American Express will pay you 0.9p CASH for your Membership Rewards points!

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American Express has launched a very interesting offer for holders of The Platinum Card.

(Sorry, this is for Platinum cardholders only.  It does not apply to Business Platinum, Preferred Rewards Gold or any other American Express card, it seems.)

If you use your points for statement credit (ie reducing what you owe next month by redeeming points) you would usually receive a pitiful £4.50 per 1,000 points.

This new offer is worth £9 per 1,000 Membership Rewards pointsThis is surprisingly good.

What are Membership Rewards points worth?

Here is my core article on the best uses of American Express Membership Rewards points.

Here is a summary of my valuations:

0.75p – 1.5p per point (estimate, 1:1 ratio) – airline miles

1p per point (estimate, 1:3 ratio) – Radisson Rewards hotel transfers

0.75p per point (estimate, 2:3 ratio) – Marriott Bonvoy hotel transfers

0.66p per point (estimate, 1:2 ratio) – Hilton Honors hotel transfers

0.66p per point (estimate, 15:1 ratio) – Club Eurostar points transfers

0.5p per point (guaranteed, pseudo-cash) – retailer gift cards

0.5p per point (guaranteed, pseudo-cash with potential for upside) – Nectar points

0.45p per point (guaranteed, pseudo-cash) – taking Amazon credit

Read my article on the best Membership Rewards transfers to see how I justify these numbers.

American Express will pay you 0.9p CASH for your Membership Rewards points!

Is Amex really offering 0.9p per point for statement credit?

Yes it is.  It is NOT advertised yet.  However, go to your American Express account and select ‘Use Points for Purchases’ on your Platinum Card home page.

You are taken to a page like this.  Select an individual transaction (click to enlarge):

As you can see, I am offered a rate of £9 per 1,000 points.

This deal is NOT available on Business Platinum and Preferred Reward Gold cards unfortunately, or at least not the ones in my house.  It only shows on my Platinum card.

American Express will pay you 0.9p CASH for your Membership Rewards points!

Should I redeem my Membership Rewards points for 0.9p each?

That’s not for me to say, of course.

However, as you can see from my numbers above, the bulk of transfers are worth LESS than 0.9p per point.

I would definitely take 0.9p in cash instead of turning my American Express points into Eurostar, Marriott Bonvoy, Radisson Rewards or Hilton Honors points.

This is NOT because these schemes are bad, but because the transfer rate is not generous enough.

(Hilton is currently selling Hilton Honors points with a 100% bonus, which works out at 0.4p each.  The link is here, the offer runs to 27th May.  Instead of converting Amex points to Hilton Honors at 1:2, it is cheaper to buy Hilton points on your Platinum card and use your Amex points to settle the bill via a statement credit!)

The decision is more marginal for airline miles.  Here are the American Express airline transfer partners, all of which are 1:1.  If used sensibly, you should get more than 0.9p per airline mile.  However, you won’t get SUBSTANTIALLY more than 0.9p per mile and cash in the bank may be more useful to you at the moment.

You should also remember that there are many opportunities throughout the year to buy Avios at around 1p to 1.1p per point.  Transferring from Amex at 1:1 into Avios is still a better deal than cashing out for 0.9p, but it is clearly more marginal at this level and the benefit of getting cash in your hand may be high.

My only thought is that, if this offer leads to a reduction in the flow of points to miles, and so a reduction in the money that the airlines are getting from American Express, some airlines may be tempted to offer a generous Membership Rewards transfer bonus to turn the tap back on.

When does this offer end?

It isn’t clear.  There are similar offers in France and Canada which are running until 20th July so it MIGHT match that.  I imagine that American Express will email everyone in the next day or so.

You can only redeem credit against actual purchases, so your maximum redemption is limited to the value of purchases you make before the closing date.

Amex France and Amex Canada are also offering Platinum cardholders double points on all of their spending for three months.  Let’s see if that part of the offer turns up in the UK.  If it does, the Platinum card will become the most rewarding card on the market!

