Certain American Express credit cards give you access to the American Express Membership Rewards program. After earning points from making credit card purchases, you can redeem them at a wide range of retailers and travel partners, or through Expedia. While there’s not a technical way to earn cash back through American Express Membership Rewards, you can use your points for charges on your card’s billing statements. The program also comes with one of the more comprehensive transfer partnerships for traveling.
Note: Due to the impact of COVID-19, for eligible Card accounts approved from December 1, 2019 through May 31, 2020 for which you are eligible for a welcome offer, the period to make eligible purchases to earn your welcome bonus will be extended for an additional 3 months. Eligible Cards are U.S. Consumer and Business Cards issued by American Express National Bank to a Basic Card Member.
In This Article:
- How to Earn American Express Membership Rewards
- What Can You Redeem American Express Membership Rewards For?
- How to Redeem American Express Membership Rewards
- Other American Express Membership Rewards Transfer Partners
How to Earn Amex Membership Rewards
Not all American Express credit cards are eligible to earn membership rewards. Here are the eligible cards that don’t require an invitation.
- Annual fee: $550
- 5X rewards points for eligible flights and prepaid hotel stays
- 60,000 points bonus after spending $5,000 in first three months
- Annual fee: $250
- 4X rewards points at restaurants and grocery stores
- 35,000 points bonus after spending $4,000 in first three months
- Annual fee: $0
- 2X rewards points at U.S. supermarkets
- 10,000 points bonus after spending $1,000 in first three months
- Annual fee: $95
- 3X rewards points at supermarkets and 2X points at gas stations
- 15,000 points bonus after spending $1,000 in first three months
- Annual fee: $295
- 4X rewards points on two select categories each month
- 50,000 points bonus after spending $5,000 in first three months
What Can You Redeem American Express Membership Rewards For?
- Online Checkout: Amex partners with merchants like PayPal, Amazon, and Saks Fifth Avenue that let you pay with your points directly at checkout.
- Gift Cards: Choose from a variety of gift cards from retailers, restaurants, and movie theaters. You can choose between electronic delivery or a physical gift card mailed to you.
- Card Charges: Once you receive your American Express billing statement, you can select charges and apply your points to pay them off rather than paying in cash.
- Travel: Opt to either book your travel through AmexTravel.com or use your points on Expedia.
- Shopping: Use your points to shop through American Express with retailers like Best Buy, Apple, Lulelemon, and more.
- Partner Transfer: Your American Express rewards points can also be transferred to a participating loyalty program.
The value of your points varies based on how you choose to redeem them. To get the most accurate ratio, use the American Express Rewards Points Calculator. Pick your card, then see the value of your points for each redemption option.
For example, when using your points to check out at Amazon, 10,000 points equates to $70. To use your points for card charges, 10,000 points will be applied to $60. Booking travel gets you more bang for your buck, with a $100 value for the equivalent amount of points.
How to Redeem American Express Membership Rewards
It’s simple to redeem your American Express rewards points when you log into your online account. Alternatively, when using online checkout at partners like PayPal, you can redeem your points directly through the merchant’s website. At the normal checkout page, you’ll see your points balance when entering in your American Express credit card details. Then you just check the box to use your membership rewards for a statement credit.
There are two redemption options when it comes to booking travel with your American Express points. You can either search for travel deals directly through American Express or create an Expedia account to book there. Once you link your Amex card, you’ll see your points balance that can be applied to travel purchases.
To cover your card charges with points, view your billing statement online to see which of your purchases are eligible. Redeeming your points for gift cards is just as easy. Simply browse your options and select the dollar amount you want. To shop online with your points, log into your Amex account to view products and deals. Popular items include the Apple TV 4K, Google Nest doorbell, and Bose QuietComfort wireless headphones. You can also shop by category to compare offers and points.
You can also maximize your American Express rewards by transferring your points to partnering loyalty programs. Here are some options to choose from:
- Avianca LifeMiles: With another 1:1 transfer ratio, Life Miles lets you use points for Avianca flights and Star Alliance Airline flights.
- British Airways Executive Club: In addition to using your points for airfare, British Airways also lets you redeem them for hotels, car rentals, and more. You can book an entire vacation using your Amex and British Airways points.
- Delta SkyMiles: Not only can you transfer Amex points to Delta SkyMiles, but this program also adds new deals to destinations worldwide each week. If you like to travel on a regular basis, it’s a convenient way to snag discounted prices with your points.
- Marriott Bonvoy: Get three Bonvoy points for every two Amex points you transfer. Perks include member-only rates and free WiFi when you stay with any of the 30 Marriott brands.
Other American Express Membership Rewards Transfer Partners
- AerClub: The Aer Lingus loyalty program offers multiple membership tiers depending on how much you fly each year. All tiers collect points for each flight that can be redeemed for future travel.
- AeroMexico: Part of the Skyteam Alliance. You can earn points on your AeroMexico flights and also get access to member lounges at airports across the world.
- Air Canada: Air Canada’s Aeroplan program lets you use points to book flights or redeem while you’re on board.
- Air France: As a Flying Blue member, you can earn more points the more you fly and progress through the membership levels. Points can be used to book flights, upgrade seats, or order off the a la carte menu.
- ANA: All Nippon Airways’ mileage program lets you use your miles for flights on ANA as well as on partnering airlines. Other options include upgrades, Japanese yen vouchers, and extra baggage allowances.
- Asia Miles: With no expiration date on your Asia Miles, you can save up as long as you want. Points may be redeemed for travel, dining, entertainment, and more.
- Choice Privileges: By staying at any of the Choice hotel brands, you can earn loyalty points to be used not only at its hotels, but also at partnering restaurants, airlines, and retailers.
- Emirates Skywards: Earn points the more you travel, then redeem them for perks like flights on partner airlines, hotels, and events.
- Hilton Honors: The Hilton Honors program gives you perks like lowest price booking and free WiFi.
- JetBlue: Points transferred to the TrueBlue program can be used to book JetBlue flights directly through its website.
The Bottom Line
While not all of the American Express redemption options have the highest exchange values, there are categories that make this rewards program stand out. Shopping directly online through partners like PayPal is a convenient way to use your points, as is using your points toward your card statements. With one of the most comprehensive travel partnership programs available, transferring your points to your existing loyalty programs is an easy way to get the most out of your American Express membership rewards.