How to Use Amex Membership Rewards Points

Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.

I was selected by American Express to help educate consumers about the Amex EveryDay Credit Card.  As such, I was paid for my services, but tips and opinions shared about American Express and the Amex EveryDay Credit Card are my own.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about how to maximize those Amex Membership Rewards points that the Amex EveryDay and multiple other American Express cards can rack up.  As you likely know, there are many different types of credit card points out there, and they are very much not all created equally. American Express Membership Rewards points are one of the oldest types of credit card points, and in my view, one of the most valuable. However, their value is relative and reliant on your knowledge of how to get the most value out of each point.

I often talk about how to earn Membership Reward points via cards like the The Amex EveryDay Credit Card or The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card, but in this post I want to talk about the different ways to use them, including some tips on the uses my family finds to be the most valuable.   As you will quickly learn in this hobby, earning points is just half the battle. Being wise about when and how to use points is essential to meeting and exceeding your travel goals.

The many ways to use Membership Reward points can be broken down into three basic categories.

  1. Merchandise or gift cards.
  2. Fixed value toward things like statement credits, on travel, taxis, etc.
  3. Transferring to hotel and airline partners.

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First, know that there is no right or wrong way to use your Membership Reward points. If you are redeeming them in a way that makes you happy and gets you something that you want or need, then that is great and keep on rocking. However, some redemption options will get you a higher value per point than others, and that is valuable information to at least be aware of, if not utilize.

Redeeming Points for Merchandise or Gift Cards:

You can redeem your Membership Reward points for gift cards at a large number of retailers including airbnb, Hertz, Bellagio, Cole Haan, LegoLand, ski resorts, and many more. You often get one cent per point in value toward the retailer and dining gift card and slightly less with some of the travel partner gift cards. You can occasionally hit a “sale” where you get more value per point, but one cent per point seems to be the average for many retailers.

Here are a few examples from my account:

Gap $10 gift card: 900 points (sale)

airbnb $100 gift card: 10,000 points

Banana Republic $25 gift card: 2,500 points

Amex Gift Card $25: 5,000 points

Crate and Barrel $50 gift card: 4,500 points (sale)

This means if you earn 10,000 Membership Rewards points, you can often get roughly $100 in retailer gift cards.

At a fixed value toward travel, statement credits, and more:

If you prefer your rewards to come in the form of merchandise, you can “Shop With Points” for things like iPads, UGG boots, golf clubs, and more. The return per point varies a bit there, but seems to hover around $0.006 per point. If the zeros throw you off, that is 6/10 of one cent per point.

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If you want to use points toward statement credits to off-set charges on your card, that rate is also around $0.006 per point.

You can also use your points to pay for hotels, flights, cruises, and more via Amex Travel. The minimum redemption is 5,000, but you can use a mix of cash and points to book your travel. Here your points will get you one cent in value per point, but the beauty is you can book any flight they have for sale with no blackout dates and they earn frequent flyer miles since they are paid tickets. If you happen to have a Platinum Amex card, you can get 20% of those points back.

Membership Rewards also has partnerships that allow you to use points to pay for things like Uber, Amazon, NYC cabs, and more at a one point = one cent ratio.

Hotel and Airline Transfer Partners:

Membership Rewards has over twenty hotel and airline partners that you can transfer your Membership Rewards points to in order to book award flights and rooms via those programs.  These partners include hotels and airlines such as Delta, Air Canada, ANA, British Airways, Frontier, Hawaiian, jetBlue, Best Western, Hilton, and more.

Here the value you get per point is going to vary tremendously based on the award chart per your program transfer, and which type of redemption you are going to make. That variability may sound like a bad thing, but hang with me because it can be a very good thing.

If you are lucky, sometimes you can even time your transfer to one of these partners with a transfer bonus from Amex. For example, there is currently a 40% transfer bonus to British Airways, that means that when you transfer 5,000 Membership Rewards points you get 7,000 British Airways Avios instead of the standard 5,000 Avios.  Utilizing periodic transfer bonuses is how to really take your maximization of Membership Reward points to the next level!