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. As regards the Nationwide insurance, the big advantage for me was that the company providing the insurance covered pre-existing medical conditions for a reasonable price and lower than specialist insurers who qouted approx 3-4 times as much. I had tried with Amex Plat, Axa and Tesco who I had cover with and they would not extend the cover so Nationwide for me

  2. luckyjim says:

    So, it’s now easier than ever to cancel your platinum card. You don’t even need to faff about applying for a free Amex card to hold the outstaying MR balance.

    Strange business decision imho.

    • Neil Spellings says:

      I’m going to do exactly this..cash out my MR balance against my remaining balance and close my Platinum card as I doubt I’ll be travelling again for 6-12 months and get a pro-rata refund of the fee

  3. Freddy says:

    Cash is king! Who needs points….woops wrong site

    • Genghis says:

      Definitely the right site! When “running the numbers” analysing the best options, cash needs to be considered, e.g. Should you convert Tesco clubcard vouchers to avios when you would otherwise pay cash for a hotels.com room but you say you wouldn’t pay more than 1p for an avios?

  4. Barry cutters says:

    I cancelled my plat Amex about 2 weeks ago as didn’t need insurance while this was all going on . Called to move my refund and spend my 85k points .
    Turns out even when cancelled I could still get 0.9p so instead of the avios I took the cash.

    • I’ve just cancelled my card. How does the pro rata refund work in practice as the agent said that I would be notified in due course as to the amount. How do you then receive the refund as the agent wasn’t exactly clear as to the process?

      Cheers

      • It is either based on days held or months held, as a % the year, multiplied by the fee.

      • Genghis says:

        Usually the day after cancellation the refund goes into your account. If you still owe them money, easiest just to pay it off straight away. F they owe you money, call them up again or go on chat and ask for the balance to be transferred to another card or to be sent back to your bank account (v easy if you’ve a DD set up).

  5. So this got me to thinking, are there other opportunities to cash out for not-devastating rates?

    Thinking practically for example I havent been below 1m IHG points for years, and the trend is ever upwards, so I’m needlessly leaving a large balance which aside from the odd impressed checkin agent st a HIX is not doing a lot for me and obviously comes with risk of more devaluation or even potentially fraud.

    There are no good value cash or cash-like IHG redemptions, the very osest to useful is something like the amazon.com gift card at about 0.2p per point but I assume many of us here have decent balances in a number of programmes in addition to MR with Amex – other hotel and airline groups being the most obvious.

    Are there any avenues where options exist and it’s worth liquidating in some cases? In the IHG case its be doing IHG a favour as I’m sure the liability is greater than the best-case (from their perspective) redemptions

    • IHG does IHG gift cards where the rate is not terrible although I forget for a minute what it is. Of course, you can only spend them at IHG hotels so perhaps not hugely helpful!

      • TGLoyalty says:

        There was once a story of someone who took the IHG gift card (which is actually a prepaid mastercard I think) then stayed to boost his balance via promos and end up better off than if he used straight redemptions

    • Lady London says:

      Hey @chrisasaurus did you see the report very recent where someone had 1.8m IHG built up over many years, and IHG has just closed their account hinting at irregularities that they won’t specify and refuses to communicate with them about?

      The person swore they were built up legitimately by staying and promotions over the years and said they hadn’t done anything more unusual than that.

      I’m Lady London, sometimes called LL, that’s a hint where you will find that 24hr report (I’m not being too specific out of respect to Rob who very kindly tolerates my presence here).

      If I had 1-1.2m with IHG I might be a bit wary of expanding my stash with them going forward based on that.

