AMEX Rewards = Pitiful?

Old Sep 17th, 2005, 09:15 PM
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AMEX Rewards = Pitiful?

I posted this in Best FF Mile thread, but wanted to make this separate:
So,I bit the bullet and signed up with UA's FF program. I got the Visa Signature, 20,000 bonus miles which was nice. $60 annual fee, so not too bad.

Has anyone used the NEW AMERICAN EXPRESS program that allows you to book travel with any ariline with your AMEX pts.

Good or Bad? I think it's a rip off. You spend 1 dollar for 1 point, but the AMEX rewards don't give you the rewards accordingly like the airlines do.

If I have 40,000 AMEX points, it doesn't earn me a great free trip like it would with the airlines on this new "Any Airline" program.

Also, I think AMEX's basic Member Rewars program for Airlines, and other items sucks. AMEX is suppossed to be this classic elite card beyond Visa and MasterCard - at least their advertising says so. I'm in the Ad business, and I think it's far from that. You need 40,000 pts. just to get an Economy COMPANION class ticket to Europ for example.

Interested in everyone's thoughts on the AMEX program(s).
wilsm79 is offline  
Old Sep 18th, 2005, 07:04 AM
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That new AMEX card kind of mirrors the Capital One system, and I don't think either make too much sense. I'd just get a cash-back card for that purpose.

The regular/original Membership Rewards is fine, or the one that comes with the AE Starwoods Card. Those allow you to exchange for a set list of airline/hotel partners and transfer the points over. Sometimes there's also bonus points, so 20K Membership Rewards points will give you 25K Delta Skymiles or CO Onepass miles, for example.

AE seldom gives you the best deal, and most of their cards still carry annual membership fees. They're about service, and not the most points per dollar spent. Definitely not for everybody.
rkkwan is offline  
Old Sep 18th, 2005, 02:49 PM
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The 'fly any airline' programs (Amex, Capital One, etc.) are basically a form of rebate except you're limited to spending your rebate on airline tickets or other products that are part of the program. I personally can't see utilizing these. I'm happy with my traditional ff mileage earning cards plus a cash rebate card.

However, I don't see how Amex's regular Membership Rewards program sucks. There are frequent transfer bonuses and the always double points feature for gas, groceries, etc. I've never redeemed my points for an airline certificate. I assume this is what you're referring to when you mentioned the 40K companion ticket to Europe? I transfer all of my points into airline ff programs and redeem awards per the particular program(s) redemption charts.

Obviously if you're primarily an AA/UA flyer, then the Amex MR program is not for you.
Patty is offline  
Old Sep 20th, 2005, 10:23 PM
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It sounds like a mediocre program, but they're all less generous than they used to be--back in the early 1990s, I earned a free RT San Francisco-Paris flight from Air France AND a deeply discounted companion ticket ($150 RT) from Sprint! Plus free membership in the Hertz #1 Gold program that lasted for years after I switched to another long distance service.
Agree, cashback cards may work better for you in the long run.
BTilke is offline  
Old Sep 25th, 2006, 02:00 PM
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Well, I'm about to find out...have been on hold for 1/2 hour already as I was informed that because we're in "plus tier" (whatever that is), I get a special "travel agent"...mmm...(wonder if s/he will be anywhere as good as Fodors which I'm so glad I have to spend time on while I wait for "my" special agent for over 1/2 hour already on a gorgeous sunny day...may have to try again when it's raining).
artlover is offline  
Old Sep 25th, 2006, 06:32 PM
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Well, here's the followup.

After the 1/2 hr.+ wait, Joanne came on and was very apologetic and very sweet and helpful. So, it cost us 130,000 points for 2 tickets with SAS from Seattle-Paris (via Copenhagen)
Barcelona-(Copenhagen) Seattle
plus we had to pay $130 which was the charge for costs over $900.

I'm VERY HAPPY, but is it a good deal--probably not as good as with other ff programs, but since we need the AMEX card for Costco, and use it there a lot, I'm feeling good about it!
artlover is offline  
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