AMEX Membership Rewards can be more valuable than you think. Below are several ways to maximize it.
AMEX has three levels of Membership Rewards:
Membership Rewards First = Platinum and Centurion cards
Membership Rewards = Green and Gold cards, Everyday Preferred or Everyday card
Membership Rewards Express = Blue, Zync and a few business credit cards
Only the first two levels (Membership Rewards First and Membership Rewards) can be transferred to airline miles thus are more valuable. We’re only talking about AMEX MR of the first two levels below.
1. Transfer to Airline Miles and Book Flight
To transfer to airline miles and then book flight has the maximum potential. One typical example is to transfer to Virgin Atlantic and then book flight of upper class (Virgin Atlantic’s name for business/first class) from New York to London.
Compare the cost using miles vs cash above, we can calculate the value of each Virgin Atlantic mile worth more than 8.6 cents. The transfer ratio from AMEX MR to Virgin Atlantic is 1:1 so in the example AMEX MR is also over 8.6 cents/points.
The calculated price is a little imaginary since you might not spend as much as $5501 on a trip in the first place. Redemption of miles for economy class ticket usually yields less value than business class (in a lot of cases, business class ticket usually has three to four times cash value, but only costs twice amount of miles). But it it still possible to get 2-5 cents/point. Below is the economy class ticket for similar trip:
Please be informed: The examples were found by experienced professional. Please do not set your expectations to as high as them. Also award ticket has limited availability. Generally redemption rate of 1.25 – 2 cents/point is more practical.
AMEX MR can be transfer to not only Virgin Atlantic, but also many other airline miles, giving your more opportunities. Learn more on airline miles by reading posts in [Miles] category.
2. Redeem Gift Card when Promotion is on
The best promotion in the history is 5,000 points for $100 gap gift card, which was several years ago and never repeated. Although not as great, there might be still some good promotions. With them, the value of MR could be more than 1 cent (of gift card value) each point.
3. Sell to Brokers for Cash
This option is in gray area. AMEX MR doesn’t want you to do it, but AMEX MR wouldn’t know if you do it. Brokers in the gray area is actually much more reliable and trust-able than you expect (Reason behind is that they purely rely on reputation to stay in business). One reliable broker is milesp2p.com which has great reputation online and over two thousand Facebook likes. As of now (May 2017), price for AMEX MR is 1.3 cents/point.
4. [Avoid] Amazon Credit or Shop with AMEX
It is valued at 0.7 cent/point for Amazon Credit. Add your AMEX credit card to Amazon account, and the option will come up automatically at Amazon payment page.
AMEX allows you to buy stuff using AMEX MR but generally they’re over-priced. Estimated cash value for your points is measly 0.5 cent/point.
Please avoid redemption as Amazon Credit or Shop with AMEX. They’re listed just so that we’re not missing information. Really please try to avoid them.