American Express Rewards is one of the best reward programs out there. The flexibility and variety of rewards available is out of this world. I have in the past redeemed Membership Rewards for Macy’s Gift cards (in a convoluted way, though) and for hotel stays. Just last week I redeemed them for airline tickets. The tickets for my flight were pretty steep and reward availability for Saver Rewards (you know the advertised 25,000 mile round trip awards) were unavailable. I did not want to shell out the chase, so I decided to burn up some of the 85,000 Membership rewards I had.

Membership Rewards for Flights

Redeeming these rewards is straightforward. You go to American Expresses travel website, which is just like any other travel booking site and search for the flights you want. When purchasing the fight, you get an option to pay with cash (pay with a credit card) or to pay with your Membership Reward points.

Step 1: Select ‘Pay with Points’ to start your booking

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2. Select ‘From’, ‘To’, dates, time of flights, etc and search:

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3. For the Flights shown, select ‘Membership Rewards points’ to see the price in Membership Rewards points instead of Dollars:

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4. Select your flight and book!

My flights appeared immediately on United’s website. Even better, United sees these as revenue tickets, not as award tickets – so, full miles earned!

Get your card!

The current best offer on the American Express Card at the moment (for individuals, not businesses) is for the Personal Gold Card. Details are:

  • Earn More: earn 25K Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2K during your first three months of Card membership
  • Earn 15K points after you spend $30,000 within one calendar year

Apply here:American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card

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Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

Posted by unroadwarrior | 18 Comments

18 Responses to “Booking Flights with American Express Membership Rewards”

  1. Marty dee says:

    Make sure when doing this you have the platinum card which gives you 25% more value till next week when this goes away.

  2. gomike says:

    DISCLOSURE: This is an awful use of Membership Rewards points.

  3. Paul says:

    What value per mile did you get? I always found redeeming directly through Amex was an awful value. Wouldn’t you have been better off transferring to an airline and then booking with them? Even if it means paying with cash this time?

  4. unroadwarrior says:

    @paul, @gomike, yes the value one gets for the points is horrible, but spending 35,000 MR points per ticket is much better than 50,000 UA miles on the same, or $350 for that matter.

  5. Paul says:

    You’re wrong and shouldn’t be telling people this. Paying $350 is better if you can get more than $0.01 later.

  6. unroadwarrior says:

    @Paul, it is all relative. To me, I have to make this trip and I value $350 in cash more than 35,000 points. This is a personal valuation.

  7. Paul says:

    Yeah well you should make that clear to everyone. For the overwhelming majority of people this is a terrible idea. It’s almost as if Amex told you to post this because they’d rather people waste their membership reward points at $0.01 value rather than get multiples of that by transferring them to the airlines. I mean if you’re going to suggest people use points like this you should be advocating people get the fidelity amex that pays $0.02 cash… But I guess there’s no referral money in it for you so you don’t do that, right?

    I’d also point out that the Mercedes Benz plat card is better than the gold card that you’re pimping. And you should be telling people that eh might want to wait until a better offer comes along (which it often does) that give more than 25k.

  8. Rick says:

    I too think getting a value of $0.01/point is a terrible use of Membership Reward points.

  9. Ted C says:

    Wow this is a terrible redemption

  10. Jwdouble says:

    I was excited to read this when I saw the title. But this is extremely disappointing. As people stated above, this is a horrible way of using Amex points. You would just be better of telling people that they can use points to redeem tickets at 0.01 value. That’s all the info you provided. This is probably better than using Amex points to get a tumi luggage though like a friend of mind did.

  11. MarkJ says:

    Incredibly poor use of MR Points. I guess even bloggers have their off days :)

  12. unroadwarrior says:

    @MarkJ, @@Jwdouble, @TedC, I agree this is not the best redemption rate. But, redemption is all about using what you have when you need it. I needed to fly, the prices were too high, so I redeemed. NOt the best rate, but beat shelling out $350+ in cash. There was no award seats available for under 50,000 miles RT. So, it was 35,000 MR points or 50,000 UA miles. This was better. (Cash was not an option).

    Everyone can decide what value they assign to their miles/points. I do however appreciate your comments, so they let readers know what is a good or is not a good deal.

  13. Huck says:

    Trying to keep an open mind, but it is hard not to think you are just trying to pimp the Amex card for affiliate $$.

  14. mark says:

    I agree, this is a terrible use of MR points. Disappointing article.

  15. I agree with the author, I would definitely value cash more than rewards.
    Even though the value he got for his rewards was bad, it was still something. Rewards is something you wouldn’t have had if the companies didn’t give any. In other words, any rewards at all (with any value to them) are better than no rewards.

  16. sue says:

    This is sick. $350 vs 35,000 MR? No contest. Spend the $350, unless one is broke.

  17. [...] to make a living than I do to earn miles. So, when I posted my recent article describing how to redeem American Express Membership Rewards points for airline tickets, the backlash I got was surprising. I gave my own example of how I [...]

  18. [...] recently redeemed some American Express Membership Reward points for airline tickets and got crucified for it (read the comments). Several readers felt I had wasted [...]

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