From signup bonuses to special offers and smart redemptions, here’s how you can get more out of your American Express Membership Rewards account.
Membership Rewards is the flagship loyalty program for American Express credit card customers. It offers points for every dollar spent on an eligible Amex card, which can then be redeemed for travel, entertainment, merchandise or even transferred to a frequent flyer program. Membership Rewards points never expire, which means you can save them up for redemptions you really want. But if getting enough points is taking too long, or if you aren’t getting value out of this program, the following 10 tips and tricks will help fast-track your earnings and maximise the value of your Membership Rewards account.
Comparison of American Express Membership Rewards Credit Cards
1. Take advantage of an introductory bonus point offer
Signing up for a new American Express credit card gives you a chance to get thousands of bonus Membership Rewards points. For example, the American Express Platinum Charge Card offers a massive 120,000 Membership Rewards points when you apply online, are approved and spend $4,500 on your card within your first two months. Note that these points are exclusively offered to new Amex customers. So if you have had a credit card offered by American Express Australia Limited in the preceding 18 months, or if you currently have an Amex card, you won’t be able to get bonus points by applying for a new one.
2. Use your card for big purchases
The more you use your Amex card, the more points you can earn, so paying for big ticket items such as holidays or furniture with your Amex card is a convenient way to build your points balance. For example, if you needed to pay $5,000 for a new fridge and used an American Express card that offered 1 point per $1, you’d get 5,000 points for it. Many American Express credit cards also come with complimentary extras that could add value to these types of purchases. If you pay for a holiday with an Amex card that also offers complimentary travel insurance, for example, you could earn Membership Rewards and save money on buying cover for your trip. Plus, if these purchases are planned, you could choose to pay off your card balance straight away to avoid paying interest charges.
3. Find out what type of spending earns the most points
A number of American Express credit cards have tiered earn rates that offer you between 0.5 and 3 points per $1 spent depending on the type of transaction. To give you a better idea of how this works, we’ve put the different ways you can earn points with personal American Express cards into the following table example. The rates provided are only to be used as an example and are not indicative of the current credit card offers from American Express. Refer to the links for a full review on the American Express credit card or the comparison table below for the up-to-date rates.
|Card||Earn rates (only for example purposes)|
|American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card|
|American Express Platinum Charge Card|
|American Express Essential Credit Card|
|David Jones American Express Card|
|David Jones American Express Platinum|
American Express Credit Card Comparison
4. Shop with bonus partners for the chance to earn extra points
Amex and its Membership Rewards program partners run seasonal promotions that offer you a chance to earn or win bonus points. As an example, card members had the chance to win one million Membership Reward points just by shopping at David Jones online between 8 June and 8 July 2016. Other previous offers have included additional points per $1 or bonus points for spending with specific program partners. Details of current promotions are available on the American Express Membership Rewards website, the Amex app, or when you log in to your account.
5. Check out Amex Offers
Whether it's shopping, dining, travel or entertainment, there's an Amex Offer with your name on it. From credits on your account to bonus points, eligible Card Members are offered opportunities to be rewarded in many ways, just by using their card. To view Amex Offers, log in to your Online Account, click the 'Offers and Places' tab and save your favourite offers to your card. You can also get offers on the go with their apps for Android and iPhone.
6. Play the Amex Local Champion game
Built into the American Express app for both iPhones and Android smartphones, Local Champion gives you a chance to earn up to 10,000 bonus points for spending with local businesses. Once you log in to the app, you can choose up to 10 local, participating retailers you regularly shop with. You’ll then compete with other Amex users to become the 'Local Champion' – the person who makes the most transactions at a retailer in a 30-day period. As a reward, you’ll then get an extra point per $1 spent at the retailer for as long as you are the reigning Local Champion. This initiative is available at a wide range of local places, including shops, cafes, restaurants and entertainment venues. You can become Local Champion at more than one place at a time, but the 10,000 points cap is currently set for the life of the program.
7. Refer a friend
You can earn up to 200,000 Membership Rewards by referring friends to American Express. All you have to do is log in to your account, get your referral link and share it with friends and family. If they use the link to apply and are approved for an eligible Amex card, you’ll get bonus points and they’ll get perks such as extra points, a waived annual fee for the first year, or statement credits. Just remember that the amount of points you get for each referral varies depending on the card and the promotional period. The American Express website has a list of eligible cards and current point offers for referrals, so make sure you check this info out if you know a friend or family member who’s thinking about getting an Amex card.
8. Pool your points
If you have more than one American Express card that earns Membership Rewards, you may be able to link them and pool your points. American Express recommends that you call the number on the back of your card (or cards) to organise this. Combining your Membership Rewards points across different cards will make it easier to keep track of your points balance. It also means you can use more than one card to earn and redeem points, rather than having two Membership Reward accounts with different point balances. Yasmin decides to call Amex and combine these accounts. As a result, she has a balance of 40,000 points. That’s enough for a $250 gift card (32,500 points), $400 of travel booked through Webjet (40,000 points), or $250 credit to one of her Amex accounts (36,000 points).
Pooling Points Yasmin has two Amex credit cards that earn Membership Rewards as part of the Ascent program. She uses her American Express Platinum Edge credit card for personal spending and her American Express Gold Business card for work. At the moment, both of these cards have separate Membership Rewards accounts, with the following point balances:
Yasmin decides to call Amex and combine these accounts. As a result, she has a balance of 40,000 points. That’s enough for a $250 gift card (32,500 points), $400 of travel booked through Webjet (40,000 points), or $250 credit to one of her Amex accounts (36,000 points).
9. Compare reward options to get the most value out of your points
The amount of points you need for redemptions varies depending on the rewards you choose. For example, it costs 13,500 points for a $100 Coles Group & Myer gift card or for $100 worth of direct shopping with David Jones Online. In comparison, it costs 14,500 for a $100 credit on your Amex card account, but only 10,000 points for $100 worth of travel when you book through Webjet. Similarly, if you plan to transfer your points to a frequent flyer program, you will find different rates apply. While 1 Membership Reward is worth 1 point for most airline programs – including Virgin Australia’s Velocity frequent flyer program, Etihad Guest and Singapore KrisFlyer – it costs 100 Membership Rewards to get 1 Airpoints Dollar for Air New Zealand, and 4 Membership Rewards to get 3 Emirates Skywards miles. Being aware of these variations means that you can choose rewards that offer the greatest value based on both what you want and the total points cost.
10. Use your Amex card to pay your tax bill
Most American Express cards offer 0.5 points per $1 spent on ATO payments, which can quickly add up if you have a big tax bill that needs to be paid. Just keep in mind that the ATO charges a 1.45% fee for Amex payments. In most cases, this fee will outweigh the value of the reward points you earn through this type of transaction. But if you are saving up points, or if you know you can claim the surcharge as a tax deduction in the next financial year, then it could still be worth it to use your Amex card and get Membership Rewards in the process. Find out more with our guide to earning reward points for ATO payments. The American Express Membership Rewards program offers a wide range of ways to earn and redeem points by using an Amex card. With these 10 options in mind, you can maximise your rewards so that this program, and your credit card, really work for you.
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