Over the past few days, the American Express transfer partners page has had ‘technical difficulties’:

Amex page - technical issue transferring points

Are you having issues transferring your points? Here are some options:

  • Try incognito mode in your web browser
  • Use a different web browser, e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer
  • Log in to your American Express account and ask a customer service representative to help you with your transfer through the live chat function (available 24/7)
  • Call American Express at 1300 132 639 or +61 2 9271 8664 (available 24/7)

If you’ve still got Membership Rewards points in your account, I’d recommend transferring them out sooner rather than later, i.e. before Sunday. This will give you more of a buffer in case there are any unforeseen obstacles.

A reminder that Gateway points collectors will lose 33% of their points value and Ascent collectors 50% overnight on Sunday. Read on for advice on which program/s to transfer your points to.


How to decide what to do with your Amex points before the upcoming devaluation

Let’s look at the pros and cons of each frequent flyer partner program, and what other Point Hacks readers have chosen to do with their points.

My suggested thought process

  1. Where do you want to fly? Choose three programs that could get you there
  2. What is award availability like on that route? What is the points pricing? How much are taxes and surcharges?
  3. Where do you already hold existing points balances? There is little use having points scattered across many programs
  4. Transfer your Membership Rewards points to the best program according to your answers to the questions above
LATAM 787 Business Class cabin
If you want to travel to South America, then transferring to Asia Miles for travel on LATAM or Qantas is the way to go

Which programs have other Point Hacks readers chosen?

Based on the responses I’ve seen on our Community forum, I would say that the top 3 recommended transfer partners have been:

  1. Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  2. Cathay Pacific Asia Miles (close second)
  3. Velocity Frequent Flyer
Singapore Airlines A380 at Singapore Changi International Airport
KrisFlyer has been the most popular choice, but note that your points will disappear if you don’t use them within three years

Note that ‘hard expiry‘ means that points will expire after a fixed period, e.g. three years, regardless of any other points activity in your account. Conversely, ‘soft expiry’ is more consumer-friendly and means that if you make an earn or redeem activity, then all points in your account take on the new (longer) expiry date.

A comparison of the transfer partners

Transfer partnerProsCons
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyerNo fuel surcharges on Singapore Airlines flights
Free/cheap stopovers
Part of largest alliance in world (Star Alliance)
Flies to most major Australian airports
Ability to transfer to Velocity (although transfer rate devalued in January 2019)
Ability to book round-the-world tickets
Hard expiry (36 months)
January 2019 devaluation of Singapore Airlines award chart
Upcoming mid-April 2019 devaluation of partner charts

Cathay Pacific Asia MilesPart of oneworld alliance, including Qantas, Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines
Relatively easy to book online
Lower redemption pricing than Qantas
Hard expiry (36 months)
June 2018 devaluation of award chart
Relatively high taxes and fuel surcharges
Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent FlyerEasy to redeem in Australia
Familiar to most Australia-based travellers
Can redeem on Virgin Australia, Singapore Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Delta and Etihad (amongst others)
Soft expiry (24 months)
Lower taxes than Qantas
Ability to pool points and Status Credits with family
Ability to transfer to KrisFlyer (although transfer rate devalued in January 2019)
Limited partners compared to other programs
Carrier Charge for all Virgin Australia and Etihad and some Delta redemptions


Qantas Frequent Flyer
(for Ascent Premium Card Members only)
Current 15-40% transfer bonus
Familiar to many Australia-based travellers
Easy to redeem on domestic Qantas flights
One of the only programs to access excellent Emirates First and Business Class redemptions
Soft expiry (18 months)
Often hard to access international premium cabin redemptions
High redemption pricing
High taxes and fuel surcharges
Frustrating online search tool

Etihad GuestAccess to excellent Etihad First and Business Class products
Virgin Australia sweet spots
Must call to redeem partner awards
Limited partners
Hard expiry (24 months)
Marriott BonvoyMost flexible points currency in the world
Bonus for transferring 60,000+ Marriott points (= 25,000+ frequent flyer points)
Myriad of problems after merger with Starwood Preferred Guest last year
August 2018 devaluation of Amex-Marriott transfer rate
Emirates SkywardsIncreased access to Emirates awards than Qantas members
Easy-to-use online search and booking tool
Same pricing as Qantas for most flights (neither pro nor con)
Limited partners
Virgin Atlantic Flying ClubAccess to best sweet spot redemption in the world (ANA First Class)
Cheap Delta redemptions, both within US and internationally



