Ask Finder: How do I figure out what my Amex points are worth?

Posted: 24 April 2019 11:06 am

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What can 80,000 points get you through the Membership Rewards Gateway program?

Hi guys,
I've heard a lot about changes to American Express rewards cards so I'm just wondering how much my points are worth now. I have an American Express Explorer card with a balance of 80,000 points. How do I work out their value?
Reward Explorer

I think a lot of people will be asking this kind of question following the Amex updates on 15 April 2019. Particularly because each card and rewards program stream was affected differently, as you can see in our full guide to the changes.

There are a few different details to unpack, so let's start with your points. The American Express Explorer earns points through the Membership Rewards Gateway program stream. As of 15 April 2019, some of the rewards you could get for 80,000 points include:

  • $400 worth of gift cards (80,000 points in total)
  • $400 worth of Points for Credit (80,000 points in total)
  • $337.50 towards travel bookings through American Express Travel, Helloworld or Webjet (67,500 points, with 13,500 points = $67.50 in value)

All three of these examples give you a dollar value for your points, based on the redemption rates that applied from 15 April 2019. It's worth noting each of these reward options also gives you $5 value for every 1,000 points redeemed.

Working out the value for yourself

If you're interested in a different reward, you can use the following steps to calculate the value per point and per 1,000 points:

  1. Search for the reward that you want. Log in to your rewards account and find the item/s you'd like to redeem.
  2. Find the dollar value or an equivalent. If it's not a gift card or other cash equivalent reward, search for the item online to find a retail value for it.
  3. Divide the value of the reward by the total number of points. For example a $400 gift card divided by 80,000 points = 0.005. This means each point is worth $0.005, or half a cent.
  4. Multiply the above answer by 1,000. This can help you get a clearer value of your points, particularly when you have so many. In the example above $0.005 multiplied by 1,000 equals $5.

As you typically earn 2 points per $1 spent with your American Express Explorer, this means you'd need to spend $500 on eligible purchases to earn 1,000 points and get $5 of value based on the above reward options.

This is equivalent to 1% cashback on your purchases, which is the same rate you would get when redeeming the standard points earned through Coles flybuys or Woolworths Rewards for cash off your shop. While this is a competitive cashback rate among loyalty programs, other reward options may offer more value per point – particularly frequent flyer rewards.

How much value can I get from frequent flyer point transfers?

While the examples above all give you a dollar value, American Express also offers a variety of other rewards – including point transfers to frequent flyer programs.

In this case, your 80,000 Membership Rewards Gateway points would get you 40,000 frequent flyer points with Velocity Frequent Flyer, Asia Miles, Emirate Skywards, Etihad Guest, Malaysia Airlines Enrich, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer or Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus.

The dollar value of these points would then depend on how you redeem them.

As an example, if you had 40,000 Velocity Points, you could redeem them for a one-way business class flight from Sydney to Fiji (35,500 points plus fees and taxes).

To work out the value of this reward, I searched the Virgin Australia website and found the price of a one-way Virgin Australia business class flight from Sydney to Fiji (Nadi) on 6 March 2020 was $1,591.28.

Based on this price, redeeming your Velocity Points would give you $44.82 of value per 1,000 points.

So in this scenario, your 80,000 Membership Rewards points would be worth almost 9 times more when transferred to Velocity than used for a gift card or other cash equivalent reward.

It's often the case that redeeming rewards points for flights or upgrades offers significantly better value than using them for other services or products. Although it is worth being aware that there is high demand for reward flights, so you need to book them as early as possible.

If you want to learn more about working out what your points are worth, this guide has more details you can use for any rewards program.

Ask Finder is a regular column where Finder's expert writers answer your questions. All rates and fees are correct at time of publication and we only give general advice. Got a question for Points Finder? Hit us up on Facebook.

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