Is the American Express Tripflex ‘pay with points’ option a good deal?

Whenever I visit the statement page for my Platinum charge card on the American Express website, I am met with a message encouraging me to use their TripFlex feature to ‘pay with points’.

I thought it was worth taking a quick look at the various ways of redeeming Membership Rewards points for cash or ‘near cash’ and then showing you why this is generally a bad deal.

Amex Membership Rewards

American Express Membership Rewards offers a number of ways in which you can redeem your points for cash or something that is nearly as good as cash. These include retailer gift cards as well as the option to book travel using your points or to redeem your points for a statement credit.

In general, these are all a bad deal.

I try to target 1p of value per Membership Rewards point. Transferring 1:1 into Avios or other airline miles can achieve this, as can hotel redemptions. This article from September shows how Club Carlson redemptions via an Amex MR transfer can be great value.

By comparison, this is what you get for redeeming for cash or near-cash:

Redeeming points for statement credit = 0.4p per point

Redeeming for Boots gift cards = 0.5p per point

Redeeming for Marks & Spencer gift cards = 0.525p per point (special offer based on redeeming for £100-worth)

Redeeming for East Coast Trains gift cards (valid for all train operators) = 0.6p per point (special offer)

The TripFlex offer is slightly different.  As I noted above, if you redeem your points for general statement credit you will only receive 0.4p per point.  However, if you redeem your points against specific items of travel expenditure, you will receive 0.45p per point.

TripFlex is a 10% better deal than redeeming your points for a general statement credit.  It is still a pretty poor deal overall and best avoided if you can.

None of these are great, frankly.  You are better off trying to get ‘outsized’ value via the Membership Rewards travel partners.

Ironically, for booking hotels, you will get over 0.55p per point by transferring to Avios and using the Avios hotel booking service! That gets you almost 25% more value than booking via the Amex service and getting 0.45p per point!

(To see our complete list of all current credit card bonuses, click here to visit our ‘Credit Cards Update’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. That’s not irony, it’s just inconsistency.

  2. Erico1875 says:

    Sometimes a value of a penny a point is only an illusion. If you cant get the exact date you want due to reward restrictions.
    There is also the inconvienience of transiting through London.
    I think there may be some value in transfering to Nectar. You can then access low cost airlines via Expedia and of course Easyjet.

    • True – but also factor in the better experience of flying BA versus Ryanair.

      • erico 1875 says:

        If I am having to transit LGW flying EDI to AGP, PMI and return etc with BAthen the overall experience with Ryanair/Easyjet/Jet2 who opperate DIRECT flights is bound to be better.
        If I was London based, then BA would probably be my first choice.
        Our last Avios trip back from Malaga, flight got in about 00.40 to LGW . EDI was not untill 7 ish. Thats a long wait.

        • sandgrounder says:

          depends- if you have status and a thirst that only a complementary bar in t5 can quench, its the indirect all the way!

          Seriously though, now you can reserve seats on Ryanair (and often.enough get the front row) it’s not that bad any more. they do love to leave you standing in corridors for long periods of time though, which annoys me very much.

  3. It would be nice if Tripflex was actually worthwhile, but I guess that would cost Amex too much.
    Still, one advantage over rewards partners – you can use Tripflex on any booking, rather than depending on “reward availability…”

  4. It’s easy to have value on Club Carlson or London hotels redemptions just because of the level of prices. There is always an alternative of not staying in their expensive hotel!

    • Carlson still works out well at the low level though. 9000 points for a regional Park Inn is only 3,000 Amex points and I doubt those rooms are selling for under £30 cash.

      • Those rooms aren’t – but as I think the original point was saying, there is no real need to stay in that particular chain. At weekends, for example, you can often get Ibis hotel rooms for 25 pounds. As ever, it will depend on other things like location.

        Certainly, I would rarely stay in a high-end London Club Carlson hotel, when you can get something much nicer for less using sites like secretescapes.com.

  5. OT
    Last night, I received an email offer from Etihad:

    Dear Business Connect Member,
    As the preferred airline for your company, we are pleased to extend a complimentary Etihad Guest Gold or Silver Card if you currently hold Gold or Silver frequent flyer status with any another airline.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have any gold/silver FF status with any airline :(

  6. Any idea if Amex point transfer bonus to Avios is coming up soon? The last one i think was almost a year ago.