Besides the fun of earning and burning points and miles, the benefits can be incredibly useful when trying to save money or treat yo’ self. I’ve made it no secret that I pride myself on how I maximize the points and miles I earn and redeem. Earning can be fairly straight forward as long as you follow the rules and ensure the right codes are submitted in the right fields. Redeeming them, though? That’s a whole other game.

There are plenty of great guides and resources out there than “value” what specific points are worth. Most programs are straight forward with their redemption value, but with the American Express Membership Rewards program, total value all depends on how you maximize your redemption.

Earning American Express Membership Rewards

There are a slew of different AMEX cards you can choose from, be it for personal or business use. While most are charge cards, where you must pay off the monthly balance in full, there are also credit cards available. Most popular are:

  • American Express Gold Card
  • The Platinum Card from American Express
  • AMEX EveryDay Preferred Credit Card
  • The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express
  • The Business Platinum Card from American Express
  • Business Green Rewards Card from American Express

There are also plenty of airline and hotel partner cards available, including:

  • Delta SkyMiles
  • Hilton Honors
  • Starwood Preferred Guest

Redeeming American Express Membership Rewards

My good friend and travel guru Ed Pizza, host of Miles to Go and blogger at Pizza in Motion and The Points Guy always says: “It all depends on what your goals are. Decide what you want and build your strategy from there.” Some folks are looking to use credit card spend from their wedding to cover a dream honeymoon. Others use them for family vacations or covering the cost of business expenses.

The American Express Membership Rewards program offers Card Members with some one of the most options to redeem their points. Compared to other card issuers, they have a variety of portals, services and transfer partners for which to use your hard earned points.

Membership Rewards Points for Cash Back

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 avoid doing so as you won’t maximize the value for your points.  Using points to pay your statement balance, you’ll only get 0.6 cents per point which is terrible.  Gift cards provide a little bit more value, at 1 cent per point value on some, while others cost closer to 0.8 cents per point. Cash Back/Gift Card Value: 0.6 cents for statement credit, 1 cent each for gift cards

Membership Rewards Points on the American Express Travel Portal

The AMEX Travel Portal lets you redeem your points for travel at a rate of 1 cent per point.  For example, you can book a $200 round-trip flight from Chicago to Washington, DC for 20,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points.  Nice and simple.

If you’ve got the AMEX Business Platinum Card, you’ll actually earn points back when you book award flights through their Travel Portal! Booking any First Class or Business Class tickets will earn you 35% back on your points. You can also earn the same 35% back on any economy tickets booked on select airlines:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Southwest
  • Sprit
  • United Airlines

These are the same airlines that are eligible for the annual statement credit, and can be changed once per year, before January 31st. You can earn up to 500,000 points back per year. Travel Portal Value: 1 cent each (~1.54 cents each with the AMEX Business Platinum)

Membership Rewards Points with Airline & Hotel Partners

Moving points to an AMEX transfer partner is one of the best ways to get the most value for your points. Why? Most award flights and hotel nights are fixed rates, where when paying with cash those prices will fluctuate. Please note however, that unlike other card issues, AMEX Membership Rewards points do not transfer to all partners at an equal 1:1 ratio.

Transfer Partner Value: Varies by partner, but on average:

  • All Nippon Airways (ANA): 0.6 – 7 cents
  • British Airways: 0.7 – 5.5 cents
  • Singapore Airlines: 0.8 – 4.5 cents

Transferring to hotel partners will not provide the same amount of value compared to airline partners. You’ll be lucky to earn 1 cent per point when redeeming with either Choice Hotels, Hilton or Marriott.

Using Membership Rewards Points on Amazon

Not a consistent redemption option, but one of the best out there is using your Membership Rewards points on Amazon. Always a limited offer, Card Members can get big discounts for using only “1” point. Using a single point will offer you 20% or more off your final purchase when paid (using any method – not necessarily just AMEX). Amazon Value: Varies on the promotion, but it can be as much as $100 per point!

Using Your Points

At the end of the day, AMEX Membership Rewards points are extremely flexible. That flexibility however, is why knowing their exact value can be so difficult to determine! There are plenty of ways where you can get up to 8 cents or more. With the good also comes the bad: if you’re not careful you might not be getting the maximum value for your point which is like leaving money on the table.

What’s your favorite AMEX Membership Rewards redemption? Do you have a go to earning strategy to rack up as many points as possible? Share them with us on Twitter or Facebook!

The post Maximizing Your AMEX Membership Reward Points Redemptions was first published on Coworkaholic.

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