Archive for category american express membership rewards

5,000 Free/Quick American Express Membership Rewards Points

You can get a quick, free and easy 5,000 American Express Membership Rewards points by registering for their Extended Payment Option for you cards that earn Membership Rewards points. The Extended Payment Option enables you to pay for pay interest charges on “eligible charges” and pay for them over time instead of the entire balance of your card being due each payment cycle. This could be helpful if you are using the card to manage cash flow and have a spike. However, even if you pay off your entire balance every month, you can still sign up for this option and net the free 5,000 Membership Rewards points.

The link to sign up isn’t working right now due to “American Express modifying [their] systems.” According to their website, they expect this “interruption” to “continue over the next week.” Your best bet, if you don’t want to wait the week, is to call them at 1-800-AXP-EARN (297-3276) and ask them to apply Bonus ID 5670, 5671, or 5688. These codes are printed right on the web page, so it does not appear to be targeted and everyone should be eligible.

Incidentally, I plan on using my “found” 5,000 points to transfer to Best Western so that I can transfer those to US Airways and score Grand Slam hit 26. The fact that this promo was unexpected keeps me from feeling bad about about the 1:5 ratio associated with doing that :).


HT: Jared at Online Travel Review.

Update: My phone call resulted in a transfer to platinum customer service from the answering agent, who could not enroll me in Pay Over Time (apparently another name for the same product). Customer service asked me to share my screen and go through the registration with them so they could see the issue I outlined above. I let them watch me click the link (nothing more) and am now waiting on a return phone call. I will update this post as the story unfolds.

Update 2: They never called me back. This is an unexpected turn of events for American Express. However, the link now seems to work. The only thing is, when I clicked it and signed up (successfully), I didn’t get the 5,000 points added. Maybe it’s not instant (though most things with AmEx are pretty instant). I’ll show a bit more patience before calling again.


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Vacation Planning

I’m currently planning 3 trips: Prague (this month), Las Vegas (December), and Paris (April). Everything is squared away for the first two, but I’m still trying to figure out the Paris trip. I know I’ll fly American Airlines (there are 5 of us going and I have 200k AA miles set aside for 5 off-peak RT tix @ 40k each). The biggest question is the hotel. I have about 35k Starpoints to spend, and about 100k AmEx Membership Rewards points. I’m Starwood Gold and Priority Club Platinum, so the two real choices are between a Starwood property and a Priority Club property (MR transfer to PC at 1:1). The catch is I need 2 rooms (3 adults + 2 kids > 4 people).

Most PC properties are 15k/night + $60 (or 30k/night + $60 for an Intercontinental which seems out of scope). That means, with two rooms, I can get 4 nights on PC points. On the Starwood side, there are Category 5, 6, and 7 hotels (none currently show cash & points availability, though). If cash & points does become available, then the rates are 4,800 + $90 or 8,000 + $150 (you can’t use cash & points on a category 7). So, that means either 3 nights at a category 5 or 2 nights at a category 6. If I want 6 nights, there are a few ways to break it down:

  • 4 nights at a PC property for 120,000 PC points + $480
  • 2 nights at a category 5 Starwood property for 19,200 Starpoints + $360
  • Total = 120,000 PC points, 19,200 Starpoints and $840
  • 4 nights at a PC property for 120,000 PC points + $480
  • 2 nights at a category 6 Starwood property for 32,000 Starpoints + $600.
  • Total = 120,000 PC points, 32,000 Starpoints and $1,080 (but this is, theoretically, at a nicer hotel).
  • 3 nights at a PC property for 90,000 PC points + $360
  • 3 nights at a category 5 Starwood property for 28,800 Starpoints + $540
  • Total = 90,000 PC points, 28,800 Starpoints and $900

Any way I slice it, it’s about a week in Paris for $1,000 in spending on the hotel room. Which is not bad at all given that I get 2 rooms. My fear is that no cash & points availability opens up on the Starwood properties and I get stuck with full rates (which means I stay at the PC property and don’t have to switch hotels).

What do you think? Does it seem likely that the cash & points rooms will open up? What’s your experience with that sort of thing? Also, there are a lot of PC properties in Paris. Does anyone have a recommendation?


FYI, I also posted this question on FlyerTalk. They get a lot more views per day :). If you’re interested in what people suggested there, follow this link.

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Persistence Pays Off with CSRs

I found out today, via FlyerTalk, that American Express Membership Rewards is running a promotion (code 5721) that grants you 10,000 Membership Rewards points simply for adding an additional user to your card (up to 5 for 50,000 points!). I upgraded my AmEx Gold to an American Express Platinum back in May for a 50,000 point promo. (side note: I highly recommend the AmEx Platinum for the lounge access, GOES reimbursment and no foreign transaction fees.) I had added my wife as an additional user already; but decided it was worth it to try to have this promotion applied anyhow. Here are my results:

Call 1 – CSR who put me on hold for a while to see if she could get a “supervisor” to approve the promotion… I guessing she just needed a potty break. When she came back after about 10 minutes, she said she could not apply the promotion because my wife’s card was not new.

