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American Express Membership Rewards

Amex cards offer a huge amount of value through rewards, depending on how you redeem your points. Here's how to make the most of them.

The American Express Membership Rewards program gives you a way to earn points for your everyday spending, which you can redeem for rewards including frequent flyer points, travel, gift cards, cashback and shopping.

As well as getting points for each $1 of eligible spending, you can get big bonus points offers when you apply for an Amex rewards card as a new card member. This could give you hundreds of dollars value based on the rewards you choose, so let's take a look at your options.

What are Amex points worth?

As a quick guide, you can use Finder's points calculator to estimate the value of Amex Membership Rewards Points.

Points-to-dollars calculator 💵

Finder uses an average value of 0.5 cents per 1 Membership Rewards Point. This is based on the value of redeeming a Coles gift card from the Membership Rewards website.

The same value also applies when you redeem points for shopping with David Jones, PayPal, helloworld or Webjet, with 20,000 points worth $100. Dividing 100/20,000 gives you a value of 0.5 cents per point, or $5 value for every 1,000 points.

But the value of your Membership Reward Points also depends on how you redeem Amex points and can also vary based on your card.

Tip: Log in to check the value of your Amex points

We've used reward values publicly listed on the American Express Membership Rewards website. But you'll see full details of all the rewards you can get – and how many points you need – by logging in to your American Express account.

Planning to transfer your points to a frequent flyer program or want to look at the value of other rewards? Check out Finder's guide to calculate the points-to-dollar value for any reward.

credit card with tick markExample: What can I get with 100,000 Membership Rewards points?

To give you an idea of how much your Membership Rewards are worth, you can compare three ways you can spend 100,000 Membership Rewards on travel below:

  • Flights with Virgin Australia. If you transferred 100,000 Membership Rewards for 50,000 Velocity Points, you could fly from Sydney to Denpasar (Bali) in business class (49,500 Velocity Points one-way, plus fees and taxes).
  • Flights with Singapore Airlines. Converting 100,000 Membership Rewards Points to 33,333 KrisFlyer Miles would give you enough for an upgrade from economy flexi to premium economy on a one-way flight from Melbourne to Singapore, with KrisFlyer Miles to spare (22,500 KrisFlyer Miles).
  • Amex partner travel bookings. You can book $500 worth of travel through Webjet or helloworld with 100,000 Membership Rewards points.

How to earn Amex Membership Rewards Points

When you have an Amex Membership Rewards card, you'll automatically earn points per $1 spent on eligible transactions. This includes most everyday spending, such as supermarket or retail shopping, dining out, takeaway and petrol.

Amex cards also typically offer points for spending with government bodies, such as the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

What spending doesn't earn Amex points?

If you get an Amex card for personal use, some of the key transactions that won't earn points include:

  • Cash advances or any other cash services or transactions
  • Interest, fees and charges
  • Charges for the pay portion of a Points + Pay Membership Rewards
    redemption
  • Charges at a business you own or that someone related to you owns
    Refunded purchases

Eligible spending does vary depending on the Amex card, so you should check with American Express directly if there's a specific transaction you want to make.

credit card with tick markIntroductory bonus point offers

If you don't have an American Express card and haven't had one in your name for the past 18 months, you could boost your points balance by getting an Amex card with a bonus points offer.

For example, you could earn 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Introductory bonus point offers last for a limited time and typically have spending requirements. So, it's worth checking out what Amex cards offer bonus Membership Rewards points when you're ready to get one.

credit card with tick markAmex referral bonus points

If you already have an American Express card, the Amex referral program gives you another way to earn bonus points when you refer a close friend or family member to American Express.

All you have to do is log in to your account, go to the Refer a Friend section and check what offers are available. Then share your referral link with a friend or family member. If they use the link to apply and are approved, you'll get rewarded. Referral offers do vary depending on the card and the promotional period, so make sure to check the details first.

What rewards can you get with Amex points?

