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Amex Membership Rewards devalues in June…in a good way + gift card value changes

by on Sat March 14, 2015 • No Comment


Amex Membership Rewards offers many ways to use your points for everything from travel to gift cards and statement credit. While we think transferring your points to airline partners is the very highest value for your points, that’s not for everyone.

And you might find value in simpler options like getting statement credit or redeeming for hotel stays via American Express travel.

But starting June 28th, the price you’ll pay for hotel, cruise, and vacation package bookings with Membership Rewards points will increase.

Here are the changes, with the dollar values 10,000 points are worth:

Pre-paid hotels

  • Old: 10,000 points = $75
  • New: 10,000 points = $70


  • Old: 10,000 points = $75
  • New: 10,000 points = $70

Vacation packages

  • Old: 10,000 points = $85
  • New: 10,000 points = $70

The value for booking flights via American Express won’t change, and for most cards it’s $100 for every 10,000 points in your account, though the Blue cards have a lower $50 per 10,000 point value.

If you’re savvy with miles and points these changes won’t hurt you at all, as they were terrible redemptions to begin with.

In each of the above situations, the value of your points was less than one cent each, and you can do much better if you transfer to the right airline programs, or simply redeem for flights or many gift card options for a penny a point.

Your’e savvy, and you should be happy Amex is making this move.

You, like anyone with a basic interest in getting the most out of Membership Rewards points, would never touch a redemption less than one cent per point.

And the fact is, most people don’t think about the actual value of their points. They just see an option, and if it’s free with the balance in their account, they’re happy. And here, Amex is raising award prices for people who don’t care much about the price they pay in points.

So raising the prices on low value travel options upsets few people, and lowers the cost of the Membership Rewards program, which helps Amex keep really high value options like transferring to airline programs intact.

And that’s great for you, a savvy point user.

We wish more price changes were managed this way.

Gift cards changing too

Separately, Amex is also changing the value of many gift card redemptions on June 28th.

Many are losing value, but several are increasing value, including Hyatt and many Las Vegas hotel gift cards. The deals aren’t great, but check below for the value you can get for each 10,000 Membership Rewards points.

NewOldBetter / Worse
Aria Las Vegas Gift Card$100$83Better
Bellagio Gift Card$100$83Better
Best Western Gift Card$85$83Better
Express Rewards Gas Card$50$77Worse
Express Rewards Golf Card$50$66Worse
Facebook Gift Card$85$79Better
Fairmont Gift Card$100$83Better
Four Seasons Gift Card$70$83Worse
Hyatt Gift Card$100$83Better
iTunes Gift Card$85$74Better
Mandalay Bay Gift Card$100$83Better
Mandarin Oriental Gift Card$85$83Better
Marriott Gift Card$70$83Worse
MGM Grand Gift Card$100$83Better
Mirage Gift Card$100$83Better
OpenTable Gift Card$70$80Worse
Ritz Carlton Gift Card$70$83Worse
SpaFinder Gift Card$100$83Better
Wynn Gift Card$100$83Better

You can check the value of all Amex Membership Rewards options here using a handy tool from American Express and thanks to FlyerTalk readers for pointing this out.


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