemption options, but this post will focus on one of the lowest hanging fruit options for business class — transferring Amex MR points to Virgin Atlantic to book ANA First Class.

How to Transfer Amex MR Points to Airline Transfer Partners (Step by Step Instructions)

  1. Log in to the online account for your American Express card that earns MR points

  2. Navigate to the “Rewards” menu item or click here:

  3. Scroll down and click “Transfer Points.” You’ll find the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles 30% promotion here. The promotion expires on 7/1/2019.


5. Before you transfer points, be sure you have an account with the airline partner first. If not, create one before you make the transfer.

Membership Rewards® Program from American Express - Points Transfer Home - Mozilla Firefox 2019-05-01 15.23.42.png

Why Not Transfer Directly to ANA?

The benefit of transferring points directly to ANA is that there is higher award availability. However, the main reason against it is that it will cost more points.

ANA uses a date based chart breaking it up by: L, H, R.

For Japan and North America, you’re looking at 150,000 to 165,000 points for round trip. Amex MR points transfer to ANA at a 1:1 ratio, with no history of promotions.

Virgin Atlantic

Chase and Amex MR points have Virgin Atlantic as a transfer partner.

Chase points transfer to Virgin Atlantic at a 1:1 ratio.

From the West Coast to Japan, we’re looking at:

  • 90,000 points for business class

  • 110,000 points for first class

From the East Coast to Japan, we’re looking at:

  • 95,000 points for business class

  • 120,000 points for first class

These point redemption rates are already better for first class compared to transferring points to ANA.

Amex MR points usually transfer at a 1:1 ratio, but there's currently a 30% promo right now, so 1,000 MR = 1,300 Virgin Atlantic points.

Don’t worry if you currently don’t have the points to book now. We typically see these promos 2-3 times per year.

Best Times to Visit Japan

Japan is beautiful year round, but if you want some inspiration on when to take your next trip:

  • Cherry Blossom Festival

  • Tokyo 2020 for Olympics

  • Ski season

If you don’t see yourself visiting Japan in 2019 or 2020, I don’t recommend transferring your points out. Once you make the transfer, you won’t be able to reverse it.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, vendors or companies, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. 

UGC disclosure: These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.