Best Ways to Use American Express Membership Reward Points
If you’re new to Amex points then using them for flights, hotels, shopping or credit can seem complicated. This article explains how to set up transfers to Avios for flights, Hilton for hotel stays and other schemes. To make the best use of your Amex points, look carefully at the value you’re getting per point. Expect Amex points to be worth around 1p each with a good redemption.
If you’re also wondering much the the 10,000 reward points on the American Express Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card might be worth, then see our post here:
If you’re looking to boost your welcome reward by using a referral link (for example to increase the Gold bonus from 10,000 to 12,000 reward points) then see here:
What are American Express Reward Points?
American Express Reward Points are points you earn as you spend money on your card. Effectively they’re like earning cashback, however they can be transferred to a range of travel and loyalty schemes, some of which have no fixed value. This means that if you can find good redemptions, they can be worth a lot more than cashback. However, at the same time it also means that redeeming them is less straightforward than for schemes where there is a fixed value. For example, when you redeem points for a loyalty scheme like Nectar, Co-op or Costa you simply swipe your card and choose to pay with points, which are applied as a fixed value discount.
With American Express your points are earned in your Amex account and although technically you can redeem them as a fixed value discount this rarely makes sense. This is because by redeeming with travel schemes you can realistically earn 1p+ per point, yet the statement credit value is just 0.45p.
Using Amex Points for Statement Credit
Whilst it rarely makes sense, here’s how you redeem for a fixed value credit against purchases.
1. Log in to your Amex account and from your dashboard click ‘use points for purchases’ on the right hand box under your points total.
2. You will now see a list of your transactions. From the list of transactions on your account, use the check boxes to select the transactions which you’d like to pay by points. 1000 points will credit £4.50 against a charge (0.45p per point).
3. Tick the terms and conditions box and click confirm.
Using Amex Points for Travel (Flights & Hotels)
Redeeming Amex Points for travel takes a tiny bit more work, however it often mean you get much better value for your points. Aim for 1p+ per point. If you do your research you can do better – my best in 2019, a redemption with BA Executive Club for a flight in a school holiday period, got me over 10p per point (see here).
1. Log in to your Amex account and from your dashboard click the green ‘Use your Points’ button.
2. Choose the ‘Travel’ tab and look at the list of hotel and/or flight schemes. These include Hilton, Marriott Bonvoy, Radisson, British Airways Executive Club, Etihad, Emirates Skyward and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
For each you will see how many points you’ll get. For airlines this is generally 1:1, but often higher for hotel schemes.
3. This is the harder bit. Go to the partner sites and explore the options you’re interested in and see what your points might get you. In most cases you can do this by searching for the points cost for flights or stays.
4. If you find a redemption you like, set up an account on the partner website (e.g. a Hilton Honors account).
5. Go back to the American Express website, click the blue ‘Transfer my Points’ button for the scheme and then add the details of the account you’ve just set up in the ‘account info’ section. For example, add your new Hilton Honors number by clicking ‘Transfer my Points’ for Hilton.
6. Once the account is linked and accepted you can transfer your points and then spend them via the partner website. When you first set up your account the transfer might take a few days, but future transfers will go through much more quickly.
Using Amex Points for Gift Cards
Like statement credit, this is another fairly easy, but low value option. Generally you’ll get about 0.5p per point here.
1. Log in to your Amex account and click the green ‘Use your Points’ button.
2. Select the gift cards tab at the top.
3. Choose your gift card, add it to your card and pay with points. You can choose from a host of retailers including Amazon, Currys, Harrods, Ikea and M&S.
Using Amex Points for Shopping
You can redeem for Nectar points, but again will get just 0.5p (1 Nectar point) per point. If you’re considering this option, then you’d be much better off with the American Express Nectar Credit Card (see our post here), which earns a much better 2 Nectar points per £1 spent.
1. Set up a Nectar account at nectar.com
2. Log in to your Amex account and click the green ‘Use your Points’ button.
3. Select the blue ‘shop’ tab.
4. Choose Nectar, add your Nectar card details and transfer points.
You can also use Amex points to pay at Amazon.com. This gets you the same value as a statement credit (0.45p) so is relatively pointless – unless you see an Amex pay with points Amazon offer (which appear occasionally) where you can sometimes get a discount code which only works if you link the accounts and pay at least partly in points.
1. Go to amazon.co.uk/membershiprewards Sign in to your existing Amazon.co.uk account, or create a new one.
2. Link your accounts – Follow the instructions to link your Membership Rewards® account to your Amazon.co.uk account.
3. Shop with Points – Shop as normal and at the checkout choose to pay with Membership Rewards points, your American Express® Card, or a combination of both.
Using your Amex points for Charity
Finally, if you want to use your Amex points to help others, then you can donate them to charity.
1. Log in to your Amex account.
2. Click the green ‘Use your Points’ button.
3. Choose the blue ‘Pay with Points’ tab and select ‘donate your points’
4. Select the cause you’d like to donate to, and the points you’d like to donate, and confirm.
Amex Referral Link
Remember that you can get an enhanced welcome bonus if you apply for an American Express card by using a referral link.
For more details, and to use our referral link, see here:
Take me to the Points
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