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American Express Increases the Value of Points for Purchases

June 2, 2020
4 mins
A young couple shop online using their credit card while sitting on the couch

For a limited time, American Express is offering consumer cardmembers more value for Points for Purchases. From April 17, until September 30, 2020, cardholders can use 1,000 points for a $10 statement credit on all eligible non-travel related purchases. That means Membership Rewards points are currently worth one cent each when redeeming for a statement credit. Typically, the highest redemption value is reserved for travel. But since travel redemption is a waiting game, American Express has created a way for cardholders to access nearly the top value for their points.

Turning the American Express Cobalt card into cash back

The American Express CobaltTM Credit Card offers cardholders five points per dollar spent on groceries, restaurants and food delivery. Converting those points to a statement credit means cardholders can see 5% back, which is a higher value than any cash back card on the market.

Purchases Regular rate Cash value as a statement credit
Eats and drinks 5 points per $1 spent 5%
Eligible transit and gas 2 points per $1 spent 2%
All other purchases 1 point per $1 spent 1%

Regular features and benefits of this card include:

  • Monthly fee: $12.99 ($155.88 per year)
  • Annual fee for supplementary cards: $0
  • Earn five Membership Rewards points per dollar on eats and drinks, including restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and food delivery.
  • Earn two Membership Rewards points per dollar on eligible transit, and gas, including public transportation, taxis, and rideshare services.
  • Earn one Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases.

Cardholders can enjoy all that American Express Invites has to offer, including exclusive access, advanced ticket sales, experiences, and deals. This card also offers a full suite of travel insurance coverage and a flexible points redemption program.

A big bonus for the American Express Platinum Card

For a limited time, cardholders of the prestigious American Express Platinum Card will earn double the points per dollar on every purchase.

Purchases Regular rate Promotional rate
Eligible dining 3 points per $1 spent 6 points per $1 spent
Eligible travel 2 points per $1 spent 4 points per $1 spent
All other purchases 1 point per $1 spent 2 points per $1 spent

Plus, cardholders can use their Points for Purchase at an increased redemption rate.

Redemption Regular value Promotional value Minimum points required to redeem
Statement credit 1 cent for travel, 0.70 cents for purchases 2.0 cents 1,000 points

That means 1,000 Membership rewards are equal to a $20 statement credit. However, this offer won’t last forever and is only available from April 21 until July 20, 2020.

How much are statement credits worth?

Here is a comparison of how the American Express Membership Rewards offer holds up to other loyalty programs. While the promotion is only available for a short period, it is undoubtedly the best value for a statement credit now.

Apart from the bonus, American Express is among the leaders for the value of their statement credits, competing closely with Scotia Rewards.

The average point value for statement credits and travel redemption

Loyalty program Statement credit value Minimum points required for a statement credit Travel value Minimum points required for travel redemption
Aeroplan Miles For co-branded credit cards like Aeroplan, cardholders may be able to convert their points and redeem them under another program for a statement credit. For co-branded credit cards like Aeroplan, cardholders may be able to convert their points and redeem them under another program for a statement credit. 1.3 cents 15,000 Miles
AIR MILES For co-branded credit cards like AIR MILES, cardholders may be able to convert their points and redeem them under another program for a statement credit. For co-branded credit cards like AIR MILES, cardholders may be able to convert their points and redeem them under another program for a statement credit. 12.5 cents 1,200 Dream Miles
American Express Membership Rewards 1.0  cent, regularly 0.70 cents 1,000 points 1.0  cent, the Fixed Points Travel Program may offer a higher value 1,000 points
BMO Rewards 0.33 cents 15,000 points 0.71 cents 14,000 points
CIBC Aventura 0.62 cents 4,000 points 1.0 cent 10,000 points
RBC Rewards 0.58 cents 4,300 points 1.0 cent 15,000 points
Scotia Rewards 0.67-0.80 cents, the more points you redeem, the higher the value 3,000 points 1.0 cent 5,000 points
TD Rewards 0.25 cents 10,000 points, after, redeem in 400-point increments 0.40-0.50 cents 250 points

*Figures are based on point averages calculated by RATESDOTCA. However, redemption value may vary depending on how you choose to spend your rewards and by the program.   

More ways to use your points

Airline and travel reward programs are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in various ways. Programs are addressing members’ needs by extending membership tiers, postponing or cancelling vacations, providing alternative options for redeeming points and pausing planned interest increases.

Companies are doing everything they can to hold up their promises to travellers. However, under the current circumstances, there are limitations. For this reason, offering cardholders a bonus cash equivalent option is fantastic. Although the value may not be as good of a deal as when redeemed for travel, it offers customers flexibility. Not only can members get more value for their points, but they can also pay down their balance and alleviate debt.

If you are cutting back on your spending, there may be more ways for you to save. Apart from travel, some credit card issuers offer savings options, merchandise, or point conversions, although your points may be worth less for alternative options. Using your points at home essentials or savings can put more in your pocket.

Hayley Osmond

Hayley Osmond is an editor and writer in the personal finance space, where she uses her eight years of media and marketing experience to bring content to life. She specializes in money products, including mortgages, home and auto insurance, and credit cards. Hayley holds a Broadcast Journalism diploma from Sheridan College and was awarded the Shaw Media Journalism and Media Award for graduating at the top of her class. Her work has appeared in Global News and diverse digital corporate training materials behind the scenes.

Hayley is passionate about making complex subjects, such as home buying and financial literacy, concise and intriguing. Her work has garnered media coverage from The Globe and Mail, blogTO, Yahoo! News, and CityNews 680 and has been syndicated across other publications.

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