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We generally recommend redeeming your hard-earned Amex Membership Rewards points for international flights in business and first class, be it a hop across the Atlantic in Lufthansa First via Aeroplan or a luxurious long-haul adventure in Singapore’s A380 Suites.
But occasionally other interesting opportunities pop up, such as the experiences Amex is launching today, available to customers with cards that earn Membership Rewards points, such as The Platinum Card from American Express and the American Express® Gold Card
From now through September 28, 2017, you can redeem your points for a large variety of events, ranging from tickets to see Hamilton in Los Angeles (via upcoming flash sales) to a private wine tour and tasting in Napa. Unfortunately, even with a “discount” (that appears to be available to everyone), you’ll still only get about 0.7 cents per point in value — based on the cash value Amex assigns to each package.
To give you an idea of what you’ll be able to book, here’s a sampling of the Amex events to come:
- Hamilton in Los Angeles on 9/16 or 10/21 (flash sale starts at 12pm EST on 8/15 and 8/29).
- Tickets to Paul McCartney’s Barclays Center concert on 9/21 (flash sale starts at 12pm EST on 8/22).
- Front row tickets and a meet-and-greet with Chris Rock in LA and NYC
- Private helicopter tour of the Hudson Valley
- VIP concert and dining experience at the Farm Aid 2017 concert
- A behind-the-scenes look at the new musical, Come From Away
- Private wine tour and tasting at the O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery in Napa
- Nighttime sailing on the Chicago River under the fireworks
You can browse some of these events and more at Amex’s redesigned Membership Rewards page, I selected a private Hudson Valley fall foliage helicopter tour for two. Amex lists the cash price at $675, and I called Wings Air to confirm — a tour booked directly would in fact cost $675, including taxes and fees.
So, on the surface, that seems like a decent option. However, if you’re planning to redeem points, you’ll need 94,406 to cover the $675 fee — that works out to just 0.715 cents per point, just 38% of our 1.9-cent valuation for Amex points. That’s a step up from the 0.6 cents per point you’ll get when redeeming for a statement credit, but you’ll come out ahead with just about any other redemption, ranging from gift cards (1 cent per point) to Lufthansa first class (~10 cents per point, and beyond).
As you can see, it’s important to always do the math (based on current redemption rates) to see if any of these experiences make sense for you — though if you’re drowning (or swimming) in Amex points and don’t plan to redeem for flights, you might be willing to book some of these with a lower return.
How do you plan to redeem your Amex points?
Featured image courtesy of Robert Alexander via Getty Images.
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