For those of you who have beheld the frustrating hilarity of my daughter’s kindergarten back to school shopping experience — and seen me turned into a cartoon character — you know I’ve been working with the Amex Every Day Credit Card. And as an avowed Amex evangelist (as in, Member Since…before some of you were born) I think it’s really terrific that this year they introduced a no-fee credit card to help you rack up the Membership Reward points for everyday purchases.
(I like Membership Reward Points. A lot.)
It is seriously one of the best reward programs out there, which is in part why I use my Amex card so much. So I’ve put together some tips on how to get more out of your reward points, as well as some great family events to spend them as you plan your next family vacation.
How it works
The gist of the card is that each dollar you spend is worth one Membership Reward point, but if you use it 20 times in a month (geez, I can do that in a week, easy) you earn 20% more points. Plus you get double points for all your supermarket purchases, up to $6000 a year. You might recognize this here lady, who is buying potpourri — and eating it — to count toward her 20 purchases.
I can assure you, those points rack up fast. Lattes, pet food, charitable donations, pedicures (ahem), prescriptions, auto-bill pay for my mobile phone — I put it all on my Amex so I get the points.
I haven’t tried potpourri yet, admittedly.
For me personally, these aren’t just points that languish in some account somewhere either; I really use mine. I’ve redeemed Membership Rewards for holiday gifts, gift cards (hello, Saks shoe department!), and of course, lots of travel for my family.
A trick for converting Membership Reward Points to frequent flier miles
There are quite a few frequent flier programs who still play nice and allow you to easily transfer your Membership Rewards into their programs, like Delta, Jet Blue, British Airways, Aeromexico, Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic.
While you can of course book directly through Amex, which can be a hassle-free way to travel, my trick is to book a trip using miles, say on Delta. The website will tell me how many Delta miles I have in my account, and how many more I need to complete the reservation while I hold it. So then I go into my Amex account, transfer in the right amount (in increments of 1000), and although they say it may take up to 24 hours to process I generally find the points transfer immediately.
Meanwhile, Delta is holding my reservation for me for a day, so once the reward points are in, I book. So easy!
It’s also a way to transfer my reward points on an as-needed basis, and not any more of them than I actually need. Especially because my next trip could be on a different airline. Maybe Virgin Atlantic. If I’m lucky.
Another tip: Should you be flying alone on a cross-country trip and can spare the points, it’s pretty lovely to spend them on a first-class upgrade. Especially on a red-eye. I speak from experience.
Some favorite family travel deals and discounts
Of course you can redeem your Membership Rewards points in a ton of ways, but with so many of us planning our fall and winter trips already, I’m so happy to see all these great offers on the Amex site. So I put together some that I thought were the most interesting and that I know my own kids would love. (These are all accurate at the time of posting but could change as you probably know.)
The cool thing is, these may be trips you’re planning anyway — so why not get your tickets for free?
Universal Orlando Resort: 22,300 points for one child’s 2 day-2 park ticket/23,500 adult
Universal Studios Hollywood: 10,700 points for one adult or child ticket that gets you the second, third days free.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg: 8500 points for one child ticket/9500 adult
Hershey Park: 4400 points for one child ticket/6000 adult
Sesame Place: 7300 points for one adult or child ticket
LegoLand Florida: 7300 points for one child ticket/8000 adult
Knotts Berry Farm: 3900 points for one child or senior ticket/5700 adult
It’s pretty great that I could take myself and my two kids to Hershey Park (which is super fun) for just under 15,000 points. Especially considering I earned those points paying for regular things I’d be buying anyway — and with the Every Day Rewards Card, getting double points for them to boot.
Having been to Hershey Park, frankly I’d rather spend my cash on the chocolate-covered pretzels in the gift shop anyway.
I’m so happy to be partnering with American Express this year to share info on the Amex Every Day Rewards Card and offer tips like these. You can also follow #EveryDayMoments on Twitter and Instagram, and share your own. Here’s one from Maroon 5. Cool! And here’s my story. (Not as cool as Maroon 5, but I think you’ll like it.)