Booking Hotels With Amex Points
One of the perks of holding the The Platinum Card® from American Express or Business Platinum card is access to luxury hotels via the Fine Hotels & Resorts program. By booking one of these hotels through Amex Travel, cardmembers get a slew of perks including free breakfast, room upgrades, a $100 on-site credit, late checkout and more.
Plus, if you use points to pay for the booking, you can get a redemption rate of 1 cent per point. For all other hotel bookings through Amex Travel, almost all Amex cards get a redemption rate of 0.7 cents per point. That means 10,000 Amex points would cover $100 towards a stay at a Fine Hotels & Resorts property or $70 at another hotel booked through Amex Travel.
What’s The Value Of Amex Points For Gift Cards
American Express Membership Rewards can currently be redeemed for 90 types of gift cards. For many gift card options, you’ll get 1 cent per point in value by redeeming points this way.
However, not all redemptions are as valuable. Some redemption options yield only 0.7 or 0.85 cents per point. It depends on which retailer’s gift card you are redeeming points for. For example, a $100 Best Western gift card would run you 11,765 points, while a $100 gift card for Delta Air Lines would cost 14,286 points.
Worst of all, you’ll only get 0.5 cents per point in value when redeeming points for American Express gift cards.
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Youll want to cleanup by removing the cards which is noted at the bottom of this article.
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Booking Other Types Of Travel
American Express cardholders can also use points to book rental cars, cruises, vacations, and more through Amex Travel. For these types of redemptions, most American Express cardholders get a redemption rate of 0.7 cents per point.
That means 10,000 Amex points would cover $70 towards other types of travel booked through Amex Travel.
Order Food Delivery Using Amex Points At Grubhub And Seamless
American Express also lets you redeem your rewards for food orders with GrubHub or Seamless.com. Both options will net you 0.7 cents per point in value.
The process for using your points depends on if you’re ordering online or through the Grubhub or Seamless mobile app. Existing Grubhub and Seamless customers with an eligible card on file will see their point balance and have the option to use points to pay for all or part of the purchase.
For new customers ordering online, you’ll have to make an initial purchase first using your eligible Amex card. The second time you make a purchase, you’ll see the points balance associated with the card you have on file. Mobile app users who save an eligible card to file aren’t required to make an initial purchase before using being allowed to use points.
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How To Earn Amex Points
You’ll earn Amex Membership Rewards points through spending on eligible Amex cards. The fastest ways to earn Amex points is through a welcome bonus you’ll receive after signing up for a card and meeting certain spending requirements.
Some of the best cards to earn Amex points include:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $6,000 within the first six months of account opening. Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- American Express® Gold Card: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months from account opening
- American Express® Green Card: 45,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of card membership
- Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express: Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership.
Transfer To Airline Partners
The hands-down best way to spend your Amex points is to redeem them with a travel partner instead of booking through Amex Travel. Using the Amex Travel portal only gives a value of one cent per Membership Rewards point for flights, whereas transfers to airline partners, on the other hand, can yield up 15 cents per point if you play your cards right.
Amex partners with 19 airlines including AeroMexico, ANA, British Airways, Delta, JetBlue and Virgin Atlantic. Most Membership Rewards transfers process instantly, while others can take up to 48 hours.
Use the airline points to pay for flights, and you’ll see how the exchange rate works in your favor.
Hone in a little more, and you’ll soon find shrewd ways to stretch your points further. Like this little-known hack we love: Transfer your Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, then book a business or first class flight on All Nippon Airways . It’s a genius trick that can score you an upgraded flight from west coast cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco to Japan for just 90,000 points round-trip or 110,000 points round-trip . Flights from the East Coast cost just a little more.
A round-trip first class flight from the U.S. to Japan can easily cost $15,000. If you booked this through the Amex travel portal you’d have to cough up 1.5 million points. But by transferring your Amex points to Virgin Atlantic you’ll be paying just a small fraction of an otherwise gargantuan cost.
