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How to use American Express Membership Rewards points

From frequent flyer points to travel and shopping, learn how to get the most value out of your Membership Rewards points.

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The American Express Membership Rewards program allows you to earn points for your everyday spending, which you can then redeem for a variety of rewards. This includes frequent flyer points with partnered programs, travel, gift cards and cashback. So what's the best way to spend your points? We've rounded up some of the ways you can spend your Membership Rewards to help you find the most rewarding option for you.

Compare American Express credit cards that earn Membership Rewards points

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Bonus points Rewards program Rewards points per $ spent Purchase rate Annual fee
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
N/A
Membership Rewards Ascent
1
20.74% p.a.
$195
Get $150 back when you spend at least $1,500 within the first 3 months. Plus, receive $200 Travel Credit each year.
American Express Explorer Credit Card
50,000
Membership Rewards
2
20.74% p.a.
$395
Get 50,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months, a yearly $400 Travel Credit and 2 entries per year to the Amex Lounge.
David Jones American Express Card
45,000
Membership Rewards
1
20.74% p.a.
$99
Not just for David Jones shoppers, receive 45,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points or 22,500 Qantas Points on eligible spend.
American Express Gold Business Card
100,000
Membership Rewards Ascent
1.5
N/A
$169
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Get 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points and up to 51 days to pay for purchases.
David Jones American Express Platinum Card
30,000
Membership Rewards
1
20.74% p.a.
$295
DJ's shoppers and Qantas travellers earn 30,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points or 15,000 Qantas Points on eligible spend.
American Express Platinum Business Card
150,000
Membership Rewards
2.25
N/A
$1,750
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Get 150,000 bonus points and up to 2.25 points/ $1 spent on eligible business purchases.
American Express Essential Credit Card
N/A
Membership Rewards
1.25
14.99% p.a.
$0
Get Smartphone Screen Insurance of up to $500 when you pay for your phone or contract with this card. Plus, a $0 annual fee for life.
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How to spend your Membership Rewards points

From transferring your points to airline miles or paying for purchases with points, you can compare some of the ways you can redeem your Membership Rewards below.

Transfer points to a frequent flyer or hotel loyalty program

If you're a member of one of the nine partnered airline loyalty programs, you can transfer your Membership Rewards to frequent flyer points. Partnered programs Virgin Australia's Velocity, Asia Miles, Etihad Guest, Emirates Skywards and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. You can also exchange your Membership Rewards for points with two partnered hotel programs.

Check out the table below to get an idea of how many frequent flyer or hotel points you can get with your Membership Rewards. These transfer rates are for Membership Rewards Ascent and may vary depending on your card.

ProgramExchange rate
Air New Zealand200 MR points = 1 Airpoints Dollar
Asia Miles2 MR points = 1 Asia Mile
Emirates Skywards2 MR points = 1 Skywards Mile
Etihad Guest2 MR points = 1 Etihad Guest Mile
Malaysia Airlines2 MR points = 1 Enrich Mile
Singapore KrisFlyer2 MR points = 1 KrisFlyer Mile
Royal Orchid Pluc2 MR points = 1 Royal Orchid Plus mile
Velocity2 MR points = 1 Velocity Point
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club2 MR points = 1 Flying Club mile
Hilton Honors2,000 MR points = 1,000 Honors points
Marriott Bonvoy3 MR points = 2 Marriot Points

Book travel

You can use Membership Rewards points to pay for travel with American Express Travel Online, Webjet or at selected helloworld locations. The number of points needed for a booking may vary based on your travel plans, the way you book and your Membership Rewards account.

  • Helloworld Travel. You can exchange 20,000 Membership Rewards for $100 worth of travel through helloworld Travel. This includes cruises, flights, accommodation and travel packages.
  • Webjet. Book $100 worth of travel with 20,000 Membership Rewards at Webjet. If you don't have enough points to make your preferred booking, you can make up with the difference with your Amex card.
  • American Express Travel. Use your Membership Rewards to book flights, hotels, car rentals, experiences and travel packages through American Express Travel. Pay with points or a combination of Membership Rewards and cash. A minimum of 1,000 Membership Rewards Points is required.

You can also use your Membership Rewards to buy travel gift cards, which we'll discuss in more detail below.

Shopping and gift cards

Pay off your purchases with points, shop with online partners or redeem gift cards with your Membership Rewards:

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. Online shopping partners. You can also redeem points directly when you shop with David Jones or Ticketmaster online. Simply select “Points” as a payment option at the online checkout and then choose how many points you’d like to redeem.
  4. 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.

What else do I need to know?

Keep these details in mind to help you get the most value out of your Membership Rewards points and redemptions.

  • Bonus points. Some American Express Membership Rewards cards offer thousands of bonus points to new members when they apply and meet the spending requirements during the promotional period. Check out our guide to see the latest offers and compare Amex cards and features.
  • Buying points. Membership Rewards also lets you purchase points to top up your account when you’re making certain redemptions, with a minimum of 1,000 points available for $25. Note that this option is only available when you’re making a redemption and excludes travel rewards.
  • Rewards earn rate. This refers to how many points you'll earn $1 and how much points . value you'll get from your spending.
  • Annual fee. With the exception of the American Express Essential (a no annual fee card), cards linked to Membership Rewards have annual fees ranging from $99 for the David Jones American Express to $1,450 for the Amex Platinum. Ideally, the value you get from the rewards 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.

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 exchanged 100,000 Membership Rewards for 50,000 Velocity Points, you could fly from Sydney to Denpasar (Bali) in business class (49,500 Velocity Points).
  • Flights with Singapore Airlines. You'll get 50,000 KrisFlyer Miles with 100,000 Membership Rewards. That's enough points to fly from Sydney to Singapore in Premium Economy (47,000 KrisFlyer Miles).
  • Travel through Amex or a partner. You can book $500 worth of travel through Webjet or helloworld with 100,000 Membership Rewards points.

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.

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2 Responses

  1. 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

Credit Cards Comparison

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Purchase rate Balance transfer rate Annual fee
Coles No Annual Fee Mastercard - Exclusive Offer
0% for 12 months, reverts to 19.99% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
$0
Finder Exclusive. Ends 29 October 2020
Save on new and existing interest charges with 0% interest on both balance transfers and purchases for the first 12 months.
ANZ Low Rate
12.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 25 months with 1.5% balance transfer fee
$0 annual fee for the first year ($58 p.a. thereafter)
Save with 0% p.a on balance transfers for 25 months (with a 1.5% BT fee) and $0 first year annual fee. Plus a 12.49% p.a. purchase interest rate.
Qantas American Express Premium Card
20.74% p.a.
$249
Enjoy 100,000 bonus Qantas Points, 50 bonus Status Credits and 2 complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations per year.
Citi Rewards Card - $500 Voucher Offer
21.49% p.a.
0% p.a. for 12 months
$99 annual fee for the first year ($199 p.a. thereafter)
Get a $500 e-voucher to spend at Myer, JB Hi-Fi or Coles when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days. Plus, earn points with the Citi Rewards Program.
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* The credit card offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of credit cards finder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing cards.

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