american express membership rewards points

What is the Value of American Express Membership Rewards Points?

American Express Membership Rewards points are a versatile and valuable currency for cardholders, offering myriad ways to redeem them for maximum benefit. These points can be accrued through everyday spending, special promotions, and bonus categories, making them an integral part of the American Express experience. Understanding the value of these points in various redemption scenarios can help cardholders make informed decisions and get the most out of their rewards.

american express membership rewards points

When redeeming Membership Rewards points, the value can vary significantly depending on how they are used. Whether you’re looking to cash out, purchase gift cards, book travel, or transfer points to airline and hotel partners, each option comes with its rate of return.

In this article, we will explore the worth of American Express Membership Rewards points across these different redemption methods, providing a comprehensive guide to help you maximize the value of your hard-earned points.

Membership Point Redemption MethodEstimated Value (per point)
Statement Credit$0.006
Gift Card Redemption$0.005 – $0.01
Charitable Donation$0.01
Purchases Online (Amazon, etc.)$0.005 – $0.007
Booked Travel Through American Express$0.007 – $0.01
Booked Travel Through Transfer Partners$0.006 – $0.05

Statement Credit, Gift Card, and Online Spending Value

American Express Membership Points can be redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, online purchases, or even donations to charity. Unfortunately, these options return the lowest value and should be avoided. Instead, you can maximize your points by transferring them to travel partners.

Current reward value (1,000 point redemption) rates for each redemption method are as follows:

  • Purchases on Retail sites that accept AMEX Membership Rewards Points – $5.00
  • Statement Credit – $6.00
  • Purchases on Amazon.com – $7.00
  • Donate to Charity – $10.00
  • Purchases of Gift Cards through AMEX – $5.00 to $10.00

The highest rate of return when using your Membership Rewards Points for something other than travel redemptions (or transfers) is just one penny per point. Owning an American Express credit card means taking advantage of all the perks, primarily geared toward travel and luxury. Using your points for these low-value options is not ideal.

Travel Rewards Value Through the American Express Portal

When you use your Membership Rewards Points to book travel through AmexTravel.com, each point is typically worth a penny. It’s rare to find a value going above one penny, and once in a while, you will discover certain flights and hotel bookings bring the value below one penny per point. When using the portal, you’ll find the cost of your desired purchase displayed in cash and points (an example from a Delta flight below)

american express travel portal

Redeeming points through AmexTravel.com is an OK option, but using the same image above, I’ll show why, with just a little effort, you should always first check whether or not you can transfer your points to a travel partner.

When you transfer your points to Delta SkyMiles (for example), you can do so at a 1:1 rate. Rather than use your points in the AMEX Travel Portal, if you transfer them to Delta, they’re worth a bit more (an average of about 1.25 cents per point). The comparison below shows that a $237 flight would cost you 20,500 Delta SkyMiles. Booking the same flight through the AMEX Travel Portal would cost you 23,700 Membership Rewards Points, so by transferring your points to Delta, you save 3,200 points.

delta skymile value

Transfer Your Points to AMEX Partners Value

The highest value for American Express Membership Rewards Points is when transferring them to an AMEX partner. Today, American Express has 21 transfer partners, each noted in the table below.

Transfer PartnerTransfer RatioTimelineMinimum Transfer (Points)
Aer Lingus1:12 Business Days1,000
AeroMexico1:1.62 Business Days1,000
Aeroplan1:12 Business Days1,000
Air France1:12 Business Days1,000
ANA Mileage Club1:14 Business Days1,000
Avianca LifeMiles1:13 Business Days1,000
British Airways1:12 Business Days1,000
Cathay Pacific1:12 Business Days1,000
Choice Privleges1:12 Business Days1,000
Delta SkyMiles1:12 Business Days1,000
Emirates1:12 Business Days1,000
Etihad1:12 Business Days1,000
HawaiianMiles1:22 Business Days1,000
Hilton Honors1:21 Business Day1,000
Iberia Plus1:12 Business Days1,000
JetBlue TrueBlue1.25:12 Business Days250
Marriott Bonvoy1:12 Business Days1,000
Qantas1:12 Business Days500
Qatar Airways1:12 Business Days1,000
Singapore Airlines1:12 Business Days1,000
Virgin Atlantic1:12 Business Days1,000

