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INSIDER SECRET: With the right Amex card you can actually get increased value from your Amex points, so choose wisely.
How much are your points really worth? It’s an important question to answer to help you gauge which cards can get you the most bang for your buck. Luckily, American Express Membership Rewards points are really easy to earn and have a ton of value.
Once you earn Amex Membership Rewards points, you’ll want to redeem them for the best value you can. You can get between 1 cent and 5 cents value per Amex Membership Rewards point on average, with redemption values even higher with a little research.
Let’s look at the best ways to get the most value out of your Amex Membership Rewards points and see how much they are really worth:
A Detailed Look at Amex Points Value
How to Earn Amex Points
|Card||Welcome Bonus & Minimum Spending Requirements|
|The Business Platinum® Card from American Express||Ends December 4, 2019: Limited Time Offer - Up to 100,000 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 50,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending an additional $15,000 on qualifying purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
|The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express||No 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 Card||35,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. Terms Apply.|
|American Express® Business Gold Card||Ends November 06 2019: Limited Time Offer- Earn up to $500 in statement credits by purchasing qualifying services with FedEx within the first 3 months of account opening. Terms Apply.|
|Business Green Rewards Card from American Express||Ends November 06 2019: Limited Time Offer- Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on your combined eligible purchases on the Card, up to the first $50,000, at U.S. restaurants, on hotel stays booked directly with hotels, and on airfare purchased directly from airlines in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.|
|Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express||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 Express||10,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. Terms Apply.
American Express® Business Gold Card: Business version of the Amex Gold Card that lets you earn extra points in the categories you use most
Business Green Rewards Card From American Express: Another business card from Amex but without much earning potential
What Value Can You Get When You Redeem Your Points for Cash Back?
Quick Answer: 0.6 cents for statement credit, 1 cent each for gift cards
If you want to quickly redeem your points for cash or gift cards, Amex gives you the option to do so online. However, you should typically avoid doing so as you don’t get optimal value for your points. If you use your points to pay your statement balance, you’ll only get 0.6 cents per point which is terrible. Gift cards are a little better as you’ll get 1 cent per point value on some gift cards, while others cost closer to 0.8 cents per point.
What Value Can You Get When You Book Through the American Express Travel Portal?
Quick Answer: 1 cent each (~1.54 cents each with the Amex Business Platinum) for flights, 0.7 cents each for other travel
The American Express Travel Portal allows you to turn your points into cheap travel. You can log into your Amex account and book flights, hotels, car rentals, and more using points, cash, or a combo of both.
The Amex Travel Portal lets you redeem your points for airfare at a rate of 1 cent per point. For example, you can book a $200 round-trip flight from Washington, DC, to Orlando for 20,000 Amex Membership Rewards points, which is nice and simple.
However, one great perk of the Amex Business Platinum Card is that you can actually get points back when you book flights using points. That’s because Amex gives you 35% of your points back for all First Class or Business Class flights booked through the Amex travel portal using Pay With Points and 35% of your points back for all flights, including coach tickets, booked with your selected airline through the Amex travel portal using Pay With Points (up to 500,000 points per calendar year).
That means if you book a $1,000 flight (100,000 points) through the portal when you have the Business Platinum Card, you’ll get 35,000 points in return, which means your flight really only cost 65,000 Amex points. American Express is essentially giving you a 35% discount for flights when booking with points.
Keep in mind, you’ll only get a value of 0.7 cents per point when you redeem Amex Membership Rewards points for other travel through the portal, like hotels and car rentals.
What Value Can You Get From American Express Transfer Partners?
Quick Answer: Between 0.4 and 7 cents each
Transferring your points to one of Amex’s transfer partners is a great way to get the most value for your points. That’s because typically the points needed to book a flight or hotel are fixed, while the price in cash can vary wildly depending on factors like time of year, day of the week, etc.
Below we’ve listed some popular Amex travel partners and the typical value per point you’ll get when moving points to them. One thing to keep in mind is unlike Chase Ultimate Rewards, some Amex partners do not transfer at a 1:1 ratio. For example, when transferring to JetBlue, they transfer at a 250:200 ratio. That means if you need 10,000 JetBlue points, you’ll need to transfer 12,500 Amex Membership Rewards Points.
|American Express Membership Rewards Airline Transfer Partners|
|Airline||Transfer Ratio||Estimated Transfer Time|
|Asia Miles||1:1||48 Hours|
|Flying Blue (Air France / KLM)||1:1||Instant|
|Iberia||1:1||~1 to 3 days|
|Singapore Airlines||1:1||~1 to 2 days|
- British Airways – 0.7 to 5.5 cents each (typically 1.6 cents)
- Singapore KrisFlyer – 0.8 to 4.5 cents each (typically 1.8 cents)
- All Nippon Airways (ANA) – 0.6 to 7 cents each (typically 1.7 cents)
- Choice Hotels – 0.7 to 4.2 cents each (typically 1.1 cents)
- Hilton – 0.4 to 2 cents each (typically 0.9 cents)
- Marriott – 0.3 to 1.5 cents each (typically 0.7 cents)
Note: Transferring your Amex Membership Rewards points to Marriott, Hilton, or Choice Hotels is not usually a good deal.
