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American Express Membership Rewards can be used in various ways, offering consumers tons of options for their points. With so much flexibility, it can be hard to decide which option provides the best value.
Amex Cardholders will gain the most value from the loyalty transfer program. However, it's nice to have other considerable options if you're not interested in using your rewards for award travel. Overall, the Membership Rewards program is one of the best credit card programs out there, excelling in flexibility and long-term value.
Amex cardholders will typically get the best deal by transferring their Amex points through the airline transfer program where they can get 2.2 cents in value per point on average.
In this guide, we dive into the Membership Rewards portal to assess all of the redemption options and what the points are worth.
How much are Amex points worth?
The value of Amex points will vary greatly per redemption option, but you can expect to receive a minimum of 0.5 cents per point.
On average, we found that you can get 2.2 cents per value by transferring your points over to Amex's loyalty program partners.
Amex points redemption options
The following table shows the value you can expect from the following redemption options. Out of all of these options, you'll extract the most value from the points transfer program, but booking flights through Amex Travel and purchasing gift cards aren't a bad deal either.
Amex points value
Estimated value (in cents)
|Transfer points to airline and hotel loyalty programs||Depends on program (around 2.2 cents on average)|
|Book flights through the Amex Travel portal||1.0|
|Book hotels through the Amex Travel portal||0.7|
|Redeem for gift cards||0.5-1.10|
|Shop with points||0.5|
|Pay with your points at checkout||0.7-1.0|
|Cover your card charges and receive a statement credit||0.6|
With plenty of redemption options to choose from, let's take a closer look at how each option works.
Transferring Amex points to loyalty programs
The Membership Rewards program's best feature is the ability to transfer your points to airline and hotel loyalty programs. Most Amex points will transfer at a 1:1 ratio, although a handful of programs offer slightly less value than that.
Our analysis found that transferring your Amex points to loyalty programs leads to values much greater than 1 cent each. Below, you'll find the participating airline and hotel programs and their respective point transfer ratios.
|Air Canada Aeroplan||1:1|
|Air France KLM Flying Blue||1:1|
|ANA Mileage Club||1:1|
|British Airways Avios||1:1|
|Delta Air Lines SkyMiles||1:1|
|Etihad Guest Miles||1:1|
|Choice Privileges Rewards||1:1|
We sampled five different award travel itineraries to calculate the average point value to demonstrate the power of this redemption option.
Air Canada Aeroplan: Toronto (YYZ) to Frankfurt (FRA)
Business class round-trip
|Redemption||94,558 points + $171.65||139,758 points + $202.36|
|Point value||1.1 cents||4.5 cents|
Delta SkyMiles: New York (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX)
Business class round-trip
|Redemption||20,000 miles + $11.20||90,000 miles + $11.20|
|Point value||3.3 cents||1.2 cents|
Hawaiian Air HawaiianMiles: Phoenix (PHX) to Honolulu (HNL)
Business class round-trip
|Redemption||40,000 miles + $12||120,000 miles + $12|
|Point value||1.2 cents||2.2 cents|
Singapore KrisFlyer Miles: San Francisco (SFO) to Hong Kong (HKG
Business class round-trip
|Redemption||120,000 miles + $65.12||251,000 miles + $78.74|
|Point value||0.7 cents||4.0 cents|
Marriott Bonvoy: JW Marriott Cannes
|Point value||1.3 cents|
Program and itinerary
|Economy round-trip||$1,201.58||94,558 points + $171.65||1.1 cents|
|Business class round-trip||$6,556.58||139,758 points + $202.36||4.5 cents|
|Economy round-trip||$666.80||20,000 miles + $11.20||3.3 cents|
|First class round-trip||$1,056.80||90,000 miles + $11.20||1.2 cents|
|Economy round-trip||$459||40,000 miles + $12||1.2 cents|
|First class round-trip||$2,616||120,000 miles + $12||2.2 cents|
|Economy round-trip||$936.82||120,000 miles + $65.12||0.7 cents|
|Business round-trip||$9,993.40||251,000 miles + $78.74||4.0 cents|
|Marriott Bonvoy||JW Marriott Cannes||$920||70,000 points||1.3 cents|
As you can see from the chart above, the point values will vary greatly depending on the itinerary and loyalty program.
For airlines, you'll generally gain the best value from your points on business or first-class tickets.
On Air Canada, you can earn a whopping 4.7 cents in value for a business-class ticket — almost five times the standard value of an Amex point.
