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What are American Express Membership Rewards points worth?


For years, American Express Membership Rewards points have sat at or near the top of TPG’s monthly valuations of loyalty currencies. According to TPG’s valuations, Membership Rewards points are worth 2 cents each — almost the same as Chase Ultimate Rewards and Bilt Rewards points but noticeably higher than nearly all airline and hotel points.

However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll get exactly 2 cents per point in value every time you redeem your points. Instead, it’s intended as a general guide as you consider how best to use them. The highest-value redemptions should give you more than 2 cents per point, while the lowest-value awards offer less than 1 cent per point.

In short, there are a variety of answers to the question, “How much are Amex points worth?”

Today, we will look at the value of Amex points, how to earn them and some of the best and poorest redemption options.

How to earn Membership Rewards points

THE POINTS GUY

The easiest way to earn a lot of Membership Rewards points is by applying for a Membership Rewards points-earning credit card. Amex has several to choose from, ranging from premium cards with generous benefits (and high annual fees) to no-annual-fee cards that reward daily business spending.

Earning Membership Rewards points from credit cards

To help you choose which is the best Amex card for you, here’s a look at the welcome offer, bonus-category structure, annual fee and benefits for each of the six most valuable Membership Rewards credit cards:

Card Welcome offer Bonus categories Annual fee Key perks
The Platinum Card® from American Express Earn 80,000 points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months of account opening. 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 per calendar year) and prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. Terms apply. $695 (see rates and fees). Up to $200 in annual airline fee credit; up to $200 total in annual Uber Cash (in the U.S.); up to $200 in hotel statement credit on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, with Amex Travel; up to $240 in digital entertainment statement credit for select providers; up to $189 in Clear Plus statement credit; a fee statement credit for Global Entry (up to $100) or TSA PreCheck (up to $85); access to the Global Lounge Collection; complimentary Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold elite status (enrollment is required for select benefits).
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express Earn 120,000 points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership. 5 points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com; 1.5 points per dollar on eligible purchases in select business categories and eligible purchases of $5,000 or more (on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year).
Terms apply.
$695 (see rates and fees). Up to $400 in annual credit for U.S. Dell purchases; up to $200 in annual airline fee statement credit for one selected airline; a fee credit for Global Entry (up to $100) or TSA PreCheck (up to $85); access to the Global Lounge Collection; complimentary Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Gold elite status (enrollment required).
American Express® Gold Card Earn 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases in the first six months of card membership. 4 points per dollar on dining at restaurants; 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1 point per dollar); 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com. Terms apply. $250 (see rates and fees). Up to $120 in annual dining statement credit at participating partners (enrollment is required); up to $120 total in annual Uber Cash (in the U.S.); no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees).
American Express® Business Gold Card Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership. 4 points per dollar on two select categories where you spend the most each month, on up to $150,000 in combined purchases from these two categories each calendar year (then 1 point per dollar). Terms apply. $295 (see rates and fees). 25% points back after you book a flight using Pay with Points (up to 250,000 points back per calendar year).
American Express® Green Card Earn 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months of account opening. 3 points per dollar on virtually all travel purchases (including transit) and restaurants in the U.S. Terms apply. $150 Very broad and generous definition of travel purchases, including vacation rentals, tolls and public transport.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express None. 2 points per dollar on everyday business purchases with no category restrictions (on up to $50,000 each calendar year, then 1 point per dollar). Terms apply. $0 (see rates and fees). None.

The information for the American Express Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

What are Amex points worth?

Air France business class. ERIC ROSEN/THE POINTS GUY

There are many ways to redeem your American Express Membership Rewards points. However, they can offer a wide range of values. Some are fixed, while others give you the potential to far exceed our valuation of 2 cents apiece.

Here are the different ways to value American Express points.

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The value of Amex points when transferring to travel partners

You’ll usually find the most valuable redemptions when transferring your Amex points to the Membership Rewards transfer partners. Amex partners with the following airline and hotel loyalty programs:

By holding on to your Amex points until you’re ready to transfer, you have incredible flexibility — which is the main reason we value Amex points at 2 cents apiece.

In fact, there are many redemptions that could provide more than 2 cents per point in value.

  • Transfer your points to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and you’ll pay just 13,500 KrisFlyer miles for a one-way flight from California, Oregon or Washington to any Hawaiian island on Alaska Airlines. Those based elsewhere in the country can book nonstop or connecting flights on United Airlines. You’ll pay 19,500 points for a one-way economy ticket or 39,000 for business class. This includes United’s long-haul nonstop flights from Newark, Chicago and Washington, D.C., to Honolulu.
  • Singapore Airlines also operates two of the world’s longest flights: From Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). You won’t want to spend 18 hours in an uncomfortable seat, so use your Membership Rewards to fly in business class. Both routes cost 111,500 KrisFlyer points plus taxes and fees one-way, a small price for comfort on such a long flight.
  • Transfer your Amex points to Iberia Plus. You can fly from JFK and Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) to Madrid for just 17,000 Avios in economy, 25,000 in premium economy and 34,000 in business class each way. Considering that most airlines charge 50,000 to 60,000 miles for a one-way business-class flight to Europe, this is an absolute steal.
  • Transfer your Amex points to Air France-KLM’s Flying Blue to enjoy its fantastic monthly Promo Rewards offers. We have regularly seen business-class flights to Europe for under 40,000 Membership Rewards points each way.
  • British Airways Executive Club is the best way to book domestic flights operated by American and Alaska Airlines. The program has a distance- and segment-based award chart, so you’ll pay more Avios for longer flights. However, short and mid-haul domestic flights are the award chart’s sweet spots for Oneworld flyers. Flights that are 1,151 miles or shorter can be booked for just 9,000 Avios.
  • Transfer your Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club program and book round-trip business-class flights to Japan on ANA for just 90,000 Membership Rewards points from the West Coast of the United States and 95,000 points from the East Coast.

