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How to Maximize Your American Express Points

American Express offers several different rewards credit cards, but the Membership Rewards program is its proprietary rewards platform. While Membership Rewards points can be worth a lot if you use them correctly, there are a lot of redemption options that don't provide much value.

As a result, it's important to know which options are available and how to maximize your American Express points.

Which American Express Credit Cards Offer Membership Rewards Points?

Not every American Express credit card allows you to earn points with the issuer's flagship program. American Express has several co-branded airline and hotel credit cards that allow you to earn points and miles with their partners, and it also offers a handful of cash back credit cards.

If you're looking specifically for a card that offers Membership Rewards points, however, here are your options:

  • Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
  • Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card
  • American Express® Green Card
  • American Express® Gold Card
  • The Platinum Card® From American Express
  • The Business Platinum Card® From American Express
  • American Express® Business Gold Card
  • The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card From American Express
  • Business Green Rewards Card From American Express

How Can I Use My American Express Points?

If you have a card that earns Membership Rewards points, there are plenty of ways for you to redeem them, including:

  • Merchandise: 0.5 cents per point
  • Statement credit: 0.6 cents per point
  • Shop on Amazon: 0.7 cents per point
  • Gift cards: 0.7 cents to 1 cent per point
  • Travel: 0.75 cents to 1 cent per point
  • Donate to charity: 1 cent per point
  • Transfer to travel partners: Varies based on partner and redemption

Keep in mind, though, that these redemption rates aren't set in stone. Depending on the specific card you have and the exact redemption, your point value can vary. And if you have more than one American Express card linked to your Membership Rewards program account, the value of the points you receive will be determined using the card that provides the highest point value.

As you can see, though, most of the redemption options American Express gives you are valued at less than 1 cent per point, which is the minimum target for most rewards credit cards. So the best ways to use your points include travel if you can get 1 cent per point, charitable donations and transfers to travel partners.

Who Are American Express' Travel Partners?

As of April 2019, American Express has 18 airline partners and four hotel partners. Here's where you can transfer your points and the ratios they offer:

  • Aer Lingus: 1,000 points to 1,000 Avios
  • Aeromexico: 1,000 points to 1,600 points
  • Aeroplan: 1,000 points to 1,000 miles
  • Air France KLM: 1,000 points to 1,000 miles
  • Alitalia: 1,000 points to 1,000 miles
  • All Nippon Airways: 1,000 points to 1,000 miles
  • Asia Miles: 1,000 points to 1,000 miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles: 1,000 points to 1,000 miles
  • British Airways: 1,000 points to 1,000 Avios
  • Delta Air Lines: 1,000 points to 1,000 miles
  • El Al Israel Airlines: 1,000 points to 20 points
  • Emirates: 1,000 points to 1,000 miles
  • Etihad Airways: 1,000 points to 1,000 miles
  • Hawaiian Airlines: 1,000 points to 1,000 miles
  • Iberia Plus: 1,000 points to 1,000 Avios
  • JetBlue Airways: 250 points to 200 points
  • Singapore Airlines: 1,000 points to 1,000 miles
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways: 1,000 points to 1,000 miles
  • Choice Privileges: 1,000 points to 1,000 points
  • Hilton Honors: 1,000 points to 2,000 points
  • Marriott Bonvoy: 1,000 points to 1,000 points

From time to time, the card issuer may offer a promotion, giving you more points or miles than usual when you make a transfer. If you're planning a trip, especially an international one, check award flights with several of these airlines to see how you can maximize your rewards.

Are American Express Points Right for Me?

If you already have a card that offers Membership Rewards points, it's important to understand how to squeeze as much value out of them as you can. By understanding your redemption options and the value they give you, you'll have an easier time getting the most bang for your buck.

If you're looking for a new card and considering one that offers Membership Rewards points, it's important to consider how much effort you want to put into maximizing the value of your hard-earned rewards.

Unfortunately, that can be difficult to do unless you have the time to compare transfer partners and the savviness to make potentially complicated redemptions. If you're looking for a card that offers more valuable redemption options, this rewards program might not be the best fit for you.

As you research your options, consider using Experian CreditMatch™ to get cards that are matched to your FICO® credit score. The tool can give you an idea of which cards you might qualify for, giving you more confidence when you apply.

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