Not all redemptions are built the same, so it will take a bit more diligence to check the cash price and the award travel price. However, by taking this extra step, you can find incredible value with your Membership Rewards points.
Redeem Amex points for flights on Amex Travel
Using your Amex points to book flights through the Amex Travel portal will yield 1 cent per point. While this option provides average value, you can book virtually any airline or flight itinerary through Amex Travel. For simplicity's sake, booking flights through Amex Travel can save you a ton of time and effort.
Redeem Amex points for hotels on Amex Travel
Booking hotels on the Amex Travel portal is just as easy — but the points value falls short. With this redemption option, each Amex point is worth only 0.7 cents each.
If you're looking to book hotel stays with your points, we recommend opting for the points transfer option instead. For Marriott and Choice Hotels, you can transfer your Amex points at a 1:1 ratio, potentially exceeding the value of just 0.7 cents per point.
Redeem Amex points for gift cards
American Express offers the ability to redeem your Amex points gift cards in five categories: air and lodging, car and rail, dining, experience and retail. The points value will depend on which gift card you choose, as low as 0.5 cents per point. Out of these options, most dining and retail gift cards will yield the highest value at 1 cent per point.
Redeem Amex points for shopping
You can visit membershiprewards.com to use your points to shop at hundreds of stores spanning various categories. You can use your Amex points to purchase Apple products, appliances and even furniture.
For most of the products listed, each Amex point will be worth 0.5 cents each, which isn't necessarily the best use of your rewards. American Express will offer special offers where you'll need fewer points for certain items. Even with these offers, you generally won't get more than 1 cent of value per point.
Pay with Amex points at checkout
When shopping at 15 online retailers, you have the option to pay with your Amex points at checkout. Depending on the store, each point will be worth 0.5 cents to 1 cent each.
Points value (in cents)
|Saks Fifth Avenue||0.7|
Although this option won't necessarily provide the best value, this can be fantastic if you're looking to use some of your points to offset a large purchase. With PayPal, you'll have access to millions of retailers that accept this payment method at checkout.
Cover your card charges with Amex points
You also have the option to cover eligible charges on your card using your Amex points. When viewing your online statement, you have the opportunity to pay your bill or redeem your points for eligible expenses. By opting for the latter option, a statement credit will appear within 48 hours — effectively erasing this charge.
This option will yield 0.6 cents per point, and you'll need to use a minimum of 1,000 Membership Rewards points.
Cards that earn Amex points
Not all American Express cards earn Membership Rewards points, so you'll want to make sure you own one of the following eligible cards:
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||$695 See rates and fees||Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.|
|The Business Platinum Card® from American Express||$695||Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.||Read Review|
|American Express® Gold Card||$250 See rates and fees||Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.|
|American Express® Business Gold Card||$295||Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.*||Read Review|
|American Express® Green Card||$150||45,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.||Read Review|
|Business Green Rewards Card from American Express||$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95||Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.||Read Review|
|The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express||$0||10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.||Read Review|
|The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express||$95||Earn 15,000 bonus points after you use your new card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.||Offer not available on ValuePenguin|
|The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express||No annual fee||None||Offer not available on ValuePenguin|
What are the best ways to use Amex points?
The best way to use your points is to transfer them over to Amex's loyalty partners. Generally, booking business or first class flights will yield the most value for your points, up to 4.7 cents of value according to our samples above. If you're unable to find award travel space, booking through the Amex Travel portal isn't a bad idea either. However, it's advisable to book flights rather than hotels through this portal, as you'll gain a value of 1 cent each versus just 0.7 cents. If you're not traveling anytime soon, you can also redeem your points for many gift cards at 1 cent each.
What are the worst ways to use Amex points?
Any redemption options offering value below 1 cent each should be avoided at all costs. Unless you're strapped for cash and want to use your points balance to cover a purchase or a statement charge, we recommend avoiding all other redemption options entirely.If you want to earn cash back instead of flexible points, many cashback cards can offer redemption values of 1 cent each that will suit your long-term goals better.
Do Amex points expire?
No. While Amex points never expire, you may forfeit them if you close your account, make late payments or misuse the Membership Rewards program.
Can I have more than one card that earns Amex points?
Yes. If you own multiple cards that earn Amex points, they'll be consolidated into one program account for your use.
Can I share my Amex points with friends or family members?
No. American Express does not allow you to transfer your Amex points to other accounts not tied to your own.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of American Express® Gold Card, please click here.
The information related to The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, American Express® Business Gold Card, American Express® Green Card, Business Green Rewards Card from American Express, The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express and The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.