Redeem For Gift Cards
You can redeem your points for gift cards through the AmEx site at several dozens of retailers, from Home Depot to iTunes, and the point value varies by retailer. At Target, a $25 gift card costs 3,572 points, making each point worth about 0.7 cents. At Tiffany, a $250 gift card costs 25,000 points, making each point worth 1 cent.
How To Book Travel Using Your Membership Rewards Points
Once you’ve figured out if it makes sense for you to buy Amex points for travel, you can use them to book your trip on American Express’ Travel site. Here’s how it works:
- Select your flight, prepaid hotel, vacation package, or cruise through the American Express Travel site .
- At checkout, select the option to “Use all or some Membership Rewards points” for your booking.
- Choose the amount of points you would like to redeem and finalize your purchase — you must use a minimum of 5,000 points.
It’s important to note that American Express charges your card for the purchase of your trip, and then reimburses you for the cost. So your linked card will be charged for your purchase, then American Express will deduct the points from your account balance, and then finally will issue you a statement credit to your account.
How To Maximize Your Membership Rewards Value
Considering American Express Membership Rewards points may only be worth 0.6 cents each depending on how you redeem them, it makes sense to be strategic about your rewards redemptions. Here are some of the ways you can get outsized value from the rewards you earn with your American Express credit card.
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Book Travel Via The Amex Portal Or Expedia
You can use Membership Rewards points to book travel directly through American Express via the AmEx Travel site, where you can find flights, hotels and vacation packages. You can also use points to book directly through Expedia at checkout. Either way, the value of points ranges between 0.7 and 1 cent each in these cases.
How Do You Redeem Points
To redeem American Express Membership Rewards points online:
After you pick how you want to use your rewards, the remainder of the process will depend on the redemption you chose. Each type of redemption is fairly simple to complete.
Note that if you want to transfer points, you’ll need to link to your airline or hotel’s loyalty program account.
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Understand How To Best Use Each Transfer Partner
Each transfer partner has its own quirks, features and sweet spots that help you get the most value from your points. For example, ANA Mileage Club offers free stopovers on round-trip bookings, Aeromexico Club Premier has excellent deals on round-the-world tickets and Iberia Plus has excellent deals on off-peak awards to Europe.
Familiarize yourself with each of these transfer partners, so you know when its best to transfer to each program. Otherwise, you could spend more miles than necessary for an award ticket, lowering the value of your redemption in the process.
I recommend skimming through guides for transfer partner programs on TPG. Additionally, you may find these guides on specific types of redemptions helpful.
Redeeming Amex Points For Cash Back
If long-haul flights represent one of the best possible values for Amex points, then redeeming them for statement credits is one of the worst.
You can technically use your Membership Rewards points to erase eligible charges from your statement . Still, I strongly recommend against ever doing this since Amex only values your points at 0.6 cents each if you redeem this way. This is far less than half of TPGs valuation.
If your goal is to earn cash-back rewards to go shopping or help pay the bills, check out TPGs list of top cash-back credit cards instead of using Membership Rewards points this way.
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American Express Gold Card
The Gold Card is the perfect card for foodies since it offers generous bonus earnings on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. In particular, you can earn 4x Membership Rewards points on dining at restaurants. That represents a solid 8% return on your restaurant spending. Plus, youll get 4x points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases . With a $250 annual fee and many benefits, this card is a solid in-between card that falls between the premium card category and the entry-level tier. Read the full review.
Is American Express Membership Rewards Worth It
The American Express Membership Rewards program is one of the most lucrative rewards programs in the game if you prefer travel rewards. If you’re unsure, read up on the difference between cash back, miles and points to decide which type of rewards program is best for you. However, if you’ve got the travel bug, Amex’s long list of transfer partners makes these points particularly valuable, and the long list of excellent Membership Rewards-earning cards helps make it easy to accumulate points.
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Are There Any Products I Can’t Buy Using Shop With Points
Shop with Points is generally available to buy millions of products on Amazon.com. Please note, however, that rewards points cannot be used for all purchases on Amazon.com, and items that currently may not be purchased using Shop with Points include some digital goods, Kindle downloads, Subscribe and Save items, or AmazonFresh. Please also note that currently you may not use one-click to purchase products using Shop with Points.
Redeeming Amex Points For Gift Cards
Amex partners with several different retailers to offer both physical and electronic gift cards in various denominations. If you go this route, each Amex point will typically get you 1 cent worth of value , but some merchants offer less than this in value. You can also redeem points for American Express gift cards.
