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? – May 2022 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge 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. 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.
The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios or other airline miles, if you apply by 1st June 2022.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 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 & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER) and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
30,000 points bonus (SPECIAL OFFER) 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:
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus 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
10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company 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.