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 Membership Rewards 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.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – December 2023 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 bonus points and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review
Earning miles and points from small business cards
If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review
For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.