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TPG reader Michael sent me a message asking:

“I’ve accumulated 100,000 Membership Rewards points over the past year, but want to withdraw them for cash. I noticed American Express gives you gift cards at a rate of half a cent per point, which is highway robbery. My other credit cards give me 2% cash back, so I’d prefer to get at least two cents per point. What are my options?”

Here’s the deal with Amex and Chase points: don’t get them if you want cash back. They won’t be worth it for pure cash redemptions. Typically, statement credits offer half a cent per point, and gift cards don’t offer good value either.

Transfer partners are the best way to maximize these points. 125,000 Amex Membership Rewards points can get you a round-trip, upper-class flight on Virgin Atlantic. That ticket could easily cost $5,000, so you’re getting four cents per point in value.

We’ve written in great detail about the best ways to maximize Amex Membership Rewards points with transfer partners. Aeroplan is a great option, and so is British Airways. Your 100,000 points can easily get you thousands of dollars worth of airfare on British Airways if you know how to use them for short-haul redemptions.

British Airways
Transferring Amex points to an airline partner like British Airways will get you much more value than cash back or statement credits. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

I definitely recommend transferring to an airline partner instead of redeeming for cash back; you’ll get much better value that way.

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at

The Platinum Card® from American Express

While this premium card has one of the highest annual fees on the market, it has several valuable perks that could make it worthwhile, depending on your travel patterns. These include a $200 annual airline rebate, lounge access, free Hilton Gold status and free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 40,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • 5X points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 a year for baggage fees and more at one airline. Terms Apply.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations worldwide. Terms Apply.
  • Enroll to enjoy the benefits of complimentary Hilton HHonors™ Gold Status with your Platinum Card.®
  • No interest charges because you pay your balance in full each month.
  • Terms and Conditions apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.