High taxes and surcharges on Virgin Atlantic flights
Limited partners
Need to call to book a lot of partner awards
THAI Royal Orchid PlusPart of largest alliance in world (Star Alliance)
Cheaper pricing than KrisFlyer—for now
Relatively unknown program in Australia
Need to call to book many awards
Hard to search for awards on THAI website
Major devaluation coming in October 2019—use points beforehand
Hard expiry (36 months)
Hilton HonorsAccess to Hilton properties
Mainly for Hilton enthusiasts
Limited hotel footprint
Poor transfer rates to frequent flyer programs (unlike Marriott)
Malaysia Airlines Enrich-Over the past two years, this program has gutted almost all of its value
Air New Zealand Airpoints-Generally regarded as one of the poorest-value programs in the world

Example scenarios

Where do you want to travel?

  • Within Australia: Velocity or Etihad Guest for Virgin Australia flights; Emirates or Qantas* for Qantas flights
  • Europe: Asia Miles (lower pricing) or KrisFlyer (higher pricing)
  • Mainland US: Asia Miles or KrisFlyer for travel on Qantas and American Airlines, and United, respectively
  • Hawaii: Velocity for travel on Hawaiian Airlines
  • Canada: KrisFlyer for travel on Air Canada
  • South America: Asia Miles for travel on LATAM or Qantas
  • Asia: KrisFlyer or Asia Miles for travel on Singapore Airlines or Cathay Pacific (and partners)
  • Japan: Asia Miles for travel on Qantas or Japan Airlines

*For Ascent Premium Card Members only

Example Australia to Europe routes
Some example routes from Australia to Europe on Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific—their partners have even more!

Which airline do you want to travel with?

  • Qantas or Emirates: Emirates or Qantas*
  • Virgin Australia: Velocity, Etihad Guest or KrisFlyer
  • oneworld airlines: Asia Miles
  • Star Alliance airlines: KrisFlyer
Emirates First Class
A great use of Emirates Skywards miles is for travel in Emirates First Class

Other scenarios

  • I want to book Economy Class tickets for my whole family: Velocity or KrisFlyer
  • I don’t know what I’ll do with my points over the next three years: Velocity
Velocity Frequent Flyer logo
If you are stuck on what to do, my recommendation is to transfer to Velocity

Summing up

There is no easy answer, as it depends on your points balance and where you want to travel.

However, one simple piece of advice: make sure to transfer your points out to at least one of the programs. If not, come 15 April, your Membership Rewards points will lose one-third/one-half of their value overnight (Gateway/Ascent).

Also, please please please don’t cash them out for gift cards.

We don’t have any inside information on if there will be any last-minute transfer bonuses offered, so it’s your call whether to transfer now or hold off until closer to the devaluation date.

How are you planning to use your Membership Rewards points? Share in the comments below.


In this guide

This master guide outlines the changes, gives our analysis and will be updated moving forward as we find out new information.

Here is American Express’ official page on the changes.

Transfer bonus offer history

  • March 2019: 15-25% bonus to Velocity; upgrade to Velocity Gold/Platinum when Platinum and Centurion Card Members transfer 250,000/500,000 points
  • March 2019:50% bonus to Hilton Honors

Why are these changes occurring?

These changes are in response to the challenges to merchants following the Reserve Bank of Australia capping the fees credit card providers can charge merchants. American Express is following most other providers (like Westpac) in devaluing its Membership Rewards program.

As we said back in 2016:

These new laws will dramatically reduce the amount of money banks get to fund rewards programs.

And they have. While American Express was not specifically impacted by the RBA changes, the market has shifted. As such, they have made a decision to reduce their merchant fees in order to continue their efforts in driving greater acceptance of their cards.

Here is our summary of the changes coming to American Express cards from 15 April 2019.

Changes to earn and effective earn rates

The changes to the earn rates for all American Express personal cards are shown below but note that the more important changes are those to effective earn rates, which follows this first (quite comprehensive) table.