      • Peter K says:

        Maybe I’m naturally suspicious but something about the story doesn’t ring true. I followed through to the flyertalk thread and the person whose account was closed said (copied and pasted):
        “sighed up for ever special deal that appeared in my account but rarely used one
        bought points left and right but that was all in official offers I got in emails and always hit the official limit”.
        It seems strange to sign up for “ever (sic) special deal” and not use them, but instead but points directly via official purchase methods despite ending up with 1.8 million IHGs when the account was closed.
        I smell a rat.

      • I… I posted on here immediately after reading on the site related to the sound you hear now of the penny dropping…

      • @LL as I say I started thinking of this with the present mass exodus from VS (perhaps an exaggeration, I’m staying put there) but got to thinking about both personal cash flow and true value in the context of this article kn Amex and then the article you mention made me think about factoring in risk.

        Point is even if I valued IHG points at say 0.4p now, by the time I get to 0 points they will have likely lost value anyway and that assumes I ever get there. The article highlights a fringe risk to that bit there are others and with a tighly restricted route to redeeming them (unlike say BA where the route network is enormous and the redemptions far more expensive)

        I could value the top few hundred k at 0.4p but the bottom million are unlikely to be spent, realistically – certainly not for years and unless work travel dries up.

        So that being the case arguably they have zero value – so 38500 for a US100 Amazon voucher starts to look only mildly insane…

  6. Is this effectively a soft buy back. And if so, doesn’t that mean you should keep the MR, as they’ll be worth more in the longer term?

  7. I honestly don’t understand the bunch of you who are counting pennies by canceling the Platinum card for like a month or two.

    Does the £100 really make that much of a difference? Personally I had travel booked during the beer virus crisis, and I don’t trust the airlines to cough up the refunds (like SAS didn’t, so I raised it with Amex) etc. It just seems a bit stupid to me to cancel to save some £100 and then get a hard pull on the credit file afterwards.

    • Roltly says:

      What’s the point paying for something you’re not using. You should be making your money work for you. I’m sure everyone that’s cancelled will reapply once travel and work gets back to normal.

      • Lady London says:

        Also it’s good to let Amex know that people walk when the benefits stop matching up.

        About time too, when Amex is routinely offering Germans and Americans amounts like 40,000 MR to stay and spend quite small amounts on their card if they stay and these are being regularly reported.

        And yet Amex only offers this, late, which seems more taking advantage of the current situation to just reduce their own liabilities for accrued MR points that could be worth eliminating more off their books and future cashflow our, than 0.9p they are offering?

        If I had a current Plat I’d is for sure downgrade by now to Gold or lesser Amex. But could also just take the money and close completely with Amex as a second choice.

    • Bentoni says:

      I don’t think this would be a month or two for the majority of us.

      Since it’s not likely that I will be travelling for the next six months or so due to all the event cancellations.

      However, I can understand that you could be on a different pay scale that a few 00s pounds doesn’t matter to you.

      Besides, it didn’t take long to downgrade to gold anyway, and upgrade from gold is only a couple of buttons away .. so overall, not much of a hassle.

      • Just wondering – what is the usual route for downgrade from and to Platinum (charge card)? I called to downgrade (actually I called to query when I could take out a Gold Credit Card but was offered a downgrade to Gold Charge Card so I took it).
        I know there is also a link going around to upgrade from Gold Charge back up to Platinum Charge. Are there any other routes or have I missed out on something?

        • Bentoni says:

          You can either use the link to upgrade, that offers 20k points spending bonus, or just give them a call. So yeah, you haven’t missed much ..

    • Freddy says:

      A month or two?! If only!

    • I’m not expecting to be able to travel at least until 2021.

      I cancelled mine a few weeks ago as it was up for renewal at the new fee which I wouldn’t have stomached anyway. Plats got to pricey to justify for me. I’m better off taking out independent travel/car excess insurance and paying for lounge visits that one world status doesn’t cover. Let’s face it most PP lounges are either pants or “full” nowadays.

  8. At the end of the day the economy is King and governments will soon be falling over themselves to get back in shape – I read yesterday that the global debt is likely to be $250 trillion in a couple of months time, that’s over $35000 for every person on the planet – when global GDP is only $85 tr

    • I’m amazed that people are still buying government bonds given debt to gdp ratios.

