Do American Express Membership Rewards points expire?

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The American Express Membership Rewards program is one of the most popular flexible credit card programs out there, competing closely with Chase Ultimate Rewards and the Citi ThankYou Rewards program. Credit cards that let consumers earn points in this program remain in high demand, due to both the way they let you rack up points on regular purchases and the flexibility of these rewards.

American Express cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express, the American Express® Gold Card or The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, your American Express points are good for multiple redemption options ranging from gift cards to statement credits and even transfers to American Express airline and hotel partners.

Before you apply for a card that earns points within the American Express Membership Rewards program, you may be wondering “Do American Express points expire?” We’ll answer this question and plenty of others in this guide, as well as the best way to use your points for maximum value.

How long do American Express points last?

American Express Membership Rewards points do not have an expiration date, but there are situations where you may forfeit your points, which you can find in your credit card’s terms and conditions.

For example, American Express notes in their card terms that your credit card account may be canceled if you’re 90 days late making a payment on your card account. At that point, points you have earned “will be forfeited and taken away from the balance of your Points Account (this will result in a zero Points balance,” they write.

If American Express closes your account for any other reason, you may also lose all points you haven’t had the chance to redeem.

How much are American Express points worth?

Trust us when we say that you do not want to forfeit your American Express Membership Rewards points before you get a chance to use them. Each point you earn within this program is worth approximately 2 cents according to recent valuations from The Points Guy, so these points are considerably more valuable than many other rewards currencies you can earn with a credit card.

Think of it this way. If you apply and are approved for the Amex Platinum and earn the welcome bonus of 100,000 points after you spend $6,000 within six months of account opening, this one bonus is worth $2,000 on its own.

With that being said, American Express points are always worth less than 2 cents each if you redeem them for non-travel options like gift cards or merchandise. For example, you can normally redeem for gift cards at a rate of one cent per point, while you’ll typically get .07 cents per point if you choose the Pay with Points at Checkout option or .06 cents per point if you redeem points for statement credits.

What happens to my American Express points if I close my account?

If you want to close a credit card that earns American Express Membership Rewards points, you should make sure you have another card that earns points within this program first. That’s because, per American Express terms and conditions, you will forfeit your unused American Express points if you close your card account and you don’t have another credit card that earns the same type of rewards.

For that reason, many consumers apply for an American Express Membership Rewards card with no annual fee before closing a luxury card account like the Amex Platinum. If you open The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express or the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express first, both of which don’t charge an annual fee, then you can maintain your points balance after closing your other credit card account.

The information about the Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express has been collected independently by The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

What’s the best way to use my American Express points?

There is no “right” or “wrong” way to use American Express Membership Rewards points, but you may get more value for your rewards if you use American Express transfer partners and redeem your rewards for travel. Transfer partners include:

  • Aer Lingus
  • AeroMexico
  • Air Canada (Aeroplan)
  • Air France / Flying Blue
  • Alitalia
  • ANA
  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca
  • British Airways
  • Delta SkyMiles
  • El Al Israel Airlines
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Iberia
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Qantas
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

Hotel partners:

  • Choice Privileges Rewards
  • Hilton Honors
  • Marriott Bonvoy

Most partners let you transfer Amex points to your account at a 1,000:1,000 ratio, but there are some exceptions. Either way, Amex transfer partners offer the opportunity to get the most bang for your buck, and that’s especially true when you transfer points to airlines for flights in premium cabins.

Can I use Amex points to pay my bill?

You cannot use American Express Membership Rewards points to pay your credit card bill. However, you can redeem points to cover purchases made to your account as long as you have at least 1,000 points, your card account is not past due or in returned payment standing and you are a consumer or business cardmember.

To use your points to cover charges, the charges must have occurred in the U.S. or within a U.S. territory, and the charge must appear online or in your current credit card statement. You can only redeem points for charges that are at least $1, and the charge you want to cover with points cannot be one you disputed in the past.

Written by
Holly D. Johnson
Author, Award-Winning Writer
Holly Johnson began her career working in the funeral industry, which may make you wonder why she works in personal finance now. Yet, the funeral industry taught the author everything she needs to know about the value of one's money and time. Johnson left the mortuary business a decade ago in order to explore her passion for personal finance and travel the world, and since then, she and her husband have built a debt-free lifestyle that has them on the path to retire very wealthy in their 40s. Holly's love of budgeting also led to the creation of her debt payoff book, “Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love."