Sunday, November 20, 2011

Using Membership Rewards on flights

When running through my options on my early NYC trip, I decided to use American Express Membership Rewards points to purchase the trip. Here is my rationale.

When booking through the American Express Travel site, I get an extra Membership Reward (MR) point for every dollar spent. When using MR points to pay for a flight, the charge is placed on an AMEX card of your choice, and the amount is credited within a day or two. I always place the charge on my AMEX Premier Rewards Card, because I get 3x MR points for every dollar spent on airfare. Lastly, because of my membership in the Membership Rewards First program thanks to my AMEX Platinum card, I get 20% MR points rebate every time.

Doing the math for this $195 flight,
AMEX Travel bonus points: +195 MR points
AMEX Premier Rewards Gold 3X airfare bonus: +585 MR points
Membership Rewards points spent: - 19,500 MR points
Membership Rewards points rebate: +3,900 MR points

Total: 14,820 Membership Rewards points spent, no money spent

To Delta, this looks like any other flight purchased with a credit card, and so I get a Delta Medallion Qualifying Segment (MQS) as well as 2,600 Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQM).

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