Ultimate Guide to American Express Membership Rewards

Posted on April 14, 2015 by in American Express Membership Rewards

membership rewards

Membership Rewards – The basics

The American Express Membership Rewards program is available to American Express cardmembers. Membership Rewards are flexible, unlimited and have no expiry date. Plus if you have more than one American Express card, you can link them all to the Membership Rewards program.

You can sign up for Membership Rewards if you’re with American Express, although you may already be automatically enrolled as it’s a built-in feature of most American Express cards; check your card’s enrollment status and eligibility here.

membership rewards travel

Membership Rewards – Earning, redeeming and transferring

Earning points – With Membership Rewards, you earn points for each dollar of eligible purchases made when using your American Express card. You can also earn bonus points when you sign up for a new American Express card; an excellent current offer is 40,000 Membership Rewards with the American Express Platinum, but you could also check out the Premier Rewards Gold, the Business Gold Rewards and the Business Platinum Rewards cards.

Redeeming points – As soon as you have enough points for the reward that you want, you can redeem them –  rewards start from 1,000 points. For travel, you can redeem your points for travel certificates from 3,000 points and car rental rewards from 5,000 points.

Transferring points – One of the best ways to use Membership Rewards is by transferring them to participating frequent flyer or frequent guest programs, and you can do this if you have a card that is part of the American Express Membership Rewards First Program. With these cards you can earn transferable American Express Membership Rewards points:

American Express Platinum (personal)
American Express Platinum (business)
American Express Mercedes-Benz Platinum
American Express Premier Rewards Gold
American Express Business Gold Rewards
American Express Everyday Preferred
American Express Everyday

Membership Rewards currently shows 16 airline transfer partners as well as 4 hotel transfer partners:

membership rewards airline transfer

membership rewards hotel transfer

Once you’ve earned at least 1,000 points, you can start transferring your Membership Rewards to these frequent flyer programs, at these rates:

Aeromexico (1,000 Membership Rewards points: 1,600 Aeromexico)
Air Canada Aeroplan (1:1)
Air France/KLM Flying Blue (1:1)
Alitalia MilleMiglia (1:1)
ANA (1:1)
British Airways Avios (1:1)
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles (1:1)
Delta SkyMiles (1:1 + $6 per 10,000 points)
El Al (1,000 Membership Rewards points: 20 El Al)
Emirates (1:1)
Hawaiian Airlines (1:1 + $6 per 10,000 points)
Iberia Avios (1:1)
JetBlue (250 Membership Rewards points: 200 JetBlue + $6 per 10,000 points)
Singapore Airlines (1:1)
Virgin America Elevate (200 Membership Rewards points: 100 Elevate + $6 per 10,000 points)
Virgin Atlantic Flying Red (1:1)

singapore airlines first class

Membership Rewards – The best ways to use them for flights

We recently wrote about the best uses of American Express Membership Rewards when redeeming them for flights, based on points transfers to airlines. This included using them for a business class trip from the US to Europe with no fuel surcharges on Aeroplan, a business class trip from the US to Asia with no fuel surcharges on Alitalia, first class Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer awards from the US to Asia and much more. Check out the whole post if you’re wondering where best to transfer your Membership Rewards.

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About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]

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