Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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.

American Express pay with points

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
  • Emirates
  • Ryanair

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:

American Express points for purchases

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:

Amex Pay purchases with points

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.

Conclusion

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? – May 2024 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.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £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.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

HUGE 60,000 POINTS BONUS UNTIL 3rd JULY and 15 elite night credits each year Read our full review

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

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

18,000 bonus points 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:

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

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and FREE for a year Read our full review

Capital on Tap Business Rewards Visa

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 Business Credit Card

1% cashback uncapped* on all your business spending (T&C apply) Read our full review

Comments (22)

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

  • Roger says:

    Thanks for the summary.
    Received email yesterday but didn’t look into more details.
    This clears it as a no go for me.

  • Freddy says:

    Since BA/nectar transfer was watered down and radisson trashed their scheme is this really a bad option when the only other option is flights or marginally better marriott

  • aseftel says:

    Worth remembering that if you do want to reduce the cost of a BA flight using MR points, you can generally beat 0.68p/MR using part pay with Avios.

  • Paul says:

    It’s a very bad deal when you can transfer to partner airlines and get easier redemptions for fewer miles and massively reduced fees than BA.

    For example FCO SYD 90,000 MR and €112 Euro one way in J with excellent availability

    I did CDG SYD in December booking on the Saturday to fly Monday for same deal returning from SYD in J via on cash fares . Overall saved 2/3rds on the £9000 BA were demanding and 75% on what Qatar wanted from LHR at the time

    • Carlos says:

      You also are restricted to any limitations the third party booking website has on fare changing terms etc, as opposed to booking direct

    • James says:

      Which airline was this with Paul?

      • Paul says:

        You transfer to Delta airlines and then book on their partners. In December I flew Vietnam airlines CDG HAN SGN SYD all lie flat. Don’t get me wrong the transfer in Vietnam was over 12 hrs and a royal pain but lounges helped a little and I was comforted by the price at the very last minute.
        Doing it again in December departing from LHR to AMS on Boxing Day on KLM to overnight AMS then AMS TPE SYD on China Airlines, with just 1 hour transit in TPE. I Arrive SYD evening of 28th.
        I paid 90,000 plus £301 per person as ticket originates in LHR and I pay full APD but, I could have flown ex FCO for same miles and €112. I decided that given potential for bad weather etc I’d rather be protected with a single ticket. I also get full UK261/EU261 protection.
        Booking via delta is so simple and you can check availability before transferring from Membership rewards. Moreover transfers are instant.
        Finally, and this is really helpful, Delta call centres and agents have been outstanding. Calls answered almost immediately and they really want to help. In December I called to get my flight changed. It was made really simple and NO FEES! My December booking was showing waitlisted for a couple of days after booking and I called them. It was sorted in seconds. Really impressive.

        Finally flying Delta on points is ludicrously expensive. It seems to be revenue based with some of their routes requiring half a million miles. Google images of China Airlines A350. VN were superb and catering and wine ex CDG was outstanding. I slept SGN SYD and ate nothing

        • James says:

          Not sure if you will see this Paul but just a quick note to say thank you for the information, it is really helpful.

  • Steve says:

    Has anyone used their platinum dining benefit for Bread Street Kitchen? Credit has still not been applied…

    • Rhys says:

      Sometimes they’re slow. I had to chat with Amex after they missed one of mine dining things. Had to email them the receipt!

      • Steve says:

        How long did you have to wait before contacting them?

        • Rhys says:

          I contacted them about a week after, after I used my second dining credit which had already credited.

  • Irons80 says:

    But what’s missing in the analysis is that it’s actually worth more than what Rob’s saying as if you use points against a cash fair, you’ve still earned the TPs and Avios on your flight vs a mileage redemption where you haven’t

    • Peter K says:

      Plus the flexibility on dates and times with a cash fair, not only having to choose when there is a redemption option available.

      • jjoohhnn says:

        But cash fares have loss of flexibility in being able to change your ticket for a nominal fee on a redemption unless you buy an expensive fare.

        Of course, what’s stopping you using this to pay the carrier imposed fees and taxes for your flight off using this?

      • Aston100 says:

        Those are both good points.

      • Dubious says:

        That’s true but not infinitely so as cash fares are not uniform across all dates or times.

  • Steve in Croydon says:

    You pay for a flexible/refundable airline fare with MR points, say an Avios ticket with BA.
    What happens when you cancel the flight for a refund, perhaps many months later? Does one receive a refund of MR points or the original cash charge? Perhaps the MR points are lost.
    Has anyone experienced this?

    • Rob says:

      Good question. I’d suspect that nothing happens – the cash is refunded to your statement and stays there at a guess, with no points refunded.

  • Andy says:

    Does anyone know if you lose Avios that haven’t transferred when you cancel the BA Amex, I have a few thousand that must have missed the cut off to transfer

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

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