The American Express Australia website has around 60 rewards options. So to give you an idea of how you can use points, we've broken them down into 3 key types of rewards.

credit card with tick markPoint transfers to frequent flyer or hotel loyalty programs

You can transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to partnered programs including Virgin Australia's Velocity, Asia Miles, Etihad Guest, Emirates Skywards and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.

Different Amex cards have different options for frequent flyer and hotel point transfers, so it's a good idea to log in and see what's available to you. But to give you an idea, here are the transfer rates publicly listed on the American Express website for Membership Rewards Ascent.

ProgramExchange rateMinimum transfer
Air New Zealand200 Membership Rewards points = 1 Airpoints Dollar2,000 points
Asia Miles2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Asia Mile5,000 points
Emirates Skywards3 Membership Rewards points = 1 Skywards Mile3,000 points
Etihad Guest2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Etihad Guest Mile1,000 points
Hawaiian Airlines2 Membership Rewards points = 1 HawaiianMiles2,000 points
Hilton Honors2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Honors points2,000 points
Malaysia Airlines Enrich2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Enrich Mile1,000 points
Marriott Bonvoy3 Membership Rewards points = 2 Marriott Points600 points
Qatar Airways Privilege Club1 Membership Rewards points = 1 Avios500 points
Royal Orchid Plus2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Royal Orchid Plus mile5,000 points
Singapore KrisFlyer3 Membership Rewards points = 1 KrisFlyer Mile7,500 points
Velocity2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Velocity Point2,000 points
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Flying Club mile2,000 points

credit card with tick markTravel rewards

You can use Membership Rewards Points to pay for travel with American Express Travel, Helloworld or Webjet. If you don't have enough points to make your preferred booking, you can make up the difference with your Amex card. Some key details to keep in mind:

  • Helloworld Travel. You can redeem 20,000 Membership Rewards for $100 worth of travel, including cruises, flights, accommodation and travel packages.
  • Webjet. Every 20,000 Membership Rewards equals $100 value with Webjet.
  • American Express Travel. The number of Amex points you need to pay for part or all of a booking will be shown when you're logged in and search for flights, hotels, car rentals, experiences and travel packages. You'll need a minimum of 1,000 Membership Rewards Points for this reward.

credit card with tick markShopping and gift cards

  • Account credit. Redeem your Membership Rewards for credit to your American Express card account starting at $50 (10,000 points) up to $8,000 (1,600,000 points).
  • Select + Pay. This service is available through the American Express app and allows you to instantly redeem points for part of a purchase you've made using your Amex card. Cash value starts from $5 per 1,000 points for the Select + Pay option, but could be slightly higher at $100 per 13,500 points in some cases.
  • David Jones Shop with Points. You can redeem points directly when you shop with David Jones online. Simply select “Points” as a payment option at the online checkout and then choose how many points you’d like to redeem. With this option, you'll need to redeem a minimum of 3,000 Membership Rewards, with every 1,000 points equal to $5 value.
  • PayPal with Points. If you have added your Amex card to a PayPal account, you can redeem your points for PayPal purchases at the checkout. Just select the "Membership Rewards" option once you've chosen to pay with PayPal at an eligible retailer, and every 1,000 points will give you $5 value.
  • Using points for gift cards. Spend your Membership Rewards points on gift cards with partnered brands including Amazon, iTunes, Super Cheap Auto, Myer, David Jones and more. To give you an example, you can redeem 5,000 points for a $25 gift card, 10,000 points for a $50 gift card and 20,000 points for a $100 gift card at the time of writing.

How to redeem Amex Membership Rewards points

You can redeem your points in a few steps:

  1. Go to the Membership Rewards section of the American Express website at: https://www.americanexpress.com/en-au/rewards/membership-rewards
  2. Browse rewards and choose the one you want
  3. Follow the prompts to redeem it

What else do I need to know?

