How to Use American Express Points for Flights

Close-up of a hand holding a credit card.
Image Credit: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

American Express offers a variety of credit cards, including personal, corporate and co-branded shopping and travel cards. It gives its cardholders points just for spending money on its cards. Through the Membership Rewards program, you can turn your points into free flights.

Search for a Flight

When you book through Amex Membership Rewards, there are no blackout dates or seat restrictions and you can still earn frequent flyer miles with the airline. On the Membership Rewards website, log in and choose the "Book Now" tab, then choose "Book Flights." Using the search feature, plug in your arrival and departure airports and travel dates, then choose your flight from the available results.

Pay with Points

Choose how many points you want to use and apply those to your flight. As of publication, you must redeem at least 5,000 points to book flights. Using your Amex card, pay for the flight you chose. Amex gives you 1 cent per point you apply to your flight, deducting that amount from your credit card statement. For example, if your flight cost $800 and you use 10,000 points, Amex will credit you $100, or 1 cent times 10,000 points. You are then responsible for the remaining $700.

Transfer Points

You can also transfer Amex points to a participating airline's frequent flier program. As of 2015, Amex allowed cardholders to transfer to 17 airlines' reward programs. For most airlines, 1,000 Amex points equals 1,000 frequent flier miles. Once transferred, book your flight through that airline's program to redeem the points.