Best way to use American Express points?

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centaline
 
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Best way to use American Express points?

Postby centaline » Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:17 pm

What is the best way to use my American Express rewards points and not get ripped off with a poor conversion? I almost went for the American Express gift cards until I saw the value was half that of the many store gift cards available. At the end of the day all I care about is getting the most value per point whatever the reward is doesn't concern me as I will find a use for it.


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Mogul of Pineapples
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Postby Mogul of Pineapples » Thu Feb 24, 2011 6:30 pm

At the moment I am not using an American Express Membership Rewards points card but have in the past and yep, the value of choosing American Express gift cards or a statement credit is going to be around 50% of what you could be getting with the other options.

I would have good luck choosing the $100 store gift cards because most were 10,000 points. I was not too impressed with the merchandise offerings because you may be better off buying the same thing on your own for less. The Pay With Points for travel is another option and there was another thread about their value. Supposedly all the charge cards except Zync give full value on the Pay For Points and some of the higher up cards will give a boost on top of that. That would be the best way to use American Express points on the premium cards and for the lower class cards probably the $100 store gift cards are the way to go.
Disclosure: I am a moderator/paid staff of this site, which does have advertising relationships with some credit cards that are discussed and linked to. Regardless, anything I say is my honest opinion.

Current Cards:
American Express: Blue Cash, Simply Cash Bank of America: WorldPoints Platinum Plus Chase: Amazon, British Airways, Cash Plus Rewards, Freedom, Ink Cash Citi: Thank You Premier, Dividend Platinum Select Discover: More
Primary Everyday Card: American Express Blue Cash
Primary Travel Card: Chase Sapphire Preferred

mbt
 
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Postby mbt » Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:04 pm

Airline travel is definitely the best option, 100% conversion. That is the only reason I keep my Amex card. If they ever changed it to anything other than 100% conversion I would probably get rid of the card. It is just not worth it in my opinion to shop with points when it is less expensive not to.

jeffysdad
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Postby jeffysdad » Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:09 am

I don't know what the conversion is because I don't use Amex, but Amazon.com now offers cardmembers the option to pay with points. I'd like to hear what people think of this. I would welcome having my opinion changed about American Express. Right now I only think it's worthwhile for people who travel a lot.
American Express: Blue Cash Preferred (groceries, 6%; gas, department store, 3%); Gold Delta SkyMiles (Delta Air Lines, 2 miles/dollar, free checked bag).
US Bank: Cash+ (utilities, phone, internet, restaurant, 5%; drugstores, 2%).
FIA Card Services: Fidelity Amex (everything, 2%); Fidelity Visa (everything, 1.5%).
Chase: Freedom (rotating, 5%); Amazon (Amazon.com, 3%); PriorityClub (IHG hotels, 5 points/dollar); Sapphire (not in use).

*All cards are registered with PriorityClub IDine program for 8 points/dollar at participating restaurants.

DoingHomework
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Postby DoingHomework » Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:15 pm

With the platinum card you get 100 points = $1 (1%) when using points for travel plus you get a 20% return of the points. I just bought a $250 ticket that was about $275 directly from the airline. I used 10000 points toward the ticket. My net cost was $150 plus I get 2000 points back. I think that is a pretty good deal.

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Mogul of Pineapples
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Postby Mogul of Pineapples » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:40 pm

Airline travel is definitely the best option, 100% conversion.


I forgot to discuss that. Yes for travel the best way to use American Express points is to transfer them to frequent flyer programs. There are around a dozen airlines on the Gold and Platinum but the Starwood card's Starpoints allow you to transfer to nearly 30 airlines on a one for one conversion.

Amazon.com now offers cardmembers the option to pay with points. I'd like to hear what people think of this.


I haven't logged into the Amazon rewards panel for a while I will take a look. Is the value on a 1 point equal 1 cent towards travel? It seems more and more credit cards are doing this. I am not too thrilled with this idea unless it's like what DH is doing, getting the 20% bump through his Platinum. Then it makes sense but if it is an equal conversion with no bonus I feel the points for travel are nothing to jump up and down about. Since the transfer of points to FF miles gives an inherent boost in value I think that's the best option depending on the airline.
Disclosure: I am a moderator/paid staff of this site, which does have advertising relationships with some credit cards that are discussed and linked to. Regardless, anything I say is my honest opinion.

Current Cards:
American Express: Blue Cash, Simply Cash Bank of America: WorldPoints Platinum Plus Chase: Amazon, British Airways, Cash Plus Rewards, Freedom, Ink Cash Citi: Thank You Premier, Dividend Platinum Select Discover: More
Primary Everyday Card: American Express Blue Cash
Primary Travel Card: Chase Sapphire Preferred

sapple89
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What is the best VALUE of Amex points?

Postby sapple89 » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:13 pm

I am asking this question for a friend:

If you had an 165,000 points to use, what would be the best VALUE?

Currently Amex offers:

200,000 points = $1,000 cash Value- $0.005

50,000 points = $500 Gift card - value - $0.05

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Mogul of Pineapples
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Postby Mogul of Pineapples » Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:33 pm

Your best value for American Express Membership Reward Points is to transfer them to the partner airlines. Frequent flyer miles will usually be worth more than 1 cent per mile.
Disclosure: I am a moderator/paid staff of this site, which does have advertising relationships with some credit cards that are discussed and linked to. Regardless, anything I say is my honest opinion.

Current Cards:
American Express: Blue Cash, Simply Cash Bank of America: WorldPoints Platinum Plus Chase: Amazon, British Airways, Cash Plus Rewards, Freedom, Ink Cash Citi: Thank You Premier, Dividend Platinum Select Discover: More
Primary Everyday Card: American Express Blue Cash
Primary Travel Card: Chase Sapphire Preferred

EaT
 
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Best Ways to Work the System for Rewards

Postby EaT » Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:43 am

Hello all! After years of slobbering over an account with American Express, I was finally approved for the AmEx Gold (not premium, just regular).

After perusing the website every few months to see if i had any pre-approvals, I finally did, took the leap, and to my surprise was approved! Hooray!

Now, my concern is this: How do I use my card considering my spending habits (mostly dining, utilities, gas and occasional online purchases) in the best way to abuse the hell out of the point system to get the most bang for my buck?

The reason I put it that way is that I work customer service for a major credit card provider, and I know that when you spend smartly on your account, you can really make the rewards work for you without making sacrifices... What would you guys suggest? Any former or current successes with this card type's rewards?

P.S: Fun AmEx story... my fiancee was added as a liable party on his parents' account to build his credit once he was 18, and this account has been open since 1985. What's funny here, because the "member since" date backdates to open date, it makes it look like hes been a gold card member since he was 2 yrs old. HA!

BNB-RYAN
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Postby BNB-RYAN » Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:59 pm

I just booked a vacation with my points. Hotels are not a great conversion, but whatever. For car rental, you can buy gift certificates for a few companies including Enterprise, for instance, they have a special on Enterprise and you can get $200 gift card for 17,000 points instead of 20,000... nice.

Airfare is a good one, but in general, unless you have 50,000+ points, I wouldn't put much thought into the bigger benefits. In the smaller point totals, store gift cards are generally 100:1 which is basically what you expect.

Now there are definitely benefits when EARNING points that can outweigh the loss when spending. For instance, I "downgraded" from the Platinum to Gold, which actually allows me to earn 100,000 extra points per year over platinum with their doubling of points for specific purchases. When you factor the $325 less fee and the extra points, the extra $1350 (roughly) is certainly an upgrade to me!

But again, if you are dealing in smaller numbers, the effort to best extort these point systems seems kind of wasted.



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