The Value of an American Express Membership Rewards Point

Avg. dollar value of 1 Membership Reward point $0.015

Dollar value of 1 point Flexibility of points Can points cover taxes and fees?
$0.015 Strong Yes Recommends:

American Express Cobalt Card

  • Earn 5 points per dollar on groceries and dining
  • Earn 2 points per dollar on travel, transit, and gas
  • Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases

The American Express Membership Rewards (MR) points program is one of the most popular credit card rewards programs in Canada thanks to its flexibility and ease of use. The program has an impressive array of redemption options and even offers the freedom to use points to book travel directly from an airline or hotel of your choice without having to rely on any bank or third-party travel agency.

There are actually two distinct kinds of Membership Rewards points (with very slight variations) availabe on different AMEX travel cards:

  • MR points: earned on American Express Gold and American Express Platinum cards
  • MR Select points: earned on American Express Cobalt and the American Express Choice card

Both MR and MR Select point are almost identical with one notable exception: MR points can be converted into points or miles of eligible airline loyalty programs like Aeroplan or British Airways Avios, while MR Select points can only be transferred to select hotel partners.

As with any program, the value of your MR points will vary depending on how and what you redeem them for. Here’s a comprehensive look at American Express Membership Rewards (MR) points values.

MR points values - by redemption type

Redemption Value of 1 point MR Point eligibility
Flexible Travel Program
  • 1 cent
  • MR
  • MR Select
Fixed Travel Program
  • Varies (avg. 1.5 cents)
  • MR
  • MR Select
Airline transfers
  • Varies (up to 2 cents or more)
  • MR only
Hotel transfers
  • Varies (avg. 0.117 cents)
  • MR
  • MR Select
  • 1 cent
  • MR
  • MR Select
Gift cards
  • avg. 0.77 cents
  • MR
  • MR Select
Cash credits
  • 0.7 cents
  • MR
  • MR Select
  • 0.7 cents
  • MR
  • MR Select
  • Varies (avg. 0.65 cents)
  • MR
  • MR Select

How to redeem American Express Membership points

1. About AMEX’s Flexible Points Travel Program

1,000 points = $10 in travel rewards (including flights, hotel stays, car rentals, and more)

The first (and easiest way) to redeem points for travel is with Amex’s Flexible Points Travel Program. With the program, you can redeem points for travel in flat increments of 1,000 points for $10. A range of travel purchases are eligible, including everything from airline tickets and hotel stays, to car rentals.

The program is easy to use. You simply pay for the travel expense with your Amex card and apply the points after the fact to get a statement credit that offsets the cost. You can make a purchase directly from a travel provider of your choice. (Unlike with many other credit card reward programs, you don’t have to use Amex’s in-house travel search engine to book your travel). The only requirements are that you make a purchase from an eligible travel provider and charge the expense to your eligible Amex card.

You can even redeem points retroactively. Amex gives you 3 months from the date your travel transaction is posted to your credit card statement to redeem your points online. If you redeem your points by phone, you’ll have 12 months from the date the transaction is posted to redeem your points. Redemptions can be done via the Amex app or by contacting American Express Travel Services by phone.

Point values are consistent and don’t fluctuate based on where or when you’re travelling, which is ideal for those who prefer a straightforward and easy to understand redemption process.

2. About AMEX’s Fixed Points Travel Program

Points values vary: avg. $0.015 per point on travel redemption (only on round-trip flights from any airline departing from Canada)

A slightly more complicated (albeit potentially far more lucrative) travel redemption option is Amex’s Fixed Point Travel Program. Redemption involves using a reward chart that splits up the world into 6 regions.

The value of your points will vary depending on where you’re travelling to and from. Travel between and within each region requires a minimum fixed number of points (hence the program’s name) which will cover the cost of a flight up to a set maximum base fare.

For example, according to the Fixed Points Rewards chart, flying From Toronto to Hawaii requires a minimum of 50,000 points. The maximum base fare for the flight is $800 (not including taxes).

Let’s say you find a flight ticket that costs $1,000 ($900 plus $100 in taxes). Here’s how your redemption would work:

  • Step 1: You’d redeem 50,000 points and pay $1,000 (total price of the ticket)
  • Step 2: Amex would give you back $800 (the base price of the ticket, not including taxes)

That means: you’d pay 50,000 points and $200 out of pocket to get a $1,000 ticket. That works out to a value of $0.016 per point, which is far greater than a value of $0.01 which is the maximum value you would get if you redeemed your points using the Flexible Points Program (covered earlier).

Note: the Flexible Points Program can only be used for round-trip flights departing out of Canada. As with the Flexible Point Program, you can purchase flights directly from a travel provider because you aren’t restricted to using Amex’s in-house travel provider.

