How to buy American Express Membership Rewards

Information verified correct on October 24th, 2016

Short of points and need to redeem a reward urgently? Discover how you can buy Membership Rewards to boost your points balance.

If you’re eager to redeem a gift card or transfer your points into frequent flyer miles ASAP, there’s a way to make up that shortfall of points right now. If you belong to the American Express Membership Rewards program, you can make up the difference by buying your points if you’re a little short. As always, there are some terms and conditions involved, so read through this guide to learn how you can get the most out of your Membership Rewards.

How do I buy Membership Reward points?

As yet, there is still no online facility for purchasing Membership Reward points. You can only do this over the phone while redeeming your reward, but it’s usually a short phone call. To purchase those points and redeem your reward right now, call Membership Rewards on 1300 363 276. Make sure to have your Membership Rewards ready to enter before you make the call.

Terms and conditions to consider when buying Membership Reward points

  • Points are sold at $25 per 1,000 points, or 2.5c per point.
  • You may only buy these points at the point of redemption, such as when you need to immediately put your purchased points to use. So, unfortunately, you can’t purchase points and save them for a rainy day.
  • Purchased points can only be used towards merchandise and gift card redemptions, or frequent flyer partner program transfers. This means you can only buy points when you’re organising a transfer of your existing points to your frequent flyer membership program.
  • Points cannot be purchased for use in the ‘Points for Credit’ or ‘Points for Travel’ reward segments. When you’re redeeming flights internally as part of the American Express Membership Rewards program, you can top up missing points for an internal flight redemption at the rate of $100 for 10,000 points, which is far cheaper than buying them at 2.5c per point.
  • You don’t earn points for the purchase of points.

When should I buy Membership Reward points?

Some instances when it might be worthwhile to buy points include:

  • You need to redeem a partner airline flight urgently and don’t have time to accumulate the rest of the required points.
  • There’s a partner airline offer that you want to catch before it ends, such as a special flight redemption discount or Velocity’s credit card points transfer bonus promotion.
  • You’re just slightly short of the required points for a gift card which you need pronto.

In any case, depending on your card and reward, a simple calculation will easily help you decide whether the extra points are worth buying. They usually are if you have a reward in mind that you’re ready to claim and just need a little boost to your existing points. However, it usually won’t be worthwhile if your point shortfall is large and you’re paying a lot out-of-pocket relative to the market value of the reward.

Say, you wish to redeem a flight to Singapore urgently and need 50,000 points for an Economy return ticket. You’re 16,000 points short, which will cost $400. Since that’s half the price of buying a full-fare ticket with flexible cancellation terms and which will earn you more miles if you just buy the ticket outright (albeit 50%), it might not be worthwhile for you to buy the points to redeem the flight. On the flipside, it would be a no-brainer if you’re only 2,000 points short and can cover the difference with $50 cash.

So there you have it, an easy way to boost your Membership Rewards balance to get the most out of your points. Make sure you weigh up the terms and conditions and value of the points though before you start splurging on Membership Rewards.

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