This is better than the statement credits redemption option, but its still pretty low and should only be considered a last resort. Remember, Amex points dont expire as long as you keep at least one Membership Rewards card open, so theres no reason to rush into a low-value redemption.
Note that American Express will occasionally offer bonuses for these redemption options with select retailers. These can provide a discount of anywhere from 10-30% but still falls well short of the value you can get below.
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The Ultimate Guide To Amex Membership Rewards
We publish unbiased product reviews our opinions are our own and are not influenced by payment we receive from our advertising partners. Learn more about how we review products and read our advertiser disclosure for how we make money.
The American Express Membership Rewards program offers credit card users a lot of flexibility for how they can use their points. However, most of its redemption options dont provide much value, so you need to be a little savvy to maximize your rewards.
If youre considering a card that earns Membership Rewards or you already have one and want to learn more about your options, heres everything you need to know.
The Worst Uses Of Amex Points
The least-valuable Amex redemption options only provide 0.5 cents per point in value. As there are so many more valuable ways to use Membership Rewards points, these redemption options should be avoided:
- Pay With Points at Ticketmaster: Although you’ll generally get 0.7 cents per point when you Pay With Points, the redemption rate is only 0.5 cents per point for Ticketmaster purchases.
- Excise Tax Offset Fee: Amex collects excise tax when you transfer points to US-based airline mileage programs. You have the option to use points to cover this cost, but the redemption rate is only 0.5 cents per point. So, it’s better to pay this excise tax out-of-pocket.
- American Express Gift Cards: The redemption rate for travel, retail and dining gift cards varies between 0.7 and 1.0 cents per point. However, you’ll only get 0.5 cents per point when redeeming points for American Express gift cards.
- Shop with Membership Rewards Points: You can buy a variety of merchandise products directly from American Express through the Shop with Membership Rewards Points website. However, you’ll only get a value of 0.5 cents per point. So, it’s better to purchase merchandise directly and use Cover Your Card Charges to get 0.6 cents per point. Or, you can Pay With Points at Checkout at Amazon, Best Buy, and other retailers at 0.7 cents per point.
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Refer Friends And Family Members
Cardholders can share a referral link with family members and friends, who can use it to apply for any American Express personal or business credit card. If they get approved, youll receive bonus points based on the card you have. In some cases, the person you refer may earn bonus rewards, too.
In one example we found, Blue Business Plus cardholders could earn 15,000 points for each approved referral, up to 55,000 points per year. If the person who used your referral link got the Blue Business Plus, they could earn 10,000 points when they spend $3,000 in the first three months, a nice perk considering the card doesnt normally offer sign-up bonuses.
Earning American Express Membership Rewards Points On Rakuten
Some American Express Card Members are enrolled in a program that allows them to shop with Rakuten to earn Membership Rewards points on every purchase. If youre in this program, youll still see Cash Back mentioned in many places on Rakuten. However, the Cash Back you earn will be converted into points, and your points will be transferred to your Membership Rewards account.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I link my Membership Rewards® program account to a Rakuten account?
First, become a new Rakuten member and then sign in when prompted, using your Amex online account credentials. Once youre authenticated as a Card Member enrolled in the Membership Rewards program, your new Rakuten account will be linked to your Membership Rewards program account.
How can I earn Membership Rewards points on Rakuten?
Once youve become a new member and linked your Membership Rewards program account, you:
- Shop: Start shopping with Rakuten. Find the store you want to shop on Rakuten and click the Shop Now link.
- Validate: When you click on a Shop Now link, youll see a confirmation letting you know youre ready to shop at that store.
- Purchase: Place your order as you normally would.
Whats unique about this new program?
How often are points transferred to my Membership Rewards program account?
Is there a minimum point balance needed in my Rakuten account in order for points to be transferred to my Membership Rewards program account?
Yes, the minimum point balance amount is 500 points.
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The Business Platinum Card From American Express
Theres one very good reason why the Business Platinum Card stands out as a best-in-class pick among the top business cards: It offers unparalleled travel rewards and perks. From airport lounge access to huge points earnings on airfare and hotel spending, this is a card the frequent business traveler really could use to their benefit. Read the full review.