There is no set value for any transfer partner because many variables determine how much value you’re getting for your points. For example, if you book a domestic coach flight and transfer your miles to Delta Airlines, you can expect a straightforward rate of return of about $0.0125 per point, a little above standard. The well-known, domestic names you see on the transfer list have some of the lowest rates of returns.

However, if you decide to book a business class, international flight on ANA (for example), you can expect an average value of your points between $0.02 and $0.05. These flights are much more expensive and require more points. However, the return value is sometimes 3x-5x greater than if you were taking short flights in the cheap seats.

What would have been a total cost of $2,933 turns into just $288.81 + 62,000 ANA Miles (ANA Miles see a 1:1 transfer rate)

ana transfer rate

Credit Cards That Earn Membership Rewards Points

American Express has an extensive portfolio of credit and charge cards to earn you membership rewards points. Our American Express trifecta includes three credit cards that, when used together, can earn you a near-maximum amount of rewards.

American Express® Gold Card

Amex Gold Card

Our Rating: 4.8

★★★★

American Express® Gold Card

Welcome Offer (Terms Apply)

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points

Est. Value

Up to $1,200

Annual Fee

$250

APR

See Pay Over Time APR Variable

Credit Req’d

Good, Excellent

Rewards: 4x points at restaurants, 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 spent annually), 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com, and 1x points on all other eligible purchases.

The American Express® Gold Card is the perfect dining and supermarket credit card, offering an elevated rewards rate on everyday purchases.

1x points
On all other eligible purchases
1x points on all other eligible purchases
3x points
Airfare
3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
4x points
U.S. supermarkets
4x points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 in purchases per year.
4x points
Dining
4x points at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.

Pros

  • Welcome offer
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Up to 4x points
  • Excellent dining credit

Cons

  • Annual fee
  • Requires good credit
App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved06/13/2023
699
TransUnion
$1,750
Approved02/03/2024
688
Equifax
---
Approved02/03/2024
690
Experian
---
Approved02/03/2024
731
TransUnion
---
Approved02/27/2023
700
Experian
---

The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card

American Express Blue Business Cash Card

Our Rating: 4.6

★★★★

The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card

Welcome Offer (Terms Apply)

Earn a $250 statement credit

Est. Value

$250

Annual Fee

No annual fee

APR

18.49% – 26.49% Variable

Credit Req’d

Good, Excellent

Rewards: 2% cash back on all eligible spending for the first $50,000 spent annually, then 1% cash back on all other purchases.

The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card is the perfect credit card for everyday spending where you can’t find an elevated rewards rate. A nice welcome offer and American Express everyday perks make it even stronger.

1% cash back
All eligible purchases
1% cash back on eligible purchases after spending $50,000.
2% cash back
All eligible purchases
Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%. Cash back earned is automatically credited to your statement.

Pros

  • Welcome offer
  • No annual fee
  • Up to 2% cash back

Cons

  • Foreign transaction fee
  • Requires good credit
App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved05/20/2023
690
Not Provided
---
Approved08/23/2023
746
Experian
$10,000
Approved08/23/2023
752
TransUnion
$10,000
Approved08/23/2023
753
Equifax
$10,000
Approved09/12/2023
823
Experian
$5,000
Approved01/20/2024
717
Experian
$10,000
Approved01/20/2024
739
Equifax
$10,000
Approved01/20/2024
741
TransUnion
$10,000
Approved02/23/2023
680
Experian
$2,000

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Amex Platinum Card

Our Rating: 4.5

★★★★

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Welcome Offer (Terms Apply)

Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points

Est. Value

Up to $1,600

Annual Fee

$695

APR

See Pay Over Time APR Variable

Credit Req’d

Excellent, Good

Rewards: When booking flights and prepaid hotels with American Express Travel and flights booked directly with airlines, cardholders will earn 5x membership reward points for every dollar spent. 1x points on other purchases.

