American Express Launches ‘Upgrade with Points’ Program

Today, American Express announced the launch of Upgrade with Points in partnership with Plusgrade, a new way to provide Card Members with a more seamless and rewarding travel experience. This Amex Upgrade with Points program is a new way to use your Membership Rewards points.

The new Amex Upgrade With Points program will give eligible U.S. Consumer, Business and Corporate Card Members enrolled in the Membership Rewards® the option to use Membership Rewards points, or a combination of points and dollars, to place offers on airline seat upgrades in first, business, or premium economy class to hundreds of global destinations on over 20 participating airlines, such as Air Canada, Qantas, and Singapore Airlines.

Membership Rewards is the only major U.S. credit card loyalty program to offer Card Members the opportunity to get a great deal when placing an offer to upgrade their flight using credit card loyalty points. This new capability was built in partnership with Plusgrade, a market leading provider of upgrade solutions for the airline industry.

You can use points to cover only a portion of your upgrade offer. For instance, if you select an offer amount of 20,000 points (=$200), your total offer amount will be 20,000 points (=$200) + $300 = $500. Membership Rewards points can be earned with cards like the Amex Platinum, Amex Gold, Amex Business Platinum and more.

How it Works

  1. Visit the Upgrade with Points section of
  2. Select the airline you are booked with.
  3. Enter your reservation details to see if your itinerary is eligible to upgrade.
  4. If eligible, use Membership Rewards points, or a combination of points and dollars, to place an offer towards an upgrade.
  5. Offer will be accepted or declined by the airline, usually within 5 days of your flight. Whatever the airline’s decision, American Express will communicate the result to you via email prior to your departure.
  6. If your offer was accepted, visit your airline’s website or call your airline to obtain a copy of your updated itinerary.


  • You can utilize the Amex Upgrade with Points regardless of the form of payment for the ticket.
  • Use Upgrade with Points regardless of where you book. It can be directly with the airline, through American Express Travel, or via another travel agency.
  • Change or cancel upgrade offer at any time until it is accepted or declined by the airline. Once accepted by the airline, your upgrade offer is nonrefundable and cannot be changed.
  • Any applicable taxes and fees are in addition to your offer amount. They cannot be covered using Membership Rewards points.
  • You can place an upgrade offer for other travelers through the Upgrade with Points program. You do not need to be traveling on the reservation to place an upgrade offer.

Guru’s Wrap-up

The value of this new Amex Upgrade with Points program will be based on what redemptions you get for your Membership Rewards points. Looks like it is a fixed value of 1 cent per Membership Rewards point. That’s not really a good redemption for your Amex points. Good to have it as an option for those with huge amount of points that don’t want to spend their cash. But will probably not be a widely popular way of redeeming Membership Rewards.

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