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American Express has long been known for offering some of the best travel reward deals of any credit card rewards programs. But how does American Express do in the overall “best ways to redeem points” category for 2011? With so many different card selections, there’s a wide range of great redemption deals.
Depending on your specific card, the basic rate at which you earn points is often multiplied on the American Express Travel site (at least 2X) and with their partner retailers and hotels (from 2X to 10X). But look closely at the exchange rate for certain partners.
These deals are on the American Express Membership Rewards “Use Points” page. Under “Specials,” you can shop for substantial point discounts on items you want. Check through carefully for good deals, but if you have points you really want to redeem, it’s hard to not find something you want from the overall selection. Free shipping is included in almost every order.
- iPad 16GB (first generation) – redeem by 3/31/11 – save 16,300 points
- Viking 8-piece cookware set, redeem by 4/30/11 – save 20,540 points
- $50 Brooks Brothers Gift Card – 5,000 points
Probably one of the best redemption deals is racking up bonus points (usually 2X or 3X) on your American Express card by shopping at their Bonus Mall. You log on and enter the mall and when you select a store link, it takes you to the store’s website. You shop as usual and your bonus points from your purchases will show up on your card account in two to three weeks. You have over 200 retailers from which to choose, like Apple or Barnes & Noble.
Another great way to redeem points is to use them for travel and hotels. Right now, Delta has a deal offering a 30% mileage bonus when you transfer your Membership Rewards points to Delta Skymiles. You register for the promotion on Delta’s website. There is no limit on the number of points you can transfer.
The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card offers some great deals specifically on hotels. You can redeem as few as 1,500 Starpoints for free night stays in over 1,000 hotels and resorts. You also receive 5 Starpoints for every dollar spent on Starwood Preferred Guest hotels. So you are benefiting from both types of redemption programs – redeeming your points and accumulating 5X the Starpoints per dollar.
By far one of the best things about redeeming the American Express Rewards Points is the program offers more flexibility than most others. It’s easy to tailor the program to your individual needs – shopping, travel or hotels.
Although there are some great deals when redeeming Membership Rewards, and redeeming points is a fairly easy process, you do have to pay attention to details, some fine print and certain restrictions. So look closely at the following:
- Many of the best deals on the American Express shopping site are due to expire soon.
- Some Welcome offers have dollar spending requirements. Currently for the 15,000 point “signing” bonus, new Gold card members have to spend $1000 over 3 months.
- Be sure to check rates, some are less than 1 cent.
Most shopping redemption rates are about 1 dollar=1 cent. Amazon.com’s Membership Rewards exchange rate, though, is fairly skimpy at an average of $.007. But if you want to take advantage of deep discounts, convenience, free shipping on Amazon and have reward points to redeem, it may be a fair trade-off for you.