What are the best ways to maximise 340,000 AMEX points for a trip to South America, given lack of loyalty/status?

Hi guys,

First up: loving the site. It’s a wealth of information.

I have a really newbie question - and I know the answer is probably quite subjective.

My partner and I have 340,000 AMEX rewards points (via an ANZ CC) and I’m trying to establish if I can use them on a trip to South America at the end of October. Ideally flying business, if possible, for at least one leg. (We’re thinking of flying there via the States.)

I think our issue is we are new to the points game, and we don’t really have any status/relationship with any airline. I have a bronze Qantas FF card, and a red Virgin Velocity membership. Both only have about 2000 points.

From what I can gather, we can’t convert our AMEX points to Qantas, and our red Velocity status means we can’t use the points on Virgin if we fly with them to LA, for example.

We’re happy to fly directly to South America (Santiago/Peru/Rio etc) if that helps.

My question: what would you guys recommend we do to use these AMEX points to good use, ideally flying non-economy? (Especially given our lack of status with any airline.)

For background and future-wise, we fly internationally once or twice a year (generally once to Asia and once to Europe), but not much domestically.

I’d appreciate any help and apologies if it’s a ridiculous question.

Hi Jaclyn,

AMEX points (American Express Membership Rewards Points?) are only available through AMEX issued cards (I think). You mention you have an ANZ card - would this not be ANZ Rewards points?

Also - what city would you be looking to fly out from?

Hi Tristan,

Both good points! Yes, you’re right. It’s an ANZ-issued Rewards Black AMEX card.

Looking to fly from Melbourne.

Thanks in advance.


Hi Jaclyn ,

You can convert your ANZ Rewards points to Velocity points to redeem via Virgin Australia 

2 : 1 ratio . From there you can do abit of research to see How far Virgin would fly you with 170,000 velocity points . Business class to LA would be around 60-80k points one way plus tax i think .


alternatively you can also convert it to KrisFlyer and use with Singapore Airlines 1.35 velocity for 1 Kris points . Melbourne to Asia via Singapore will cost around 46,000 points business class one way


Hi Bill,

Thanks for your response. Unfortunately I can’t use the points long-haul on Virgin as only Gold and Platinum members are eligible to request upgrades.

I’ll do some more Googling re Krisflyer but early research indicated my lack of current status with them might also thwart that option.