Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Reminder: One month left in American Express' increased value for Use Points for Purchases redemptions

You may recall that back in April during the height of the major shutdown American Express launched a promotion to provide more value out of Membership Rewards points for their non-travel Use Points for Purchases redemption option. Here's an excerpt from our April blog post detailing the offer:

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.

 And I just wanted to remind our readers that this offer is slated to come to a close at the end of this month and keep that in mind if you think you might want to use the non-travel Use Points for Purchases option.

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 have needed 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. While cards like The Platinum Card now peaks at up to a 3% 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's a screenshot from my Cobalt Card taken off the mobile app:

Personally I utilized this offer on my Platinum Card in July when that card had its Use Point for Purchases doubled so 1,000 points equaled a $20 and have also used it from my American Express Cobalt Card. The reason why I used my Cobalt is that my points balance is lower since the primary Cobalt card in our household is my wife's card. So while she has a very healthy six figure points balance poised to be used once we are ready to travel again, my paltry four figure balance was and will be best used for this increased cash back reward as I will probably redeem once more just before the end of September when this promotion ends.

How about you? Have you or will you redeem your Membership Rewards points for some cash back credits? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images via American Express

Check out all the available American Express Card offers here.

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