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10 Reasons Amex Membership Rewards Are The Most Valuable Points To Have

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Immanuel Debeer | 19/07/2022

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American Express has its own reward program called Membership Rewards®. In my view, it’s by far the best rewards program in Australia that gives you ultimate flexibility on how you use your rewards. Whether you want to redeem your Membership Rewards points for one of the 9 frequent flyer programs you have access to, redeem for travel, gift cards or a credit back to your Card; American Express Membership Rewards is what we call a “flexible” rewards program which gives you the ultimate choice of what you do with your points without being locked into 1 loyalty program.

While from the outset, this might seem complicated, in this post, I wanted to highlight my top 10 favourite benefits which make Amex Membership Rewards the most valuable rewards you can earn.

Tip: learn how to maximise Amex Membership Rewards here.

10: Redeem Points For Travel

Did you know that you can redeem your points for travel? And no, I’m not talking about redeeming travel with frequent flyer points; I’m referring to the Membership Rewards benefit that allows members to redeem their points to pay for travel online at American Express Travel Online. This feature is hugely valuable to business users, especially those who might earn millions of points by running their expenses through their American Express card.

9: PayPal With Points

You can now use your points when making a payment with PayPal; 1,000 points equate to $5 in value, which means getting 0.5 cents per point. I prefer to use my points for frequent flyer redemptions, but flexibility like this can be valuable to some!

8: Redeem Points For Credit

While I’m not allowed to call this a “cash back” feature, it’s essentially just that but in the form of a credit on your Card statement. With American Express Membership Rewards, you can redeem points to pay off purchases you’ve made with your card at a conversion of 200 Membership Rewards points for every $1 It’s an excellent benefit for those who don’t like using their points for travel or frequent flyer transfers.

7: Redeem Points For Gift Cards

Let’s be honest, this is probably not the best value proposition in my opinion, but for those who don’t really use frequent flyer programs and simply want to get outright value from their points, redeeming them for gift cards can make sense.
Your Membership Rewards points can purchase gift cards from a range of leading retailers including Apple, Webjet, Luxury Escapes, The Iconic, Coles Myer, Bunnings, Gourmet Restaurant, Harvey Norman, Red Balloon and many more. Gift Cards can be bought from as little as 2000 Membership Rewards points for a $10 gift card or 200,000 Membership Rewards points can buy you a $1000 gift card.

6: Uncapped Earn Rates

American Express Cards don’t have any limits or caps on how many points you can earn. While this might not matter to most, it’s a hugely valuable benefit if you’re a big spender or run a business. You’re guaranteed to get rewarded for virtually every dollar you spend!

5: Bonus Points Offer

New members to the American Express Card range can get rewarded with massive sign-up bonuses. Some cards give you enough points for a business class trip to Europe, just by signing up and meeting the minimum spend requirements.

4: Bonus Points Promotions

Once you’re a member, the bonuses don’t just stop. American Express releases bonus offers for existing members all the time. Occasionally we see them award thousands of points just by adding an Additional Card Member to your Account (which is free on most cards!), so it’s worth keeping an eye out for those!

3: Epic Referral Program

I can’t think of any other Card provider with a referral program this good! Once you’re a Card Member, you can refer your friends and family by sending them your referral link. Then, depending on which Card you hold, you can earn a stack of points for promoting a product you already love. As the referrer, you can receive up to 45,000 additional Membership Rewards points for every referral you make (capped at 200,000 points per year) depending on your Card product. Terms and Conditions apply.

2: Amex Offers

While this isn’t exclusive to Membership Rewards Cards, it’s still a feature that’s worth mentioning as it earns me thousands of dollars in rebates every year. Amex Offers is an ever-changing suite of promotions with Amex merchants, which you can save to your Card. Once the offer is saved, you will get a credit back to your Account when you meet the spending criteria with said merchant. Often the merchants listed are places you already shop with regularly, in which case it’s effortless to get instant value.

To give you an example, on occasion, there are offers with big brands such as Hilton, Marriott etc. The offer is usually something like this: Spend $350, get $80 back.
Offer redemptions and value can be tracked in your Account so you can work out at the end of the year how much value you have received.

1: Frequent Flyer Points

This is my favourite feature, and it’s the main reason why I think American Express Membership Rewards are the most valuable points you can earn.

In the world of frequent flyer programs, picking and choosing who you transfer points to is incredibly valuable. It means you have exponentially more chances of finding reward seats on the dates and in the travel class you want. It also gives you the option to get the best price for rewards seats. Confused? Let me give you an example.

American Express Membership Rewards points convert to airline points at a 2:1 conversion rate for the majority of airline partners. A Qantas-operated flight from Sydney to Perth will set you back 41,500 Qantas Points (83,000 Membership Rewards points) (+$43 in taxes) in business class. However, the same Qantas flight will only cost you 30,000 Asia Miles (60,000 Membership Rewards) (+$58 in taxes).

Because we have Membership Rewards points, we can pick and choose the frequent flyer program we want to send points to. In this example, it would be a no-brainer for me to send points to Asia Miles instead of Qantas which resulted in a saving of 11,500 airline points one way which is equivalent to 23,000 Membership Rewards points!

Now imagine you only had access to Qantas Points. This would mean your only way to redeem would be to pay the price of 41,500 Points, whereas, with Membership Rewards, the choice would have been yours!

