Personal finance

How Much Are Amex Points Worth in 2022?

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Amex Membership Rewards are among the most valuable travel rewards you can earn. These points offer a high upside thanks to Amex’s lucrative roster of 17 airline and three hotel transfer partners, as well as a respectable value floor for eligible cardholders who book travel directly through Amex.

These features give Membership Rewards points an average redemption value of 1.8 cents per point in Personal Finance Insider’s most recent valuations. Read on to learn which redemption options you should target and avoid in order to maximize your return. Amex is an Insider partner.

We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

Best ways to use Amex points


Regular APR


See Pay Over Time APR


Recommended Credit Score


Good to Excellent


Regular APR


See Pay Over Time APR


Recommended Credit Score


Good to Excellent

Pros

  • Long list of travel benefits, including airport lounge access and complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott (enrollment required)
  • Annual statement credits with Saks and Uber

Cons

  • Bonus categories leave something to be desired
  • One of the highest annual fees among premium travel cards

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More Information

  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. And if you fly, you can receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year after you select a qualifying airline and incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: 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 only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at select airports and stadiums.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Amex Membership Rewards Points are most valuable when you transfer them to airline and hotel partners like Virgin Atlantic or Marriott Bonvoy. These and other programs enable you to redeem rewards for high-end travel experiences, such as first or business class flights and premium hotel rooms. Finding these exceptional redemption opportunities takes skill and patience, but you can crush the average redemption value when you do.

Transfer Amex points to Virgin Atlantic for Delta one flights

For example, consider a round-trip flight from Detroit to Amsterdam in February of 2023. You could book non-stop service in Delta One business class for 100,000 points and $62 through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

Screenshot of Delta One award flight with 100,000 Virgin Atlantic points cost



Virgin Atlantic


At the time of writing, that same itinerary has a cash price of $3,906 dollars, yielding a redemption value of over 3.84 cents per point after accounting for the cash portion of the award. That’s nearly 75% more than our high valuation of 2.2 cents apiece for Membership Rewards points.

Screenshot of cash price of over $3,900 for a Delta One flight between Detroit and Amsterdam.



Delta Air Lines


Transfer Amex points to Marriott for luxury stays

As another example, consider a long weekend stay in April at The St. Regis Vommuli Maldives Resort using Marriott Bonvoy points. At the time of writing, three nights in a beach villa cost 318,000 points plus $1,526 in taxes and fees.

Screenshot of three-night points stay at the St. Regis Maldives



Marriott Bonvoy


That may not sound like much of a bargain until you consider the cash rate for those same three nights is an eye-popping $9,687.

Screenshot of the $9,686 cost of a paid three-night stay at the St. Regis Maldives



Marriott Bonvoy


Accounting for the fees charged on the award stay yields a redemption value of 2.56 cents per point, or about 16% above our high valuation for Membership Rewards points. That redemption value is inflated by the fact that luxury resorts in the Maldives are notoriously expensive, but it demonstrates how these points can help put otherwise unaffordable travel plans within reach.

One great feature of Amex Membership Rewards is that all points are transferable regardless of which credit card you use to earn them. Points from a no-fee option like the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
are eligible the same as those from a top-tier card like The Platinum Card® from American Express
, so they carry equal upside for use with airline and hotel partners. That’s a welcome contrast to some other transferable points programs.

Fair redemption options

The examples above illustrate what’s possible with Membership Rewards points. Not all award redemptions will be so lucrative, but you can get a good return even without booking premium travel. Economy flights, standard hotel rooms, and some of Amex’s direct redemption options provide more consistent and accessible value.

Transfer Amex points to Choice Privileges for stays in Europe

This itinerary for three nights in October at the Clarion Hotel Sign in central Stockholm, Sweden is a perfect example. A family room that can accommodate two adults and two children is available for 10,000 points or 1,990 krona (approximately $188) per night.

Screenshot of a booking at the Clarion Hotel Sign in Stockholm showing 10,000-point or 1,990 krona pricing.



Choice Privileges


Booking an award yields a redemption value of 1.88 cents per point, which slightly exceeds our average valuation of 1.8 cents for Membership Rewards points.

Transfer Amex points to Delta for expensive domestic flights

For another airline example, consider these Delta economy flights between Seattle and Las Vegas in December:

Screenshot of a round-trip itinerary between Seattle and Las Vegas with a price of 14,500 Delta miles.



Delta Air Lines


The round-trip award price is 14,500 miles and $11.20, while the cash fare is $286.

Screenshot of paid fare on Delta between Las Vegas and Seattle.



Delta Air Lines


Accounting for the fees paid on the award and Amex’s excise tax offset fee for transfers to domestic airlines — more on that below — this itinerary yields a redemption value of 1.83 cents per point. Like the last example, that’s slightly above our average valuation.

