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American Express: How to use Membership Rewards points on any purchase?

To the point Find out how to use American Express Membership Rewards points to save on travel and everyday purchases!

American Express Membership Rewards points can be used on any purchase (travel or non-travel) by redeeming 1,000 points for $10 for an account credit.

By using Membership Rewards points in this way, you can save on everyday expenses as well as on travel costs.

Use Membership Rewards points - Travel purchases

Using your American Express Membership Rewards points for travel purchases is easy. Charge any travel purchase to your card and apply your points to it by logging into your online account.

Choose one of your Membership Rewards cards, then click on”Use points“:

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Then you click on “Redeem points“.

The option to select the transaction(s) will appear on this new page.

Then, a 90-day history of your purchases on the card will be displayed. If you wish to apply Membership Rewards points to past spending, you will need to call American Express.

Here I have chosen to apply points on a transaction with Air Canada. The rate is therefore 1,000 points = $10.

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You will be able to set the number of Membership Rewards points you wish to use for this transaction to the exact point. Here, I chose 1234 Membership Rewards for a credit of $12.34. Click on “Confirm” in the box at the bottom of the page.

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The credit will be posted to your account within 24-48 hours and marked “Points for purchases”.

How do you choose whether it’s more advantageous to transfer Membership Rewards points to another program like Aeroplan than to pay for the ticket in cash and apply the points that way?

It’s going to depend on the cash price as well as the points price; there’s a valuation calculation to be made. The beauty of Membership Rewards is that you can do either when you’re ready to buy!

This is also particularly useful when the airline you want to fly with is not a transfer partner like Air Transat and all-inclusives, or if there is no award availability for the date you want.

An example with United Airlines

Take, for example, a purchase of a flight on United Airlines, charged to the American Express Cobalt® Card, on which points can be applied at the rate of 1,000 points = $10.

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An example with Airbnb

For those wondering: it works just as well with Airbnb and any other travel purchase, such as independent hotels on, cruises, excursions or organized tours.

Here, for example, is an Airbnb rental charged to the American Express Cobalt® Card. Enough to use 10,000 points to save $100!

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Membership Rewards cards

All American Express Membership Rewards cards allow you to use 10,000 points for $100 in travel purchases.

Here they are:

Use Membership Rewards points - Everyday shopping

Generally speaking, it’s not a good idea to apply travel points to anything other than trips: their value will be diminished. The exception is Membership Rewards points, which have the same value for all types of expenditure.

The process is the same as for travel points, where you can select the transaction on which you want to use Membership Rewards points and the number of points.

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You can also do this from your American Express mobile application. However, it will not be possible to select a partial payment with points as shown in the screenshot above.

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Even American Express small business cards allow points to be applied to ALL PURCHASES at the ratio of 1000 points = $10

Use Membership Rewards points - Earning

The American Express Cobalt® Card stands out as one of the most advantageous options in Canada for collecting points quickly through its rewards program.

Indeed, the card’s major advantage lies in its ability to award 5 times more points for all purchases in the restaurant, meal delivery and grocery shopping categories.

In practical terms, these Membership Rewards points mean 5% cash back ongrocery purchases.

Consider the gift card display in supermarkets!

This is a sound strategy for accumulating a large number of points by making various types of purchases (at Walmart, for fuel, clothing, at the SAQ, on Amazon, etc.).

Bottom Line

Redeeming Membership Rewards points for travel or everyday purchases can be an alternative to transferring points to other loyalty programs, or to cash-back cards!

In fact, it can sometimes be a good idea to transfer your Membership Rewards points to another program if you’re happy with the value you get. However, we’re still guaranteed the use of 10,000 points = $100 at all times and on everything!

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
Aline Nguyen
I'm Aline, an experienced traveller, a foodie at heart, an Avgeek, a photography enthusiast and an expert on credit card programs. I use Reward Points to travel on a budget and to save money on everyday life; writing about these topics allows me to share my passion and help you. ~ 7 continents and 75 countries ~

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