AMEX Membership Rewards is my favourite points currency, but many readers struggle to understand the ins and outs of this versatile program.

Where could you go with 50,000 bonus AMEX Membership Rewards points? We’ve picked out five of our favourite redemption options – and there are ideas to suit everyone.

This post focuses on points earned into the Membership Rewards ‘Ascent’ scheme. Ascent points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to leading airline partners including Velocity, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Singapore Airlines Krisflyer.

Whether you prefer to travel domestically, or you’re searching for inspiration for an overseas getaway, signing up for a new AMEX card or using your existing balance of 50,000 AMEX Membership Rewards Ascent points could get you there.

Sydney or Melbourne to Auckland flying Virgin Australia return business class (43,600 Etihad Guest miles)

Savvy travellers transfer their AMEX Membership Rewards points to Etihad Guest. The reason? Etihad Guest provides access to a number of ‘sweetspot’ flight redemptions on Virgin Australia, which will have you forking out significantly less points than you’d need if you were to transfer those points directly to Velocity Frequent Flyer.

A return business class trip from Melbourne or Sydney to Auckland flying Virgin Australia’s 737 product comes in at just 43,600 Etihad Guest miles (compared with 71,000 Velocity Frequent Flyer points), plus taxes.

Alternatively, for the same points cost (plus taxes), enjoy Virgin Australia business class on the trans-continental Melbourne – Perth route, flying the highly regarded A330 product ”The Business”.

virgin australia the business

You’ll enjoy the convenience of priority check-in, priority boarding and access to the Virgin Australia lounge at the airport. Onboard, stretch out and relax in a seat that converts to a 203cm fully flat bed. After tasting the premium food and beverages, with a menu designed by renowned Australian chef Luke Mangan, it will be hard to go back to anything less. Check out our previous review of ‘The Business’ here.

Sydney or Brisbane to Los Angeles / San Francisco – Qantas one way premium economy flight (50,000 Asia Miles points)

Did you know that you can easily book Qantas Award Flights using points from Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles frequent flyer program – often for significantly less points than you’d outlay via Qantas Frequent Flyer itself? We’ve previously covered the ins and outs of Asia Miles here.

In fact, if you were to transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to Asia Miles, you’d pay just 50,000 miles (plus taxes) to book a one way Qantas premium economy flight from Sydney or Brisbane to Los Angeles or San Francisco.  That’s significantly lower than the 72,000 Qantas points (plus higher taxes) you’d need to fork out for the same flight if you were to redeem direct with Qantas.

Perth to Singapore – Singapore Airlines one way business class (32,500 Krisflyer points)

Singapore Airlines has a reputation for setting the standard in premium airline travel. And it’s all about their legendary attentive service and excellent hard product.

Perth based travellers can opt to redeem just 32,500 AMEX Membership Rewards points for a one way business class flight between Perth and Singapore.

singapore airlines business class seat (1)

From early May, the Singapore – Perth route will feature Singapore Airlines’ new Boeing 787-10 aircraft. The jet features the airline’s new lie-flat business class seating in a 1-2-1 configuration, providing direct and uninterrupted aisle access to every passenger.

Australian cities to Hong Kong – Cathay Pacific one way business class (45,000 Asia Miles)

Cathay Pacific offers an incredibly comfortable fully flat bed in their award winning business class across their fleet of A330, 777 and A350 aircraft, with great connections into other destinations in Asia as well as the USA and Europe. You’ll find our recent review of Cathay Pacific A330 business class here.

Conveniently, they service a network of major Australian cities including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. Generally speaking, availability of award seats is very good.

Note that Qantas also operates flights on selected routes to Hong Kong, so if you spot award availability, you could also use your Asia Miles to redeem for a Qantas operated flight.

 

Summing up

As you can see, AMEX Membership Rewards points offer tremendous flexibility, and in my book, they’re significantly more valuable than Velocity and Qantas points.

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I love to travel the world in comfort and style. In fact, there’s really nothing I love more than sitting in a plane at 36,000 feet, a glass of Krug in hand, watching the clouds go by.

I love to travel the world in comfort and style. In fact, there’s really nothing I love more than sitting in a plane at 36,000 feet, a glass of Krug in hand, watching the clouds go by.