American Express Membership Rewards

Got a Membership Rewards credit card? Here’s how much value you can get when you redeem your Amex points for travel, frequent flyer points, shopping and more.

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Picture not described The American Express Membership Rewards program gives you a way to earn points for your everyday card spending, with a choice of rewards that includes frequent flyer points, travel, gift cards, cashback and shopping.

So if you have an Amex card or are thinking of getting one, here's a look at how the Membership Rewards program works – including how to earn and use points and how to get as much value as possible.

How to earn Amex Membership Rewards points

When you have an American Express Membership Rewards card, you'll earn points per $1 spent on eligible transactions.

This includes most everyday spending, such as supermarket or retail shopping, dining out, takeaway and petrol. Transactions that don't usually earn points include cash advances, balance transfers and account fees and charges.

credit card with tick markIntroductory bonus point offers

If you don't have an American Express card at the moment, 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.

These deals give you a way to get thousands of bonus points for meeting a spend requirement. 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, 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 check the details first.

What rewards can you get?

Rewards are how you get value from the points that you earn with an Amex card. You can start redeeming from as low as 1,000 points and you'll generally get more valuable rewards when you have more 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 Skywards2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Skywards Mile2,000 points
Etihad Guest2 Membership Rewardspoints = 1 Etihad Guest Mile1,000 points
Malaysia Airlines2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Enrich Mile1,000 points
Singapore KrisFlyer2 Membership Rewards points = 1 KrisFlyer Mile5,000 points
Royal Orchid Plus2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Royal Orchid Plus mile5,000 points
Velocity2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Velocity Point2,000 points
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Flying Club mile2,000 points
Hilton Honors2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Honors points2,000 points
Marriott Bonvoy3 Membership Rewards points = 2 Marriott Points600 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 with 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. 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.

credit card with tick markShopping and gift cards

American Express Membership Rewards gives you the following ways to redeem points to pay off purchases, shop with online partners or get gift cards for a wide range of retailers:

  • 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.
  • Ticketmaster. You can use Membership Rewards points to pay for bookings through, with 20,000 points equal to $100 value. This is the same value ratio you get for shopping with points at David Jones or through PayPal (1,000 points = $5).
  • 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:
  2. Browse rewards and choose the one you want
  3. Follow the prompts to redeem it

What are Amex points worth?

The value of American Express Membership Rewards points depends on how you use them – and can also vary based on your card or other account details.

But as an example, you could use 20,000 points to get $100 worth of value when you shop with David Jones, PayPal, Ticketmaster, helloworld or Webjet. This gives you a value of 0.5 cents per point, or $5 value for every 1,000 points.

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

While these reward values were publicly listed on the American Express Membership Rewards website in June 2021, 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.

Then, you can calculate the value of any reward in a few steps to decide if it's worth it for you.

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 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.

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.
  • Amex Offers. From credits on your account to bonus points, eligible card members have access to exclusive offers just by using their card. To view Amex Offers, log in to your account, scroll or click through to Amex Offers and click to save your favourite offers to your card.
  • 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.

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.

Compare American Express credit cards that earn Membership Rewards points

1 - 9 of 9
Name Product Bonus points Rewards program Rewards points per $ spent Purchase rate p.a. Annual fee
American Express Business Explorer Credit Card
Membership Rewards Gateway
3.99% for 6 months, reverts to 19.99%
$0 for the first year ($149 thereafter)
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Get 120,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, $0 first-year annual fee.
American Express Explorer Credit Card
Membership Rewards
Get 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, a $400 Travel Credit each year.
American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card
Membership Rewards
$0 for the first year ($195 thereafter)
Save with a $0 first-year annual fee, $200 yearly Travel Credit and up to 3 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent.
American Express Platinum Business Card
Membership Rewards Ascent Premium
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Get 400,000 bonus Membership Rewards points when you spend $12,000 in the first 3 months. Ends 18 May 2022.
American Express Platinum Card
Membership Rewards Ascent Premium
Up to 200,000 bonus points (150k when you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months and 50k in year 2). Plus, a $450 Travel Credit each year.
American Express Gold Business Card
Membership Rewards Ascent
ABN holders w/ $75,000 revenue. Get 100,000 bonus Membership Rewards Points when you spend $1,000 within the first 2 months.
David Jones American Express Card
Membership Rewards
Receive $200 credit when you spend $1,500 outside David Jones within the first 3 months from card approval.
American Express Essential Credit Card
Membership Rewards Gateway
Get a $200 credit when you spend $1,500 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, a $0 annual fee for life.
David Jones American Express Platinum Card
Membership Rewards
Receive $450 credit when you spend $1,500 outside David Jones within the first 3 months from card approval.

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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!


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