(EDIT, July 2013: MR transfers to Sirius will end on 31 July 2013)
1p per point is my preferred target when redeeming American Express Membership Rewards points. This is not easy, of course. As I posted here, redeeming Membership Rewards points for statement credit or gift vouchers only gets you 0.5p per point.
If you value Avios or other airline miles at 1p per point, then you will get to your target there. I also wrote recently about how Club Carlson transfers can easily get you 1p per Membership Rewards point.
A lesser-known redemption route that can be useful is redeeming for Jumeirah Sirius points. Jumeirah is best known for its luxury hotels in Dubai, but it also runs two five-star properties in Knightsbridge, the Carlton Tower and the Lowndes. (They are about 60 seconds walk from Harvey Nichols, walking down Sloane Street.)
The Sirius reward chart is here. Note that the transfer rate from Membership Rewards is 15:1.
I don’t want to discuss hotel room redemptions, since the value of those varies massively depending on the day you want to redeem. Let’s focus on the food and drink redemptions under ‘Dining’.
A 3-course lunch or dinner, excluding drinks, at The Rib Room at the Carlton Tower is 900 Sirius points, so 13,500 Membership Rewards points, for two people. You will get 1p per point from that, because The Rib Room is ‘reassuringly expensive’.
Lunch in the Club Room is 300 Sirius points, or 4,500 Membership Rewards points, for two. This is a very good buffet, all you can eat, served in the lounge of the spa complex. It was £22 per person plus service last time I was there, so again you get 1p per point. There is also a great view over Chelsea from the lounge.
You can also get a £30 voucher for the Champagne Bar at the Carlton Tower for 250 points, or 3,750 Membership Rewards points. This is 0.8p per point. I’m not sure how much they charge per glass though.
There are also dining options at the slightly less posh Lowndes Hotel across the road, including a 300 Sirius point (4,500 Membership Rewards points) deal for dinner for two at their Terrace restaurant.
You can also redeem for spa treatments at the Carlton Tower. Again, you get about 0.8p per point if you take this route
These redemption options won’t be for everyone, but if you have some Membership Rewards points and want a night out in London, you could do worse than one of these options. If you don’t have any, remember that the current sign-up bonuses are 20,000 points on the free Amex Gold and 30,000 points on Amex Platinum. Full details on the ‘Credit Cards Update‘ page.