Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

60,000 AMEX POINTS: What is the best use of your American Express Platinum sign-up bonus?

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American Express is currently running a ‘you will never see better’ bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points when you take out The Platinum Card and spend £6,000 in your first six months.

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. In earlier articles (this is the last one!) we looked at:

You can apply for The Platinum Card here.

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

American Express Platinum bonus

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 American Express Business Platinum. However, you can also earn Membership Rewards points from other American Express cards. These include:

What are Membership Rewards points worth?

What are your 60,000 points from American Express Platinum worth?

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

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 value)

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. 

0.8p per point, £480 (guaranteed value)

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.

0.8p per point, £480 (my target value)

Club Eurostar points.  I value a Club Eurostar point at 12p as our article explains.  The 15:1 transfer rate into Club Eurostar means you are getting 0.8p 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.

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 value)

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). At Christmas 2020 I got 1.2p per point in Ras Al Khaimah as I explained here. All of these hotels have gone up in points price since my stays, however.

0.66p per point, £400 (my target value)

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.

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 American Express Platinum.

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 American Express Platinum here.

Comments (6)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Rob H says:

    Another travel website reporting there a 25% bonus for transferring your various hotel points into Avios over the next few days if you have paltry amounts to clear out.

  • Jonty says:

    I’d struggle to get 1p per point with Alitalia these days

  • Adam says:

    Are you eligible for this bonus if you hold the BA Amex Premium Plus?

  • RK1 says:

    I’m thinking about getting the platinum amex card but wondering whether I should take out separate travel insurance. I’ve already booked several trips this years so will lose some travel benefits not using card for booking. Any thoughts welcome. Thanks.

    • Rob says:

      If you were so bothered about insurance you should have bought it at the time of booking! It won’t get any cheaper and every day you are taking the risk that something happens to you (car crash, bad illness diagnosis etc) that would stop you travelling.

      In general, the Amex Plat benefits that require you to use the card are ‘small stuff’, eg £200 if your flight is delayed 4 hours. If you don’t care about this, you don’t need extra insurance.

      Amex Plat insurance kick in if you use ANY personal Amex in your name, so if you paid on a BA Amex then the Amex Plat insurance would still be fully in place.

      This also assumes you have minimal ‘pre existing conditions’ because the list of what Amex accepts is not huge.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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