Low-value ways to use Amex points

Transfer Amex points to Hawaiian Airlines

Transfers to travel partners aren’t always worthwhile. For example, this Hawaiian Airlines inter-island flight from Maui to Kona costs just 4,000 miles and $5.60 in economy:

Screenshot of inter-island flight itinerary on Hawaiian Airlines for 4,000 miles in economy and 15,000 miles in first class.



Hawaiian Airlines


That might seem like a bargain, but an equivalent cash fare is available for $39. After accounting for the security fee and Amex excise tax fee, booking an award yields a redemption value of only 0.78 cents per point. That’s well below our low valuation of 1.1 cents for Membership Rewards points.

Screenshot of paid inter-island flight cost on Hawaiian Airlines with $39 fare in economy and $157 in first class.



Hawaiian Airlines


Use Pay With Points through Amex Travel

Beyond transfers, Amex offers a variety of ways to redeem points directly, and most of them yield poor value. The Pay With Points feature lets you use Membership Rewards to pay for flights, hotels, and other travel purchases via the Amex Travel portal. In most cases, you’ll get a return of 1 cent per point on flights, like this round-trip between Houston and Denver in April of 2023:

Screenshot of United Airlines booking between Houston and Denver using Amex Travel.



American Express


The return is even lower for hotels and other bookings, but Pay With Points is more useful if you hold The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
or American Express® Business Gold Card
, which offer a points rebate on eligible flights of 35% or 25%, respectively. That boosts the return to 1.54 cents per point for Amex Business Platinum Cardand 1.33 cents per point for the American Express® Business Gold Card. Both figures are below average but well above our low valuation.

Amex also lets you apply Membership Rewards points toward statement credits, gift cards, and online shopping, but most non-travel redemptions return 1 cent per point or less. Given how easily you can surpass that value with transfer partners, these options should be ignored in most cases.

Other factors

Redemption rates aren’t the only variable we use to assess the value of points and miles. Here’s how Amex Membership Rewards performs across other facets of the program we take into consideration:

  • Expiration policy (+) — Points don’t expire so long as you have a credit card that earns Membership Rewards points and your account remains open and in good standing. That means there’s no pressure to redeem until you’re ready, which is a great feature for any travel rewards.
  • Strength of transfer partners (+) — Amex has the most partners of any transferable points program. The roster isn’t as strong as others on average, and includes a few throwaway options that are unlikely to be useful. Many of Amex’s partner programs also require a degree of award travel savvy that makes them challenging for beginners, but opportunities to get an exceptional return are abundant.
  • Transfer bonuses (+) — Amex offers transfer bonuses more frequently than other transferable points programs, typically releasing a dozen or more annually. Bonuses reach as high as 40% for airline partners and 50% for hotel partners, adding value when they align with your travel plans and providing speculative upside even when they don’t.
  • Transfer times (Neutral) — Transfers to 14 of Amex’s 20 travel partners typically go through right away. For the remaining six partners, the process can take anywhere from a few hours to more than a week. Slower transfer times increase the risk of award inventory disappearing while you wait for points to arrive. To speed things up, link your Membership Rewards account with your partner loyalty accounts ahead of time.
  • Sharing/pooling (-) — You can’t transfer Amex points to another Membership Rewards account, but you can transfer to the loyalty accounts of authorized users who have been on your credit card account for at least 90 days. 
  • Ease of accumulation (+) — You can earn Membership Rewards points with a wide variety of Amex credit cards, including several with strong welcome bonus offers and bonus spending categories that make it easy to accumulate points quickly. You can also elect to earn Membership Rewards points instead of cash back via the Rakuten shopping portal.
  • Excise tax fee (-) — To offset federal excise taxes, Amex charges a fee of 0.06 cents per point transferred to US airlines (namely, Delta, Hawaiian, and JetBlue). While the cost is small ($6 per 10,000 points), it diminishes the value of transfers to those three partners.
  • Fungible points (+) — All Membership Rewards points can be transferred, and Amex doesn’t distinguish between them based on how they were earned.

Membership Rewards points get marked down for a restrictive sharing policy and excise fees on transfers to US airlines. Faster, more consistent transfer times would also be a plus. Otherwise, these miscellaneous factors support the overall value of the program.


Regular APR


18.24% – 25.24% Variable


Recommended Credit Score


Good to Excellent


Regular APR


18.24% – 25.24% Variable


Recommended Credit Score


Good to Excellent

More Information

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • Updated $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

Bottom line

Amex has a strong roster of transfer partners, which benefits all Membership Rewards cardholders equally thanks to the fungibility of the points. The program lacks ways to get a decent return on non-travel purchases, but these points are highly valuable for award travelers, especially those who are comfortable navigating the idiosyncrasies of airline and hotel loyalty programs.

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