Maximizing Your American Express MR Points Value

By | April 24, 2019

The American Express Membership Rewards program in India provides some amazing redemption options but not everyone gets it right, as loyalty programs are usually complicated and you need to have a bit of knowledge to maximize the value.

Here’s the ultimate guide to help you choose the best redemption option to get maximum value for your Amex Membership Rewards (MR) Points based on your needs. Let’s begin,

Statement Credit

  • Value: 25ps/point

One of the advantage of holding Amex cards is that they allow you to convert your points to statement credit, which is as good as cash. A lot of those who’re new to credit cards choose this option but its probably the worst idea as Amex points are lot more valuable than just 25Ps.

So kindly ignore this and move to the next available option.

Gold Collection

American express has a concept of 24/18 carat Gold Collection on select cards like MRCC & Gold Charge card wherein you can redeem 24,000 or 18,000 points. Here are my favourite redemptions in this category,

Statement Credit

  • Value: 41Ps/point

Note that this is different from the other statement credit option we saw above, as in this case you need to redeem minimum of 18k or 24k points at once.

Every once in a while, I go with Rs.10,000 statement credit option by redeeming 24,000 Points.

This isn’t the best idea to use Amex MR points but this allows me not to spend from my pocket. So I’m OKAY with loosing bit of value.

Amazon Vouchers

  • Value: 44Ps/point

When I see upcoming spends on Amazon, I go with 18,000 Points redemption that gives me Rs.8,000 Amazon Voucher.

Again, this isn’t the best option to use Amex MR points as even ICICI Amazon Pay Credit Card gives good returns on Amazon spends. But again, I do this at times to save money from actually spending.

Hot Rewards

Every once in a while Amex comes up with discounted points requirement for the catalogue redemptions. Once you’re in the membership rewards page, You can navigate to Hot rewards section as below,

  • Shop -> Hot Rewards

One such offer running at the moment is you can get “SatyaPaul E-Gift Voucher INR 1000” for 1600 MR Points instead of 3600 MR Points (regular requirement). That gives you a value of 62Ps/Point, which is quite attractive.

Marriott Transfer

  • Value: 50Ps to 1Rs/point

Now we’re getting into the hottest section: Travel redemptions.

If you’re someone who loves premium travel, you should definitely explore Marriott properties, as their loyalty program Marriott Bonvoy is the only major hotel loyalty program that’s relevant to Indians at the moment.

And the only Credit card that allows you to transfer points to Marriott is Amex. I’m a huge fan of this as you may already know. Most of my hotel stays at Marriott are taken care by Marriott Points, transferred from American Express.

With Marriott points you can easily get a value of at-least 50Ps in most properties and even more at times. You can get unbelievable value if you’re a Marriott Elite member.

For example, if you’re a Marriott Platinum Elite, you can redeem 12,500 points for a night and get a suite upgrade (most likely) + breakfast + lounge access in a luxury business hotel that easily sell a room for Rs.15,000 & above. So getting Rs.1/point isn’t tough especially when you’ve elite status like Gold/Plat with Marriott.

A quick look into my hotel reviews would help you understand how much value you could practically expect.

Note: It takes about 3-5 days to transfer Amex MR Points to Marriott Bonvoy Account.

Domestic Travel vouchers

  • On Plat Travel: 40Ps/point (Bonus points received on milestone spends carry value of 66ps/88ps)
  • Other Cards: 33Ps/point

If you’re not much into exploring premium hotels or just want to stay at non-Marriott properties in India, Amex has an option for you: Amex Domestic Travel vouchers.

Just like most other credit card loyalty program, you can also use your Amex MR points to book a domestic hotel or flight.

This is yet another good redemption option but as anyway I’ve points on other cards to take care of flight bookings I hardly use this.

Other Airline/Hotel Transfers

Apart from those mentioned above, you also have ability to transfer to 9 airline partners and other hotel loyalty programs like Hilton Honors.

Hilton is another good hotel chain for Indians to explore using points but problem is we need more points to explore different programs.

How to earn Amex MR points?

Just as you may already know, the ability to earn reward points with American Express is relatively low. Even though you can get amazing value with their merchant offers, the MR points earning potential is very low.

So the only way to earn more points is by participating in their accelerated promotions every now then.

For ex, you can get 5x bonus points on insurance, 10x/15x on travel spends etc. Apart from that, they also run supplementary card promo offers that will get you points for applying & spending. 

All these are temporary offers, so you need to keep yourself updated about the latest Amex offers. Easy way is to follow cardexpert on Facebook for instant updates. 

Just incase if you’re not holding Amex cards yet, here are some of the cards worth exploring,

Note: You get additional points for applying through above links. Check the landing page for detailed referral offer info.