 Current earn rateFuture earn rateChange
Explorer

Business Explorer

2 points per $ on all purchases except Government spend

0.5 points per $ on Government spend
2 points per $ on all purchases except Government spend

1 point per $ on Government spend
No change on all purchases except Government spend

+100% on Government spend
Essential1 point per $ on all purchases except Government, Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend

0.5 points per $ on Government spend

0.5 points per $ on Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend
1.25 points per $ on all purchases except Government, Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend

1 point per $ on Government spend

1.25 points per $ on Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend
+25% on all purchases except Government, Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend


+100% on Government spend

+150% on Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend
Platinum Edge3 points per $ on purchases at supermarkets

2 points per $ on purchases at fuel outlets

1 point per $ on all other purchases except Government, Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend

0.5 points per $ on Government, Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend

1 point per $ on overseas purchases
3 points per $ on purchases at supermarkets

3 points per $ on purchases at fuel outlets

1 point per $ on all other purchases except Government, Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend

0.5 points per $ on Government, Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend

1 point per $ on overseas purchases
No change on purchases at supermarkets

+50% on purchases at fuel outlets

No change all other purchases except Government, Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend

No change on Government, Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend


No change on overseas purchases
Platinum Charge3 points per $ on purchases at restaurants

2 points per $ on travel and overseas purchases

1 point per $ on all other purchases except Government, Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend

0.5 points per $ on Government spend

0.5 points per $ on Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend
2.25 points per $ on purchases at restaurants

2.25 points per $ on travel and overseas purchases

2.25 points per $ on all purchases except Government, Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend

1 point per $ on Government spend

2.25 point per $ on Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend
-25% on purchases at restaurants

+13% on travel and overseas purchases

+125% on all purchases except Government, Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend


+100% on Government spend

+350% on Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend
Qantas Ultimate1.5 points per $ on all purchases except on Qantas services and Government spend

2.5 points per $ on Qantas services

0.5 points per $ on Government spend
1.25 points per $ on all purchases except on Qantas services and Government spend

2.25 points per $ on Qantas services

0.5 points per $ on Government spend
-17% on all purchases except on Qantas services and Government


-10% on Qantas services


No change on Government spend
Qantas Premium1.25 points per $ on all purchases except on Qantas services and Government spend

2.25 points per $ on Qantas services

0.5 points per $ on Government spend
1 point per $ on all purchases except on Qantas services and Government
spend

2 points per $ on Qantas services

0.5 points per $ on Government spend
-20% on all purchases except on Qantas services and Government


-11% on Qantas services


No change on Government spend
Qantas Discovery1 point per $ on all purchases except on Qantas services and Government spend


2 points per $ on Qantas services

0.5 points per $ on Government spend
0.75 points per $ on all purchases except on Qantas services and Government spend

1.75 points per $ on Qantas services

0.5 points per $ on Government spend
-25% on all purchases except on Qantas services and Government


-13% on Qantas services


No change on Government spend
Velocity Platinum1.5 points per $ on all purchases except on Virgin Australia services and Government spend

2.5 points per $ on Virgin Australia services

0.5 points per $ on Government spend
1.25 points per $ on all purchases except on Virgin Australia services and Government spend

2.25 points per $ on Virgin Australia services

0.5 points per $ on Government spend
-17% on all purchases except on Virgin Australia services and Government spend


-10% on Virgin Australia services

No change on Government spend
Velocity Escape1 point per $ on all purchases except on Virgin Australia services and Government spend

2 points per $ on Virgin Australia services

0.5 points per $ on Government spend
0.75 points per $ on all purchases except on Virgin Australia services and Government spend

1.75 points per $ on Virgin Australia services

0.5 points per $ on Government spend
-25% on all purchases except on Virgin Australia services and Government spend


-13% on Virgin Australia services

No change on Government spend
Business

Gold Business

1 point per $ on all purchases except Government, Utilities and Insurance spend


0.5 points on Government, Utilities and Insurance spend

1.5 points per $ on all purchases except Government, Utilities and Insurance spend

1 point on Government, Utilities and Insurance spend
+50% on all purchases except Government, Utilities and Insurance spend


+100% on Government, Utilities and Insurance spend
Business Platinum2 points per $ on purchases at restaurants, airlines, accommodation, advertising, courier & freight, computer supplies and foreign currency

