The line of charge cards from American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) may come in various colors, but they all earn Amex Membership Rewards points. Consumers interested in traveling around the world on American Express's dime might consider one of its charge cards like the Platinum Card® from American Express or a Membership Rewards-earning credit card like the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card.
But depending on how cardholders plan to redeem their points, Amex Membership Rewards points can be worth different amounts. Here's an overview of Membership Rewards and how much the points are worth.
Which cards earn Membership Rewards points?
There are a lot of options for earning Membership Rewards. Personal credit and charge card options include:
- Amex EveryDay® Credit Card -- no annual fee
- Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card -- $95 annual fee
- Platinum Card® from American Express -- $550 annual fee
- Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express -- $195 annual fee
- Green Card® from American Express -- $95 annual fee
- Gold Card® from American Express -- $160 annual fee
- The Mercedes-Benz Credit Card -- $95 annual fee
- Blue from American Express® -- no annual fee
American Express also offers several business cards that earn Membership Rewards.
- The Business Gold Rewards Card -- $175 annual fee
- The Business Platinum Card® -- $450 annual fee
- Blue Business Plus Credit Card -- $0 annual fee
- Business Green Rewards Card -- $95 annual fee
Each come with its own benefits and bonus spending categories, and the higher-annual-fee cards generally come with larger sign-up bonuses. See our reviews for each card to figure out which suits your needs best.
Redeeming Membership Rewards points for less than $0.01 each
American Express Shopping: $0.005 per point -- American Express offers a shopping portal where customers can find items from various merchants. The value is so low, however, it makes no sense to redeem points this way because you can receive higher value for redeeming points against charges at any store.
Entertainment tickets: $0.005 per point -- Membership Rewards points can be redeemed at Ticketmaster, Telecharge.com, and AXS; but you'll only get half a penny for your points.
Wipe out individual charges: $0.006 per point -- Cardholders can use Membership Rewards points to remove charges from their card statement. Points can only be redeemed for the exact amount of a charge on the card (not a flat rate like $25), so if there are no small charges on your Amex, it might be difficult to redeem points this way. But considering the low value of this redemption option, consumers would be better off with a regular cash back credit card if they're interested in statement credits.
American Express Shopping Partners: $0.007 per point -- American Express has partnered with Amazon.com, Best Buy, AirBnB, Newegg.com, Staples, Expedia.com, and Rite Aid. Redeeming points at any of these partners will net just $0.007 per point, though. They'll occasionally run promotions to boost the redemption value, however, so keep an eye on your email inbox.
Getting $0.01 per Amex Membership Reward Point
American Express Travel Portal -- Booking travel through the Amex travel portal will net approximately $0.01 per point. Keep in mind, however, the portal has limited options and doesn't always offer the best prices.
Uber or New York Taxi -- If you use Uber a lot, you may get a lot of value out of this redemption. You just need to add your Membership Rewards earning card to the app, and you'll see pay with Membership Rewards come up as an option.
Gift Cards -- Amex offers some gift cards at a redemption value of $0.01 per point. Some gift cards, however, cost more, so pay attention.
Give to charity -- Card members can donate through American Express's Members Give program. The first 500,000 points will be valued at $0.01 per point. Check with an accountant to determine whether the donation is tax deductible.
Get more value per point by transferring to airline partners
Most American Express credit and charge cards allow you to transfer Membership Rewards points to American Express's various airline and hotel partners. The exceptions are Blue from American Express®, the Gold Card® from American Express, and the Green Card® from American Express. But as long as you have a card that's eligible to transfer points, all of your Membership Rewards points are transferable.
Redeeming points this way is a bit more involved, but it will get you the most value. Here's a list of travel programs to which you can transfer your Membership Rewards:
- Aeromexico Club Premier
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Air France KLM Flying Blue
- Alitalia Millemiglia
- ANA Mileage Club
- Asia Miles
- British Airways Avios
- Delta Air Skymiles
- El Al Matmid
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Airways Guest
- Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
- Iberia Plus
- JetBlue Airways TrueBlue
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Virgin America Elevate
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Choice Privileges
- Hilton Honors
- Starwood Preferred Guest
Most transfer partners allow you to exchange points 1-for-1, but some higher-value points, like Starwood Preferred Guest, have a worse exchange rate. Others will get you more than one point for each Membership Reward point you redeem. That said, some airline and hotel programs value points highly, others don't. Do your research to find how much value you can get from Membership Rewards points.
One high-value redemption option is flying internationally in your own private suite on Singapore Airlines. There are reports of redeeming points for a value of nearly $0.10 each flying in these suites. Plus you get to have a first-class experience unlike any other.
Another option is to transfer points to Air France and KLM's Flying Blue program, and then using its partner airline, Delta, to fly to Hawaii from anywhere in the continental United States. If you're flexible with your dates, you can book a round-trip in economy class for just 30,000 points. Considering flights often cost over $1,000, you can easily get over $0.03 per point or more through this redemption.
If you really want to maximize the value of your Membership Rewards points, do your research and find a way to redeem points for good value through American Express's transfer partners.