Final Thoughts

As always, there is no single best way to use Amex Membership Rewards points, as it depends on one’s lifestyle. For some, cash credit would do, while for others Marriott transfer makes a lot of sense and for some rare souls even airmiles gives amazing value when used right.

For me, combination of Gold Collection& Marriott points transfer works pretty well.

As the points earning capacity is low, there are only few things we could explore. I wish Amex does something to allow Indians get more reward points, like spend based promos with 3X/5X Points, which would be amazing. That would make us addict to the program like never before.

What’s your favourite Amex MR Points redemption? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

43 thoughts on “Maximizing Your American Express MR Points Value

  1. Prashant Gupta

    Apart from above options one should also look out for hot rewards section it has some good redemption options like i redeemed for satya paul and few months back for amazon: 5K voucher for 8k points i think.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Thanks for mentioning this. I’ve updated the article accordingly.

      Reply
  2. K Parashivaiah

    Nice article. Their 24/18 carat Gold collection is one of the best way of getting value for the points as we get to spend on anything we wish unlike a gift voucher.
    One can earn lots of points by participating in the promos as well as using the cards frequently. More so in the case of MRCC & Gold Charge Card – one can get 1000 Bonus points every month in each of the card by using – 4 times or 6 times – respectively for transactions of above Rs. 1000 each.

    Reply
  3. Daksh Sharma

    Quick question – can points earned on plat travel card be used for gold collection redemptions?

    Thanks
    Daksh

    Reply
      1. Abhi

        Not even indirectly ? I think I read in one of your article (if my understanding was correct) that an MRCC coupled with Plat travel would enable you to go for gold collection ?

        Reply
  4. Balaji

    Earn 1,000 Bonus Membership Rewards® Points for simply using your Card 4 times on transactions of INR 1,000 and above every month

    Will bill payments be considered for this?

    Reply
      1. Manu

        Will Paytm wallet recharge with 4 transactions of 1000 be considered for this?

        Reply
        1. Ranjith Kumar

          Yes – it is. I update PayTM and Amazon Pay wallets for this reward.

          Reply
    1. Harshal

      Exceptions: Cash withdrawals, Insurance, Fuel & Utility payments.
      So the best way is to load wallets like Amazon, Paytm, Ola Money etc.

      Reply
      1. MAA-traveler

        @ Harshal,
        The exceptions is only for getting 1 MR Point for Rs 50 spends and not the bonus 1000 MR Points. Any kind of 4*Rs 1000 spends would fetch you the 1000 points. I’ve paid my life insurance premium with my MRCC card and have got the bonus points.

        Reply
      2. Nihar

        Since last week cant load Ola Money with Amex Cards . Checked with multiple users.

        Reply
  5. SH

    Hey great article. It is actually nine airline transfer partners – they double count Etihad 😀

    Reply
  6. Alok

    I don’t see the Amazon Voucher 18k/8k redemption option. Is it a targeted offer?

    Reply
  7. Praveen Perumalla

    With 70K RPs, you are close to a good international vacation 😉

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      I received that email like 6 months ago. And yes, I already did that international vacation 🙂

      Reply
      1. Mouli

        Thanks for this article,waiting for long time as I am siting with more than 1L MR points and thinking about the best way to redeem it
        How you did you international vacation using MR Points?is it by booking hotels and for flight booking you would have used Hdfc DCB

        Reply
        1. Siddharth Post author

          I transferred points to Marriott for Hotel booking. Stayed at Renaissance & Sheraton, Ho Chi Minh City. This Sheraton is an AWESOME property in heart of the happening place. Unfortunately it went one category up during last shuffle, after my trip. So u need more points now.

          For flights, I did some on miles and some points. Flew only business class, like 6 biz class in a week. Many reviews on pending from this trip, will review when i get some time.

          Reply
          1. Priyansh Modi

            Great article..and much needed..

            Though do feel if was given more details, would be great.

            Like you have given 33 paise for travel, why would someone use that when Amazon vouchers/gold collection is better value?

            Also, best value for Marriott/others at non status?

          2. Siddharth Post author

            Like you have given 33 paise for travel, why would someone use that when Amazon vouchers/gold collection is better value?
            – Not everyone has Gold/MRCC cards.

            Also, best value for Marriott/others at non status?
            – Marriott is good even for non elites.

  8. Raj

    Hi Sid,

    Just wanted to ask you that to get to that magnitude of transferrable points as shown(around 70k) what are the categories of spends that you would rather put on AMEX than other cards. By my understanding, HDFC DCB or Infinia(33%) would still outweigh the 10x/15x offer on flights and hotels. The normal reward rate of around 2-2.5% on normal spends seems too low compared to other cards unless there is an offer with the merchant on AMEX cards. The promos for bonus MR points are few and far between and are usually capped. Under the circumstances, getting to that quantum of points by spending optimally keeping all cards in mind seems difficult. Request if you(or anyone who has managed to build up a large kitty of MR points by spending optimally on AMEX) share what are the spends that you usually put on these cards that outweighs the effective reward rate on other cards?