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I love using hotel and airline transfer partners in order to maximize all their award charts, and award chart sweet spots. For example, flights on British Airways start at just 4,500 points, which as I already mentioned can be transferred in from Membership Rewards. The British Airways award chart is distance based, so that means that flights less than 650 miles are just 4,500 points and you can fly on their partners such as American, US Airways, and Alaska Airlines. In practice this means flights like Miami – Nassau or JFK – Montreal on American are available for just 4,500 points + taxes/fees. Those flights would both usually be over $100 each, so that is like getting over two cents per point in value at that price.  Of course when you transfer during a transfer bonus, your return per point can go even higher…

Membership Rewards points also make luxury within reach, as you can transfer points to ANA and use them to fly on partner United Airlines, also using a distance based chart, from the East Coast to Europe and back in lie-flat business class seats for as low as 63,000 points round trip.   That same flight could easily cost $4,000 or more if you were paying with cash. That is a return of 6 cents per point at that price, but most wouldn’t value it quite that highly if you wouldn’t have paid that high with cash. Still, you can see you are getting way more bang for your Membership Rewards point by redeeming via these transfer methods.

Successfully using points by transferring to hotel and airline partners does require more skill than say redeeming at a flat rate of one cent per point for a Pottery Barn gift card. Also remember that once you transfer your points, your awards are subject to award availability with the hotel or airlines you transferred points to (which you should absolutely check before transferring points). Despite hotel and airline transfers requiring a little more strategy and skill, it is by far the most rewarding way to use Membership Rewards points for my family.

How do you like to use your Membership Rewards points?

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

Comments

  1. Thanks for pointing out some of the worst uses of AMEX points. I have zero problem w/ bloggers making money off ads/referral links, but this post is probably the biggest sell out post I’ve ever seen on the blogs. Just the fact that you point out a $25 AMEX gift card for 5,000pts proves my point. Maybe next SPG can pay you to push using 870,000pts for 2 roundtrip business tickets to Rome.

    • I am in 100% agreement. I’m sure Summer will point out the fact that she is just informing readers of the different ways they can use their points, but the fact of the matter is you don’t say a single critical thing about the poor uses of points. I really can’t blame you for that though because then Amex might cut off the easy money for being their corporate shill. I had very little respect for you or this blog once you started accepting money from Amex and this posting has caused me to lose even further respect.

      Unfortunately, it seems like many of your readers are incapable of thinking for themselves and take your word as gospel. I wonder if Amex compensates you based on how many readers you can get to use their points in the cheapest manner possible.

    • I absolutely agree. This is incredibly disappointing and I hope she will not blindly disregard these comments. There really is no defense — if she’s going to mention these poor uses of MR points, she should 1) do so AFTER pointing out the best redemption options via partner transfers and emphasizing the value in proceeding this way, and 2) at least present the poor uses of MR points with a caveat stating the obvious points so many of us are making here.

  2. So what’s the best way to combine the US airways points from the new barclay card and the AMEX membership points – and the two $99 companion tickets you get with the card to fly a family of 5 somewhere in the US for Spring Break (March) when flights are high?

    • Assuming that you can find a flight on US Airways, the easiest plan would be to Book 3 tickets by paying for one and getting two for $99 each (plus taxes, which should only be a few dollars for a domestic flight and then use the USAirways miles to book two award tickets. I would be sure to book one parent as the paid ticket and one as one of the award tickets, because the reservation system will treat them as separate reservations and there is a risk that the airline might split you up if there are weather delays or other circumstances that lead to irregular operations.

      If you can find USAirways ticket availabilitity at the lowest “Saver” level, you should also be able to transfer your Amex points into British Airways Avios and book the ticket to fly on USAirways through British Airways. If the flight is non stop and/or a short distance (something like DC to Boston), this will cost you fewer miles than if you use US airways miles.

