For example, say you’re flying from Toronto to Montreal (a short-haul flight within Canada).

According to the reward table, you need a minimum of 15,000 points, which can go up to a maximum of $300 of the base price of a plane ticket (excluding taxes). If you find a ticket that costs $350 ($250 plus $100 in taxes), you would redeem 15,000 points and pay $350 (total price of the ticket). Then American Express would refund you $250 – the base price of the ticket, excluding taxes.

In the end, you’d pay 15,000 points plus $100 out of pocket for the $350 ticket, which equates to $0.0167 per point – far more than the $0.01 per point value you’d receive in the Flexible Points- program.

Transfer Options

One of the benefits of American Express Rewards points is the ability to transfer your points to six different frequent flyer programs, often at favorable rates. For example, you can transfer 1,000 Membership Rewards points for 1,000 Aeroplan points in a 1:1 ratio. The value of Aeroplan points fluctuates. But depending on which flight you redeem them for and how well you optimize your travel, you can reap as much as $0.02 to $0.04 per point, especially on business class flights. The right transfers can increase your reward values. Please note that Membership Rewards Select points cannot be transferred to airline partners.

Transfers don’t just apply to airlines. You can transfer Membership Rewards and Membership Rewards Select points to hotel partners, including Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors. Point values ​​and transfer rate fluctuate by program, so do the math to get the very best deal.

Statement credits

If you prefer to spend points on your daily card purchases, you can do that too, although the value isn’t as good as it is with travel. When using a statement credit, 1,000 points equals $7 (that’s $0.007 per point). If you find yourself preferring rewards to save on everyday purchases in general, it’s best to use a cash back credit card rather than a travel rewards card as these offer redemption values ​​for everyday purchases.

Gift cards and merchandise

Sometimes you just want to redeem your points for a gift card or merchandise – and with American Express Membership Rewards you can do that too. The values ​​on merchandise vary wildly, so getting a deal can take some math, but you can expect around $0.0075 per point on gift cards.

Amex acceptance – is it really a problem?

If you read about American Express cards, you will notice that they have a warning about how widely they are accepted. It’s true that Mastercard and Visa can be used in more places, but the stigma surrounding American Express may be somewhat exaggerated.

American Express is accepted at more than 96,000 locations across Canada, including most department stores and major retail chains such as The Bay, Walmart, Canadian Tire and Home Depot, as well as thousands of restaurants and cafes, including many fast food and restaurant chains as well as apps for the food delivery. Metro and Sobeys supermarkets accept American Express, but Costco and Loblaws stores do not. Shoppers Drug Mart, some independent restaurants, and several smaller mom-and-pop stores don’t take American Express.

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