How to get the most value out of your American Express Rewards Points
November 1, 2014 - Shopping
There are a lot of options for redeeming your American Express Membership Rewards points — but which options give you the most value? This post will tell you which choices give you the most bang for your buck for your hard earned Amex Points and which offers are not.
How much is an Amex Point Worth?
First off, in order to determine the best value of Amex points, we need a baseline to compare it to actual currency. It’s not uncommon to find redemptions with a 1:1 value; 1 cent for every American Express Rewards point.
With a 1 cent/point value goal, that eliminates many of the inefficient programs offered by American Express. That includes Amazon Pay with Points (.7 cent/point), Offsetting a charge (0.06/point), and travel pay with points do not yield nearly the most efficient value.
On top of that, don’t bother with the Amex Membership Rewards catalog. Most everything in the catalog is overpriced (by points), so when converting 1 cent/1 point, you are paying above retail (generally 0.5 cent/point). Toss the catalog in the garbage as you should if you’re looking for the most bang for your rewards.
The Best Value for Your Amex Points: Gift Cards
Of all the ways one can redeem their Membership Rewards points, the most common way to get the most mileage from your points is redeeming gift cards that offer 1 cent per American Express point.
|Amex Points||Gift Card Value|
|1000 Amex points||$10 in gift certificates|
|2500 Amex Points||$25 in gift certificates|
|5000 Amex Points||$50 in gift certificates|
|10000 Amex points||$100 in gift certificates|
Many gift cards in the Amex store offer this 1:1 ratio including
- Crate and Barrel
- Neiman Marcus
- California Pizza Kitchen
- Banana Republic
- Old Navy
- The Cheesecake Factory
- Pottery Barn
- Bath and Body Works
- The Home Depot
- West Elm
For these retailers and more, you can get varying denominations with a 1 cent for 1 Membership Rewards point.
But Wait There’s More (Sometimes)
As far as normal redemptions go, gift certificates are the best value for your American Express Membership Points, but sometimes you can get even a better rate with Amex’s special promotion that puts gift cards on sale.
For select vendors in this promotion, gift cards can be had at an additional 30% off to give you the best value for your points. This promotion ran twice in the last few months with 30% off gift cards that already had a 1:1 rate (Gap, Home Depot, Crate and Barrel, Chili’s, Banana Republic, and Neiman Marcus). That equals:
|Amex Points||Gift Card Value|
|700 Amex points||$10 in gift certificates|
|1750 Amex Points||$25 in gift certificates|
|3500 Amex Points||$50 in gift certificates|
|7000 Amex points||$100 in gift certificates|
I accumulated 250,000 AMEX points over the course of 6-7 years and didn’t redeem one point in all those years due to the lack of value I perceived from the available programs. However, when the 30% promotion came to me via a targeted email, not only did I think that was a good value for my points, but it was a steal.
During that first gift card promotion, I redeemed nearly all of my 250,000 points for multiple Home Depot, Gap, and Crate and Barrel gift cards.
Yes, I had over two thousand dollars in gift cards, but I figured if I didn’t use those certificates, I could sell them on eBay or a gift card reseller site for 85-90% of the value in cash.