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.
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.)