1 point per $ on all purchases except Government, Utilities and Insurance spend

0.5 points on Utilities and Insurance spend

0.5 points on Government spend
2.25 points per $ on purchases at restaurants, airlines, accommodation, advertising, courier & freight, computer supplies and foreign currency

2.25 points per $ on all purchases except Government, Utilities and Insurance spend

2.25 points on Utilities and Insurance spend

1 point on Government spend
+12.5% on purchases at restaurants, airlines, accommodation, advertising, courier & freight, computer supplies and foreign currency

+125% on all purchases except Government, Utilities and Insurance spend

+350% on Utilities and Insurance spend

+100% on Government spend
Business Accelerator no longer available2 points per $ on all purchases except Government, Utilities and Insurance spend

0.5 points on Utilities and Insurance spend

0.5 points on Government spend
2 points per $ on all purchases except Government, Utilities and Insurance spend

2 points on Utilities and Insurance spend

1 point on Government spend
No change on all purchases except Government, Utilities and Insurance spend

+300% on Utilities and Insurance spend

+100% on Government spend

The new effective earn rates are shown below. Note that these are based on transfers to Velocity, KrisFlyer and Asia Miles.

 Current effective earn rateFuture effective earn rateChange
Explorer

Business Explorer
1.5 points per $ on all purchases except Government spend

0.375 points per $ on Government spend
1 point per $ on all purchases except Government spend


0.5 points per $ on Government spend
-33% on all purchases except Government spend


+33% on Government spend
Essential0.75 points per $ on all purchases except Government, Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend

0.375 points per $ on Government spend

0.375 points per $ on Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend
0.625 points per $ on all purchases except Government, Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend


0.5 points per $ on Government spend

0.625 points per $ on Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend
-17% on all purchases except Government, Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend


+33% on Government spend

+67% on Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend
Platinum Edge3 points per $ on purchases at supermarkets

2 points per $ on purchases at fuel outlets

1 point per $ on all other purchases except Government, Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend

0.5 points per $ on Government, Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend

1 point per $ on overseas purchases
1.5 points per $ on purchases at supermarkets

1.5 points per $ on purchases at fuel outlets

0.5 points per $ on all other purchases except Government, Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend

0.25 points per $ on Government, Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend

0.5 point per $ on overseas purchases
-50% on purchases at supermarkets

-25% on purchases at fuel outlets

-50% all other purchases except Government, Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend


-50% on Government, Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend


-50% on overseas purchases
Platinum Charge3 points per $ on purchases at restaurants

2 points per $ on travel and overseas purchases

1 point per $ on all other purchases except Government, Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend

0.5 points per $ on Government spend

0.5 points per $ on Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend
1.125 points per $ on purchases at restaurants

1.125 points per $ on travel and overseas purchases

1.125 points per $ on all purchases except Government, Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend


0.5 point per $ on Government spend

1.25 point per $ on Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend
-63% on purchases at restaurants

-44% on travel and overseas purchases

+13% on all purchases except Government, Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend


No change on Government spend

+150% on Utilities, Insurance and Telecommunications spend
Qantas Ultimate1.5 points per $1 on all purchases except on Qantas services and Government spend

2.5 points per $1 on Qantas services

0.5 points per $1 on Government spend
1.25 points per $ on all purchases except on Qantas services and Government spend

2.25 points per $ on Qantas services

0.5 points per $ on Government spend
-17% on all purchases except on Qantas services and Government


-10% on Qantas services


No change on Government spend
Qantas Premium1.25 points per $1 on all purchases except on Qantas services and Government spend

2.25 points per $1 on Qantas services

0.5 points per $1 on Government spend
1 point per $ on all purchases except on Qantas services and Government spend


2 points per $ on Qantas services

0.5 points per $ on Government spend
-20% on all purchases except on Qantas services and Government


-11% on Qantas services


No change on Government spend
Qantas Discovery1 point per $1 on all purchases except on Qantas services and Government spend


2 points per $1 on Qantas services

0.5 points per $1 on Government spend
0.75 points per $ on all purchases except on Qantas services and Government spend

1.75 points per $ on Qantas services

0.5 points per $ on Government spend
-25% on all purchases except on Qantas services and Government


