How much are Amex points really worth? Our guide to calculating their value

How much are your points really worth? It’s an important question in gauging which cards can get you the most bang for your buck. Luckily, American Express Membership Rewards points are easy to earn and have lots of value.

On average, you can get a value of 1.8 cents per point — but it’s easy to receive more value with a little research.

The best news is that Amex Membership Rewards points are easy to earn from many of the best American Express cards. The card that’s best for you depends on your spending habits. For example, the American Express® Gold Card is a fantastic choice for those who spend a lot at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. In comparison, The Platinum Card® from American Express is a better choice if you spend a lot on travel and are looking for premium travel perks.

In addition to offering a wide variety of cards, Amex has added a number of limited-time card benefits due to the coronavirus pandemic to help you get even more value out of their cards.

Let’s look at the best ways to get the most value out of your Amex Membership Rewards points and see how much they are really worth.

A detailed look at the value of Amex points

How to earn Amex points

Our top recommendations for Amex Membership Rewards points-earning cards are:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express: Best Amex card for flights
  • American Express® Gold Card Best Amex card for restaurant and U.S. supermarket purchases
  • American Express® Green CardBest Amex card for general travel purchases
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: Best small-business Amex card
  • The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express: Best no-annual-fee business Amex card (see rates & fees)

The information for the Amex Green Card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.         

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What value can you get when you redeem your points for cash back?

Quick answer: 0.6 cents for statement credit, 1 cent each for gift cards (and possibly more)

If you want to quickly redeem your points for cash or gift cards, you can do it online. However, you should avoid doing so as you don’t get optimal value for your points. If you use your points to pay your statement balance, you’ll only get 0.6 cents per point … which is terrible. Gift cards are a little better: You’ll get 1 cent per point in value on some gift cards, while others cost closer to 0.8 cents per point.

It is possible to get 1.25 cents per point in “cash back” with a special Amex card. If you have the American Express Platinum Card® for Schwab, you can cash out your Membership Rewards points into a Schwab brokerage at 1.25 cents apiece. You’ll need to first open a Schwab Brokerage account before you can open the Amex Platinum Schwab card.

What value can you get when you book through the Amex Travel Portal?

Quick answer: 1 cent each (~1.54 cents each with the Amex Business Platinum) for flights, 0.7 cents each for other travel

The American Express Travel Portal allows you to turn your points into cheap travel. You can log into your Amex account and book flights, hotels, car rentals, and more using points, cash or a combo of both.

The Amex Travel Portal lets you redeem your points for airfare at a rate of 1 cent per point. For example, you can book a $200 round-trip flight from Washington, D.C., to Orlando for 20,000 Amex Membership Rewards points.

However, one great perk of the Amex Business Platinum Card is that you can actually get points back when you book flights using points. That’s because Amex gives you 35% of your points back for all first-class or business-class flights booked through the Amex travel portal using Pay With Points. You can also get 35% of your points back for all flights, including coach tickets, booked with your selected airline through the Amex travel portal using Pay With Points (up to 500,000 points per calendar year).

That means if you book a $1,000 flight (100,000 points) through the portal when you have the Business Platinum Card, you’ll get 35,000 points in return, which means your flight really only cost 65,000 Amex points.

Keep in mind, you’ll only get a value of 0.7 cents per point when you redeem Amex Membership Rewards points for other types of travel through the portal, like hotels and car rentals.

What value can you get from Amex transfer partners?

Quick answer: 1.8 cents each on average

Transferring your points to one of Amex’s transfer partners is a great way to get the most value for your points.

Below we’ve listed some popular Amex travel partners and the typical value per point you’ll get when moving points to them. One thing to keep in mind is that unlike Chase Ultimate Rewards, some Amex partners do not transfer at a 1:1 ratio. For example, when transferring to JetBlue, they transfer at a 250:200 ratio. That means if you need 10,000 JetBlue points, you’ll need to transfer 12,500 Amex Membership Rewards points.

AirlineTransfer RatioEstimated Transfer Time
Aer Lingus1:1Instant
AeroMexico1:1.624 Hours
Air Canada1:1Instant
Alitalia1:1Instant
ANA1:148 Hours
Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles)1:148 Hours
Avianca1:1Instant
British Airways1:1Instant
Delta1:1Instant
El Al1000:20Instant
Emirates1:1Instant
Etihad1:1Instant
Flying Blue (Air France / KLM)1:1Instant
Iberia1:148 hours
Hawaiian Airlines1:1Instant
JetBlue250:200Instant
Qantas1:1Instant
Singapore Airlines1:1Up to 24 hours
Virgin Atlantic1:1Instant

Airline Partners

  • British Airways – 0.7 to 5.5 cents each (typically 1.4 cents)
  • Singapore KrisFlyer – 0.8 to 4.5 cents each (typically 1.5 cents)
  • All Nippon Airways (ANA) – 0.6 to 7 cents each (typically 2 cents)

Hotel Partners

  • Choice Hotels – 0.7 to 4.2 cents each (typically 1.1 cents)
  • Hilton – 0.4 to 2 cents each (typically 0.5 cents)
  • Marriott – 0.3 to 1.5 cents each (typically 0.8 cents)

Note: Transferring your Amex Membership Rewards points to Marriott, Hilton, or Choice Hotels is not usually a good deal.

Here are a couple of examples of calculating the value of Amex Membership Rewards points.