      • I think this is good advice. The only caveat will be that depending on where you want to go, you may or may not find award flights at the saver level. If they aren’t at the saver level you can’t use Avios to book them.

        Being a March Spring Breaker myself, if you have destination flexibility you may find something since so much of the country doesn’t do spring break until April, but it is far from a guarantee. If both partners have the US Airways card you could also look into using two Companion certs if needed. Good luck!

  3. I would beg to differ. Summer has adequately disclosed her compensation and explicitly provided sample value for each example in the use of points.

    More broadly though, it’s getting really old to see people criticize bloggers for getting paid for providing information. Are you all so completely out of touch to think that this woman should just sit at home and post useful information that may benefit you-and DO IT FOR FREE? The mere notion of that is completely folly. What’s next, are we going to call her out for who advertises on the blog?

    I’ve been using AMEX Membership Rewards for years, and am reasonable good at it. And yet, I did find some value in this post, although it is clearly aimed at the beginner-and we were all a beginner once.

    Stop bleating about things that are simply a reality of life and give us all a break will you?

    • Clearly reading comprehension is not your forte as you did not understand Shaun or my comments. In fact, you make the exact argument I refute. Sure Summer is just posting all possibilities, but she doesn’t provide critical analysis of the options. Many other blogs very clearly state that using your points for merchandise is just about the worst use of points possible because you get horrible value. From the credit card company perspective it is great because it is the cheapest way for them to get you to use your points. Clearly Summer doesn’t come out and say this because that might upset Amex and well they are paying her and flying her all over the country to free promotional events.
      The biggest issue here is that Summer is letting her advertisers influence not only the topics she posts about, but also the manner in which she writes about them. In essence, this blog is slowly becoming a source of information that AMEX wants you to know about, while maintaining a guise of independence. Summer does disclose the relationship, but the disclosure has the qualification that the opinions are her own. Quite frankly that is a load of hooey as there is no way Summer can remain objective when Amex is giving her money.
      Do I expect Summer to write this blog for free? Of course not. But there are ways to make money other than having such a close relationship with Amex. Not every blog out there have deals like Summer has. As a person who is quite influential, Summer has a responsibility to pick a side. Provide useful objective information or completely turn over to the dark side and just make this into a blog for Amex.

      • J-

        Appreciate the insult J, but you are going to be very busy over the next few days responding to all the folks that are slapping you down here-and as you can see, you are clearly in the minority in your opinion.

        I in no way “make your point,” what I said was stop the blabbering about non-issues. Summer is not the only one doing this. I read 7-10 blogs like this daily, and there are others doing the same thing-The Points Guy being the biggest that comes to mind.

        Brother, it is not Summer’s responsibility to provide for you a critical analysis of the best use of points-that is your job! She clearly lays out the dollar value of each of the options and then it is up to you to choose one. If you think you are the anointed one to be the arbiter of what is and what isn’t disclosure, let me be one of a chorus of folks that ask you to go elsewhere.

        Where in the journalistic fairy book does it say she has to pick a side? This isn’t the New York Times, it is a blog that is financed by advertising. Summer has found a niche to make a living by presenting information that many readers find helpful or relevant to their own lives. Making the case that she shouldn’t have relationships in the business is completely ridiculous. This entire enterprise is based on relationships and she is compensated for much of it.

        Let’s come back from la-la land here and adjust our expectations. As I said before, your minority report is tiresome, and the rest of us can use our own judgement about what to do with our Amex points.

