Disclaimer: Please be aware that offers for credit cards referenced in this post may have changed since the time of publication and may no longer be available.
A while back, American Express Fixed Points Travel Rewards were a pilot program when redeeming points towards paid flights. The amount of miles for tickets were capped at certain values, so you were redeeming 100,000 Membership Rewards points for Vancouver – Hong Kong, for example. The points you spend would be the same regardless of whether the flight cost $1300, $1500, or $1800.
Today, American Express has relaunched a permanent version of this program, with something I find really neat – they’ve got a business class award chart as well!
This program is available with most cards earning Membership Rewards. If you don’t have any of these cards yet, there are four I highly recommend. The promotions American Express have been running are one of the best in the Canadian market, available right now:
- American Express Business Platinum Card: Get up to 75,000 Membership Rewards Points!
- American Express Business Gold Card: Get up to 40,000 Membership Rewards Points!
- American Express Platinum Card: Get up to 60,000 Membership Reward Points!
- American Express Gold Rewards Card: Get up to 25,000 Membership Rewards Points!
Normally, if you don’t transfer your credit card points to a traditional airline/hotel program, they’d be worth a set value towards travel. This would occur through the rewards program travel agency, or through your own travel purchases, depending on the card program. These kind of redemptions give you around 1 cent in value – very low when compared to transferring your points to an airline. I value Aeroplan at a minimum of 1.6 cents, so you lose out on a potential 60% increase in the value of your points.
American Express Fixed Points Travel Rewards Details
There are two award charts: one for economy, and one for business. From what I’ve read, here’s how the program works. To redeem using this method, you must book your travel through AMEX Travel Services or at americanexpress.ca/travel. You points balance must be higher than amount required under the chart to see this redemption option.
The points required covers the base fare only. This can be up to the maximum ticket price indicated on the chart, excluding taxes, fees, and other surcharges.
You don’t receive the difference if the base fare is lower than the maximum ticket price. The difference also cannot be used towards taxes and fees. You must pay for this with your American Express. Once you book, you will receive an automatic credit for the base fare (up to the maximum) within 5-10 business days.
That being said, here are the award charts. Only business and economy are available.
The business class chart:
American Express Fixed Points Travel Rewards: My Thoughts
Confused? Me too. Let me provide an example that I’ve adapted from the release they sent out.
Amex cardmember C. Frost wants to redeem for a round-trip in economy between Vancouver and Calgary. On the dates he wants, the flights cost $368 in total. The base fare is $287, with airport taxes and fees being $81. If he books the fare with this award, he pays 15,000 miles and $81.
His card is charged $368. He then receives a $287 statement credit once the redemption is complete. If the base fare was $307, with taxes being $81 (for a total cost of $388), he would be paying 15,000 miles and $88. His card would be charged $388, and would receive a credit of $300 after the transaction posts.
In the above example, the value of his points redemptions would be 1.9 – 2.0 cents. That’s incredible, especially for economy class. If you redeem for tickets at the maximum price, the value you get from economy and business class redemptions are between 1.5 and 2.0 cents. With the Platinum and Business Platinum card, you earn 1.25 cents on all purchases, translating to a 2.5% rebate on all spending, one of the highest returns I’ve seen with any credit card in Canada.
Including business class redemptions changes the game. Many fare sales for Europe bring a business class roundtrip to under $3,000. Since I live on the west coast, I hate connecting in Toronto, New York, or Chicago to Europe because this makes the transatlantic redeye exceedingly short.
For a redemption like this, only 140,000 AMEX points are required. In comparison to Aeroplan, which costs 110,000 miles and depends on award availability, this is a great deal. Moreover, since these are paid tickets, you also earn redeemable miles, and in certain scenarios, can stack them with promotions where you get upwards of 20,000 miles back.
There’ll be an in depth analysis on the value of these rewards coming up soon. Unfortunately, all I’ve gotten is an error when using the online engine so far, so it’ll have to wait.
Are you excited by this new redemption option?