Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card issuers from which MillionMileSecrets.com receives compensation. Compensation does not impact the placement of cards on Million Mile Secrets other than in banner advertising. MillionMileSecrets.com does not include all credit card offers that might be available to consumers in the marketplace.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

American Express Points Review: You’ll Want to Collect These If You’re Serious About Free Travel

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

American Express Points Review: You’ll Want to Collect These If You’re Serious About Free Travel

Jasmin BaronAmerican Express Points Review: You’ll Want to Collect These If You’re Serious About Free TravelMillion Mile Secrets Team

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Smart travelers know earning transferable points, like American Express points, is the easiest and most flexible way to travel for nearly free.  Instead of being locked into a specific airline or hotel program, you can redeem AMEX Membership Rewards points for travel just about anywhere.

AMEX Membership Rewards points are also incredibly easy to earn from cards like the American Express® Gold Card, The Platinum Card® from American Express, and The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express.  And you’ve got plenty of options for redeeming points, including transferring to airline and hotel partners, booking paid travel with points through the AMEX Travel Portal, or cashing them in for gift cards.

I’ll share everything you need to know in this American Express points review.

AMEX Membership Rewards Review: Your Points Can Take You Just About Anywhere, Whether You Transfer Them to Airline and Hotel Partners or Book Paid Travel Through the AMEX Portal

American Express Points Review

Read our complete multi-part guide to AMEX Membership Rewards points

Just about everyone on the Million Mile Secrets team has a stash of AMEX Membership Rewards points, and we all use them in different ways to fit our personal travel styles.

Meghan’s a big fan of The Business Platinum® Card from American Express and likes to redeem her points for flights through the AMEX travel portal, because with the card she gets a 35% points rebate on coach flights with her selected airline and all Business and First Class flights.  Harlan transfers his Membership Rewards points from his AMEX Blue Business Plus instantly to Delta to take advantage of Delta’s flash award sales and save miles.

And I’ve moved points from my AMEX Blue Business Plus to Air Canada and Delta to visit family across the continent (or bring them to visit us!).

One of My Favorite Ways to Redeem AMEX Membership Rewards Points Is to Visit With Family – I Flew My Dad Out for the Holidays After Transferring Points to Delta for His Award Flight

Whether you’re looking for luxury international First Class flights or prefer to stretch your points for shorter coach flights close to home, AMEX Membership Rewards points give you the flexibility to travel however you like.

How to Earn American Express Points

Read about all the ways to earn American Express points

To start building your points balance, you’ll need a card that earns AMEX Membership Rewards points:

Card Welcome Bonus & Minimum Spending Requirements
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express


Up to 75,000 Amex Membership Rewards points

50,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $10,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account, plus earn an extra 25,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending an additional $10,000 on qualifying purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American ExpressNo welcome bonus
The Platinum Card® from American Express


60,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
American Express® Gold Card35,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
American Express® Business Gold Card
35,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
Business Green Rewards Card from American Express5,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after your first purchase on the card within the first year of card membership. Terms Apply.
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express
Card Image Not Available
15,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American ExpressCard Image Not Available
10,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
The information for the Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card and Amex EveryDay Credit Card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

AMEX has an important rule you should know.  You can only earn the welcome bonus on a specific AMEX card once, per person, per lifetime.  So, for example, if you’ve had the AMEX Platinum in the past, you won’t be eligible to earn it again.

Your points will not expire as long as you have at least one AMEX Membership Rewards earning card open.  You can read the full details of each card in our review of all the ways to earn AMEX points.

Once you have an AMEX Membership Rewards card, there are other ways to earn points beyond the welcome bonus and spending, including:

  • AMEX Offers
  • Referring friends to apply for a card (not all cards are eligible)
  • Book hotel stays with Rocketmiles
  • Enroll in extended pay (targeted)

How Much Are AMEX Points Worth?

Read about the AMEX points value

The value of AMEX Membership Rewards points depends on how you redeem them.  You’ll generally get the biggest bang for your points by transferring them to airline and hotel partners, like Delta, Air Canada Aeroplan, and Flying Blue.