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Use Points To Order Merchandise Or Gifts Through American Express
While you can use Amex points to pay at checkout with select retailers, American Express also has its own shopping portal you can use to order merchandise directly. Featured brands can include Sony, GoPro, Yeti, Apple, and more, and you can buy items for your home and office, electronics, clothing, or even kitchen appliances.
Membership Rewards Vs Other Issuer Rewards Programs
If youre considering a new rewards credit card, its a good idea to take a look at the leading programs and see how they stack up against one another before applying for any of them. From a pure cent-per-point perspective, the following are our estimated point values for major rewards programs:
- Capital One Rewards: 1 cent per mile
The factors that lead to these monetary valuations include the number of partner airlines, transfer ratios, redemption options and more. Another point to consider when talking about value is the rewards rate offered by issuers on their respective premium cards. If youre planning on booking a flight, take note of the following rewards rates:
- American Express Platinum Card: 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on American Express Travel
- American Express Gold Card: 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or AmexTravel.com
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: 10X points on hotel and car rental purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 5X points on air travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3X points on other travel purchases , and 3X points on dining
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3X points on dining, and 2X points on other travel purchases
- Citi Prestige® Card: 5X points on flights
Its safe to say, though, that no matter what card you choose, as long as youre earning back more than what you pay in annual fees, youre winning as a rewards card user.
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Transfer Points To Travel Partners To Book Award Travel
Some transferrable rewards programs let you share rewards with others. However, Amex is one of the more restrictive programs when it comes to sharing. Specifically, Amex only allows you to transfer Membership Rewards points to your loyalty accounts or the loyalty accounts of your .
Luckily, most airline and hotel loyalty programs allow you to book awards for others when traveling together. And, some loyalty programs allow you to book travel for others even if theyre traveling without you. So, you may be able to give the gift of travel this holiday season by booking award travel for others.
If youre looking to book award travel this holiday season, you can transfer your points to the following Membership Rewards transfer partners:
Based on TPGs valuations, you can get about two cents of value per Membership Rewards point when you transfer to travel partners. And, its possible to get much more than two cents of value per point when you use the points you transfer to redeem for first and business-class tickets or aspirational hotel stays.
However, make sure award availability exists before transferring. And although most transfers are instant, sometimes it can take up to 48 hours for points to transfer . See our post on how long American Express Membership Rewards transfers take to estimate transfer times.
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There are a couple ways you can make your experience using a gift card on a breeze. Heres what you need to know:
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Does Walmart Accept American Express Gift Cards In 2021
Walmart does accept American Express gift cards in-store, online, and at Walmart gas stations as of 2021. Customers can scan or swipe the American Express gift card in-store or insert the 15-digit card number and 4 digit security code at the self-checkout aisle.
If youd like to know precisely how to use your American Express gift card at Walmart, which types are available for purchase, and Walmarts gift card restrictions, read on!
Ways To Redeem Membership Rewards Points In The Amex Portal
There are five ways to redeem your Amex points through the Membership Rewards portal along with one way to redeem them outside of the portal. You can access your redemption options at the Membership Rewards site by clicking Use Points.
1. Transfer your points to travel partners
Transferring your Amex Membership Rewards points to travel partners is hands down the most valuable use of Amex points. Thats because the average point values of airline and hotel reward programs are often much greater than a single Amex point. Considering that many but not all travel partners accept points at a 1:1 or similar ratio, you can double or triple the value of your points by transferring them!
We covered Amex to partner transfer ratios in our Amex Membership Rewards guide, but heres the current average point values of each partnered airline according to our most recent research.
Data obtained May 2019. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.
4. Redeem for gift cards
Much like redeeming points on partnered retailers, the value of your points spent on gift cards depends on the retailer youre purchasing a gift card from. At of the time of writing, your point values will range from 0.5 cents per point to 1 cent per point.