The Platinum Card® from American Express signals status like few other credit cards. Cardmembers earn exclusive perks, high everyday rewards, and a massive upfront welcome offer.

1x points
On all other eligible purchases
1x on other purchases
5x points
Airfare
5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, on up to $500,000 on these purchases each calendar year
5x points
Hotels
5x points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com

Pros

  • Welcome offer
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Excellent annual credits
  • Lounge access
  • Up to 5x points

Cons

  • Annual fee
  • Requires good credit
App StatusDateCredit ScoreBureauCredit Limit
Approved04/25/2024
649
Not Provided
---
Approved03/20/2024
800
Not Provided
---
Approved04/28/2023
812
Equifax
---
Approved04/28/2023
820
TransUnion
---
Approved04/28/2023
825
Experian
---
Approved08/16/2023
698
Equifax
$25,000
Approved08/16/2023
709
Experian
$25,000
Approved08/16/2023
728
TransUnion
$25,000
Approved12/11/2023
695
TransUnion
---
Approved12/11/2023
713
Experian
---
Approved12/11/2023
714
Equifax
---
Approved01/04/2023
696
Not Provided
---
Approved06/21/2023
700
Not Provided
---
Approved01/23/2023
675
Not Provided
$6,000
Approved11/01/2023
683
Experian
---
Approved11/01/2023
703
TransUnion
---
Approved11/01/2023
718
Equifax
---
Approved08/17/2023
737
TransUnion
---
Approved08/17/2023
742
Equifax
---
Approved08/17/2023
758
Experian
---
Approved05/29/2024
680
Experian
---

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How can I earn Membership Rewards points?

You can earn Membership Rewards points by using your eligible American Express card for everyday purchases, taking advantage of special offers and promotions, referring friends to American Express, and participating in specific partner programs.

Some American Express cards also offer bonus points for spending in specific categories, such as travel, dining, or groceries.

Do Membership Rewards points expire?

Membership Rewards points do not expire as long as your account remains active and in good standing. This means you can accumulate points over time without the pressure of using them within a specific timeframe. However, you may lose any unredeemed points if your account is closed.

Can I combine Membership Rewards points from multiple American Express accounts?

Generally, you cannot directly combine Membership Rewards points from multiple American Express accounts unless the accounts are linked. However, you can pool points from different cards if they are all part of the same Membership Rewards account.

For example, you can combine the points for redemptions if you have a personal and a business card that earns Membership Rewards points and is linked under the same account. Check with American Express customer service for specific details regarding your account setup.

Are there any fees associated with earning or redeeming Membership Rewards points?

Earning or redeeming Membership Rewards points does not incur direct fees. However, some American Express cards participating in the program may have annual fees. It’s essential to review the terms and conditions of your specific card to understand any associated costs.

When transferring points to airline or hotel programs, there may be a small fee for specific transfers, such as converting points to frequent flyer miles.

Final Thought on the Value of AMEX Membership Rewards Points

American Express Membership Rewards points offer a flexible and valuable way to enhance your spending power and enrich your travel experiences. While the value of points can vary based on the redemption method, understanding these differences is critical to maximizing your rewards.

Redeeming points for cash or gift cards provides convenience and immediate value, but often at a lower rate than travel bookings and partner transfers. For those looking to get the most bang for their buck, using points for flights, hotels, and travel-related expenses, primarily through strategic transfers to airline and hotel partners, can yield significantly higher returns.

Ultimately, the best use of your Membership Rewards points will depend on your personal preferences and financial goals. Whether you prefer the simplicity of cash back, the variety of gift cards, or the potential for high-value travel redemptions, American Express Membership Rewards points offer something for everyone. By staying informed and leveraging the various redemption options available, you can ensure that your points work harder for you, turning everyday purchases into extraordinary rewards.