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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Limited Time Offer: Increased value in American Express Use Points for Purchases (1,000 points = up to $20!)


On April 17 American Express Canada started new promotions for redeeming Membership Rewards points on non-travel purchases. In light of the current global situation with COVID-19 American Express wanted to continue to provide value to their cardmembers and with virtually no one redeeming or being able to redeem for travel they came out with this offer. The offer, which is a limited time one (we don't know the end date yet) sees the redemption of points for the Use Points for Purchases boosted by nearly 43% to 1,000 points for a $10 statement credit for Membership Rewards Select cards like the American Express Cobalt Card or as high as 1,000 points for a $20 statement credit for Membership Rewards cards like the Platinum Card.

If you are unfamiliar with Amex's Use Points for Purchases, it is their redemption option where you can redeem points for any eligible purchase made on a card that earns Membership Rewards points or Membership Rewards Select points. Typically the rate is 1,000 points for a $7 credit while the rate for travel was 1,000 points for a $10 credit. The topic of being able to use points for any purchases, which is basically a cash back redemption option, has been discussed frequently here on Rewards Canada since early March due to the huge shift away from travel in loyalty programs for the vast majority of Canadians. With families out of work or working reduced hours many have seen their cash flows severely hampered and need avenues to supplement what little income they may have. That's where the shift from travel to cash or cash equivalents rewards comes in. I'm not going to into deep discussion on it in this post since we have covered the topic previously, instead here are the links to the articles should you want to research it further:

Now back to this offer - as already mentioned Amex has increased the redemption value of their points for any purchase you make on your card.  What this means is that on a card like the American Express Cobalt Card you are receiving up to 5% cash back return as the card earns 5 points per dollar on eats and drinks. This move just shot the card further up in the rankings of cards in Canada - not that it can get much higher seeing that it is the best overall card in Canada to begin with. While cards like the Platinum Card now peak at up to 6% cash back return! 

Remember as well that you only need to have that 1,000 points to redeem or in the case of the Cobalt Card as little as $200 in spending. Not many cards have this low of minimum points requirement to redeem. You could literally receive the Cobalt card on a Monday, spend $200 by Wednesday and be able to redeem those 1,000 points for $10 by the following Monday.

Here are the Amex cards that you can utilize this promotion with and the equivalent cash back rate of return:
To redeem the points for any purchase you simply have to log in to your Amex account online and click on Use Points for Purchase or via the Amex app and click on the transaction you would like to redeem points for.

Here is a screenshot of being able to redeem 1,000 points for $20 from my Platinum Card:


And a screenshot from my Cobalt Card taken off the mobile app:


I also have the Gold Rewards Card and I can redeem points at 1,000 for $20 for those purchases however the points earned on this card get pooled with the points earned on The Platinum Card so I'm not 100% sure if the 1,000 for $20 rate holds true if you only have the Gold Rewards Card. My guess is that it does but perhaps one of our readers can let us know if this is the case or not. I am also awaiting a response back from American Express as to when we can expect this offer to end.

What do you think of this latest initiative from American Express? Does it give you enough incentive to redeem for non-travel purchases or will you hold out until you can redeem for travel again? Let us know below in the comments!


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