  4. So we’ve gone from:

    “I normally am not personally a big fan of redeeming credit card miles and points for anything other than travel” – See more at: http://mommypoints.boardingarea.com/2012/01/23/25-gap-gift-card-only-1250-amex-membership-reward-points-until-129-50-off/

    “Redeeming Membership Reward points for gift cards is pretty much never going to get you a great redemption value for your points.” – See more at: http://mommypoints.boardingarea.com/2012/03/14/20-discount-when-redeeming-membership-rewards-points-for-pottery-barn-neiman-marcus-and-others-possibly-targeted/

    to:

    “First, know that there is no right or wrong way to use your Membership Reward points. If you are redeeming them in a way that makes you happy and gets you something that you want or need, then that is great and keep on rocking. However, some redemption options will get you a higher value per point than others, and that is valuable information to at least be aware of, if not utilize.”

  5. Not sure what the problem is, she explained all types of used or MR points. She did not recommend using points for gift cards, only pointed out that option. Now, she obviously could have explained that its a very poor redemption, but amex is paying her. But she disclosed clearly in the beginning, so… What’s the problem?

    • The disclosure is basically a nondisclosure. She says Amex is paying her but she purports to remain objective. Anyone with half a brain knows its impossible to remain objective when you are being paid, but the internet is full of people without critical thinking skills. Is it ethical of Summer to make money taking advantage of such people?

  6. I’m not necessarily a Summer fan but, really, the post couldn’t have been clearer: your best bet is a transfer, either utilitarian (Avios) or luxury (other). What could possibly be confusing about that? Plus the 40% Avios bonus is flagged, rightly. QED.

  7. “First, know that there is no right or wrong way to use your Membership Reward points. If you are redeeming them in a way that makes you happy and gets you something that you want or need, then that is great and keep on rocking. However, some redemption options will get you a higher value per point than others, and that is valuable information to at least be aware of, if not utilize.”

    She’s not teaching math here, she’s explaining the options to readers on a VERY basic level. Obviously there are ways to squeeze every ounce of value from MR points and she explains some of these ways in the hotel and airline transfer partner section. She even gives some examples of redemptions for 2-6 cents of value per point. I don’t see an issue. Decent post for beginners regardless of if it was sponsored.

  8. Wow, what vitriol from some holier-than-thou folks. It was laid out what the options were.

    What for you might be a poor choice to others might be a great choice.

    Take for instance the Airbnb gift cards. I would take this over transfer to avios or hilton etc. Why? I have tons of AA miles, avios, and UR. MR for Airbnb is a great way of getting lodging for free outside of the big hotel chains.

  9. “Selected”
    I was also “selected” by my curent job, although I called it “hired.” And I do what my boss tells me, too.

  10. I’ve blogged long enough to know that some folks are going to bring out their inner online comment grumpiness when a post is sponsored, or in some other ways makes them feel it was written to make money. The content of the post virtually doesn’t matter to people in that group as they can’t see past the money and sponsored part, whether real or imagined.

    Yes, the post is geared for those who are newer to the world of using Membership Reward points, but I obviously don’t agree that it was in any way confusing or leads people to believe they should redeem points for a toaster or at 6/10 cents per point when they can redeem pretty easily for 2-6 cents per point for travel. I include value examples in all of the categories of redemptions exactly so folks can put real math to the options and see why I think travel is the best redemption option most of the time.

    I don’t go so far as to ‘bash’ the other redemption options, but not for the reasons that are being assumed. It has nothing to do with Amex sponsorship – they have been 100% flexible on my sharing about the cards and how to use points in whatever I found most helpful to others.

    The real reason is that I know plenty of people both online and real life who do use their Amex points for gift cards or a new camera or at a fixed value to pay for travel and they are very happy with that use. I think they can do better from a value perspective, and I don’t use mine that way (as I say in the post), but I’m not the kind of person who wants to put down a redemption option too harshly if someone is getting enjoyment out of it.

    I’d rather just point out how to increase the value for your return per point with other options (like point transfers), which is exactly what I do in this post.

    If anyone is left confused on which route is the most rewarding after reading the post, my first suggestion is read it again. My second suggestion is ask away in the comments section and I’m happy to help.

