See Hamilton or Ride in a Helicopter with Amex Membership Rewards Points
Having worked in PR, it's a little surreal to be on the receiving end of pitches and press releases. But lo and behold, here we are.
The PR firm that manages the American Express Platinum card reached out to me yesterday afternoon, sharing details about a limited-time opportunity to use Membership Rewards points for certain "exclusive experiences." I thought it was worth passing on the details.
Until September 28th, anyone with Membership Rewards points can redeem them for "special access" to a select list of events, experiences or tickets. Additionally, American Express has redesigned the Membership Rewards website, where you can find details on all redemption options.
There are actually some pretty cool events and experiences up for grabs. You can redeem points for tickets to Hamilton in Los Angeles on either September 16th or October 21st — you have to make that redemption during flash sales starting at noon EST on August 15th and August 29th, respectively. Among other options, you can redeem MR points for front row tickets to a Chris Rock show and a meet-and-greet with him afterward, a private helicopter tour of the Hudson Valley or a private wine tour and tasting in Napa.
The Amex website lists a "discounted" amount of Membership Rewards points required, as well as the actual cash value for each item. The Hamilton tickets go for 54,545 MR points, and are listed at an "estimated" cash value of $390.00. Tickets to Come From Away on Broadway plus a VIP meet-and-greet with the cast are 209,790 MR points, with a cash value of $1500.00 (although you could actually fly round-trip to Canada, where the show takes place, for less than 20,000 MR points).
With each of the redemptions, you're getting a value of about 0.715¢ per MR point. While that's slightly higher than the 0.7¢/point value you'd get if you redeemed your MR points for a statement credit, it's lower than the 1¢/point you can get for gift cards, or the significantly higher value you can get by transferring to travel partners (like if you flew to Canada). For reference, take a look at The Points Guy's valuations. While TPG's methodology in valuing points is pretty subjective, especially since the values of these points aren't fixed, I like using those valuations as a rough baseline. Since TPG pegs MR points at 1.9¢ each, you can see that these experiential redemptions aren't the best value.
Still, if you have a glut of American Express Membership Rewards points and no plans to use them, or you see an experiential redemption listed which calls to you, this could be worth considering. You can find all of the limited-time redemption options here.