American Express Membership Rewards Points Guide: Including Best Ways to Earn and Redeem Rewards Points

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Guide: American Express Membership Rewards Points

Guide: American Express Membership Rewards Points

In our last guide we explored Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program. In this guide we will look at another flexible points program: American Express Membership Rewards. Membership Rewards Points are the form of rewards earned by using specific American Express cards. Amex MR points are some of the most highly prized points out there because they are extremely flexible and can be redeemed in several ways. American Express also has an extensive selection of transfer partners to which you can transfer your rewards points to. More options means more value.

The American Express Membership Rewards program is home to some of the most popular rewards cards on the market including the Amex Platinum Card and the Everyday Preferred Card.  Each of these credit cards earns Membership Rewards Points in lieu of other rewards like cashback or miles.


To learn more about these cards, click here. 


 

There are different methods available to earn Amex Membership Rewards. Most MR earnings opportunities are tied to credit cards but there are a few other ways, such as referral bonuses.

Guide: American Express Membership Rewards Points

Value of American Express Membership Rewards Points

The value of American Express Membership Rewards varies based on redemption methods. There are several ways to redeem rewards points so your personal valuation will depend on your preferred method of redemption. Of course your objective should be to get the greatest value out of your points, but it really depends on what makes sense for you. The goal of this guide is to give you all the information you need to understand the ins and outs of this lucrative program and figure out the best redemption methods for yourself.

The absolute minimum value you should get for MR points is .01 cent each since you can redeem them at 1 cent with many gift cards (though there are much better uses.) The Amex website is actually a great resource to look at and learn about your redemption options as well as the value of your points. It even has a calculator to let you know what your points are worth in various scenarios.

Membership Rewards Program Rules Overview

Point Transfers

Transfer Points to Another Person:

Transfer Points to Another Person’s Loyalty Program Account: You may only transfer points to another persons loyalty account if that person is an authorized user on your card account.

Between Accounts: You are free to transfer all of your Membership Rewards Points between your own Membership Rewards Accounts.

Difference Between Charge Cards and Credit Cards

Charge Cards have no pre-set spending limit. They differ from credit cards in that you are required to pay your entire statement balance in full every month. Though Amex has a “pay over time” option available to some cardmembers.

In contrast, Amex Credit Cards give you a set credit limit. With a Credit Card, you are not required to pay your balance in full every month; you can carry your balance from one billing cycle to the next, though a minimum payment is required each billing cycle. Any unpaid balance at the end of a billing period will incur interest charges

Point Purchases

You can purchase Amex Membership Rewards Points in increments of 1,000, only in conjunction with a points transfer to a loyalty program. The price per point is 2.5 cents each and there is a 1,000 point minimum purchase requirement.

Guide: American Express Membership Rewards Points

Membership Reward’s Cards for Individuals

  • The Platinum Card
  • Premier Rewards Gold Card
  • American Express Green Card
  • Blue from American Express
  • Amex Everyday Credit Card
  • Amex Everyday Preferred Credit Card
  • The Mercedes-Benz Credit Card from American Express

Guide: American Express Membership Rewards Points

Membership Reward’s Cards for Small Businesses

  • The Business Platinum Card
  • The Business Gold Rewards Card
  • Business Green Rewards Card
  • Blue Business Plus Credit Card

Ways to Earn Membership Rewards Points

  • Credit Card Welcome Offers
  • Credit Card Spending
    • Bonus Category Earnings
    • Big Spend Bonus
  • Amex Offers
  • Promotional Offers
  • Referral Bonuses

Welcome Offers

The best way to earn a big chunk of Membership Rewards points is through card welcome offers. American Express has many Membership Rewards cards and you can earn a bonus for signing up once on each card. It’s important to remember that you can only earn the welcome offer once for each card, so it’s generally best to wait until the offer is at it’s highest point.

The best offers are often targeted for specific individuals (i.e. you’ll get an offer in the mail or email). However, sometimes the best offers are public and available to everyone. Either way, best offers and analysis are always covered at Miles to Memories.

Credit Card Spend

Another way to earn points is through credit card spend. Many Membership Rewards cards offer only 1 point per dollar for all purchases but there are plenty of opportunities for bonus category earnings and big spend bonuses.

Amex Membership Rewards Bonus Earning Categories (By Card)

The Platinum Card5x Airfare
5x Hotels (Booked through Amex Travel)
1x Everything Else
Premier Rewards Gold Card3X flights booked directly with airlines
2X Restaurants, Gas stations, Supermarkets.
1X Everything Else
American Express Green Card2X Amextravel.com
1x Everything Else
Amex Everyday Preferred Credit Card3X SUPERMARKETS.
(First $6,000 per year)
2X GAS STATIONS
1X Everything Else


EARN 50% EXTRA POINTS
Amex Everyday Credit Card2x Supermarkets (First $6,000 per year (then 1x)
1x Everything Else
20% Bonus on all points if you use the card 20x/month
Blue from American Express2X Amextravel.com
1x Everything Else
The Mercedes-Benz Credit Card from American Express5X Select Mercedes-Benz purchases
1x Everything Else
The Business Platinum Card5X flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5X Purchases Over 5k
1x Everything Else
The Business Gold Rewards Card3X on one of the following:
-Airfare purchased direct
- Advertising in select media
- Shipping
- Gas stations
- Computer hardware, software, and cloud computing (select providers)
2X Remaining 4 categories.
1X Everything Else
Business Green Rewards Card2x Amextravel.com
1x Everything Else
Blue Business Plus Credit Card2x First 50k Spend per year
1x Everything Else

Guide: American Express Membership Rewards Points


To learn more about these cards, click here. 