Great value: Business-class flight with ANA miles

ANA (All Nippon Airways) offers fantastic value, especially when flying in business class. ANA offers a great sweet spot when traveling from North America to Japan for 75,000 to 90,000 points round-trip in business class. A business-class flight from New York to Tokyo could otherwise cost more than $6,000.

For example, a nonstop, round-trip flight in ANA’s business class from New York (JFK) to Tokyo goes for ~$6,332. However, if you book the same exact flight using points, you’d only be spending 85,000 points plus taxes and fees. That’s getting a value of ~7.5 cents per point (~$6,332 cash price of the ticket / 85,000 points), 6.5 cents more value than you’d get if redeeming your points for cash back.

By transferring Amex Membership Rewards points to certain airlines, you can “buy” tickets you might not otherwise be able to afford.

Not ideal: Coach From Boston to Orlando on JetBlue

Let’s take a look at an example of a round-trip flight on JetBlue from Boston or Orlando that costs ~$447.

When you look to book via points, it costs only 28,700 points. That would give you roughly ~1.6 cents per point value. However, remember that Amex points transfer to JetBlue at a 250:200 ratio. So, if you were to pay for this using Amex points, you’d need to transfer 35,875 Amex points over to your JetBlue account.

Now, the value drops to ~1.2 cents per point. You would get some additional value by transferring to a partner, but you wouldn’t get the same bang for your buck as you did with the ANA flight to Tokyo. So in this case, it probably makes more sense to book this flight with cash and save your points for another redemption.

Incredible value with a single Amex Membership Rewards point on Amazon

Amazon partners with American Express to offer some extremely valuable promotions for those with Amex Membership Rewards points. While you can always use your Amex points to shop on Amazon, it usually offers a poor value.

However, these semi-frequent promotions allow you to use just 1 point to get a 10 to 50% discount on your order. An MMS team member received $55 worth of discounts on Amazon by using only 2 Amex points. That’s a value of $27.50 per point!

These are limited offers, but they can be a great way to save money on Amazon since you only have to use 1 point typically to get the discount, then just pay for the rest of the order in cash.

A few months ago, Amex was offering up to 50% off Amazon orders when using 1 Amex point (up to $60 in savings). Lots of readers and MMS team members were able to maximize this by spending $120 on Amazon and getting $60 off — a fantastic deal.

How should you use your points?

Deciding on the best way to use your Amex points is really up to you. Maybe you’ve been dying to go to California and even though you may only get 1.5 cents per point, you still get a free flight. That’s certainly a valid use of your rewards.

Maybe you’ve been hoping to go on a Carnival cruise and you have 20,000 points you’d like to put toward your dream trip. Go ahead and buy $200 worth of Carnival gift cards through your Amex Rewards portal and get on that cruise for $200 less than you normally would have spent. Or maybe you just want the simplicity of using the Amex Travel Portal to book flights or hotels and using your points to pay for your travels.

However, you’ll almost always get the most value for your points when transferring to airline or hotel partners, and you’ll maximize that value when taking an international first or business-class flight.

Amex Membership Rewards points are really flexible and give you lots of options. There’s no right way to make the most of your points. Any travel you book using Amex points is free travel that you get from rewards on purchases you’d be making anyway.

Bottom line

Amex Membership Rewards points are extremely flexible. That flexibility is exactly what makes it so tough to pinpoint their exact value with a single number. But on average, expect to get 1.8 cents per point towards travel when transferring to partners.

When you add that to the fact that you can get up to 4x or 5x Amex points on purchases, you are effectively getting 8% to 10% back in certain categories. You’ll usually get the most value per point by transferring points to Amex airline partners, like ANA or Air Canada Aeroplan. Amex Membership Rewards points are easy to earn with cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express or the American Express® Green Card.

Let us know your favorite use of Amex points! And subscribe to our newsletter for more points valuations explained delivered to your inbox once per day.

For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus Card, please click here. 

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Annual fee

$550

Welcome offer

Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

Why we like it

The Amex Platinum is a staple in the travel cards landscape with its unmatched travel benefits, for frequent flyers these benefits alone can far exceed the cost of the annual fee. Beyond that, this card has great on-going rewards and the card also comes with a generous welcome bonus of 75,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first six months of opening your account. You’ll also earn 10x points on eligible purchases made at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets on up to $15,000 in combined spending during the first six months of card membership. This welcome offer could potentially earn you up to 225,000 points.

Who is it best for?

The Platinum Card is best for frequent travelers that value luxury travel perks: think incredible airport lounge access and Gold elite status with Marriott and Hilton. Cardholders can also cash in on hundreds of dollars of credit for travel expenses all the while earning 5X Membership Rewards Points on flights (booked directly with the airline or through Amextravel.com, on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and on prepaid hotel bookings through Amextravel.com.

Credit Score Recommended

Credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Good to Excellent

660

850

Details

  • Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties. Learn More.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Pros

  • Access to Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Delta Sky Clubs and more
  • Up to $500 in annual credits, plus another up to $100 credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck
  • Complimentary Hilton Gold elite status and Marriott Gold elite status
  • Long list of travel protections
  • Excellent customer experience

Cons

  • $550 annual fee
  • Earning on travel categories exclusive to airfare and prepaid hotel stays

Reward Rate

  • Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.

APR

See Pay Over Time APR

Credit Needed

Goodto Excellent

Foreign Transaction Fee

None

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