5 ways to turn your business expenses into perks with Membership Rewards

Posted: 3 January 2020 9:24 am
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Business man holding a coffee and looking at tablet while waiting at airport.

Take your next work trip in business class, reward employees with gift cards or redeem credit to your account with American Express Membership Rewards.

American Express business cards enrolled in the Membership Rewards program can earn you points for your business purchases. They often boast big introductory bonus points for new customers and extra perks as well. And while the promise of 200,000 bonus points sounds fabulous, what can you use them for and what is their value?

Whether you're rewarding your employees with gift cards, using frequent flyer points to fly in luxury or redeeming credit to your account, we'll break down five different ways you can redeem your Membership Rewards for perks to give back to your business.

BUSINESS WITH BENEFITS

Finder's Smarter Small Business series is presented by American Express. Reward your business spending with 150,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you apply for the American Express Platinum Business card by 11 March 2020 and spend $5,000 on your new card within 3 months. New Card members only. T&Cs apply.

1. Book your next business trip in business class

If you're travelling for business, you may as well fly in business. Membership Rewards collectors can transform their points into travel in a few ways:

Exchange your Membership Rewards for frequent flyer points

If your business already belongs to a frequent flyer program, you can transfer your points to programs including Velocity Frequent Flyer, Emirates Skywards and Air New Zealand. For example, you can exchange 2 Membership Rewards for 1 Velocity Point. If you have the American Express Platinum Business card, you could redeem the 200,000 bonus Membership Rewards for 100,000 Velocity Points. That's more than enough points to fly from Sydney to Abu Dhabi in business class with Virgin Australia (95,500 Velocity Points).

Book flights, hotels and other travel online

You can redeem 20,000 Membership Rewards for $100 worth of travel through Webjet or Helloworld Travel. So you could spend your 200,000 bonus points offer from the American Express Platinum Business card on $1,000 worth of flights, accommodation or travel packages booked through Webjet. You can also use points to book flights, accommodation, car rental and other travel bundles through American Express Travel.

Card members can also redeem Membership Rewards for Flight Centre gift cards. The gift cards range between $50 (10,000 Membership Rewards) and $1,000 (200,000 Membership Rewards). This could be a good idea if you want to treat an employee to a travel reward or redeem your points for travel but don't have a flight planned yet.

Pro tip: Live it up in the airport lounge
The American Express Platinum Business card and the American Express Business Explorer credit card both come with airport lounge access, so you can start your trip in style before you even step on the plane. The perks vary between lounges but usually include complimentary food and beverages, quiet workspaces and Wi-Fi as well as shower suites to freshen up before the flight.

2. Reward your employees and cover business costs with gift cards

Make sure your Membership Rewards go towards rewards that you and your employees actually want by using them for gift cards. You can redeem gift cards to shop at big brands like Amazon, David Jones, Bunnings or book experiences through RedBalloon. This could be an easy way to treat an employee on their birthday or when they meet their quarterly goals.

You can use gift cards to cover business costs as well. Maybe you want to redeem an Uber gift card to cover rideshare costs between meetings or use a BP gift card to buy petrol for the work car? Or you can treat a client to a delicious lunch by redeeming a Gourmet Traveller gift card.

With more than 25 brands available through the Membership Rewards program, you can make sure your points are being spent on something you'll actually use.

3. Treat clients to a night out

From concerts and musicals to sporting events, treat your colleagues or clients to a night out by booking tickets through Ticketmaster. With this option, every 20,000 Membership Rewards is worth $100 of tickets at the Ticketmaster checkout.

Just visit ticketmaster.com.au, select your event of choice and when you pay with your American Express card, you'll have the option to pay with Membership Rewards points or a combination of card and points.

If you're after something a little more low-key, you can use your points to organise a night at the movies by redeeming Hoyts and Event Cinemas vouchers too.

Pro tip: Grab a drink in an American Express Invites Lounge before the show
If you're attending an event at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, the ICC Sydney Theatre or Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, you can relax before your next show in the comfort of an American Express Invites Lounge. Just show your Amex card at the entrance and you and up to three guests can avoid the crowds while enjoying some drinks and nibbles from the exclusive lounge bar before the show.

4. Receive a credit to your account

If cash flow is a priority, you could repay your purchases on your business card with your Membership Rewards. You can redeem your points for credit to your account starting at $50 (10,000 points) all the way up to $8,000 (a whopping 1,600,000 points). This option is an easy way to use your points to keep your account balance under control.

5. Use points to pay down your purchases

A little different to redeeming your points for credit, you can use "Select + Pay" to pay towards specific transactions on your account. You can redeem a minimum of 1,000 Membership Rewards for $5 credit to your account when you opt for "Select + Pay". This is the same point-to-dollar ratio as getting credit on your account, just on a smaller scale. Your points are debited immediately and can take up to three business days to appear online. Although you can pay down purchases on your business card statement, Select + Pay isn't available with American Express corporate cards.

You can check out Finder's guide to the American Express Membership Rewards program for more tips to earn and redeem your points.

Disclaimer: This advice is general and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before applying for any products mentioned, please read the product terms and conditions and consider whether that product is right for you.

American Express cards offered, issued and administered by American Express Australia Limited (ABN 92 108 952 085).

BUSINESS WITH BENEFITS: THE SERIES

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