Rate American Express Membership Rewards

Discussion in 'American Express | Membership Rewards' started by Darcie, Dec 9, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Darcie
    Original Member

    Darcie Silver Member

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    InsideFlyer magazine is reviewing American Express Membership Rewards in our February issue and would like your input.

    If you would like to participate, please post your response in the thread with the pros and cons of membership in Membership Rewards and grade the program from A to F (A being the highest grade). You can include a plus or minus with the rating.

    You can also respond directly to the editors at InsideFlyer at dmankell@insideflyer.com if you would prefer.

    Thank you.
  2. gleff
    Original Member

    gleff Co-founder

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    Membership Rewards gets a solid B+ from me.

    The good

    1. Flexibility. Love programs where you transfer points to where you want them to be, when you want them to be there. And in many cases (eg Aeroplan, British Airways, Delta) those transfers are instantaneous.

    2. Bonuses. Love the frequent transfer bonuses. 40% - 50% bonuses to British AIrways about half the months in 2011. Regular bonuses to Delta, as high as 67%. There are plenty of hotel bonuses too but the best value comes from transfers to airline miles.

    3. Trust. While Membership Rewards has lost program partners (and added some, but in most cases the losses have been more significant), they don't have a history of devaluing their points. I am at least as confident in Amex points as store of value than any other currency.

    4. Earning bonuses. Love earning triple miles on airfare via the Premier Rewards Gold and Business Gold cards... double miles on groceries with the former, double miles on advertising with the latter...

    The not so good
    1. Fees (tax recovery) on transfers to domestic airlines. And transfers to airlines generally are really the one good use of points.

    2. Loss of Continental as a partner. Reduction in value of Aeroplan and British Airways miles, that's not Amex's fault but those are two key Amex partners -- the value of Amex points is derived from the value of the points of their transfer partners, when those partners devalue that means Amex points are less valuable.
  3. HighPlainsDrifter

    HighPlainsDrifter Silver Member

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    Hotel points redemptions: C- (I’ve never seen a really great MR hotel points promotion).
    Airline points redemptions: C+ (formerly A before Continental loss and Aeroplan and BA devaluations).
    B+ if you are patient and hit a good transfer bonus and/or airline redemption offer, such as the periodic Flying Blue half off sales or the current Aeroplan sale in business.
    MR customer service: Formerly A+, since September B-.
    Overall: B-.

    There were two really outstanding offers in MR in the last year that I would speculate might be repeated in 2012:
    1) Delta 50% bonus plus 25K MQM. (…seems to coincide with Amex Plat 50K signup bonus offers but who knows?).
    2) BA summer 2011 double dip opportunity - 50% MR transfer promo which was immediately followed by a half off sale in BA’s pretty decent economy plus that was even valid during the 2012 Olympics. Effectively west coast or Denver nonstop to LHR in BA’s World Traveler Plus during the London Olympics for 12K MR points plus fees each way. (BA may be much maligned but Chase and Amex are still fighting for its affections, the great promos are likely to continue and they do offer direct service to LHR from many cities in the western US …)

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