-13% on Qantas services


No change on Government spend
Velocity Platinum1.5 points per $1 on all purchases except on Virgin Australia services and Government spend

2.5 points per $1 on Virgin Australia services

0.5 points per $1 on Government spend
1.25 points per $ on all purchases except on Virgin Australia services and Government spend

2.25 points per $ on Virgin Australia services

0.5 points per $ on Government spend
-17% on all purchases except on Virgin Australia services and Government spend

-10% on Virgin Australia services

No change on Government spend
Velocity Escape1 point per $1 on all purchases except on Virgin Australia services and Government spend

2 points per $1 on Virgin Australia services

0.5 points per $1 on Government spend
0.75 points per $ on all purchases except on Virgin Australia services and Government spend

1.75 points per $ on Virgin Australia services

0.5 points per $ on Government spend
-25% on all purchases except on Virgin Australia services and Government spend

-13% on Virgin Australia services

No change on Government spend
Business

Gold Business
1 point per $ on all purchases except Government, Utilities and Insurance spend

0.5 points on Government, Utilities and Insurance spend

0.75 points per $ on all purchases except Government, Utilities and Insurance spend

0.5 points on Government, Utilities and Insurance spend
-25% on all purchases except Government, Utilities and Insurance spend

No change on Government, Utilities and Insurance spend
Business Platinum2 points per $ on purchases at restaurants, airlines, accommodation, advertising, courier & freight, computer supplies and foreign currency

1 point per $ on all purchases except Government, Utilities and Insurance spend

0.5 points on Utilities and Insurance spend

0.5 points on Government spend
1.125 points per $ on purchases at restaurants, airlines, accommodation, advertising, courier & freight, computer supplies and foreign currency

1.125 points per $ on all purchases except Government, Utilities and Insurance spend

1.125 points on Utilities and Insurance spend

0.5 points on Government spend
-43.8% on purchases at restaurants, airlines, accommodation, advertising, courier & freight, computer supplies and foreign currency

+12.5% on all purchases except Government, Utilities and Insurance spend

+125% on Utilities and Insurance spend

No change on Government spend
Business Accelerator no longer available2 points per $ on all purchases except Government, Utilities and Insurance spend

0.5 points on Utilities and Insurance spend

0.5 points on Government spend
1 point per $ on all purchases except Government, Utilities and Insurance spend

1 point on Utilities and Insurance spend

0.5 points on Government spend
-50% on all purchases except Government, Utilities and Insurance spend

+100% on Utilities and Insurance spend

No change on Government spend

Changes to card earn rates: in short

Qantas and Velocity co-branded American Express cards will be less impacted by these changes than their American Express Membership Rewards-earning counterparts.

For example, the Qantas Ultimate or Velocity Platinum cards will earn you 1.25 points per $ on most purchases, versus 1.125 points per $ spent on the Platinum Charge and 1 point per $ on the Explorer.

While the airline co-branded cards will experience only slight reductions in their effective earn rates, the Membership Rewards cards, especially higher-earning variants such as the Platinum and Platinum Edge cards, will experience further reductions. The most notable are restaurant, travel and overseas purchases with the Platinum Charge card, and most purchases through the Platinum Edge.

Banana at the supermarket

The effective earn rate on supermarket purchases on the Platinum Edge will be halved from 3 to 1.5 points per $ spent

Therefore, your decision around card choice should be influenced by your spending habits. For example, if you are a Platinum Card Member who predominantly uses your card for purchases at restaurants and overseas, then you may wish to consider switching to an airline co-branded card that will earn you a slightly higher earn rate on these purchases.

Changes to transfer rates to Membership Rewards program partners

From 15 April 2019, American Express Membership Rewards transfers to most partners are also changing. American Express will also consolidate the different varieties of Membership Rewards points, including Ascent, Ascent Premium and Gateway, into one unified points currency.

