The Best (and Worst) Ways to use American Express Membership Reward (MR) Points

The Worst Method: Merchandise

The worst way to use MR points is to buy merchandise from American Express. 99% of the time, you can find a better value on Amazon or another retailer.

This method values points at .5 cents points per point, which is worse than redeeming for a statement credit.

Second Worst: Redeeming for Statement Credit

The second worst way to redeem Membership Reward points is for statement credits. When you redeem points for statement credit, points are valued at .6 cents per point.

Okay Method: Plenti Program

Plenti lets you transfer your MR points at a 1:1 rate to shop at select retailers.

Plenti points are worth 1 cents per point. Sometimes there are occasionally deals, but there is not much security for the program. The main issue is you don’t need a pin to use Plenti; only a phone number. We encourage you not to keep a high amount of points stored in Plenti, unless you’re going to use them right away.

Okay Methods, 3-Way Tie: Uber, Gift Cards, and Amex Travel

  • Uber: Use points to pay and redeem MR points at 1:1 value. Points are valued at 1 cents per point.
  • Gift cards: Buy gift cards from Amex at a 1:1 rate. Points are valued at 1 cents per point.
  • Amex travel: Book travel and hotels directly from the Amex portal. Prices are comparable to the Chase travel portal and Google Flights. Points are valued at 1 cents per point.

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The Best Methods

Charles Schwab

If you have a Schwab Platinum Card, you can transfer MR points out at 1.25 cents per point into your brokerage account.

The benefit is you’re cashing out points for cash via your brokerage account. A few things to consider:

  1. You need a Schwab account to get a Schwab Platinum Card
  2. You need to be approved for the Schwab Platinum Card
  3. The Schwab Platinum Card annual fee is $550.

See if the Amex Platinum makes sense for you:

Amex Platinum Business Card

Redeem MR points for travel and get a 50% rebate. Points are valued at 1.5–2.o cents per point.

If you’re someone who doesn’t have the card, you can lock in this benefit now when you apply before May 31, 2017.

Learn more about the Amex Business card here:

Transfer partners

Finally, the best way to use MR points is to redeem through transfer partners. The main consideration here is you need to do a lot of research for optimal redemption rates.

Points are valued at 1.5–3.0 cents per point. Most partners transfer at a 1:1 rate, but some are at 0.8:1.