However, the value of your Amex points can vary depending on the partner. For example, our new data-backed valuations show that Delta SkyMiles are typically worth around 1.2 cents apiece, while we peg Choice Privileges points at just 0.6 cents apiece. In these cases, transferring your Amex points can result in significantly lower value than with some of the other partners.

The value of Amex points when booking flights through American Express Travel

KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

While we focus a lot on the value of transferable points here at TPG, you can only maximize them if your preferred airline or hotel has award space available. If you need to travel on fixed dates — especially on a premium route like New York to Los Angeles — this might pose a problem. If you’ve exhausted all your other options, you can get an acceptable value by redeeming your points through the Amex Travel portal.

With this option, your Amex points are worth 1 cent each. This can be great with a cheap fare, but it isn’t always the best option.

However, if you have any of the following Amex business cards, you can receive a rebate when using Pay with Points for eligible flights:

The information for the Centurion Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

These rebates are valid on first- or business-class flights with any airline, or you can enjoy them for economy flights with your designated airline for your annual fee credits. You need to have the full number of points in your account at the time of booking, and the rebate will post to your account within six to 10 weeks.

Utilizing one of these rebates can increase your redemption value from 1 cent per point to 1.33 with the Business Gold card, 1.54 with the Business Platinum and 2 cents with the personal or business Centurion card. As a bonus, you’ll earn both redeemable miles and elite-qualifying miles on tickets booked this way, as the airlines treat them the same as cash bookings.

The value of Amex points when redeeming for gift cards

Amex partners with retailers to offer physical and electronic gift cards in various denominations, and you can also redeem points for American Express gift cards. If you go this route, each Amex point will typically be worth 1 cent apiece (so a $50 gift card would be 5,000 points). However, some merchants offer less than this in value, while others sometimes run promotions to get you more value.

This is better than the statement credits redemption option (which we’ll detail below), but it’s still pretty low and should only be considered as a last resort. Remember, Amex points don’t expire as long as you keep at least one Membership Rewards card open, so there’s no reason to rush into a low-value redemption.

The value of Amex points when booking hotels through American Express Travel

WALTER LUTTENBERGER/ANDAZ VIENNA

Hotels typically fall into the category of bad Amex redemptions that you should try to avoid. With nearly all hotels, you can redeem your points at a rate of 0.7 cents each toward the room rate. Not only is this a pretty low value compared to some of the other options, but since these are third-party bookings, you won’t usually earn hotel points or elite credits for your stay.

The one exception is Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts, a luxury hotel program that’s only available to Platinum and Centurion cardmembers. If you pay with points to book one of these properties, you’ll get 1 cent of value per point and receive elite-like benefits for your stay, including free breakfast, room upgrades, late checkout and usually a dining or spa credit.

However, there’s another reason to avoid using points for these reservations. Holders of the personal Platinum card enjoy up to $200 in annual statement credits for prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts stays booked via Amex Travel. If you redeem points to cover your entire stay, this benefit won’t apply.

The value of Amex points when redeeming for Amazon.com purchases or statement credits

If long-haul flights represent one of the best possible values for Amex points, then redeeming them at Amazon.com and for statement credits are among the worst.

When you add your Membership Rewards-earning card as a payment method on Amazon.com, you can use your Amex points for purchases, but you’ll only get a value of 0.7 cents per point.

It’s even lower when you use your Membership Rewards points to erase eligible charges from your statement (essentially a cash-back redemption). Amex only values your points at 0.6 cents each if you redeem this way. This is less than a third of TPG’s valuation.

If you want to earn cash-back rewards to go shopping or help pay the bills, check out TPG’s list of top cash-back credit cards instead of using Membership Rewards points this way.

Bottom line

Amex Membership Rewards points have long been considered some of the most valuable points on the market. They sit near the top of TPG’s monthly valuations, thanks to many high-value airline transfer partners that allow members to book premium-cabin awards at low rates.

The value you get from your Amex points can vary significantly, starting at just 0.6 cents for statement credits but rising much higher for select transfer partners. Of course, that requires extensive flexibility and the willingness to learn the ins and outs of loyalty programs, so many cardmembers may prefer simpler reward options.

Ultimately, TPG pegs the value of Amex points at 2 cents apiece, but be sure to consider the best redemption option for your specific situation.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus card, please click here.

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