What Is the American Express Rewards Catalog?
Not a traditional catalog, the American Express Rewards Catalog is an online store where customers of American Express can spend the reward points they earn by using their American Express card. The American Express Rewards Catalog is full of options, some of them bizarre or outlandish. In fact, the rewards options with the American Express catalog range from trendy electronics to expensive special events or luxury vacation trips. (See The Best Places to Travel and Most Popular Gift Cards for more information.)
Examples from the American Express Rewards Catalog
- A golf trip to TPC Sawgrass golf course including two nights’ accommodations for two and four rounds of golf at TPC’s famous courses.
- A bottle of Dom Perignon (vintage 1993, rated 97 by Wine Spectator)
- A 3D-ready 60 inch Mitsubishi DLP Home Theatre HDTV
All three of these items cost about the same number of points — from 125,000 to 200,000. How much money is that equal to? American Express claims you earn a point for “just about every dollar you spend” — this has more to do with the fact that some purchases are not eligible for reward points. Ideally, every dollar you spend on your American Express card turns into a reward point, meaning that bottle of Dom up there cost you about $125,000. Of course, you already spent that money, so really the bottle of wine is your reward for being such a good customer.
You can earn ten points for every dollar you spend on purchases at select American Express partners. Check the AmEx website for details on which partners are offering this bonus.
If you spend money at the American Express Bonus Points Mall, you’ll earn three points for every dollar. If you desperately need that 3D ready HDTV, spend $30,000 at the AmEx Bonus Points Mall and it can be yours.
The final way to earn points is to purchase them directly from American Express. I wouldn’t suggest buying a large block of points this way just to earn an item, but if you’re just a few points short of an item you want in the Reward Catalog, you can purchase them directly.
To make things even more confusing, there are three “levels” of awards that are available through the rewards program at American Express. The level of award you can get is determined by the type of AmEx card you carry.
The first level is “Membership Rewards Express”. This is offered on American Express Blue, Business Management Accounts, Platinum Business, and Optima Platinum cards.
The second level is plain old “Membership Rewards” – This is offered on American Express Green and Gold cards.
The top level of American Express rewards is called “Membership Rewards First” – This is considered a “super premium” award program for American Express Platinum members, Business Platinum cardholders, and Corporate Platinum Cards only.
What Is Membership Rewards Express?
This the basic awards program at American Express. With Rewards Express, you can earn bonus points as described above, plus you can select from a list of over 200 goods when you want to exchange your reward points. At this level of membership, you can use your points to pay for hotel stays with certain hotel chains.
What Is Membership Rewards?
The “Membership Rewards” program has all the features of the Membership Rewards Express level, plus a travel reservation service, and you can use your points at a wider range of hotels, car rental agencies, and spas and clubs.
What Is Membership Rewards First?
The super premium reward program by American Express includes all the benefits listed above, as well as the ability to earn triple points shopping at certain retailers, luxury goods available in the rewards catalog, one free companion ticket for any international flight, entrance into “invitation only” events like concerts and film premieres, and other red carpet extras that American Express is expanding every day.
Using the American Express Rewards Catalog
Since the catalog is online, it is easy to use. You browse for items like you would at any online store, only here you don’t pay with a debit card, you pay with reward points. The catalog gives all the information you need on the items you’re shopping for at the click of a mouse, and it shows the points it will take to buy a particular reward.
There are four basic categories of rewards in the American Express Rewards Catalog:
- Dining and entertainment
- Exclusive limited time offers
You can also sort the list by shopping by category, by points totals, and by brand. If you’re looking for something fancy, you could shop only for items above 100,000 points, or shop by expensive name brands.
The American Express Rewards Catalog is well known because it contains so much cool stuff. Check it out online to see why this catalog stands out above the competition.