3. About AMEX’s Airline transfers

Values vary: up to $0.02 per point on airline points transfers

If you earn Amex Membership points with either the Amex Gold or Amex Platinum card, you can leverage airline transfers (note that the Amex Cobalt card is not eligible since it earns MR Select points). Leveraging airline transfers is for the experienced points optimizer. Done right, you can transfer points from American Express to another airline loyalty program and stretch the value of your points by taking advantage of each program’s unique benefits. It’s very much like transferring currencies.

Redemptions must be done in 1,000-point increments, and transfers can take between 30 minutes or up to 3 business days, depending on the program. Point values will vary depending on which program you transfer your points to so you’ll want to do the math and compare your options.

There are half a dozen eligible airlines and transfer options available to AMEX MR points collectors, including:

  • Aeroplan: 1,000 MR points = 1,000 Aeroplan points
  • Alitalia: 1,000 MR points = 750 MilleMiglia
  • Asia Miles: 1,000 MR points = 750 Asia Miles
  • British Airways Executive Club: 1,000 MR points = 1,000 Avios points
  • Delta SkyMiles: 1,000 MR points = 750 SkyMiles
  • Etihad: 1,000 MR points = 750 Etihad Guest miles

Our favourite transfer option is Amex MR points to Aeroplan, which can be done at a favourable 1:1 transfer ratio. Aeroplan points values do fluctuate, but depending on which flight you redeem them for and how well you optimize your trip, you can reap a value of up to $0.02-$0.04 per point, especially on business class flights or when leveraging Amex’s unique stopover policy to travel farther. Making the right transfers can definitely boost your rewards values.

4. About AMEX’s Hotel transfers

Points values vary: avg. $0.0117 on hotel points transfers

Amex’s hotel transfer option functions similarly to its airline transfer option, but both MR and MR select points collectors can take advantage of this handy redemption method.

MR and MR Select point transfers for hotels are limited to Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy.

  • Hilton Honors: 1,000 MR points = 1,000 Hilton Honors points
  • Bonvoy: 5 MR points = 6 Marriott Bonvoy points

Transfers must be made in 1,000-point increments and will take up to 5 days to process.

5. Statement credits

1,000 points = $7 in cash credits (applies to any card purchase)

Putting your points towards a statement credit is very straightforward. With this redemption option, 1,000 points equals $7 (or $0.007 per point) in statement credits (which essentially acts like cash back). Redemptions can be done online or via the app.

6. Gift cards / merchandise

Values vary: avg. $0.0050-$0.0080 per point

The value of each point can vary depending on the gift card or merchandise item you’re interested in redeeming your points for. In general, you can expect to get a value of around $0.0077 per point on gift cards and between $0.0050-$0.0080 per point on merchandise.

Amex’s merchandise catalog is pretty large and therefore the value of a point can really vary quite dramatically depending on the item, so be sure to do your own calculations to figure out if you’re getting good value for your points. When redeeming points for cash you can’t use a mix of points and cash and you must have enough points to redeem for the item (e.g., if a kitchen appliance costs 10,000 points, you need to redeem all 10,000 points and can’t pay a portion in credit).

Overall Flexibilty: Strong

Taxes and fees covered? Consistent value? Transferable to/from other rewards programs?
Yes Yes Yes
Yes, you can pay for taxes, fees, and surcharges using points Yes, points are always worth $0.01 each within the American Express Flex program. Values do vary based on your travel destination when using AMEX's more lucrative Fixed Points Travel rewards chart. Yes, you can transfer your Membership Rewards points to a wide range of participating loyalty programs including Aeroplan, Marriott Bonvoy, and more. Note: MR Select points can only be transferred to hotel programs - not airlines.
More than one airline involved in program? Can the points be used retroactively? Expiration date on points?
Yes Yes No
Yes, points can be used to book travel using any provider and on any airline. Yes, you have up to 12 months (via phone) and 3 months (via web) from the date of travel purchase to redeem points (minimum redemption is 1000 points). No, there is no expiration date while you are an active member.

American Express Membership Rewards points program really is king when it comes to flexible redemptions, especially when you consider that:

  • You can redeem points for travel in three ways: 1. The easy-to-understand Flexible Point Program, where points are always worth a consistent 1 cent; 2. the more elaborate but more lucrative Fixed Point Program, where points values can fluctuate depending on a regional rewards chart; or 3. By transferring points to a handful of high-profile airline or hotel loyalty programs
  • American Express MR Point collectors have a huge array of airline and hotel transfer options at favourable transfer ratios
  • MR Points don’t have an expiry date
  • Depending on which travel option you use, you can book travel directly from an airline or hotel provider as opposed to being stuck with the card’s proprietary in-house travel service
  • You can even use points retroactively to offset the cost of a past travel expense (up to 3 months online or 12 months by phone)

American Express Membership Rewards points can be used to cover taxes and fees.

Best Way to Use Your Amercian Express Membership Rewards Points

View Other Points Programs