Call 2 – I called right back and got a much more bubbly CSR. Her “system had frozen” so she couldn’t access my account. Apparently she’s bit hit by today’s solar flare. She asked me to wait 30 minutes and call back.

Call 3 – On my third call (I called right back again), I got another rep that placed me on hold to research (I really hate the AmEx hold music. It’s only about 10 seconds long and plays on a loop). 8 minutes later she credited my account 10,000 points. Woo!

YMMV, but if you ever get an answer that you don’t like from a credit card CSR, be polite (so there are no negative notes), end the call and try again. Persistence usually works out for your benefit.


PS. Next up will be a trip report for a business trip to Gaithersburg, MD. Flying AA, renting through Hertz and staying in a hotel with no loyalty plan (don’t blame me, I didn’t book it!).

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Up To 40% Back On Membership Rewards Points Transfers to Delta SkyMiles

I just received an email from Delta SkyMiles outlining a new promotion they are running in conjunction with American Express Membership Rewards. From now until 30 September, for every 50,000 MR points you transfer to Delta SkyMiles, you will be awarded with a certificate valid for 20,000 Membership Rewards points. It is important to note that this is not an “instant rebate” and that you need to have the 50,000 MR points already in your account when you register for the promotion, but if you have an upcoming Delta award to book, this is a pretty good deal as it represents a 40% discount.

Looking at it another way, you spend 50,000 AmEx points and get a 20,000 AmEx point “rebate” netting a spend of 30,000 AmEx points for 50,000 SkyMiles. That’s a 1.67:1 transfer ratio. That’s pretty attractive if you have travel to book. However, if you don’t have Delta travel to book, the flexibility of AmEx points is hard to beat since they transfer instantly into many programs and there are often transfer bonus promotions running that net about 1.5:1 ratios.

The full text of the email follows:

======= <Delta Email> =======

With summer in full swing, it’s time to reward yourself. And we’re ready to help. To qualify, register first and then transfer Membership Rewards® points into your SkyMiles account by September 30, 2011. For every 50,000 points you transfer, you’ll be awarded with a certificate for 20,000 Membership Rewards points—that’s a 40% bonus back to you.

You’ll be glad to know Award Travel is easier than ever before. With our recent global expansion, we’ve added new routes. Choose from 350+ destinations in more than 65 countries across six continents. You’ll enjoy:

  • No mileage expiration dates
  • No Award redemption fees (when you book within 20 days of departure)
  • Delta Award Seat availability now on Flight Finder
  • Unlimited Complimentary Upgrades on Award Tickets for Diamond, Platinum and Gold Medallion® members

Your miles are also eligible for use in the newly expanded SkyMiles Marketplace—packed with some of the best deals on hotels, car rentals and vacation packages. You can even gift your miles to family and friends.

The options are wide open this summer. Register and transfer points into your SkyMiles account by September 30, 2011.

======= </Delta Email> =======


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Cash Back if you “Like” AmEx

From View From the Wing, American Express is currently running a promotion called “Link, Like, Love” that offers a wide variety of statement credits for things that you may be using your AmEx for anyway. You simply visit their promo page on facebook and click the Like button, then the Get Started button. This will redirect you to an AmEx-hosted webpage where you link the card that you want to use to the program. Once this linking is complete, select the offers that you’d like and they’ll automatically be applied when/if you meet the criteria. I’ve listed some of the offers below so you can get an idea. There are others available on the site:

  • $10 back if you spend $50 at Carrabba’s
  • $2 back if you spend $10 at Dunkin Donuts
  • $10 back if you spend $75 at H&M
  • $10 back if you spend $25 at Outback Steakhouse
  • $15 back if you spend $50 at 1-800-FLOWERS
  • $600 back if you spend $2000 at Celebrity Cruises
  • $150 back if you spend $999 at Lenovo
  • $25 back if you spend $100 at Lord & Taylor
  • $40 back if you spend $100 at Sheraton
  • 20% back if you spend $350 on hotels at Travelocity
  • $40 back if you spend $100 at Westin
  • $5 back if you spend $20 at Whole Foods
  • $20 back if you spend $50 in the store at Sports Authority
  • $5 back if you spend $50 online at Target
  • There are a TON more, so go look 🙂

These cash back offers come in the form of statement credits once you’ve met the criteria (after linking the offer to your card). There are some particularly good ones in here. For example, the 1-800-FLOWERS deal is very nice because you can purchase that through the AmEx shopping portal, earning 10 points/dollar and then get $15 of that back, so $35 for 500 points and a bouquet of flowers. The Westin/Sheraton deals are also nice if you have travel coming up, or need to take a mattess run for some bonus points. $40 cheaper is always nice.


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AmEx Platinum = Free Hertz Gold Plus

This is a quick out-of-band post to mention that I just learned tonight that one of the benefits that comes with my Platinum American Express is a free membership in Hertz #1 Gold. There are a lot of ways to get that membership for free, but I didn’t know that I already met one 🙂

Incidentally, Hertz is also running a deal right now that nets you free #1 Gold even without the AmEx Platinum through 9/30. This comes with +500 bonus points as well, which is enough for a totally free weekend day rental. Certainly worth it–even if you just want to try out a new ride for a day.

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