Get More Value When You Cover Amex Charges with Membership Rewards Points (YMMV)

Get More Value When You Cover Amex Charges with Points

Update (Jun. 2, 2021) Check your account to se if you are targeted. Here’s an image of an offer showing up today to use 10% fewer Membership Rewards points, but hopefully you see something better in your accounts. It shows in the right hand side, under your Membership Rewards points balance. You can also take a look at your Membership Rewards accounts and see if you have an improved redemption rate.


American Express has one of the best rewards programs out there. They have tons of cards that earn Membership Rewards points and they are all pooled together into one account. You can redeem points in the following ways:

  • Transfer to Travel Partners such as Hotels and Airlines
  • Book Travel Directly
  • Statement Credit
  • Cash out with Schwab brokerage account (need Amex Platinum Card for Schwab)
  • Gift Cards
  • Pay with Points at Checkout
  • Donations

The best value for your points is to transfer them to travel partners. Statement credits and Pay with Points is the worst value possible with just 0.6¢ per Membership Rewards points. But now some cardholders are seeing a bonus when you cover your charges with points. The bonus varies between 10% and 100%. That means that if you are targeted, you can redeem points for a value of 1.2¢. So 10,000 points for example, will cover a $120 charge, instead of just $60, if you are targeted for the best bonus. This is a similar option to Chase’s popular Pay Yourself Back tool.

Guru’s Wrap-up

With this bonus it can make sense for some to redeem Membership Rewards points for purchases. Unlike Chase Pay Yourself Back, the option is available for all purchases, and even on cards that have an affordable or no annual fee. Take a look at your Membership Rewards accounts and see if you see this improved redemption option. Read more about the American Express Membership Rewards program here.

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