5. Make purchases through the Amex shopping portal
6. Redeem for statement credits
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Transfer To Flying Blue For Flights To Europe And North Africa
Flying Blue is Air France and KLMs join loyalty program. The program prices award tickets dynamically and often has good deals on flights from North America to Europe and North Africa. Youll sometimes find these flights pricing as low as 22,000 miles one-way in economy and 53,000 miles in business class.
For example, heres a flight from Boston to Amsterdam in KLM business class for 53,000 miles and $224.98 in taxes and fees.
Or, you can book New York-JFK to Paris in economy for 22,000 miles and $69.79 in taxes and fees.
Youll also want to keep an eye out for Flying Blue Promo Rewards. These were put on pause during the pandemic, but have come back for intra-Europe flights in recent months. We hope that its famous transatlantic deals come back soon, because theyre pretty great. Past deals include flights from Washington to Paris for 20,625 miles one-way in economy and Seattle to Paris is 43,125 miles for one-way Premium Economy.
Bear in mind that fuel surcharges on these awards can be a little hard to handle at about $300 per person, but roughly 40,000 miles for round-trip flights can still be a great deal. There are also occasional transfer bonuses from American Express to Flying Blue, so pricing on some routes become even more attractive. Dont count on Flying Blue to always provide the best value, but it has the potential under the right circumstances.
Pay With Points At Check
Pay with Points isnt just for travel. There are also various online merchants, including , Best Buy, Boxed, Dell, GrubHub, Newegg, Paypal, Seamless, Staples and Walmart, that allow you to pay for purchases with Amex Membership Rewards points.
However, paying with points at these merchants usually isnt a good use of your points. Youll only get 0.7 cents per point for the merchants listed above when you redeem Membership Rewards points. So, a $700 purchase would cost 100,000 Membership Rewards points.
And the redemption rate is even worse at 0.5 cents per point if you use Membership Rewards points for event tickets through Ticketmaster.
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Redeem For Gift Cards
You can also redeem Membership Rewards points for a variety of gift cards. However, redemption rates depend on the type of gift card:
- 1 cent per Membership Reward point for most gift cards
- 0.85 cents per point for select gift cards including Apple, Best Western, Bonefish Grill, Macys and Panera Bread
- 0.7 cents per point for select gift cards including Best Buy, Delta, Four Seasons, Hilton, Marriott, Starbucks and Uber
- 0.5 cents per point for American Express gift cards
You can get a physical gift card or a digital gift card for most redemptions. And you can obtain gift cards in various values, but most start at $25 or $50.
Register Your Mastercard Visa Or Amex Gift Card With The Issuing Bank
If your card doesnt already have your name and zip code associated with it, youll need to do that through the financial institution that issued the card. Sometimes there will be a registration URL on the back of the card. If not, look for the name of the institution on the card and then Google gift card registration. That should get you to the right site. If it’s an Amex gift card, use this link. Once there, youll be asked to verify the card info, and then youll have the option of registering the card with your name and address. This is also a good time to confirm the available balance.
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When Using The Gift Card At A Gas Station Be Aware Of The Balance
If you use the American Express Gift Card to buy gas from an automatic self-serve pump, the gas station may try to obtain an authorization for an amount higher than the balance on the gift card in order to make sure the full amount is paid. Therefore, when using an American Express Gift Card to purchase gas, its best to prepay for gas inside the gas station with a cashier.
How To Use American Express Gift Card Online
Before making a purchase, card owners are required to register the card. Want to know why? When an online order is placed, ecommerce stores often use a security process called Address Verification System to confirm the card is linked to a billing address. Since your American Express gift card did not have your address associated with it when you received it, any attempts to make a purchase online before registering the card will likely result in a rejected order.
To register your AMEX gift card for online purchases, you must call their customer service line at 1-877-297-4438. You will be asked to enter the 15-digit card number and security code. Then you will need to speak with a customer service agent to provide your address for registration.
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