American Express MR points can be used to Upgrade Airline Seats

Have you ever wanted to buy airline seat upgrades, but wanted to do so in an unconventional way? What if you wanted to do this while using Membership Reward points? American Express has a new partnership for you to utilize.

The News

American Express has partnered with Plusgrade. Plusgrade allows you to upgrade seats to first, business, or premium economy seats in an auction style system. You can upgrade seats on up to 20 different airlines. However, the one caveat is that the auction wont be over until a few days before the flight takes place, meaning you wont know if you’ve won until close to the flight itself. 

Now, you can bid with the auctions using MR points. The MR points will be worth 1 cent per point when using them on Plusgrade. 

Final Thoughts

I think this is an interesting proposition. Instead of going directly through the airline, you could potentially win an upgrade through the use of an auction. 

However, something to keep in mind is that the value of credit card reward points such as the MR points come in the form of redeeming them for travel. If you redeem them for travel, it is not unheard of to get 2-4+ cents per point depending on the type of redemption/transfer you use. Alternatively, if you just want to redeem the points for cash, you could always get the Charles Schwab Platinum card, which lets you redeem MR points at 1.25 cents per point.

When you compare these alternatives to Plusgrade’s deal, it doesn’t really seem worth it to use your points for redeeming them in this way. Still, it’s better than American Express’ cash out option of 0.6 cents per point, so I guess there’s that. 

What do you think of this partnership between Plusgrade and American Express? Let us know below

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