  11. I’ll say what Summer can’t say….for most people, most of the time, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are more valuable than Amex Membership Rewards points. (You can always get 1.5 cents/point value transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest, and many of their other transfer partners, such as United and Hyatt, are much more “mainstream” and easier to get value out of. Maybe that’s why Amex sometimes offers transfer bonuses; Chase doesn’t need to.)

    • UAPhil, I actually don’t have a favorite between the two right types of points right now or view one as more valuable for me personally, though I do agree that to get max value out of Membership Rewards you do need to be a bit more savvy and willing to utilize some of the foreign airline transfer partners like British Airways and ANA.

    • @uphil, I do agree with you on the relative value of the two types of points for myself, mainly because for the kinds of travel and award redemptions I do. I generally transfer UR points to United and MR points to Avios. I can get equal per point value from those when redeeming them, but much more selectively with the Avios, so that I am constantly churning through points and redemptions with United, while slotting in here and there an nice reward with Avios. Another factor that matters to me is the quick posting and transfer of UR points with Chase, while you sit around for an extra month waiting for the MR points to post and transfers aren’t instantaneous. This seems like something Summer might want to work on in her relationship with Amex. Technologically Amex should be able to post and transfer just as fast as Chase, so why don’t they?

      • Wish I had the power to influence point transfer rates and times, but I’m certain that it is well outside my scope and ability. Avios is always instant for me with MR, thankfully, but I sure wish they all were. On the flip side UR sadly isn’t always instant either, at least with some like IHG and Singapore.

  12. This post made me sad. 🙁
    It’s purported to be about how “to MAXIMIZE those Amex Membership Rewards points.”
    Obviously written for those new to the game, who don’t yet understand how valuable these points can be.
    Yet it contains this:
    “Amex Gift Card $25: 5,000 points”.
    Half a cent per point? Really?
    As Hiker T demonstrated above, things have really changed around here.
    Sigh…

  13. Okay I’ve now read the post and comments again with fresh eyes and really the only thing I can come up with is that the sponsored element is breeding thoughts of ill intentions or misguided advice for some where there is none.

    I list redemption options and their return rate per point to be somewhat comprehensive in the overview of using MR points, but also to highlight how rewarding using points via hotel and airline transfers can be relative to other options. That seemed self-evident when you I point that an Amex gift card or merchandise is in the 1/2 cent per point range and travel options can be in the 2-6 cents per range, but somehow that must have been lost in translation for some. I’d blame it on not being more specific that clearly travel is more rewarding for us, but I say that in the post, too.

    I say things like the value with travel will vary and “that variability may sound like a bad thing, but hang with me because it can be a very good thing.” Then example some straight-forward examples of the value with travel partners and then conclude with saying….
    “Successfully using points by transferring to hotel and airline partners does require more skill than say redeeming at a flat rate of one cent per point for a Pottery Barn gift card….but despite hotel and airline transfers requiring a little more strategy and skill, it is by far the most rewarding way to use Membership Rewards points for my family.

    I’m willing to take a hit when I do a poor job on a post, and certainly if I somehow changed my viewpoint because of a company’s sponsorhip, but that simply didn’t happen here. Amex didn’t tell me at all what to write this post about, let alone what options to include in it. I included various redemption options because I thought this overview did a pretty decent job showing what was possible and then highlighting how to get the most value.

    I hate hearing that I’ve made readers sad, but unless that sadness is purely because there are occasionally sponsored posts here or because the post is written for those newer to Membership Reward points, I’m truly at a loss as to what in this post could be disappointing.

    I suggest that travel rewards are the most valuable MR redemption, just as a I always have and presumably always will unless the reward options and values change dramatically at some point in the future.

    • Just want to say I’ve been following this post because I’m a newbie to the whole points thing and want to learn as much as I can about how to utilize the Amex points. I can see for myself that buying a gift card with my PTs is a bad use of points. But I have no idea how to transfer them to use them the best way. I appreciate hearing all options and sometimes I just want a free iPad from points and I’m happy with that. I’m glad to see the options and learn more about the best way to move forward so I take the most advantage of the money I spend. Is love to see a post on how to make that transfer to hotel and airlines possible. Thanks for all the info but we could do without the vitriol.