  • Amex Offers. An American Express card gives you access to exclusive offers that range from credits on your account to bonus points and pre-sale tickets. To view current Amex Offers, log in to your account, scroll or click through to Amex Offers and save the offers you want to use.
  • Buying Amex points. If you don't have enough points for a reward, Membership Rewards gives you the option of purchasing points for certain redemptions, with a minimum of 1,000 points for $25. This is equivalent to paying 2.5 cents for each point, so it's important to make sure the reward you redeem offers at least that much value. Note that this option is only available when you’re making a redemption and excludes travel rewards.
  • Annual fee. The cards linked to Membership Rewards have annual fees ranging from $149 for the American Express Business Explorer Credit Card to $1,450 for the Amex Platinum, and $1,750 for the Amex Platinum Business Card. Ideally, the value you get from the rewards and other card benefits should be worth more than the annual fee for the card you choose.
  • Interest charges. Rewards cards usually charge high interest rates and are best suited to people who regularly pay off their balance in full each month. Otherwise, the interest you'll earn will outweigh the value of your points.
  • Frequent flyer membership. You have to be a current member of an eligible frequent flyer program if you want to use Membership Rewards points to get more frequent flyer points. Depending on the airline loyalty program, this could attract additional fees.

The Membership Rewards program offers a variety of ways to use points, with dollar values varying depending on the reward and your program stream. In general, transferring your Membership Rewards points to a frequent flyer program and then redeeming the points for flights or upgrades offers the highest dollar value.

It’s also worth considering whether you want travel rewards or could get more benefit from another option, such as gift cards or credit to your account. By weighing up the value of all these reward options, you can find the best way to use your Membership Rewards points.

Frequently asked questions

Compare American Express Membership Rewards cards

Name Bonus points Points per $ spent Purchase rate p.a. Annual fee
American Express Business Explorer Credit Card
Membership Rewards Gateway
Bonus points
N/A
Points per $ spent
2
Purchase rate p.a.
23.99%
Annual fee
$0 first year ($149 after)
Go to siteMore Info
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Save with a $0 first-year annual fee and earn up to 2 points on eligible business spending.
American Express Explorer Credit Card
Membership Rewards
Bonus points
50,000
Points per $ spent
2
Purchase rate p.a.
23.99%
Annual fee
$395
Go to siteMore Info
Get 50,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months.
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
Membership Rewards
Bonus points
N/A
Points per $ spent
1
Purchase rate p.a.
23.99%
Annual fee
$0 first year ($195 after)
Go to siteMore Info
Save with a $0 annual fee in the first year. Plus, $200 Travel Credit every year.
American Express Platinum Business Card
Finder Award
Membership Rewards Ascent Premium
Bonus points
350,000
Points per $ spent
2.25
Purchase rate p.a.
0%
Annual fee
$1,750
Go to siteMore Info
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Get 350,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend $12,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months.
American Express Platinum Card
Membership Rewards Ascent Premium
Bonus points
150,000
Points per $ spent
2.25
Purchase rate p.a.
0%
Annual fee
$1,450
Go to siteMore Info
Earn 150,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, a $450 Travel Credit each year.
American Express Gold Business Card
Membership Rewards Ascent
Bonus points
75,000
Points per $ spent
1.5
Purchase rate p.a.
0%
Annual fee
$169
Go to siteMore Info
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Get 75,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend $1,000 within the first 2 months. Plus, earn 1.5 points per $1 on eligible spending with Membership Rewards.
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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    DennisMay 7, 2019

    How do I use my points to pay for my account?

      Default Gravatar
      NikkiMay 8, 2019

      Hi Dennis,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder! You can pay for your account using your points. A minimum of 1,000 points is required. Any credit to your card account cannot exceed the current outstanding balance on your account. Points will be debited immediately and a credit will take up to three business days to appear on your online statement. To get started on this, start by:

      1. Log in to your Account online or via the American Express Mobile App
      2. Select the eligible transaction from your online Account
      3. Get a credit on your Account within 72 hours

      You can also use your Membership Rewards points to pay your annual fee on selected Cards, make a donation or for a credit on your Account.

      I hope this helps!

      Best,
      Nikki

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