Cheap American Airlines International Flights
Although Etihad isnt a member of one of the three major alliances, it has non-alliance airline partnerships that yield excellent value. One of the best values is using Etihad Guest points to book American Airlines-operated flights at prices similar to what American charged before its 2016 devaluation.
The best deals are for international business and first-class flights on Americans large international route network. Heres a look at Etihads American award chart for flights departing North America.
These rates are often much lower than youd pay if you booked directly with American. For example, you can use 30,000 miles to book a one-way ticket from any U.S. city to Lima , Bogota or other cities in the Central/South America 1 region. This includes many cities in Central America and northern South America.
Or, you can fly to Europe in business class for 50,000 points one-way. This is cheaper than the 57,500+ miles that American charges for the same tickets, giving you cheap access to Americans large European route network. This includes cities like Frankfurt , Paris and others.
Finally, you can use Etihad Guest to get a solid deal on Americans premium transcontinental first and business class from New York-JFK to Los Angeles and San Francisco . The San Francisco route is operated by Americans specially configured A321T aircraft with a true first-class cabin. This costs just 32,500 points one way when you book with Etihad Guest.
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How To Sign Up For American Express Membership Rewards
To enroll in the Amex Membership Rewards program, youll need to have an eligible American Express card. Once you’ve received your card, you’ll go to the American Express site to log in to your account or to enroll in the program by entering your new card information. If you’ve just received your card and are a first-time cardholder, you’ll need to click below the login to “Create a new online account.” If you already have an account, you can log in and link any new eligible cards.
Making sure that all eligible cards are linked to your account will help you maximize your Amex points earnings. If you have an eligible corporate card issued in your name, you can also link that to your account as well, though you may have to pay a fee to do so.
Amex Everyday Credit Card
If youre looking for a no-annual-fee credit card that still allows you to participate in the Membership Rewards program, this flavor of Amex EveryDay is a terrific option. It still gives you a category bonus at U.S. supermarkets, which is notable since many no-fee cards offer a flat earning rate across all merchants. It may take a while to get to a valuable redemption like Lufthansa first class, but its a good way to start.
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Book American Flights With British Airways Avios
British Airways Avios are the best way to book domestic flights operated by American and Alaska Airlines. The program has a distance-based award chart, so youll pay more Avios for longer flights, but short and mid-haul domestic flights are the award charts sweet spots for Oneworld flyers.
Flights that are 1,151 miles or shorter can be booked for just 9,000 Avios. This is a solid way to use your points if cash flights are otherwise expensive. Think peak travel times like holidays, conferences and school breaks.
One thing to note about Avios: it charges per leg, so youll pay more for connecting flights. In most cases, you should only use Avios to book nonstop flights. Youre better off booking connecting flights with LifeMiles, SkyMiles or American AAdvantage miles, if you have them.
The Blue Business Plus Credit Card From American Express
According to Amex, the Blue Business Plus was created specifically for smaller small businesses think sole proprietorships or young companies with limited revenue could benefit most from a no-interest intro offer. And, with an all-encompassing 2x bonus up to $50,000 each calendar year , business owners can spend more time focused on growing their companies and less time worrying about which card will earn them the greatest return.
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How Do I Use Membership Rewards Points At Amazoncom
When you save your Membership Rewards eligible Card to your Amazon.com account, American Express will share your points balance with Amazon to display it to you, so you can choose whether or not to use points. If youve saved a Card to your account, you will see your points balance each time you check out. For more information about how American Express protects your privacy, please read the American Express Privacy Statement.
If your Membership Rewards eligible Card is not saved in your Amazon.com account or if it’s saved but you have not yet made a purchase, you will still need to link your Card via the Manual Enrollment process. You can manually link your Membership Rewards eligible Card by clicking below. You only need to link your Card once. If you are receiving a specific error message when you attempt to link your Card, please follow the instructions on the error message.
Earning American Express Membership Rewards Points With Cards
When you have an Amex Membership Rewards credit card, youll earn at least one point per dollar on everything you spend, alongside added points in bonus categories such as airfare and dining.
To maximize your points, make sure the card you choose offers bonus categories that closely match your budget and spending habits. For example, if you live in a city and commute often, you can earn 3x points on transit with the Amex Green, whereas suburban drivers can get 2x points instead at gas stations with the Amex EveryDay Preferred.
You can also score a large amount of Membership Rewards points from a welcome bonus on a new card. Just make sure the minimum spending requirement is within your budget, and dont spend more than you can afford with your credit card simply to earn rewards.
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