Here’s what you’ll typically get for various redemption options:

  • Transfer to airline and hotel partners – ~0.4 to ~7+ cents each
  • Airfare through the AMEX Travel Portal – 1 cent per point (~1.54 cents per point if you have The Business Platinum® Card from American Express)
  • Other travel through the AMEX Travel Portal – 0.7 cents per point
  • Cash back as a statement credit – 0.6 cents per point
  • Gift cards – ~0.7 to ~1 cent per point (usually)
  • Shop with points for purchases, like Amazon or Walmart – 0.7 cents per point (but you can get better value when there are promotions to use at least 1 point to earn a big discount)
  • Shop with points through the AMEX Membership Rewards mall – 0.5 cents per point (please don’t do this – you’re better off buying an item directly and redeeming points for a statement credit)

Even if you don’t have travel plans, you can rest easy knowing you’ve got other options to cash out your points.  But again, you’ll almost always get the most value when you redeem points for travel.

How to Use American Express Points

Check out our guide to how to use American Express points

The quickest way to start using your AMEX Membership Rewards points is to log into your AMEX account at either americanexpress.com or membershiprewards.com.  From here you’ll find a dashboard with all your redemption options.

To Redeem Your AMEX Membership Rewards Points, Start by Signing Into Your AMEX Account Online

If you’re shopping with points through retailers like Amazon, you can skip this step and go directly to the merchant’s site.  If your card is linked to your Amazon account for example, you should have the option to pay with points at checkout.  Be very careful with this if you’re only looking to spend 1 point to get in on a promotion.

1.   Transfer AMEX Membership Rewards Points to Airline and Hotel Partners

Read all about AMEX transfer partners

Check out our full guide to how to transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to airline and hotel partners

Transferring AMEX Membership Rewards points to airline and hotel partners gives you lots of options for travel!  Currently there are 18 direct airline partners and 3 hotel partners.  But because of alliances and partnerships, you can also book flights on other airlines even if they’re not a direct transfer partner.

For example, you can move points to Air Canada Aeroplan (part of the Star Alliance) to book award flights on United Airlines.  Or transfer points to British Airways for award flights on American Airlines (a oneworld partner).

AMEX Has 18 Direct Airline Transfer Partners, Including Delta, British Airways, and Air Canada Aeroplan

Keep an eye out for occasional transfer bonuses (where you’ll get more airline miles or hotel points than the usual ratio).

Here are AMEX’s airline partners, transfer ratios, and typical transfer times:

 American Express Membership Rewards Airline Transfer Partners 
AirlineTransfer RatioEstimated Transfer Time
Aer Lingus1:1Instant
AeroMexico1:1.624 Hours
Air Canada1:1Instant
Alitalia1:1Instant
ANA1:148 Hours
Asia Miles1:148 Hours
Avianca1:1Instant
British Airways1:1Instant
Delta 1:1Instant
El Al1000:20Instant
Emirates 1:1Instant
Etihad1:1Instant
Flying Blue (Air France / KLM)1:1Instant
Iberia1:1~1 to 3 days
Hawaiian Airlines1:1Instant
JetBlue250:200Instant
Singapore Airlines1:1~1 to 2 days
Virgin Atlantic1:1Instant

And here are the 3 AMEX Membership Rewards hotel transfer partners, ratios, and transfer times:

 American Express Membership Rewards Hotel Transfer Partners 
HotelTransfer RatioEstimated Transfer Time
Choice Hotels1:1Instant
Hilton1:2Instant
Marriott1:1Instant

To get started transferring AMEX Membership Rewards points to a partner, you’ll have to link your airline or hotel account first.  You’ll need to verify your AMEX account by entering your credit card information (if you have multiple AMEX cards, you can just choose one and enter the required details).  And you can also link loyalty accounts in your name or in the name of an authorized cardholder.

At this step, you’ll also enter your airline or hotel loyalty number.  This will let AMEX know where to transfer the points.  Once you’ve linked your account, it’s a straightforward process to move the desired number of AMEX points to your airline or hotel account.

Verify Your Account Information Before You Transfer AMEX Points to Airline or Hotel Partners

Keep in mind, you’ll pay a small excise fee of 0.06 cents per point (up to a maximum of $99) when you transfer points to US airlines.  And – big caveat – once you’ve moved your points to a partner, you can NOT get them back.

