How to redeem points and an American Express gift card explanation

In terms of flexible reward currency, American Express Membership Rewards has long been considered one of the most valuable and powerful rewards programs out there. Rewards earned in this loyalty program can be used in more than one way, particularly for transfers to American Express airline and hotel programs.

However, you don't have to travel around to take advantage of American Express Membership Rewards, as you can also cash your points on gift cards or merchandise, or exchange Amex points for cash through the use of one of their gift credit cards.

Because of this flexibility, many consumers are focused on earning as many American Express Membership Rewards points as possible through welcome bonuses and credit card shopping. If you want to earn flexible reward points that you can use in a variety of ways, keep reading to learn all about American Express Membership Rewards points and how to use them for all kinds of purposes.

How much are American Express points worth?

Points earned under the American Express Membership Rewards program are worth approximately 2 cents each, although how you redeem them will ultimately determine their value. With that in mind, some redemption options will help you get more value from your reward than others.

For example, you can usually earn 2 cents per point in value when you transfer American Express points to airline and hotel partners. However, you will only be worth 0.06 cents per point if you convert American Express points into cash.

Exchange rates for gift cards typically drop by one cent per point or 5,000 points for a $ 50 gift card.

When you use American Express points to shop for merchandise, the point value varies, but you will likely receive about 0.07 cents per value point.

You can also use American Express Membership Rewards points to shop travel through AmexTravel.com. Here, you will earn about a penny per point for flights and about 0.07 cents per point for hotels, cruises and vacation packages.

How do I earn American Express points?

Because the American Express Membership Rewards program is a credit card loyalty program, you can only earn points if you use an American Express credit card. However, you must apply for an American Express credit card that specifically earns American Express Membership Rewards points, keep in mind that American Express also offers general cash-back credit cards.

Which American Express credit card should you consider applying for? There are several personal and business cards that allow you to earn American Express Membership Rewards points, but here are the top offers you should consider right now:

Business cards Gift rates Offer an annual fee to new cardmembers

4x American Express® Gold Card points for food worldwide and US supermarkets (up to $ 25,000 per calendar year, then 1x), 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel.com and 1x points for other purchases . Earn 35,000 points when you spend $ 4,000 on your card in the three months of opening your $ 250 account

5x American Express Platinum Card® points for flight and hotel tickets booked through AmexTravel.com and flight tickets booked with airlines; 1x points for more purchases Earn 60,000 points when you spend $ 5,000 on your card within three months of opening your $ 550 account

3x American Express® Green Card points for eligible travel, restaurants and transit; get 1x point for other purchases. Earn 30,000 Membership Rewards® points after making a $ 2,000 purchase in the first 3 months worth $ 150

Amex EveryDay ® Credit Card Earn 2x points up to $ 6,000 spent in US supermarkets each year (then 1x point) and 1x point on other purchases; receive a 20% bonus reward each billing period You make at least 20 purchases with your credit card 10,000 points when you spend $ 1,000 on your card within three months of opening your $ 0 account

American Express Blue Business® Plus Credit Card Earn 2x points up to $ 50,000 in spend each year, then 1x point Get back up to $ 300 to boost your business. You can get up to $ 100 in statement credit at each of the following merchants: Dell Technologies, DocuSign or FedEx after you make an eligible purchase for your new Card within the first 3 months of
Card Membership. $ 0

American Express Business Platinum Card ® Earn 5x points on prepaid flights and hotels booked through AmexTravel.com, 1.5x points for qualifying purchases of $ 5,000 or more and 1x point for other purchases 75,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend $ 15,000 for your card in it three months of opening an account

Do American Express Membership Rewards points expire?

American Express Membership Rewards Points never expire, which is a major plus. However, there are some situations in which you could lose points, including making a late payment on your card or canceling your card account without another card that resulted in American Express Membership Rewards points.

Also, note that American Express transfer partners - including airline and hotel partners - have their own unique expiration policies, so you should monitor points after they leave your Amex account and log into that partner's account.

What's the best way to redeem Amex points?

When getting a gift by credit card, there is no "right" or "wrong" way to cash it. The points you earn are yours to spend as you please, so you don't have to feel sad if you end up choosing the non-travel redemption option.

That way, you will get a value of about 2 cents per point when you transfer points to airline partners specifically, which is more than you would get with other options. This process begins by comparing airline partners and figuring out which one will take you to your destination. From there, you can check the reward space on the flight you want while also finding out how many miles you need to redeem your desired flight.

Generally, you will get the absolute highest value of your points when transferring points to airlines for international and domestic flights in premium cabins.

In the meantime (and especially if you plan to fly economy), check flight prices in points at AmexTravel.com. While unlikely, it is possible that your desired flight will be available via AmexTravel.com for the same number of miles you booked with the transfer partner. This usually happens when the flight is "on sale", and it may be more convenient to book via AmexTravel.com in that case.

Therefore, also keep in mind that American Express sometimes gives transfer bonuses to airlines and hotel partners - usually in the form of a percentage of extra miles when you transfer Amex points. If you frequently book flights with certain airlines such as British Airways or Avianca LifeMiles, take note of this bonus and use it whenever you can.


American Express generously provides redemption value through their reward point calculator. This calculator makes it easy to know how much value you should receive when you redeem Amex points for gift cards, statement credits and more. When redeeming points for transfers to airline partners, Bankrate earns 2 cents per point by considering The Points Guy ranking and comparing flight options through the airline loyalty program linked to the Amex Membership Rewards program. Consumers can get more value (or less value) from their points with certain redemption options. Figures mentioned in this guide are estimates only.