Asia Miles is an airline partner for all American Express Membership Rewards Card products and Qantas Frequent Flyer is an airline partner only for the American Express Charge Card. To view the list of Membership Rewards airline partners please click here.

Amex Membership Rewards In Conclusion

It’s easy to see why I’m such a fan of earning flexible rewards such as American Express Membership Rewards points. While at first, all the options can make it a bit daunting for beginners, once you understand the true potential, you will quickly see why I believe that these points are an advantage in every way compared to earning fixed rewards such as Qantas Frequent Flyer or Velocity Frequent Flyer.

This article is sponsored by American Express. Opinions expressed in this article solely belong to Flight Hacks. Points redemption rates we’ve published here are correct as at June 8th, 2022 and subject to airline T&Cs and availability. Fees and charges are payable in addition to the points redeemed.
The earning and redemption of Membership Rewards points is subject to the terms and conditions of the American Express Membership Rewards program. To transfer Membership Rewards points into an airline rewards or frequent guest partner program you must be a member of the partner program. Membership of the partner program is the Card Member’s responsibility and is subject to the Terms and Conditions of the applicable program. A joining fee may apply.

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Immanuel Debeer

Chief points nerd and travel hacker at Flight Hacks

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  1. I don’t think you have really grasped the Amex offering. (But it seems your role might be to spruik for Amex.) I have been a Foundation Amex member since 1974 when they started in Australia. A number of years ago i upped my membership to Centurion because of the ability to move points to many different airlines – not just Qantas. And also because they used to get very good deals with airlines. For instance there was a guaranteed upgrade from business to first on Etihad to Europe and USA. I have booked this many times.Once or twice a year pre Covid.The business class fare was not the cheapest bus fare but when it converted to First Class was very good value. There were also great guaranteed room upgrades and other benefits at hotels. All this has evaporated.

    Now the Amex offering is not that great when you look at the net fares after their various promotions. You can usually get better or the same elsewhere. Likewise better deals for premium hotels are available elsewhere.

    But my biggest beef is that during Covid they changed the redemption rate from 1 Amex point to 1 airline point to 2 points for 1 airline point. So they unilaterally devalued the points by 50%. When i complained they said it was the airlines fault. Recently looking at hotel redemption – it takes twice as many Amex points compared to booking with airline points. They have halved the value of their points. So Amex have halved the value of their airline points and also on other redemptions.

    Next Amex put up the annual card fee from $5,000 to $7,500p.a.

    Bottom line… increased the cost of their card by 50% and reduced the value of their points by 50%

    Some more objective research and information would make Flight Hacks more credible. Or is this fake opinions that are not really serving the consumers and your readers..

    • Hi Philip, if you scroll down this page you might notice this article is sponsored by American Express. So yes, you might say I’m “spruiking” for them. Does that change my views on Membership Rewards? Not really, I’m an Amex customer just like you and happen to work with them because it’s a brand I value a great deal. FYI, we also have a a lot of articles and guides that aren’t sponsored, if fact most of our content is like that so your accusations are slightly offensive – which I’m sure was intentional, and that’s fine by me.

      Considering you’ve been a member since 1974, you should know that Centurion doesn’t get more transfer partners than Platinum, only a marginally better earn rate and a few extra lifestyle perks.

      You should also know that Membership Rewards were devalued in 2018, that’s a solid 5 years ago, it didn’t happen during covid as you claim. And yes we covered this on Flight Hacks and plenty of warning was given to transfer points. This happened because Mastercard and Visa reduced earn rates due to new interchange rules which meant Amex followed suit cutting the redemption value. With that in mind, they are still the most valuable points currency in Australia, that’s a fact.

      How you use your points depends on the airline partner you’re sending your points to, so I’m not sure what you mean by Amex offering fares. If you’re referring to their travel service, not much has changed and Platinum/Centurion card holders can still get discounts on premium airfares that are much better than booking direct. In the last few months I’ve booked Etihad first class and Singapore first class via Amex Platinum Travel, not because “I’m spruiking” for them but because they were the cheapest. Airline deals change all the time so because there was a certain upgrade promotion in 2019, doesn’t mean it’s going to be available today. If you’re using points for hotels/flights via Amex, the value you get is fixed. You’d be much better of utilising the airline programs/hotel programs they partner with.

      As you know, Centurion is an invite only program but if the annual fee isn’t right for you, just downgrade to Platinum/Platinum Business, In my opinion that’s the sweet spot as you still get the same redemption partner airlines. The earn rate for most airline programs (once converted) is 1.125 points per $1 on Platinum vs 1.25 points per $1 on Centurion so based on that you should be able to work out if the earn rate difference is justifiable based on you annual card expenditure.

      I’m not sure why you’d think my opinions are fake? If you can name me 1 rewards program in Australia that is better than Amex Membership Rewards, I’d love to hear about it!

      • This is informative, thank you. We are now in a situation where the Centurion annual fee is a lot of money and have been thinking of moving to a platinum card, but our concern is what happens to our existing points attached to our Centurion card when we cancel the Centurion card? We do have a business platinum card and wondering if we can transfer our Centurion points to business Platinum card before we cancel our Centurion card?

        • Hi Tracy, you can definitely apply for Business Platinum before cancelling Centurion, once approved you can link your points so they are pooled in the same account. You can then cancel Centurion and the points will remain under your Platinum account.

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