      • Debbe, I totally get it and you aren’t alone. In fact, I have used my points for gift cards in the past. It’s been a while, but during a tough time after grad school when I was single and moving I used my credit card points for gift cards to places like Target to get groceries instead of transferring them to airlines as I normally would. The best redemption for someone on a given day will vary from day to day and year to year.

        I can work on a more step by step “how to” transfer post as it isn’t totally intuitive the first time you do it (though the easy route is always just calling the number on the back of your card for help). Thanks for the feedback!

    • Well said, Summer. I’ve been doing this for a few years and I think what you said and presented was clear and concise. It was fully disclosed and the numbers speak for themselves. If we are not able to discern the mathematical truth of the value of each redemption, then that is ultimately on us as the reader.

      You have a good and very useful product. Do not permit the critical toxicities of the world to diminish your hard work.

  14. It wasn’t lost in translation. When you start off with “First, there is no right way or wrong way..”, it couldn’t be clearer that your entire premise is faulty. There is indeed no right or wrong way, there is just math. Reasonable people can disagree about an exact threshold, but any redemption below 1¢ is the wrong way, and the buyer should use cash instead.

    • Stannis, if you normally redeem for gift cards or merchandise then you probably could potentially do better with a different rewards system. However, for a given redemption there is variability and no one right or wrong way (in my view). Even I have redeemed for gift cards (included story in response to Debbe), but yet this type of card overall is the best value for me. I agree there is no right or wrong way, but there is indeed math that points to the most valuable rate of return on the whole.

  15. Following up on Debbe’s comment – what would also be useful for us non-beginners is a post on how long points take to reach each transfer partner (for MR, UR, and SPG).

  16. With all due respect, and as a long time and very appreciative reader of this blog, I totally disagree with your utter dismissal of some of the comments about this particular post.

    “the only thing I can come up with is that the sponsored element is breeding thoughts of ill intentions or misguided advice for some where there is none.”

    It wasn’t the sponsorship that bothered me. It was that you were giving advice, in a post obviously intended for beginners in the Miles and Points Game, that many of us considered to be seriously misguided.
    I in particular pointed to the Amex card, because after a paragraph about how GCs average one cent a point, you put the half a cent card in the middle of the list, without any mention of it’s seriously inferior value.
    I didn’t even notice that myself, until I read the comment by Shaun, and went back and checked. If I don’t notice that, someone inexperienced in this Game would easily, and mistakenly, conclude they are getting a full cent in value from that card, but they are only getting half of that.
    Worse, put that way, it sounds like there is little reason to even bother with points for travel, when all you are getting is a “2 pennies per point” in value. Who wants to go to all the trouble of mastering Miles and Points for travel, when all you are getting is “pennies” per point?

    18,000 MR points, transferred to Avios at the current 40% bonus, will get one a round trip Boston to Ireland on Air Lingus. Or $90 in Amex gift cards. Is that R/T flight really only twice as valuable ($180) as the gift cards? The way I read your post the answer is yes.
    I’m particularly upset, because my wife and I have been trying to educate some of our coworkers on how to genuinely “maximize” their spending for “nearly free” travel. In that regard we recently directed them to the Beginners Guide on this blog.
    Now when they read your blog, the very things we tried to wean them away from are being praised as just fine and dandy. So now we have to tell them that the person we just introduced to them as an expert on this is in fact giving out very bad advice that they should not follow. Ugh….

  17. I hate to pile on, and wouldn’t respond at all if you didn’t seem genuinely concerned about peoples’ reactions. And I should state up front that you should run your blog exactly as you see fit.

