Skip to Main Content

Best ways to spend American Express points

a girl walking on the coast in hawaii
Cavan Images/Getty Images
a girl walking on the coast in hawaii
Cavan Images/Getty Images
Bankrate Logo

Why you can trust Bankrate

At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for . The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

ON THIS PAGE Jump to Open page navigation

The American Express Membership Rewards program is pretty extensive, with a variety of top Amex cards that allow you to earn points. You can use these points for a variety of things, such as statement credits or travel.

There are many ways to use your American Express points if you want to get the most value out of them. For example, you could book flights and hotels through Amex Travel, use points for a train ticket or transfer points to airline and hotel partners. There are plenty of different options available when you want to use American Express points, though you’ll want to keep in mind that each redemption method will provide a different value.

Ways to use American Express points

Use Amex points for travel

The most popular way to use your points is to redeem them for travel. You can redeem your points for domestic and international flights, hotel stays, car rentals and cruises. You can also redeem points to pay for travel packages that include airfare, hotels and rental cars.

Use Amex points for statement credits

Another popular way to use your points is to redeem them for statement credits. Points are worth 0.6 cents each when redeemed for statement credits.

Use Amex points for charitable donations

American Express allows cardholders to donate their points to nonprofit organizations like the World Wildlife Fund. You can donate to these charities using the Amex JustGiving website.

Use Amex points for gift cards

You can also redeem your points for gift cards. When you redeem points for gift cards, your points are worth 1 cent each.

Best value: Use Amex points for travel

With the flexibility of the Membership Rewards program, you can use your points to get the most out of your vacation. Here are some great ways to use your points for travel:

Pay for your flight

Your Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for just about any travel purchase, including flights, hotel stays and more. Using them to pay for flights will give you the most bang for your buck.

The value of Amex points depends on the program they are transferred to, but in general you’ll get a slightly better value compared to other redemption methods. For example, Amex points tend to be worth about 1 to 2 cents each for airlines.

To book a flight with American Express points, you can head to the Membership Rewards travel portal and search for flights based on your personal preferences like dates, destinations, return flights or price.

Pay for hotel stays

If you’ve chosen not to book a flight with your American Express points, you can also use them to book hotel stays. To search for hotels to book through American Express, visit the Membership Rewards travel portal. You’ll be able to search by destination, dates and other preferences.

Note: American Express Membership Rewards points can be used to pay for Hilton and Marriot Bonvoy hotel stays.

Book a car rental

You can use your points to book car rentals through American Express Travel or enroll in Hertz Gold Plus Rewards to receive an extra 10 percent off, among other perks. The points value varies, but it’s about 0.7 cents per point.

Transfer to airline partners

When it comes to transferring your Amex points, you have a number of airline partners to choose from. You can transfer them to AeroMexico, British Airways, JetBlue, Aeroplan, Air France/KLM, Hawaiian Airlines, Delta, Emirates and more.

Each transfer partner has its own rules for minimum points transfers, the transfer value and what you can book. This can become a confusing process, so it’s best to consult the terms and conditions or get advice from a travel agent if you need it.

Transfer to hotel partners

Many of the hotels you know and love have partnered with American Express, offering you more ways to use your points. You can transfer points to Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy and Radisson Rewards.

How to maximize American Express Membership Rewards points

Your American Express points can be used to book flights, pay for hotel stays, buy gift cards, shop at a variety of retailers, transfer points to loyalty programs and much more. To get the most out of your points, consider these ways to maximize your rewards:

  • Redeem for travel: The value will vary based on your travel preferences, but your points can net a lot of value when redeemed for travel.
  • Transfer points: American Express has an extensive roster of airline and hotel loyalty partners, which means you can transfer your points to your favorite loyalty program. This can be a useful way to make the most of your points.

The bottom line

American Express points can be transferred to a number of airline and hotel loyalty programs, but they can also be used for gift cards, travel, shopping and more. With a number of ways to earn points, American Express makes it easy to achieve your travel goals.