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 ‘best ever’ bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points plus a £200 Amex Travel credit 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 + £200’ 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 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. That said, if you know how to maximise the value of hotel points then Marriott and Hilton can still be decent options.

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.  At Christmas 2020 I got 1.2p per point in Ras Al Khaimah as I explained here.

I did three stays this Summer (one at St Regis New York and two at the University Arms in Cambridge) where I got outsized value, which is unsurprising given current cash rates. In October we are at the acclaimed Al Maha desert resort in Dubai where we are getting 1.5p per Bonvoy point based on the cash rate.

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)

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.

You will also, of course, pick up a £200 Amex Travel credit as well during this current special offer which runs to 25th October.

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 (43)

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

  • Andy says:

    I applied 2 weeks ago, got email asking for proof of income, sent it, got automated email asking for it again sent documents again, last night same email… If my documents ain’t valid wish they would say..

  • Tom says:

    Convert to Nectar and then use the 300 points for 5p per litre price reduction. The more litres the better the value. I can regulalrly put 60 litres in and so get 300p for 300 points

  • Tom says:

    5p per litre is at some Esso garages

  • Neil says:

    I just activated my wife’s platinum card and I can’t seem to see any offers like I have on my gold card. Does anyone know why that is? Do I need to make a purchase?

  • M Morris says:

    Just got a credit card I only have till Oct 25 to spend 6000 pound to gain my rewards can I draw out 3000 pound pay back then spend it again to get my reward

  • JA says:

    Hi I have a question, more on general ‘hotel offers’. Eg on my platinum card is a Four Seasons Hotel offer, spend £1000 get £200 cash back. It can be in multiple transactions to get to £1000. I just wanted to know if spend at the restaurants are considered eligible, esp if I can actually purchase a tasting menu online at fourseasons.com. And the offer also does not gift cards are excluded. Anyone can clarify? I called AMEX but they told me No, and that it should be implicitly understood that gift cards are not accepted and buying the dining experience/tasting menu they said not likely?

    • Rob says:

      In this case it is unlikely.

      The question you need to ask is – ‘does the hotel process this transaction via its own credit card machine?’. Amex is looking out the unique reference number linked to the card machines in the hotel. In this case I consider it unlikely. However if you go to the hotel in person it may work.

      Even eating in the restaurant without charging to the room is a risk because the restaurant may have a separate credit card account to the hotel itself.

      • JA says:

        Thanks Rob. Thats disappointing as there are quite a few hotel offers but they cannot ‘translate’ into dining offers. In this specific case, while offer says available online at fourseasons.com and even though I can, without leaving fourseasons.com website, purchase gift cards and/or tasting menu at La Dame de Pic the restaurant, it could potentially be charged by the restaurant card machine and as such negate the eligibility of the spend? So I need to check with fourseasons how this charge will look on the bill?

        • Rob says:

          You really think they know? For Pic, I am pretty sure it will be run independently of the hotel so the chance of it working is slim.

          The way to guarantee it works is to get the front desk to open a folio for you, the restaurant charges it to that folio and then you pay at the front desk. Will tehy do this? Perhaps, perhaps not.

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