      Absolutely no sign that we can grow our GDP’s out of that debt. Huge risk of having to adopt a policy of inflating currencies out of debt = massive pain.

      • No lockdown for moi says:

        I moved my wife’s pension to 80% cash and 20% gilts (5 year & 15 year, 10% each) a while back as it was close to an all time high and obvs some dodgy stuff going on in the markets with this coronavirus. The gilts have done OK but the cash doesn’t earn any interest, so losing by inflation % pa. I might move it 100% cash for a while.

        • No lockdown for moi says:

          My own pension is currently 65% cash, 35% invested – so far the 35% part is down about 1.5% this year but was down 10%+ at one point in the last few weeks. A lot of bonds in the portfolio as well, so might switch out for a while, might not.

          If you were good with your timing, you could have done very well these past few weeks.

          If.

          • Doug M says:

            Trying to time the market will always get you in the end.

          • No lockdown for moi says:

            I agree but otoh using barometers could help?

            eg (say) using the FTSE100, if it goes to 5300, the market is a buy, if it goes to 4900, it’s a massive buy.

            could obvs then go to 3500, but you still bought low at 4900 and just have to wait it out, worst case scenario a couple of years?

          • Genghis says:

            To use some quotes from Bogle, “It’s all about time in the market, not timing the market”. Look at a globally diversified portfolio index, eg FTSE All World and you’ll see it generally goes in one direction over the long term. As such, “buy and hold”.
            If you sell when the market tanks, how do you know when to get back in?

          • I generally agree with that, buffets advice to his wife was stick it in a S&P tracker and forget about it.

            That said, if memory serves me well if you’d bought prior to 1929 I think it’s said that you wouldn’t have broken even till the 1950’s.

            I could well be entirely wrong but building economies on spiralling debt which can only be serviced in the absence of interest rates and anemic growth has in my opinion placed the world economy in a terrible position for an external shock. And there’s always an external shock around the corner.

            Personally think this is going to be the worst economic decline since WW2.

            I’m fully invested in gold now.

          • Crafty says:

            Genghis, the only problem with your advice that the stock market generally moves in one direction in the longer term, is the alternative that perhaps we haven’t yet seen the longer term?

            We do not know the length or amplitude of the cycle we are in.

          • You might potentially be correct there.

            The worst case scenario is devastating too, bonds will be hammered if interest rates return, whole swathes of companies will have zero value in tracker funds and currencies will devalue as printing money becomes the least worst course of action.

            Bitcoin to actually emerge as an adopted currency that can’t be debased?

  9. Waddle says:

    Don’t know if this has been mentioned yet. The Canadian Platinum also has an offer at the moment of CAD$0.02 per MR cash out up from CAD$0.01 pp default.

  10. Amex confirmed via their chat that as of 07:00GMT 21st April to 07:00GMT on the 20th July you will earn double points on all eligible spend for the platinum charge card for main and supplementary cardholders.

    • Thanks Sam. If anyone has a screenshot showing a transaction which has posted yet showing double points (may be too early) let me know.

    • Crafty says:

      If this were the case, and the double statement credit option stayed, then Platinum would effectively be offering 4x usual value on statement credits. Interesting time to hold.

      • +1. Confirmed via chat. Double points + Double value when redeemed as statement credit.

  11. BuyEMLocalBonds says:

    Worth upgrading my gold charge to platinum for this? have over 200k in points….

    • Could do IF you knew you’d have £1800 of spend on Amex by 20 July to settle up with points.

      • BuyEMLocalBonds says:

        Just logging into my gold card, its letting me go through my past transaction to redeem for points!

        So the £1800 can be retrospective!!?

        • Bentoni says:

          Only if you haven’t paid your statement balance. If your account has £0 or in credit, then you cannot redeem the points.

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