I have about 215,000 Amex miles. What would be the best use for them? How do I buy a ticket and get it upgraded in miles?

Summary of usage:

1. The most optimized way to use AMEX MR is to transfer to airline miles that you happen to have a usage. One example of best redemption is to transfer to Virgin Atlantic. US mainland – Hawaii round trip business class needs 80,000 miles. It is over $1300 if pay by cash. There’s lots of other trips and other airline miles AMEX MR can transfer to, making it very possible to redeem AMEX MR at 1.5-2 cents per point. (Warning: airline award tickets may have limited availability. Make sure it’s available before transferring AMEX MR to miles).

2. Redeem as Gift card when AMEX has promotion. The best promotion in the history is 5,000 points for $100 gap gift card, which was several years ago and never repeated. Although not so great, there might be still some good promotions. With them, the value of MR could be more than 1 cent (of gift card value) each point.

3. Sell at brokers for cash. This option is in gray area. AMEX MR doesn’t want you to do it, but AMEX MR wouldn’t know if you do it. One reliable broker is MilesP2P which has good reputation online and over two thousand Facebook likes. As of now (March 2017), price for AMEX MR is 1.3 cents/point.

4. Buy stuff as Amazon at 0.7 cent/point. Add your AMEX credit card, and the option will come up automatically at Amazon payment page. However since the value is too low, try to avoid it as possible.

Generally upgrading with miles isn’t a good value unless someone else bought the underlying paid ticket for you.

Best value per mile redeemed is generally transferring to one of the Amex airline partners and redeeming for a business or first class ticket. For instance, Delta for Skyteam alliance flights or Aeroplan for Star Alliance.

The travel bloggers have covered this well. I’d use that as a guide.