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      It’s tough indeed, as i’ve already mentioned in the article. Amex need to come up with some offers to allow cardmembers to earn more points.

      And you cannot compare HDFC 10X anywhere. This is for those who don’t have access to that, (or) who’s going beyond the max. caps (or) those who need the spends to be spread across multiple cards.

      Reply
      1. Swagat Acharya

        10X is really good but milestone benefits wise, wouldn’t Amex Platinum Travel outweight Regalia?

        Reply
      2. S&S

        Hi Siddharth
        Great work on opening our collective eyes for all things miles and points. No one does it more honestly, consistently and attitude free in India :).
        Keep at it!
        For me the most insane value of MR is if one can pile on transfers from Marriott to airlines who’s mileages are tough to gather (Alaska, JMB, ANA and the like).
        Though Marriott transfers only at 1/3 to these airlines, by playing this well its impossible to beat the final value it delivers.
        Imagine being able to fly from Delhi to Tokyo (stay there for upto to a year) and then move from there to another place in Asia where Japan Airlines flies to?
        All for 15K miles in economy or 25K miles in business + $50 taxes at best + Dreamliner!
        Ex. Delhi NRT – 7.5 hours, NRT CGK 7.5 Hours
        Each sector in business goes between 1.5-2.5L> INR.

        Best this! 🙂

        S&S

        Ps: Marriott transfers to 40+ airlines.

        Reply
        1. Siddharth Post author

          Thanks for your valuable inputs on Marriott -> Airline transfer.

          Reply
    2. MAA-traveler

      @ Raj,
      You can have Amex Platinum Travel and MRCC (can be made LTF as companion card) for Rs 5900/ year and can accumulate MR Points. You may also consider the Gold Charge card. So for Rs 5.2 lakhs spends a year (Rs 4 lakhs in Plat travel; Rs 1k*4/month in MRCC and Rs 1k*6/month in Gold card) you get about 28K MR Points, Rs 10K Taj Voucher and SpiceJet/Travel vouchers. Not a bad return at all even after paying the annual fee.

      Further you can rake more points in specific offers like 10X insurance offer, 5X domestic travel and 2X educational spends, etc. You may think these promos run infrequently however Amex has upped the promos of late. Amex also runs spend based offers 2-3 times a year where returns are increased. You can’t see the Amex returns only based on the 1 MR point/Rs 50 spend.

      Remember, Sid also rakes points on referrals when anyone gets approved for card through this site or otherwise. 😀

      Reply
  9. Nihar

    Good comprehensive article !
    I am waiting for Amex to add Vistara , i am sure it will add a punch to the CV program too.

    Reply
  10. Ankit Saraf

    For my use, getting amazon 8k voucher for 18K points is most value for money, as I don’t travel much. For prime rewards subscriber, amazon gives 2% cb (upto 200/month) for shopping using amazon pay. Also for travels, there’s usually ~15% cashback+discount using amazon pay which further enhances the benefits. Some cards do provide more discount than amazon, but I am fine loosing some extra points/discount when I have to pay none. Amazon pay is accepted at many places now (atleast in bangalore). I think sometime ago, amex was giving 11k amazon voucher for 24k points, but looks like changed now.

    Reply
  11. Vineet

    Even after logging in through my card account on the laptop I was unable to find the 24 karat gold collection redemption page on my MRCC card. Can someone help me in this. I hope it has not been removed

    Reply
    1. Centurion

      This mostly does not show up on the website. You can always call up their 24/7 customer service and they can redeem it for you. In the rare case the vouchers are not available, they give statement credit of the same amount as the Amazon vouchers. I used to work with Amex earlier and I’ve seen this happen so many times.

      Reply
      1. Praveen Katiyar

        Welcome @Centurion,
        Its good to have someone from inside. Keep sharing your valuable experience with all of us.

        Reply
  12. Prashant Gupta

    American express travel vouchers available at good discount…
    Rs5000 for 11K points instead of 15K
    and Rs.1000 for 2200 instead of 3000……

    This gives a good conversion rate….

    Reply
  13. PK2

    Thanks for great article…
    MR values for Gold Charge & Platinum charge is same?
    1:1 transfer for Marriott Points?

    Reply
  14. Sid S

    What is the value of each Mariott and Hilton points in INR? I got an offer for conversion to hilton points at 1:1.5. How much will they be worth. Any idea anyone?

    Reply

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