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American Express is currently running a ‘best ever’ sign-up bonus of 100,000 Membership Rewards points when you take out The Platinum Card.
This would convert into 100,000 Avios (!) or lots of other great travel rewards. Even better, you qualify for the bonus even if you have a British Airways American Express card as long as you meet the other criteria.
Our introductory article on the ‘100,000 bonus Membership Rewards points’ offer is here. Remember that you can get a pro-rata refund on the annual fee until at least 29th February 2024, and it may be available for longer.
In earlier articles (this is the last one) we looked at:
- ‘Are the four free American Express Platinum hotel status cards worth having?‘
- ‘Why American Express Platinum gets you into more lounges than you think‘
- ‘Why Fine Hotels & Resorts is one of the best Amex Platinum benefits‘
- ‘If you cancel Platinum, the Amex Rewards Card will keep your points alive‘
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 100,000 American Express Membership Rewards points sign-up bonus?
The representative APR is 704.6% variable, including the annual fee. The representative APR on purchases is 31.0% variable.
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.
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 100,000 points bonus on American Express Platinum. However, you can also earn Membership Rewards points from other American Express cards. These include:
- American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (review) – 30,000 points bonus (special offer to 9th January) and FREE for a year, with four airport lounge passes and £10 per month of Deliveroo credit thrown in, apply here
- American Express Rewards (review) – the only ‘free for life’ Amex card which earns Membership Rewards, apply here
- American Express Business Platinum Card (review) – 40,000 points bonus and a host of benefits including airport lounge access for four people, four mid-tier hotel elite statuses, digital subscription to The Times, £150 of annual Dell credit and more, apply here
- American Express Business Gold (review) – 20,000 points bonus, £100 of annual Dell credit and FREE for a year, apply here
What are your 100,000 points from American Express Platinum worth?
0.75p – 1.5p per point, £750 – £1,500 (my target value)
Airline miles. My 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, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Finnair, Flying Blue, Qantas and SAS. The transfer rate to Singapore Airlines is 3:2.
My personal spreadsheet of the last 9.1 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.
0.75p per point, £750 (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 31 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 have had some exceptionally good redemptions in recent years which have got me far more than 0.5p per Bonvoy point as the valuation article above shows.
0.66p per point, £666 (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 300 : 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 1.33 Nectar points worth 0.66p.
As long as you shop at Sainsbury’s, eBay or Argos, you can get 0.66p 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 0.66p per Membership Rewards point if you convert American Express points to Avios to Nectar.
All of the options below earn you less than 0.66p 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 Hilton can still be a decent option.
0.66p per point, £666 (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.
You can beat 0.33p per point if you are strategic in how and when you redeem, so there are reasons why you may want to transfer to Hilton instead of cashing out via Nectar.
0.55p per point, £550 (my target)
Club Eurostar points. Following the 2023 devaluation, I value a Club Eurostar point at 7p to 10p. The 15:1 transfer rate into Club Eurostar means you are getting 0.55p per point if you take a midpoint of 8.5p.
You should get slightly more than 0.55p if redeeming in Standard class and slightly less if redeeming in Standard Premier or upgrading from Standard to Standard Premier.
0.5p per point, £500 (guaranteed)
Retailer gift cards – Starbucks, M&S, Harrods etc.
0.5p per point, £500 (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, £450 (my target value)
Until an October 2022 devaluation, Radisson Rewards points were a great use of American Express Membership points. Now they are not.
The average value has dropped from around 0.33p per Radisson Rewards point to around 0.15p as I show here. The conversion rate is 1 American Express Membership Rewards point to 3 Radisson Rewards points.
This means that you are getting around 0.45p per American Express point. You can’t do much better than this because Radisson Rewards pricing is now ‘dynamic’, with the points cost increasing if the cash price increases.
0.45p per point, £450 (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, £450 (guaranteed)
Redeeming for American Express statement credit at 0.45p per Membership Rewards point you cash in.
There is real value, potentially over £1,000-worth, in the 100,000 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 £10,000 in six months. Remember that you can cancel the card until at least 29th February 2024 (and potentially longer – Amex will announce the exact date next year) for a pro-rata refund of the annual fee.
You can apply for American Express Platinum 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. The site discusses products offered by lenders but is not a lender itself. Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as an independent credit broker.