Get a 50% bonus using Amex Membership Rewards to pay BA, Virgin, Ryanair and Emirates
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If you have an American Express card which earns Membership Rewards points, you can (if targetted) get a 50% bonus when you redeem your Membership Rewards points to cover the cost of flights on selected airlines.
The offer runs to the end of February.
This is not a great deal, but there are limited scenarios to think about it.
The standard redemption value when you redeem Membership Rewards points for statement credit is 0.45p per point. This is rubbish, when you assume that you can get 1 airline mile per point instead.
This is a targetted offer. You have been emailed about it yesterday. If you were not emailed because you have turned off marketing communications from Amex, you can – once you have a qualifying charge – check on the ‘pay with points’ website if you are offered the enhanced rate.
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 against flights on:
- British Airways
- Virgin Atlantic
This is MARGINALLY better than turning your Avios into Nectar points, which gets you 0.67p to spend in Sainsbury’s, Argos or at eBay.co.uk.
You can beat the Amex Travel 0.68p per point redemption 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:
- Avios or frequent flyer miles (0.8p to 1p each on a conservative basis based on 1:1)
- Club Eurostar points (0.8p each based on 15:1)
- Marriott Bonvoy points (0.75p each based on 2:3)
How does ‘pay with points’ work?
You may never have used ‘pay with points’, so I should explain how it works.
You make your purchase – in this case, a British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates or Ryanair flight bought directly from their own website – using your Membership Rewards-enrolled American Express card.
Once the charge has appeared online, go to your American Express account and select ‘Use points for purchases’ on your card home page:
You will see a list of recent transactions and, next to them, the number of points you need to redeem to wipe out the charge:
As you can see, I am offered the standard rate of 0.45p per point for all of the charges above.
In theory, if I had any British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates or Ryanair charges, I would be offered the 50% bonus and receive 0.68p per point.
It is never a bad thing when a partner improves the value you can get by redeeming your points.
In this case, however, the offer of 0.68p per Membership Rewards point doesn’t move the needle for me. That said, if you’re still redeeming Membership Rewards points for Nectar credit at 0.67p per point, you will be no worse off by doing this.
Remember that you only get the enhanced rate of 0.68p per Membership Rewards point when you cover charges made DIRECTLY with British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates or Ryanair.
The offer ends on 28th February.
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