5 amazing ways to use 60,000 Membership Rewards points for your next trip
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However, one of the quickest ways to rack up points and miles is through welcome offers on top travel rewards credit cards. For instance, American Express® Gold Card now comes with an increased welcome offer of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on the card in the first six months of account opening. And it is available again in the sought-after Rose Gold color.
Today, I want to go through a few great ways to use these points for your next trip.
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Transferring Amex Membership Rewards points
The most rewarding use of Membership Rewards points usually involves transferring your points to an airline partner and then redeeming the miles through that carrier’s frequent flyer program. While the program does allow for many direct redemptions (including Amazon and gift cards), you will almost always get maximum value through partner programs.
This valuable flexibility is one of the main reasons why every traveler should earn transferable points in at least one of the major programs.
Keep in mind too that this list is just a sample of different options that may appeal to a wide swath of readers. Every traveler has his or her own way of determining what makes a “valuable” redemption, so be sure to explore additional rewards if the rewards below don’t appeal to your specific plans.
So, that being said, what exactly are some of the fantastic ways to redeem 60,000 Amex Membership Rewards points? In no particular order:
Round-trip economy tickets from the U.S. to Hawaii on American or Alaska for two
If you’re looking to get to the now-reopened Hawaiian Islands for (almost) no out-of-pocket cost, consider transferring your Membership Rewards points to British Airways Avios. Those points would transfer at a 1:1 ratio.
The distance-based program charges as little as 13,000 British Airways Avios per person each way from a gateway along the U.S. West Coast. Of course, you wouldn’t be flying on British Airways but instead are leveraging one of their partners — American Airlines or Alaska Airlines.
For instance, a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu costs just 13,000 Avios — two people would be able to fly round-trip with some extra Membership Rewards to spare.
However, you’ll pay more for flights from the Midwest or East Coast, thanks to British Airways’ distance-based award chart. British Airways also prices by segment, so connecting itineraries cost more too.
You can book directly on British Airways’ website for American flights, but you’ll have to call in to book Alaska-operated flights.
One-way business class flight to Europe or Asia on American Airlines
Another program to which you can transfer your Membership Rewards points is Etihad Guest, again at a 1:1 ratio. The Middle Eastern loyalty program has a number of redemption sweet spots, but one of my favorites is with American Airlines.
This is due to the fact that, as of the time of writing, Etihad is still using a pre-devaluation award chart for flights on American. That means the following:
- One-way business-class tickets to Europe are just 50,000 miles (57,500 if booked through American)
- One-way business-class tickets to Asia 1 (Japan and Korea) are just 50,000 miles (60,000 if booked through American)
- One-way business-class tickets to Asia 2 (Hong Kong and China) are just 55,000 miles (70,000 if booked through American)
Of course, the big trick is finding award availability on these flights. I’m a big fan of ExpertFlyer to help with this search, as it will allow you to set alerts for award seats on specific flights. (ExpertFlyer is owned by TPG’s parent company, Red Ventures.)
One-way business class flight to Europe on any Star Alliance carrier
If you’d rather have more flexibility when it comes to choosing your carrier and routing to Europe, consider transferring your Membership Rewards points to Aeroplan, the loyalty program of Air Canada. Previously, it was possible to redeem just 55,000 or 57,500 miles for a one-way, business-class flight. As of Nov. 8, 2020, this sweet spot is no more. However, it’s not all bad news.
Aeroplan was overhauled late last year and now a one-way business class ticket to Europe starts at 60,000 miles. The caveat is that you must stay under 4,000 miles in distance so essentially the only way to accomplish that is by booking nonstop itineraries from Northeast and Mid-Atlantic gateways.
For instance, from New York-JFK, you can fly to Brussels (BRU), Lisbon (LIS), Geneva (GVA), Zurich (ZRH) and Frankfurt (FRA) for under 4,000 miles.
One upside is that fuel surcharges are no longer applicable on the new Aeroplan, but you’ll have to pay a partner booking fee of 39 CAD (~$29.50 based on current exchange rates) on all awards operated by partner carriers.
10 one-way flights of 650 miles or less outside North America
A fourth great target for your Membership Rewards points is again found with British Airways. The carrier’s Executive Club program offers some very attractive redemption options thanks to its distance-based award chart.
For example, a one-way flight covering 650 miles or less is just 6,000 Avios. This is a fantastic option for traveling into or out of Oneworld hub airport like London-Heathrow or Tokyo-Narita. Unfortunately, you cannot redeem these 6,000 Avios-flights in North America. Instead, all flights under 1,151 miles are priced at 9,000 Avios — still a pretty good deal.
These low-priced awards are especially useful in pricey markets, such as travel within Europe or Asia. I’ve been able to take advantage of these awards from Hong Kong on Oneworld carrier Cathay Pacific, where cash fares in the local market can be quite expensive.
One-way business-class flight from Singapore to Australia
This award is technically just above the 60,000 point threshold but with the spending required to hit the welcome offer on the Amex Gold, this redemption is easily within reach once flights restart.
If you’ve been wanting to try out one of Singapore Airlines’ renowned premium classes, consider transferring your Membership Rewards points to the KrisFlyer program and booking a one-way flight in business class between Singapore and Australia.
The carrier flies into several airports, including Sydney and Melbourne. Each of these flights will set you back 62,000 miles for several hours of bliss on board one of the airline’s long-haul aircraft.
If there’s no availability on your preferred date, you can always waitlist for the award.
Keep in mind that all of the above options are just a sampling of what you can do with American Express Membership Rewards points given the current welcome bonus on the Amex Gold. There are truly so many options when it comes to redeeming 60,000 Membership Rewards points. While we are on the subject, it pays to check and see if you are targeted for an even-higher 75,000 point welcome bonus via CardMatch.
Your point balance can also quickly go much even higher if you utilize the Amex Gold card’s 4x earnings at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1x). The current bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on the card in the first six months of account opening won’t last forever. The card has a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees).
Just remember to make the most of these points for your next trip, whenever you’re ready to do so.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, click here.
Additional reporting by Nick Ewen.
Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy
Welcome to The Points Guy!
With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at restaurants, at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com.
- Rose Gold is back. You can now choose between Gold or Rose Gold.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
- Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
- Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
- $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
- $120 Dining Credit: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
- Get up to 12 complimentary months of an Uber Eats Pass subscription when you enroll with your Gold Card by 12/31/21.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- Annual Fee is $250.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees