A little over a week ago we converted two of our reward credit cards to, well… More rewarding versions. This included a switch from the Chase Perfect card to the Chase Freedom card, and a change from our old (old, old, old) Amex Optima card to an Amex Blue Cash card.
All in all, this was a fairly painless process. I made a couple of phone calls and I was done. The only catch was that, since we were changing for a points-based reward program (Membership Rewards) to cash-based program, American Express gave us 30 days to cash in our point before they’d expire. We didn’t actually have that many points, as we’ve mostly reserved this card for major purchases for which we want to take advantage of Amex’s Buyer’s Assurance program, which doubles the manufacturer’s warranty. Nonetheless, I wanted to get what we were due.
At the time of conversion, we had a little over 7500 points. Unlike Citi’s ThankYou Rewards network, American Express sells low denomination gift cards without any sort of markup. That is, American Express charges 2500 points for a $25 gift certificate, whereas the same cards typically cost 3500 point through the ThankYou Network, with prices falling to ‘face value’ for higher denominations.
Given that we’re currently renovating our house, Home Depot gift cards are pretty much as good as cash, so that’s what I went with. Ordering was a snap — simply login to your Amex account, follow the Membership Rewards link, and pick out what you want. And guess what? They got the cards to us within two business days — I ordered late Sunday night, so the order was technically processed on Monday and the cards were in our mailbox on Wednesday.
While I still prefer straight cash rewards, I’d definitely have to give American Express two thumbs up when it comes to their Membership Rewards program.