It's possible to buy AMEX Membership Rewards points, in conjunction with a points transfer. This post will discuss how to buy Membership Rewards points, how much it costs, whom you can transfer points to, and when it's likely to be worth it.
Who Can Buy AMEX Membership Rewards Points
To buy Membership Rewards points, you have to have at least 1 AMEX card linked to the Membership Rewards program, such as an AMEX Platinum, AMEX Business Platinum, AMEX Premier Rewards Gold, AMEX Business Gold, AMEX EveryDay card, etc.
How to Buy AMEX Membership Rewards Points
To buy AMEX Membership Rewards points, you need to call the number on the back of your AMEX card. You'll be prompted for the reason for your call, so simply say “Membership Rewards points” and “representative” so that you get transferred to an associate in the Membership Rewards area.
Can You Buy AMEX Membership Rewards Points Separately From a Transfer?
No, the only time you can buy AMEX Membership Rewards points is in conjunction with a transfer to a partner, when you otherwise don't have enough points for the transfer. You can't buy points prospectively and just have them sit in your account.
How Much Does It Cost to Buy AMEX Membership Rewards Points?
It costs 2.5 cents per point, but you must buy points in increments of 1000 points for $25. So if you wanted to buy 10,000 points, it would be $250, or 100,000 points for $2500.
Whom Can You Transfer Membership Rewards Points to?
You can transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to your own frequent flyer accounts as well as to an authorized user's frequent flyer accounts. If your spouse or partner is not an authorized user, however, you wouldn't be able to link his/her frequent flyer accounts to your Membership Rewards account or transfer points to him/her.
How Many AMEX Membership Rewards Points Can You Buy Per Calendar Year?
If you have an AMEX charge card or the AMEX EveryDay or EveryDay Preferred credit card, you can buy up to 500,000 points per calendar year.
If you only have an “express card” such as the AMEX Blue or AMEX Blue for Business card, you're limited to buying 100,000 points per year. Keep in mind those points can't transfer to Membership Rewards airline partners anyway, without a AMEX Membership Rewards linked card such as a Platinum, Gold or EveryDay card.
When Would You Want to Buy Membership Rewards Points?
The key time you'd want to buy points is if you don't have enough to transfer to an airline partner to redeem for a first class or business class award, but have already found the award availability (or have had TravelSort Award Booking or another award booking service find the availability for you).
Say, for example, you want a Cathay Pacific First Class ticket from Hong Kong to New York JFK next year on March 27. Currently a one way is pricing at $17,777, but Cathay Pacific Asia Miles has award availability for 130,000 miles. That's 13 cents per mile, so even if you don't have 130,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points, if you value flying Cathay Pacific First Class on that date, it can easily make sense to buy the rest of the Membership Rewards points you need and transfer points to Asia Miles.
Have you ever bought AMEX Membership Rewards points as part of a transfer to an airline partner? Which award did you redeem for?
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