American Express Membership Rewards Program Review

The Membership Rewards program, by American Express, is a great way to earn bonuses while spending on everyday purchases. Points can be used for eligible card charges, entertainment and more. To join, all you need is a participating American Express credit card. If you already have one, enroll your card by logging in to your account.

For more information, you can visit this page.

Advantages
Disadvantages
✓ 21 transfer partners
✗ Points are forfeited after a missed payment
✓ Points never expire
✗Earning rate may vary based on amount spent
✓ No rotating bonus categories
✗ No cash back available

 
Earning Reward Points   


By having a participating American Express credit card, you will earn points for every dollar spent. These points never expire and can be used to redeem gift cards, electronics, travel packages and more. However, keep in mind that your points will be forfeited according to the described program terms. In most cases, they will be forfeited if you ever miss a payment.

Ways to earn points:

  • Having an eligible Amex credit card
    • Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
      • Sign-Up Bonus: 50,000 points
      • 3x points on airfare, 2x points an gas stations/supermarkets/restaurants, and 1 point per dollar spent on other purchases
    • The Platinum Card from American Express
      • Sign-Up Bonus: 40,000 points
      • 2x points on eligible purchases made on the American Express Travel website, and 1 point per dollar spent on other purchases
    • Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card
      • Sign-Up Bonus: 15,000 points
      • 3x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 of purchases annually), 2x points at gas stations, and 1 point per dollar spent on other purchases
      • 50% more points when you make 30 or more purchases in a billing period
    • Mercedes-Benz Credit Card from American Express
      • Sign-Up Bonus: 10,000 points
      • 5x points on select Mercedes-Benz purchases, 3x points at U.S. gas stations (for each transaction $400 or less), and 1 point for all other purchases
  • Booking flights on Amextravel.com
    • Earn 2x points on each dollar of eligible purchases made when you book using a Membership Rewards program-enrolled American Express Card on the American Express Travel website

Earning restrictions to keep in mind:
1. Manual enrollment
2. Points can be forfeited
3. Rewards may vary by amount spent

 
Spending Your Reward Points   


When you are cashing in your points for rewards, try to calculate the value per point for each item you would like to redeem. Do not purchase if it is less than 1 cent per point. American Express has made it easier for customers to get the most out of their points by including the dollar estimate of each item in their store. Their website also offers a tool to help you figure out how much your points are worth. For more details, select a card and view the costs of redeeming various items on the official American Express Website.

Since the redemption value for most items are the same for different American Express cards, we have selected the Amex EveryDay℠ Preferred Card to analyze. Below we have determined the average cost per point you will receive from various redemption options:

  • Gift Cards: Up to 1 cent per point
  • Flights: 1 cent per point
  • New York City Taxis or Uber: 1 cent per point
  • Merchandise from Amazon.com or BestBuy.com: 0.7 cent per point
  • Credit towards card charges: 0.6 cent per point
  • Merchandise from the American Express store: 0.5 cent per point
  • Tickets for entertainment: 0.5 cent per point

To get the most out of your points, it is best to redeem for either gift cards, flights, or taxi services.

 
Membership Tiers   


The American Express Rewards Program has three membership tiers: (1) Membership Rewards Express, (2) Membership Rewards (Regular) and (3) Membership Rewards First

Membership Rewards are broken down into three tiers that determine what perks you may have access to. Note, if you have more than one card in the Membership Rewards program, all your cards will gain access to the tier of the best card. For example, if you own the Amex Everyday Credit Card as well as the Platinum Card, both of your cards will have access to the Membership Rewards First program.

Summary of the Membership Benefits
Membership Rewards Express
Membership Rewards
Membership Rewards First
Access to Transfer Partners
Concierge Service
Points Purchase Limit
100,000
500,000
500,000
Free Gifts from High-End Retailers
Premium Travel Perks
Dedicated A-List Member Phone Line

 
Frequently Asked Questions   


Q1. Will I receive Membership Reward points on my pay over time charges?
Yes, if you are enrolled in the Membership Rewards program, you will get one point for every dollar you spend, even if you choose to pay over time.

Q2. Is it possible to transfer Membership Rewards points to another person’s account?
No, unlike other loyalty programs, points are not transferable to any other person or account.

Q3. Is there a minimum number of Membership Rewards points I need before I can redeem for a reward?
No, you can redeem your points as soon as you have enough for the reward you want. However, you can only transfer them into participating frequent flyer or frequent guest programs when you have accumulated 1,000 points.

Q4. If my points are forfeited, can I get them back?
Yes, your points can be reinstated if you return your card account to good standing by making all required payments. You must reinstate your points within 12 months of forfeiting them, and there is a $35 fee for each billing period in which you reinstate points.

Q5. Is there a fee for transferring my points?
American Express offers 21 different transfer partners, and it is important to note that all transfers must be completed in 1,000 point increments. Transfers to U.S. airlines have a fee of $6 per 10,0000 points with a maximum fee of $99.

Q6. Which hotel groups can I choose?
You can transfer your Membership Rewards points to five Frequent Guest programs. These include HHonors®, Priority Club® Worldwide, Starwood Preferred Guest, Jumeirah (Sirius) and goldpoints plusSM.

Q7. Can I link my Membership Rewards Account to a frequent flyer program?
Yes, you can. By contacting a Membership Rewards agent, you can request them to link your accounts.

Q8. Which Airlines can I transfer my points to?
You can convert your Membership Rewards points to Frequent Flyer miles and redeem your points with nearly 100 top airlines. Frequent Flyer Partners include: AirFrance & KLM (Flying Blue), Alitalia (MileMiglia), British Airways (Executive Club), bmi (Diamond Club), Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles™), Continental (OnePass), Delta (SkyMiles®), Iberia (Iberia Plus), Malaysia Airlines (Enrich), SAS (Eurobonus), Singapore Airlines (Krisflyer) and Virgin Atlantic (Flying Club).

 
Concluding Remarks   


Overall, American Express offers a great rewards program that allows customers to transfer points to 21 different partners, including Starwood Preferred Guest. There are no maximum limits on the points you can earn, and they never expire. However, there is a policy in which you must forfeit your earnings if you miss a payment. If you believe that you can make all your payments on time, this rewards program is a great choice. Unlike other loyalty programs your earnings do not expire after a certain amount of years so you can take your time and save up for big bonuses.

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