American Express adjusts OPEN rebate options

Want to trade in your cash-back rebate from American Express OPEN business partners for more Membership Rewards points? That’s now an option thanks to a recent change in the program. The OPEN Savings program offers a rebate on the billing statement of 3-10%, depending on the merchant and the purchase. The new option will now allow card holders to take 1-4 Membership Rewards points in lieu of the statement-credit rebate on these transactions. It is an "or" decision; you do not get both.


In most cases this is the equivalent of buying the points at 2.5 cents each. That’s not a particularly great value, though MR points are nice in certain circumstances. It is also important to recognize that the change to earning preference can only be made once per month and it can take some time to go into effect.

And AmEx is nice enough to provide the following reminder about the value of the points:

The relative value of the benefit options will differ depending on how you use your Membership Rewards points. The redemption value of additional points that you receive under the Membership Rewards Points Benefit may be less than the dollar value of statement credits that you receive under the Discount Benefit.

Don’t say they didn’t warn you.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. I did a quick glance at the list of partners, and everything looks the same as before (5 or 10% rebate). Maybe this notice is “OPENing” (couldn’t resist) up the possibility of reducing payouts in the future. I would probably be okay with that if they added some new partners as well!

    1. The cash-back rates haven’t changed. It it just that they’ve now added a points option instead for those who want it. I don’t think it is a great deal, but it is there.

  2. The MR points option was available in April when I got my first business Amex card.

  3. Ok (noobish question) – I was trying to work this over the weekend (because I noticed I was no longer getting a % back but just points). Where do I go to select the %$ back vs. MR points?

  4. IMO, cash back is always better than MR points, given some of the redemption options now have an inflated cost.

  5. So far I have not had one single dime credited to me properly in this program using Fedex. I called several times and got wrong information each time. Still no resolution from AMEX. They are clueless about this as well and bounced me to several reps. I am still waiting for a call back from two weeks ago which never happened. I chose cash back but never got anything. This has been going on for a few months

  6. Scratch that. The new language says since I was invoiced by FEDEX I dont get the discount. They have so much small print on that. I did not see that language previously either.

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