Here are a couple of examples of calculating the value of Amex Membership Rewards points.
1. GREAT Value: Business Class Flight With ANA Miles
ANA (All Nippon Airways) offers amazing value, especially when flying in business class. ANA offers a great sweet spot when traveling from North America to Japan for 75,000 to 90,000 points round-trip in business class. A business-class flight from New York to Tokyo could otherwise cost over $6,000.
For example, a nonstop round-trip flight from New York (JFK) to Tokyo goes for ~$6,332. However, if you booked the same exact flight using points, you’d only be spending 85,000 points plus taxes and fees. That’s getting a value of ~7.5 cents per point (~$6,332 cash price of the ticket / 85,000 points), 6.5 cents more value than you’d get if redeeming your points for cash back.
By transferring Amex Membership Rewards points to certain airlines, you can “buy” tickets you might not otherwise be able to afford.
2. NOT Ideal: Coach From Boston to Orlando on JetBlue
Let’s take a look at an example of a round-trip flight on JetBlue from Boston or Orlando that costs ~$447.
When you look to book via points, it costs only 28,700 points. That would give you roughly ~1.6 cents per point value. However, remember that Amex points transfer to JetBlue at a 2.5:2 ratio. So, if you were to pay for this using Amex points, you’d need to transfer 35,875 Amex points over to your JetBlue account.
Now, the value drops to ~1.2 cents per point. You would get some additional value by transferring to a partner, but you wouldn’t get the same bang for your buck as you did with the ANA flight to Tokyo. So in this case, it probably makes more sense to book this flight with cash and save your points for another redemption.
Incredible Value With a Single Amex Membership Rewards Point on Amazon
Every so often Amazon partners with American Express to offer some extreme value for Amex Membership Rewards points. Team member Jasmin wrote about how she got $55 worth of discounts on Amazon by using only 2 Amex points. That’s a value of $27.50 per point!
While these are limited offers, it can be a great way to save money on Amazon since you only have to use 1 point typically to get the discount, then just pay for the rest of the order in cash.
A few months ago, Amex was offering 20% off Amazon orders when using 1 Amex point. Lots of readers and MMS team members were able to maximize this by spending $500 on Amazon and getting $100 off. That’s a fantastic deal!
How Should YOU Use Your Points?
It really comes down to how you want to spend your Amex Membership Rewards points. Maybe you’ve been dying to go to California and even though you may only be getting 1.5 cents per point, you are still getting a free flight. That’s certainly a valid use of your rewards.
Maybe you’ve been hoping to go on a Carnival Cruise and you have 20,000 points you’d like to put towards your dream trip. Go ahead and buy $200 worth of Carnival gift cards through your Amex Rewards portal and get on that cruise for $200 less than you normally would have spent.
Or maybe you just want the simplicity of using the Amex Travel Portal to book flights or hotels and using your points to pay for your travels.
Amex Membership Rewards points are really flexible and give you lots of options. There’s no right way to make the most of your points. Any travel you book using Amex points is free travel that you get from rewards on purchases you’d be making anyway.
Amex Membership Rewards points are extremely flexible. That flexibility is exactly what makes it so tough to pinpoint their exact value with a single number. You can get anywhere from 0.3 cents per point to 7 or 8 cents per point depending on how you redeem your points. On average, you’ll get a value of ~2 cents per point.
When you add that to the fact that you can get up to 4x or 5x Amex points on purchases, you are effectively getting 8 to 10% back in certain categories. You’ll usually get the most value per point by transferring points to Amex airline partners, like ANA or Air Canada Aeroplan.
AMEX Membership Rewards points are easy to earn with cards like The Platinum Card from American Express and The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express.
Check out these posts for more details on Amex Membership Rewards points:
- American Express Points Review
- Best Way to Use Amex Points
- Amex Transfer Partners
- How to Earn Amex Points
- How to Setup an American Express Membership Rewards Account
- How to Use American Express Points
- Do American Express Points Expire?
For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus Card, please click here.