    That said, I think what’s so upsetting to people is the fact that it is, in fact, poor advice to advise someone to collect credit card points and redeem them for a penny or less per point. Even if you have no interest whatsoever in travel (and this is, after all, a travel-focused blog) then you can do better than a-penny-a-point with various cash back cards from other issuers. You’re honor bound (if not contractually bound) from saying that in a post that’s paid for by American Express, but it’s true.

    Granted, in a narrow sense this post doesn’t say what kind of points to collect but rather tells you what to do with points you already have but most new users would come away from this post believing that penny-a-point (or less) redemptions of AMEX points are “just as good” as other uses or other points. And that’s not true. There actually –are– right ways and wrong ways to collect and use these points.

    While it’s nice to think of points and miles as a win/win situation the truth is that the interest of the customer (getting high value from the program) runs counter to the interest of the credit card issuer (disposing of points liabilities at the lowest cost). When blogs are paid to “sell” the credit cards in the first place there’s less conflict of interest (still some, of course, in choosing which offers to feature) but when blogs are paid to provide advice about how to actually use the points the conflicts become much more acute.

    • I disagree. The title of this post is neither “how to maximize your MR points” or “how to collect the most valuable CC points”. This is a post about what you can do with your MR points.

      If the post insists that I should transfer MR points to an airline program to get 6 cents per point and does not mention the alternate, less $/p options, that would be doing all of us a major disservice. We need to know all the options, and we should be able to compare and contrast.

      What if I really want some hot dogs? The Amex gift card will buy me one – something neither the Avios nor the Crate & Barrel gift cards can do. That could just happen to be the thing that I value the most.

      • The very first sentence of the post (after the disclaimer) says “let’s talk about how to maximize those Amex membership rewards points”. So yes, I think it’s fair to say that the post does claim to tell you how to maximize point value.

        And if you want the best advice on getting a cheap or free hot dog, that advice would be to get a two percent back cash card and not use the Amex card.

        Yes, if you want a hot dog and have no money, and no prosect of getting any money, but are somehow sitting on a stash of Amex points then it is possible, in extremis, to use those points to get a hot dog. But that would be much like pawning a valuable watch for a fraction of its true worth — something to be done when other, better options have been exhausted.

        I don’t think anyone is suggesting that Summer House any redemption options, just that she’s not sharing all her knowledge or her best advice.

  18. I’m sad and disappointed too…
    Just remember, getting used to easy money makes it very hard
    to go back to not having it…

  19. @LarryinNYC “I think what’s so upsetting to people is the fact that it is, in fact, poor advice to advise someone to collect credit card points and redeem them for a penny or less per point”

    Yes, indeed, when there are ccs that give in excess of 2 cents per point in simple cash back, saying “if you are happy getting only a half cent per point, that is just fine since makes you happy” just makes no sense.
    Certainly not when the ostensible point of the post is to help people new to this game “maximize” the value of their points.
    I keep waiting for the moment when Summer goes “oh, it get it now, what was I thinking”?
    But that isn’t going to happen, is it? Because there is just no justification for saying ‘getting a half cent per point is just as good as 2.2 cents per point if it makes you happy’. Especially when concealing the fact that the AMEX card is not fact a cent per point, but rather a half a cent per point. And the blogger openly admits being “sponsored” by the very company giving out only half a cent per point.

    Which makes me so sad, because I so used to love this blog, but I now have zero trust in it. And I can no longer refer anyone to it. So sad indeed. 🙁

    • Appreciate the sharing of thoughts, but I’m just never going to believe that seeing 1/2 cent per point in value for one redemption vs 2-6 cents per point in value is confusing. You don’t have to know anything about miles and points to know which one is better from a value perspective. That doesn’t mean that redeeming for miles and points transfer will be right for 100% of the people 100% of the time, but in terms of value per point I don’t think the examples I laid out could have been any clearer. I’m sorry for those who I don’t see eye to eye with on this, but I guess that just happens from time to time.

      Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,
      Summer

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