American Express Explorer card

American Express Explorer Card Members currently earn Membership Rewards points of the Gateway variety but there will be consolidation into one unified program come April

Here are the figures for Ascent:

PartnerCurrent transfer rateFuture transfer rateChange
Most airline programs1:12:1-50%
Air New Zealand Airpoints100:1200:1-50%
Emirates Skywards1:1 (Ascent Premium)
4:3 (Ascent)
2:1-50%
-34%
Hilton Honors1:12:1-50%
Marriott Rewards-SPG3:23:2No change

and Gateway cards:

PartnerCurrent transfer rateFuture transfer rateChange
Most airline programs4:32:1-34%
Air New Zealand Airpoints400:3200:1-34%
Hilton Honors1:12:1-50%
Marriott Rewards-SPG3:23:2No change

Changes to redemptions: in short

You can see that, with the exception of Marriott Rewards-Starwood Preferred Guest, which had its transfer rate devalued in August, all other partners will have their transfer rates reduced by between one-third and one-half.

Those holding cards that earn into the Ascent variety of Membership Rewards, like Platinum Charge and Platinum Edge Card Members, are harder hit than those who hold Gateway-earning cards, like the Explorer and Essential. Note, however, that some Platinum Charge and Centurion Card Members have received an offer to double their points balance when the devaluation kicks in, thereby maintaining the value of their points. Other Card Members have not received these offers and are not eligible to take advantage of them, even when calling Amex.

If you want to use your Membership Rewards points at a fixed value for bookings through American Express Travel, you will see each point worth 0.5 cents instead of the current redemption rate of 1/0.75 cents per point for Ascent/Gateway.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are these changes occurring?

Due to RBA changes in 2017, the payment landscape changed significantly in Australia, which resulted in a reduction in the merchant fees that were being charged by competitors of American Express. To ensure that American Express remains competitive, they have had to also reduce their merchant fees. This has resulted in more merchants accepting American Express cards.

Will sign-up bonuses be reduced moving forward?

There are no indications that sign-up bonuses will decrease anytime soon, especially given a headline promotion of, for example, 100,000 Membership Rewards points on the American Express Explorer will only transfer to 50,000 airline points moving forward instead of the current 75,000 points.

Are other benefits such as travel credits, lounge access, complimentary flights or insurance changing?

All other benefits are remaining the same, however, some small benefits will be added, which Point Hacks will cover in future articles. Also, Platinum Card Members will see the removal of points caps.

What is happening to David Jones-branded cards?

If you are opted into earning Qantas Points on your card, then your effective earn rate is dropping by one-third across the board.

However, if you are earning Membership Rewards points (of the David Jones variety), then there is no change. Your earn rate is staying the same and the transfer rate is already set at what the Ascent and Gateway varieties are moving to, which is 2:1.

Our advice

On earn

Overall, these changes are negative.

Many of you are likely wondering what you should do with the American Express cards you currently hold. For those who are happily holding Qantas or Velocity co-branded cards, in our opinion, these changes are not significant enough to warrant any real action, given they have come through relatively unscathed.

Qantas plane on tarmac

Airline co-branded cards like the Qantas American Express Ultimate will have higher headline earn rates than Membership Rewards-earning cards but will lock you into one airline currency

However, for those holding American Express Membership Rewards-earning cards, your decision is going to revolve around how much value you place on the flexibility of the American Express Membership Rewards program versus the ability to earn a higher earn rate with an airline co-branded card.

The decision is far from clear and will be determined by individual preference and circumstance. However, a good rule of thumb is: if you value flexibility in choosing which frequent flyer program to transfer your reward points to over points earn, then you should consider holding onto your current card/s. If points earn is your key objective though, then you could consider switching to an airline co-branded card but only if you are willing to commit to earning solely through Qantas or Velocity Frequent Flyer.

On redemption

If you currently have a large balance of Membership Rewards points, you may want to hold off. American Express has given five months’ notice and there may be transfer bonuses introduced in the meantime, so you would not want to miss out on them by speculatively transferring your points out to a partner program/s.

There is no need to do anything about the cards in your wallet right now. If eventually you are considering the cards you have in your wallet in light of these changes, it may be worth giving American Express a call first to see if there is a more appropriate card for you based on your spending patterns.

What is your take on these changes? How will they affect your points-earning and redemption strategy moving into 2019?

Co-written with Daniel Sciberras.
Supplementary images courtesy American Express.

Having trouble transferring your points out of Amex? Try these 4 workarounds was last modified: May 20th, 2019 by Matt Moffitt