How to spend 30,000 American Express Membership Rewards points

Jun 17, 2022

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Our favourite credit card for beginners, the Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card from American Express is currently offering a huge welcome bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points for applicants before 19 July 2022, which you’ll get after spending £3,000 in the first 90 days of cardmembership.

Related: 6 reasons the Preferred Rewards Gold Card was my first UK credit card

Membership Rewards, the points currency of American Express, are one of the most valuable points currencies out there. Because they’re a transferrable currency, they can be transferred to 13 different airline partners and three different hotel partners. That gives you plenty of options to use them.

Those 30,000 Membership Rewards points are worth £420 based on TPG’s current monthly valuations of miles and points which is a great deal for a card with no annual fee in the first year.

Here are some ideas to spend 30,000 American Express Membership Rewards points.

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Membership Rewards basics

For this list, I’ll consider redemptions of up to 33,000 Membership Rewards points, seeing as you would be earning at least an additional 3,000 Membership Rewards points for spending the £3,000 required to earn the welcome bonus.

Membership Rewards can be transferred to the following programmes at the following rates in the following time periods. Transfer partners that are bolded are those I think are a good use of your 33,000 Membership Rewards points.

Airline and Hotel Programmes Ratio Transfer Time
Air France-KLM Flying Blue 1:1 4 working days
Alitalia MilleMiglia 1:1 3 working days
British Airways Executive Club 1:1 3 working days
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles 1:1 3 working days
Delta SkyMiles 1:1 up to 30 minutes
Emirates Skywards 1:1 2 working days
Etihad Guest 1:1 5 working days
Finnair Plus 1:1 3 working days
Iberia Plus 1:1 4 working days
SAS EuroBonus 1:1 5 working days
Singapore KrisFlyer 3:2 3 working days
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club 1:1 usually 30 minutes
Hilton Honors 1:2 5 working days
Marriott Bonvoy 2:3 5 working days
Radisson Rewards 1:3 10 working days

1. Luxury hotel stays

You can transfer 33,000 Membership Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy where they will become 49,500 Bonvoy points. Unfortunately, Marriott has recently done away with award charts and switched to dynamic pricing, but depending on your dates, those 49,500 Bonvoy points should be enough for a night at:

  • Residence Inn Tower Bridge
  • Hanbury Manor Marriott Hotel & Country Club
  • London Marriott Hotel Canary Wharf
  • University Arms Hotel, Autograph Collection
  • Renaissance Barcelona Hotel
  • Marriott Marbella Beach Resort
  • Sheraton Rhodes
  • The Domes of Corfu, Autograph Collection
  • The St. Regis Dubai, The Palm
  • The Westin Cape Town
Sheraton Sydney. Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy

If you would rather a Radisson brand instead, at a transfer rate of 1:3, those 33,000 Membership Rewards points will convert into a huge 99,000 Radisson Rewards points. That means you could book:

  • 2 nights at the Park Plaza London Park Royal
  • 2 nights at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Birmingham
  • 3 nights at the Park Inn by Radisson Manchester City Centre
  • 3 nights at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Resort Abu Dhabi Corniche
  • 3 nights at the Radisson Hotel Istanbul Sultanahmet
  • 3 nights at the Radisson Blu Hotel Florence
  • 4 nights at the Radisson Blu Sobieski Hotel, Warsaw
Radisson Red Cape Town. Photo by Eric Rosen / The Points Guy

2. Anywhere in Europe British Airways flies

We love British Airways Reward Flight Savers here at TPG because they provide low-cost redemptions to British Airways’ extensive Europe network. Membership Rewards transfer to Executive Club at a 1:1 rate, meaning 33,000 Amex Membership Rewards points are worth 33,000 Avios.

You could book two people, return on peak or off-peak dates to the following popular destinations from London:

  • Alicante, Spain
  • Bari, Italy
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Ibiza, Spain
  • Madrid, Spain
  • Oslo, Norway
  • Venice, Italy
(Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

If you want to fly farther afield, your 33,000 Membership Rewards points would be more than enough for one person, return on peak or off-peak dates from London to:

  • Amman, Jordan
  • Abuja, Nigeria
  • Cairo, Egypt
  • The Canary Islands
  • Kuwait
  • Tel Aviv (TLV), Israel
(Photo by Boris Streubel – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

3. A return flight anywhere Virgin Atlantic flies

If you transfer your Membership Rewards to Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club programme at a rate of 1:1, you can use 33,000 Virgin Points for a return Economy Classic standard season flight to anywhere the airline flies, including:

  • New York
  • Barbados
  • San Francisco
  • Cape Town
  • Miami
  • Mumbai
  • San Francisco
  • St Lucia

Fees, taxes and surcharges are payable.

Ocean Drive at South Beach Miami. (Photo by Pola Damonte/Getty Images)

4. A oneway premium economy flight to North America

If you transfer your Membership Rewards to British Airways Avios at a rate of 1:1, you can use 33,000 Virgin Points for a oneway World Traveller Plus (premium economy) flight anywhere in the United States British Airways flies on off-peak dates, including:

  • Austin
  • Los Angeles
  • Montreal
  • Orlando
  • San Diego
  • Seattle
  • Toronto
  • Vancouver

Fees, taxes and surcharges are payable.

Photo by Dave Wilson, WebArtz Photography / Gettys

5. £264 of groceries

We don’t usually recommend redeeming your Membership Rewards points for non-travel purposes, as we think you’ll get maximum value from redemptions for flights and hotel stays.

However, for guaranteed value, you can transfer your Membership Rewards points to Avios, and then to Nectar. This would give you 0.8p value per Membership Rewards point, so your 33,000 Membership Rewards would become £264 discount on your shopping in the likes of Sainsbury’s and Argos.

Not bad from a card that has no annual fee in the first year.

Related: How and when to transfer Avios to Nectar points (and vice versa)

Bottom line

The Preferred Rewards Gold Card is our favourites for beginners in the points and miles hobby. It offers a lucrative welcome bonus, as well as a solid everyday point-earning structure. Plus, with the recently added £10 in monthly Devliveroo credits, the benefits of the card have been expanded. There is an annual fee of £140, though it is waived for the first year.

There are plenty of ways to use the huge welcome bonus to maximise your travel. You can apply for this card here but remember this offer ends on 19 July 2022.

Featured image by Jean Arnas / The Points Guy

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the 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.