Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

60,000 BONUS POINTS: What is the best use of your huge Amex Platinum sign-up bonus?

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American Express is currently running a ‘never seen before’ bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points when you take out The Platinum Card.

This would convert into 60,000 Avios or lots of other great travel rewards.

Our main article on the Platinum 60,000 points offer is here. Last week we looked at ‘Are the four free American Express Platinum hotel status cards worth having?‘ and ‘Why American Express Platinum gets you into more lounges than you think‘.

Today I want to look at a more direct question – how much value can you get for your 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus?

You can apply for The Platinum Card here.

How can you use the 60,000 Membership Rewards points from American Express Platinum?

This article is about how to make the best use of your Amex Membership Rewards points.  It does NOT cover every Membership Rewards redemption but it does cover the bulk of the pseudo-cash, cash and travel options. If we haven’t covered an option, you should assume that it offers poor value.

Membership Rewards sensibly chose to discontinue ‘physical’ redemptions in 2019.  You can no longer redeem your points for a toaster.  This is good news because the toaster was, unsurprisingly, poor value for your points.  If you still want a free toaster, redeem your points for an Amazon gift card.

The Amex Membership Rewards website is here if you want to look for yourself at what is available.

How can you earn Membership Rewards points?

This article is based around the current 60,000 points bonus on The Platinum Card. However, you can also earn Membership Rewards points from other American Express cards. These include:

What are Membership Rewards points worth?

Do you qualify for the bonus on these cards?

The complex rules on whether you qualify for an American Express sign-up bonus are explained in my article here

Fundamentally, it is fairly easy to qualify for the bonus on Business Gold and Business Platinum (you cannot have held any Membership Rewards card for six months) and personal Platinum (you cannot have held a personal Green, Gold or Platinum card for 24 months). 

It is harder to qualify for the bonus on personal Preferred Rewards Gold or the American Express Rewards Credit Card (you cannot have held ANY personal Amex card for 24 months).

You can still apply and be accepted for these cards even if you don’t qualify for the bonus. You will still receive all of the other card benefits.

What are your 60,000 points from The Platinum Card worth?

0.75p – 1.5p per point, £450 – £900 (my target)

Airline milesMy last piece on valuing Avios points is here and Amex points transfer into Avios at 1:1.  This is why the sign-up bonuses are so valuable.

It is impossible to tie down a tighter range because of the number of different airline partners and the various ways (upgrade, long-haul, short-haul, economy, premium) you can redeem.  Membership Rewards points convert at 1:1 to Avios, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, Etihad, Alitalia, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Finnair, Flying Blue, Qantas and SAS. The transfer rate to Singapore Airlines is 3:2.

My personal spreadsheet of the last 8.5 million Avios I have redeemed shows that I got an average value of 1.2p.  This is based on what I would personally have been prepared to pay for the flights I took, however, which may be far different from what you would have been prepared to pay.  My best redemptions far exceeded this.

1p per point, £600 (my target)

Radisson Rewards hotel transfersRadisson Rewards is probably the least understood of the American Express hotel partners, but their points can have real value.

Radisson Rewards in the UK covers Radisson Blu, Radisson RED, Radisson Edwardian, Park Inn and Park Plaza.

We explain our 0.33p valuation of Radisson Rewards points here. The conversion rate is a generous 1 Amex point to 3 Radisson Rewards points.  You need (75,000 / 3) 25,000 Amex points for the most expensive hotels and if you assume a £250 per night cash cost then 1p per point is realistic. 

Radisson points are poorer value at the bottom end, with the cheapest UK Park Inn hotels now requiring 30,000 points, although a room rate of £100 still justifies 1p per Amex point. 

Note that transfers to Radisson Rewards are currently suspended due to IT issues but should return soon.

0.8p per point, £480 (guaranteed)

In early 2021, the supermarket loyalty scheme Nectar become a partner with British Airways Avios points. You can convert 50,000 Avios per month to Nectar, at a rate of 250 : 400.

Because a Nectar point has a fixed value of 0.5p when spent at Sainsbury’s, eBay or Argos, it means that 1 Avios can be turned into 1.6 Nectar points worth 0.8p.

As long as you shop at Sainsbury’s, eBay or Argos, you can get 0.8p per Membership Rewards point, guaranteed.

To do this, you convert your American Express points to Avios and then transfer them to Nectar.

Before I go on ….

You are guaranteed 0.8p per Membership Rewards point if you convert American Express points to Avios to Nectar.

All of the options below earn you less than 0.8p per point. You need to have a good reason to use any of the options below instead of Nectar.

American Express Amex Platinum card best use of sign up bonus

0.75p per point, £450 (my target)

Marriott Bonvoy hotel transfers.  Amex points convert at 2:3 into the Marriott Bonvoy programme.  It is fairly easy to get 0.5p per Marriott Bonvoy point as I explain here.

0.5p per Marriott Bonvoy point means, at a 2:3 exchange rate from Membership Rewards, you should be getting 0.75p per Membership Rewards point.  You now have a whopping 30 hotel brands to redeem at, including Le Meridien, Sheraton, Westin, W, Marriott, Autograph, Design Hotels, The Luxury Collection, The Ritz Carlton, St Regis etc etc.

I had some exceptionally good returns pre-covid which have got me far more than 0.5p per Bonvoy point.  These include St Regis New York for 60,000 Bonvoy points (40,000 Amex points) when cash rates were $1,100 + tax, and the new The Langley country house hotel for just 35,000 points (23,300 Amex points). Both of these hotels have gone up in points price since 2019, however.

0.66p per point, £400 (my target)

Hilton Honors hotel transfers.  Hilton has moved closer to a revenue-based redemption model in recent years, although you can get still outsized value at times.  Over time I have come to believe that 0.33p per point is a fair valuation for a Hilton Honors point.  The conversion rate is 1:2 to Hilton which is how I get to 0.66p per Amex point.  Hilton brands include Conrad, Waldorf Astoria and Hampton.

Club Eurostar points.  I value a Club Eurostar point at 10p, assuming you value a standard class return at £100 and a Standard Premier return at £200.  The 15:1 transfer rate into Club Eurostar means you are getting 0.66p per point.  Club Eurostar offers guaranteed availability – if there is a seat for cash, you can book it for points – which means that you are more likely to be redeeming onto peak trains which are peak priced for cash.

0.5p per point, £300 (guaranteed)

Retailer gift cards – Starbucks, M&S, Harrods etc.

0.5p per point, £300 (guaranteed)

The value of a Nectar point, given that you can redeem Amex points for Nectar points at a 1:1 ratio.  It is stupid to do this, however, given that you get 60% more value by transferring American Express to Avios to Nectar as I explained above.

0.45p per point, £270 (guaranteed)

Linking your Amex account to amazon.co.uk and paying for your purchases directly with points (more in this article).  This is a slightly silly option, however, as you can also redeem for Amazon gift cards and get 0.5p per point.

0.45p per point, £270 (guaranteed)

Redeeming for American Express statement credit at 0.45p per Membership Rewards point you cash in.

Conclusion

There is real value, potentially over £600-worth, in the 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points you would receive as a sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card.

This assumes that you qualify for the bonus and meet the target of spending £6,000 in six months. Remember that you can cancel the card at any point for a pro-rata refund of the annual fee.

You can apply for The Platinum Card here.

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.  By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

Comments (6)

  • PJJ says:

    Thinking of going for this card to help towards an ‘earn and burn’ with Emirates A380 to Melbourne (never used either) when Aus opens up
    Anyone with any experience on how easy it is to get get Reward Flights on the LHR DXB MEL route ?
    Knowing BA to Sydney are like gold dust

  • Neil Donoghue says:

    LHR – MEL with EK is pretty much gold dust as well. The taxes are pretty steep as well but if you would be open to starting in AMS or MXP you will be absolutely fine. A brilliant redemption and I can highly recommend it

  • John T says:

    This was a very long way of saying ‘you should transfer them to airline partners’.

  • WaynedP says:

    Is there a bonus for transferring a minimum amount of MR to airline partners, or is that only on the Marriott Bonvoy card ?

    (Something like 5,000 bonus miles if you transfer a minimum of 20,000 miles if I recall correctly)

    • Rob says:

      Varies by airline. Usually 1000.

      No minimum to Nectar or Radisson, Hilton is 200 etc.

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