For step-by-step points transfer instructions, check out our detailed guide to transferring AMEX Membership Rewards points to partners.

2.   Book Travel Through the AMEX Travel Portal

If you’d rather not fuss with award charts or availability, booking airfare and hotels through the AMEX Travel Portal can make your travel planning easier.

You won’t necessarily get as much value from your points by booking this way.  But if you prefer ease of booking over squeezing the most value from your points, or only have specific times you can travel, booking through the AMEX Travel Portal can make sense.  You won’t have to deal with blackout dates during popular travel times.

The AMEX Travel Portal works similarly to other 3rd-party booking sites, like Orbitz or Expedia.  To search, enter your travel dates and destinations as you normally would.

Use the AMEX Travel Portal Like You Would Any Other 3rd-Party Online Travel Agency

For flights, your AMEX Membership Rewards points are worth 1 cent apiece.  Folks with the AMEX Business Platinum can actually do very well booking through the portal, because they’ll get a 35% points rebate when they book coach flights on their selected airline (or any Business or First Class flight).

You won’t do as well with hotels, which only offer 0.7 cents per point.  If you find a cheap rate this can make sense, but run the numbers to see if you’ll get a better deal booking an award room or redeeming points from other flexible points programs, like Chase Ultimate Rewards, where your points can be worth more.

3.   Redeem AMEX Membership Rewards Points for Statement Credits, Gift Cards, and Shop With Points

Cashing in your AMEX Membership Rewards points for statement credits, gift cards, or shopping with points won’t get you the most for your points.  It’s good to know the option is there if you don’t plan to take a trip or aren’t able to travel.

You Can Find Options to Redeem AMEX Points for Statement Credits, Gift Cards, Paying With Points, or Making Purchases Through the Shopping Portal on Your Account Dashboard When You Log-In

Again, this is your weakest pick for redemption.  I don’t recommend it unless there’s no way you’ll redeem your points for travel.

Should You Collect AMEX Membership Rewards Points?

If you love to travel for free or really cheap, absolutely.  Earning transferable points like AMEX Membership Rewards will add lots of flexibility and versatility to your miles and points toolbox.

You’ll do best with AMEX Membership Rewards points if you:

  • Use cards that have bonus categories and perks that align with your spending and travel habits
  • Know how to make the most of airline and hotel award charts
  • Prefer booking flights and hotels with no blackout dates through the AMEX Travel Portal
  • Have travel plans that fit with AMEX’s airline and hotel transfer partners

For folks who prefer to redeem rewards for statement credits, gift cards, or merchandise, AMEX Membership Rewards can help, but they aren’t your best choice.  Instead, look to the best cash back credit cards, where you could get a much better return for your spending.

Bottom Line

AMEX Membership Rewards points are important if you’re serious about unlocking the freedom to travel.  They’re transferable to airline and hotel partners like Delta and Marriott, and flexible in other ways to redeem them.  You don’t have to be after international First Class flights or luxury resorts either – I’ve almost always redeemed mine for coach flights to visit family and friends in North America.

They’re also easy to earn from AMEX Membership Rewards cards like the American Express® Gold Card, The Platinum Card® from American Express, and The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express.  Just remember AMEX’s strict application rules, which only allow you to earn a welcome bonus once, per card, per person, per lifetime.

Check out these posts for more details on AMEX Membership Rewards points:

What’s your favorite way to use AMEX Membership Rewards points?

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

16comments

by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Already encountered two places (movie theatre and restaurant) that don’t take AMEX, but takes Visa. This is causing concern for me wrt earning points.

Hi Jim,

I’ll admit this has sometimes been a problem for me when traveling. Fortunately most of the local shops I visit take Amex.

Where is Emily ?

It’s actually 1.67 cents per point with the Amex Platinum because you get the 5 pts/$ on top of the rebate. Amex Gold Biz is 1.39 cents per point.

Love how the clickbait “free travel” headline ends up “nearly free”. Lol

How desperate do you have to be to incessantly pimp credit cards to rubes and be able to sleep at night? Contemptible