Amex Offers

Amex Offers is an excellent program that is available on all the Membership Rewards earning cards. Often times, the offers give MR points instead of cashback for completing an offer. Check out a recent post discussing the overall value of Amex Offers for membership rewards points.

American Express Promotional Offers

Amex likes to send out targeted offers to cardholders for a variety of activities including adding authorized users to existing accounts, upgrading to a fee version of no fee cards, completing a certain amount of spend within a specified period of time etc.

Referral Bonuses

American Express has an official referral program. Simply visit the referral site and enter your information to see your offer. Offers for referral bonuses also come through email, so you should always open your emails from Amex.

Guide: American Express Membership Rewards Points

Redeeming Membership Rewards Points

  • Transfer Partners
  • Book Through Travel Portal
  • Redeem for Merchandise
  • Statement Credit
  • Apply Points at Checkout
  • Redeem for Gift Cards

Transfer Partners

One of the best ways to maximize the value of Membership Rewards Points is to transfer them to Amex’s Travel Partners to book award tickets or free nights.  Amex periodically offers transfer bonuses between 30% and 50% that can greatly increase the value of your redemption. In general, unless a good transfer bonus is available, you’re better off keeping Membership Rewards points in your account until you have a specific redemption. Membership Rewards points usually transfer instantly so it’s possible to look for available awards before you convert points to miles.

How to Transfer

Guide: American Express Membership Rewards Points

Airline Transfer Partners (Transfer Rate )

  • Aero Mexico Club Premier (1:1.6)
  • Aeroplan Air Canada (1:1)
  • Alitalia MilleMiglia (1:1)
  • ANA (1:1)
  • Asia Miles (1:1)
  • British Airways Executive Club (1:1)
  • Delta Skymiles (1:1)
  • El Al Israel (1:.02)
  • Etihad Guest (1:1)
  • Flying Blue Air France KLM (1:1)
  • Hawaiian Airlines (1:1)
  • Iberia Plus (1:1)
  • JetBlue (1:.8)
  • Singapore Airlines Krisflyer (1:1)
  • Emirates Skywards (1:1)
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club (1:1)

Hotel Transfer Partners

  • SPG (1:.33)
  • Hilton Honors (1:2)
  • Choice Privileges (1:1)

 

Guide: American Express Membership Rewards Points

Book Travel

Depending on which Membership Rewards cards you have, you may be able to get increased value when you use your points to book travel through the Amex travel portal. For example, with the Business Platinum card you can redeem your points for 1 cent each on the airline of your choice or any premium class ticket and receive 35% of those points back. That’s a value of of 1.54 cents a piece.

Redeem for Merchandise

This is a terrible use of your points. The value seems to be around .5 cents a point. If you’re looking to purchase retail items with your points, you’re much better off redeeming points for a gift card.

Statement Credit

Unlike other flexible points programs, the value of points used for statement credits is .6 cents instead of 1 cent each, so it’s really not a good use of points.

Apply Points at Checkout

You can use Membership Rewards Points to check out as designated retailers. This is not a very good value for your points because they are worth between .5 and .7 cents each. This option is available at Ticketmaster, Rite Aid, Seamless, Staples, NYC Taxi’s, Newegg, Grubhub, Expedia, Boxed, Best Buy and Amazon.

Guide: American Express Membership Rewards Points

Redeem for Gift Cards

A better (but not the best) use is to redeem points for merchant gift cards where you’ll often get exactly 1 cent per point value.

Final Thoughts

There’s a reason American Express Membership Rewards points are so highly regarded. You can earn points on a variety of different cards in a variety of different categories and use those points in a variety of different ways. Instead of earning points one way on one card, you can earn them many ways across many cards. This is incredibly powerful and makes these points highly valuable.

In the near future we will create supplementary guides and informational materials to elaborate on the Membership Rewards’ Program and it’s benefits. Please let us know if there is anything in particular you would like to see or any questions you may have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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7 COMMENTS

    • Thanks for the feedback, I wanted to keep things specific only to Membership Rewards as opposed to Amex in it’s entirety, but it should definitely be mentioned… I will update it shortly. Thanks!

  1. I think you missed out on the single biggest MR point redemption – 35% bonus on business class flights if you have the business platinum.

    What makes this redemption unique, even though its not the highest cpp, is that there are absolutely no issues with availability. Zero. No issues at all. Which is something very few other redemptions can promise. This makes it perfect for business class travel when award availability on your routing is non-existant or you have a family to get tickets for

    • It’s covered in the “Book Travel” section.. though it could (and should) definitely be highlighted in a separate post. I agree! It’s my favorite way to redeem as well

  2. One of my favorite redemption options is with the Schwab Plat in conjunction with Biz Plus. Combining 2MR/Dollar with the $0.0125 from Schwab Plat gives you 2.5% return on non bonused spend. That’s pretty decent!

  3. […] In our last guide we explored Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program. In this guide we will look at another flexible points program: American Express Membership Rewards. Membership Rewards Points are the form of rewards earned by using specific American Express cards. Amex MR points are some of the most highly prized points out there because they are extremely flexible and can be redeemed in several ways. American Express also has an extensive selection of transfer partners to which you can transfer your rewards points to. More options means more value.LEARN MORE! […]

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