What’s the Value of AmEx Membership Rewards Points? 

How you use them — either through partner transfers or booking travel directly — will determine your AmEx points' value.
Sam Kemmis
By Sam Kemmis 
Updated
Edited by Meghan Coyle

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Nerdy takeaways
  • American Express Membership Points are worth 1 cent each on FHR & flights booked in the portal. Other in-portal direct redemptions are worth 0.7 cents.

  • The current AmEx points value is 2.8 cents when transferred to partners.

  • AmEx has 20 airline and hotel partners.

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Nerdy takeaways
  • American Express Membership Points are worth 1 cent each on FHR & flights booked in the portal. Other in-portal direct redemptions are worth 0.7 cents.

  • The current AmEx points value is 2.8 cents when transferred to partners.

  • AmEx has 20 airline and hotel partners.

MORE LIKE THISTravel

Flexible travel rewards like American Express Membership Rewards points are, effectively, a currency. So understanding the relative value of these points is an important consideration when earning or spending them.

So how much are AmEx points worth? Based on NerdWallet's most recent analysis, the current AmEx points value is between 1 cent when used to book travel directly and 2.8 cents when transferred to partners.

This is a big gap, and you might wonder why anyone would use these points to book travel directly if they’re so much more valuable when transferred. The short explanation is based on convenience — booking through the AmEx travel portal is a snap, whereas transferring and redeeming points can be significantly more labor intensive.

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When booking travel through the portal

This is simple: You earn American Express Membership Points by using certain credit cards. When those points are redeemed for through Amex Travel, they are worth exactly 1 cent apiece when booking flights or 0.7 cent if booking hotels through the issuer's portal. This math is made explicit when booking a flight or hotel while logged in.

For example, a $210 flight will cost 21,000 points. There’s no way to “maximize” AmEx points when used in this way. You’re effectively using the points as pennies, and can book any airline or hotel room available with cash.

The big benefit here is convenience and simplicity. You don’t have to spend hours researching how to use your points or find the right transfer partner, or search for scarce award availability. You just search and book.

The big drawback is cost-effectiveness. You’re accepting a lowball value for your points as a trade-off for this convenience.

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When transferring to partners

Here’s where things get more interesting — and complicated. The AmEx Membership Rewards program has some excellent transfer partners, meaning you can transfer your points to a partner and then book travel there.

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AmEx has 20 airline and hotel partners, compared to Chase's 14 transfer partners. That means more access to airline sweet spots for AmEx points collectors.

With great maximization potential comes great responsibility. Understanding which AmEx transfer partners offer the best value, and which even offer flights or hotels that match your travel plans, is a major undertaking.

Here are some key programs to highlight, along with their estimated NerdWallet value.

Transfer partners

Estimated value

Transfer ratio

1.4 cents.

1:1.

2.8 cents.

1:1.

1 cent.

1:1.

1.2 cents.

1:1.

0.6 cent.

1:1.

1.2 cents.

1:1.

1.2 cents.

1:1.

1.2 cents.

2.5:2.

0.8 cent.

1:1

1.8 cents.

1:1.

Notice that some of the better-known programs, such as Marriott and British Airways, offer some of the lowest-value points and miles, while lesser-known programs, like Air Canada and ANA, offer some of the best.

It definitely pays to do your homework when considering AmEx transfer partnerships.

Remember to factor your travel plans into consideration, and not just transfer your points to the program with the highest-value miles. Some programs offer excellent value but limited routes and award availability.

Always search for availability on your preferred travel dates and destinations before transferring points.

AmEx points calculator: Convert points to dollars

Use our AmEx points calculator below to convert AmEx points to dollars and determine the value of your stash of points, based on both the baseline and NerdWallet estimated values.

Another resource to help you get the best value for AmEx points is our Airline Point Transfers and Partner Award Bookings tool.

Cards that earn AmEx points

More than a dozen American Express cards earn Membership Rewards; here are some of the most popular, including some with a $0 annual fee.

Popular AmEx cards
The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
American Express® Gold Card
American Express® Gold Card
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
Annual fee

$695.

$250.

$695.

$0.

Earn rate on travel

• 5 points per $1 on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, on up to $500,000 spent per year.

• 5 points per $1 on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

• 1 point per $1 on other eligible purchases.

Terms apply.

• 4 points per $1 at restaurants plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.

• 4 points per $1 at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per year).

• 3 points per $1 on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.

• 1 point per $1 on other eligible purchases.

Terms apply.

• 5 points per $1 on flights and prepaid hotels booked American Express Travel.

• 1.5 points per $1 in key business categories and eligible purchases of $5,000 or more (on up to $2,000,000 in purchases per year).

• 1 point per $1 on other eligible purchases.

Terms apply.

• 2 points per $1 on the first $50,000 in purchases each calendar year.

• 1 point per $1 on purchases above $50,000 in a calendar year.

Terms apply.

Welcome offer

Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $20,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

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Other AmEx cards that earn Membership Rewards points include:

Terms apply.

How did we determine our AmEx points value?

For our NerdWallet estimate of 2.8 cents per Membership Rewards point, we factored in several variables:

  1. The value of these points when used to book travel directly with the credit card’s travel portal.

  2. The value of the airline and hotel points to which these points can be transferred, when applicable (based on the separate analyses above).

  3. The number of top-tier travel transfer partners, as determined by our expert panel.

The overall value is determined as: A weighted average between (1) and (2), with the weight determined by (3). The program with the largest number of high-value partners receives a 100% weight on (2), and a program with zero high-value partners receives a 50% weight on (2).

AmEx had the highest number of top-tier transfer partners, so it received a 100% weight on its most valuable transfer partner (ANA).

Video preview image

AmEx points value recapped

The current AmEx points value is between 1 cent when used to book travel directly and 2.8 cents when transferred to partners.

But not all transfer partners are created equal. Popular programs like Marriott Bonvoy will net you less value than lesser-known options, such as ANA.

If maximizing AmEx points' value sounds too complicated, you can always redeem them for a statement credit through the issuer's Cover Your Card Charges benefit. This will get you a paltry rate of just 0.6 cent per point.

All information about the American Express® Green Card, the Business Green Rewards Card from American Express and the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. American Express® Green Card, Business Green Rewards Card from American Express and the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card are no longer available through NerdWallet.

To view rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, see this page.

To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.

To view rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.

To view rates and fees of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, see this page.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

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