Get a 50% bonus on Membership Rewards redemptions via Amex Travel – but bad deal
Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.
If you have an American Express card which earns Membership Rewards points, you will get a 50% bonus when you redeem your Membership Rewards points online at American Express Travel. This would cover any prepaid flights or hotels.
The offer runs to the end of the year.
This is not a great deal, but there are limited scenarios to think about it.
The standard redemption value when you use points to pay for Amex Travel bookings is 0.45p per point. This is rubbish, when you assume that you can get 1 airline mile per point instead.
How does a 50% bonus change things?
With a 50% bonus, you will receive 0.68p per point when you redeem your Membership Rewards points for prepaid travel products.
Here is an example:
Regular HfP readers will know what I am going to say next. The looming shadow of the new Avios / Nectar partnership is peering over your shoulder and saying ‘why bother?’.
You can get a GUARANTEED 0.8p per American Express Membership Rewards point by:
- moving your Membership Rewards points to Avios at 1:1, then
- moving your Avios to Nectar at 8:5 (1 Avios = 1.6 Nectar points), then
- spending your Nectar points for their standard 0.5p per point valuation at Sainsburys, Argos, eBay, M&S (non-food) etc
When you get a guaranteed 0.8p via Nectar, why take 0.68p via Amex Travel? The only logical reason would be that you have so many Amex points to use up that realistically you can’t use them easily with Nectar partners.
Here is my DIY attempt to update the chart in the email Amex sent out:
90,000 points → £720
Other deals also beat the Amex Travel 0.68p per point rate ….
Here is our list of the most valuable Membership Rewards redemptions based on our proprietary numbers.
The Amex Membership Rewards website is here if you want to look for yourself at what is available.
As well as Nectar, the following redemptions also beat the 0.68p per point you would get using them at Amex Travel, if you trust our valuations:
- frequent flyer miles (0.8p to 1p each on a conservative basis)
- Radisson Rewards points (1p each)
- Marriott Bonvoy points (0.75p each)
There is one reason why this deal may be better than taking air miles
In general, if you are looking to redeem your Membership Rewards points for flights then I recommend turning them into frequent flyer miles. You will get far more value.
There are two exceptions to this:
- if you want an economy long haul flight, where miles rarely offer value
- if you want to earn tier or status points from your flight – you don’t earn tier or status points on redemption flights booked with miles, but a flight booked via Amex Travel WILL usually earn tier points like any other cash booking
However, I would still recommend paying cash for your flight and redeeming your points for free shopping via Nectar. You are guaranteed to get a better deal – 0.68p vs 0.8p per point with Nectar.
This plan doesn’t work for hotel bookings
If you book a pre-paid hotel via American Express Travel, you will NOT receive status benefits, status points or redeemable points in any hotel loyalty scheme.
This is because Amex Travel bookings are treated as ‘third party bookings’.
If you have hotel status or are working towards it, don’t book pre-paid rates via Amex Travel. You won’t earn any points or night credits.
The bottom line is that, unless Amex has an exclusive offer, there is no logical reason to book a pre-paid hotel via Amex Travel using points, even with a 50% bonus.
It is never a bad thing when a partner improves the value you can get by redeeming your points.
In this case, however, the American Express Travel offer doesn’t move the needle enough to make it worthwhile.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – March 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.
SPECIAL OFFER: Successfully apply for either of the Barclaycard Avios credit cards by 2nd April 2023 and you will be entered into a free draw to win ONE MILLION AVIOS! Full details are on the application forms here (free) and here (paid). This competition is exclusive to Head for Points readers. T&C apply.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard
25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review
Barclaycard Avios Mastercard
5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
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.
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 – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus 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:
Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.
American Express Business Platinum
Crazy 120,000 points bonus (to 30th March) and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
60,000 points sign-up bonus (to 30th March) and free for a year Read our full review
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
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.
Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card
1% cashback (3% for 3 months if you apply by 31st March) and no annual fee Read our full review