Progress in the last decade has improved the understanding of leukemia biology. Molecular markers in combinations with cytogenetics have improved the risk stratification of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and informed decision-making. In parallel, several important advances in the transplant field, such as better supportive care, improved transplant technology, increased availability of alternative donors, and reduced-intensity conditioning have improved the safety as well as access of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) for a larger number of patients. In this review, the positioning of HCT in the management of patients with AML is evaluated in view of changing risk/benefit ratios associated with both conventional treatments and transplantation, and some of the controversies are addressed in light of emerging data. Increasing data demonstrate outcomes of alternative donor transplantation approaching HLA-identical sibling donors in high-risk AML supporting the inclusion of alternative donors in trials of prospective studies evaluating post remission strategies for high-risk AML. The use of reduced-intensity conditioning has expanded the eligibility of HCT to older patients with AML, and outcome data are encouraging. Continued study of HCT versus alternative therapies is required to optimize patients' outcomes in AML.