5 Ways to Redeem 44 Million American Express Membership Program Points…Not Available at Rite Aid

Last week, David Portnoy, founder of Barstool Sports, posted a now viral Twitter video of him pushing an American Express Business Centurion card at Rite Aid.

The drugstore chain has a partnership with American Express, whereby members can redeem American Express Membership Rewards points for as little as 0.7 cents per point. When Portnoy pays, the Membership Rewards balance — a staggering 44,403,931 points — appears on screen, presumably earned from spending heavily on the business.

The Centurion Card and Centurion Business Card information has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

To put that in perspective, that’s worth a whopping $888,079 when utilizing conversion partners, based on TPG’s valuation of 2 cents per Membership Rewards point. However, it is possible for Portnoy to get more value by redeeming his points for higher value items such as international business class tickets.

However, with so many points in his account, it seems clear that Portnoy is hoarding his points, leaving them vulnerable to currency depreciation if Amex changes its program. With that in mind, I took the liberty of writing this article to give it some completely unsolicited advice and mileage advice.

David, here are just a few ways you can use your nearly 45 million Amex points. These examples range from completely silly to practical, but anything is better than leaving your Amex points there and gathering dust. For everyone else, use this article as inspiration to redeem your Amex Points balance (it may be much smaller).

Spend 3 years or more at the Waldorf-Astoria in Paris

Why pay rent when you can live in a five-star hotel for three years?

Amex Points are converted into Hilton Honors at a conversion rate of 1:2, making 44,403,931 equal to 88,807,862 Hilton Points. That’s more than enough points for an extended stay anywhere in the world.

Hilton Honors redemption rates vary, but you can often find a good deal at the Waldorf Astoria Versailles Trianon Palace in Paris. Rooms typically cost about 80,000 Hilton Honors points per night, so in theory, Portnoy could use all of his Amex points to book 1,110 hotel nights. In December, most nights at the property cost about $260.

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Of course, there are other options as well. The Waldorf Astoria Bangkok also goes for 80,000 points a night on most dates. Or, if he really wanted to bump up his points, he could spend 21,000 points a night at the Hilton Garden Inn Krakow in Poland, which would give him just over 11 1/2 years on the property if the current rate holds.

Related: 7 Ways to Redeem Points with Hilton Honors

Flying from New York to Europe in Business Class… 700 times

Christian Kramer / The Points Jawa

Amex points give you plenty of ways to get to Europe in style.

One of my favorite ways to use my Amex Points for travel in the region is to transfer to Avianca LifeMiles, which charges 63,000 LifeMiles for a one-way business class flight from the US to most European cities.

Even better, the airline doesn’t add fuel surcharges, so there’s little out-of-pocket cost for these refunds regardless of which airline is operating the flight.

Because Avianca is a member of the Star Alliance, Portnoy can fly some of Europe’s favorite business class products such as Austrian, Swiss and Turkish Airlines.

United is also a member, opening up some interesting summer routes to Europe and connectivity options. Also, with over 44 million points, Portnoy can check out all of these excellent cruise options and still have millions of points to spare.

Related: This is why you need a healthy stock of Avianca LifeMiles

Book 5,900 short-haul domestic flights on American Airlines

Zack Greif/The Points Guy

Domestic flights are also an option. One of my favorite ways to book it with Amex points is to transfer points to British Airways, which charges 7,500 Avios for a round-trip economy flight of up to 651 miles within North America. This includes popular business routes such as New York to Washington, D.C. and Seattle to Portland, Oregon.

British Airways

Longer trips cost marginally more points, with trips of up to 1,151 miles costing 9,000 Avios. These flights are operated by partners Oneworld American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. Check out the complete guide to the British Airways award scheme for more information.

British Airways

With 44,403,931 Amex points, he can book just over 5,900 short-haul domestic flights (up to 651 miles) by switching to British Airways. That should include Barstool Sports’ local staff travel for at least a few years, in theory, saving the company possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the cash value of those tickets.

Related Topics: Maximizing the British Airways award scheme based on distance

Book nearly $900,000 in paid airfare with Amex Travel

Zack Greif/The Points Guy

One of the best benefits of the Amex Centurion Card is a 50% point discount on an airline ticket booked through Amex Travel. Portnoy can redeem points for flights at 1 cent per point initially, and get 50% off points a few weeks after booking.

This actually allows him to redeem points at 2 cents per point with very little effort, so a $1,000 ticket would only cost 50,000 Amex points. He will also earn frequent flyer miles and elite status on these flights since they are treated as paid tickets. This is the easiest way to redeem Amex points for flights, and it can help Portnoy offset a lot of his and his employees’ business travel expenses.

Note that the 50% discount is only valid on the Amex Business Centurion Card. However, if you have Platinum Business Card from American ExpressThen you are eligible for 35% off all premium cabin tickets and tickets booked with your favorite airline through Amex Travel, up to 1 million points per calendar year.

Related: Do this before you book award tickets for your family

Or, just cash out for $488,443

BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty

While it pains me to write this, if Portnoy doesn’t have any immediate travel plans, he can open his American Express Platinum® Card for Schwab and cash out his points at 1.1 cents per Schwab account.

If he cashes in all his points, he’ll walk away with a cool $488,443. While points will be most valuable when used for flights, when you have over 44 million points at your disposal and are not using them, it might make sense to cash out at least some of them.

Information for the American Express Platinum Schwab has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

After all, how often does one really need to travel from the US to Europe in one year? Even if Portnoy spent six months in a hotel, he’d still have millions of points left.

Also, he will likely earn points at a faster rate than he can spend them. Cashing in some of his points ensures he’ll get some value now and protection from Membership Rewards devaluation in the future. With tens of millions of points at his disposal, letting them all sit idle was a risk.

Related: 3 Different Flavors of Amex Platinum—Which One Is Right for You?

How to earn Membership Rewards points

Wyatt Smith / The Points Guy

Eager to build up your Amex Points balance? You may not be able to match Portnoy’s 44 million points, but the cards below offer welcome bonuses that can help you get enough points to book a business class ticket to Europe, some domestic flights, or other trips.

Here are some of our favorite cards and their greeting offers:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first six months of Card Membership. However, some readers have been targeted with a reward of up to 125,000 points using the CardMatch tool (offer subject to change at any time). Conditions apply.
  • Platinum Business Card® From American Express: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your Business Platinum Card within the first 3 months of Cardmember membership. Conditions apply.
  • The American Express® Gold Card: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card within the first six months of Card Membership. However, some readers have been targeted with a reward of up to 75,000 points using the CardMatch tool (offer subject to change at any time). Conditions apply.

Related: Do You Have an Amex Business Platinum Card? Don’t forget to register for these privileges

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David Portnoy’s review of Amex Point Balance was a genius social media sharing move. Oh boy, do I wish I had that many Amex points.

Now that Portnoy has shown his poise, it’s time to start spending those points. Otherwise, they would be left open to devaluation if Amex decided to change its loyalty program.

Whether he chooses three years in a hotel, thousands of trips, nearly $500,000 in cash or a combination of all of the above, the founder of Barstool Sports will get far more value using his miles than letting them hibernate.

Are you looking for more inspiration? Check out our complete guide to maximizing your AMEX ® Membership Rewards points.

For Amex Platinum Card rates and fees, click here.
For Amex Business Platinum Card rates and fees, click here.
For Amex Gold Card rates and fees, click here.

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