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For a limited time, you can redeem Amex Membership Rewards for holiday shopping at small businesses — and you'll even get more value from your points than usual

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From November 28 to December 31, American Express cardholders can redeem Membership Rewards points for holiday gifts through the issuer's latest Shop Small promotion.
Crystal Cox/Business Insider

This article is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. It has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the issuers listed. Some of the offers you see on the page are from our partners like Citi and American Express, but our coverage is always independent. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, credit card issuers have made customer-friendly changes to their rewards programs by introducing new ways to earn and redeem points and offering limited-time benefits and category spending bonuses

American Express has responded to shifting consumer habits by adding new benefits, including statement credits for streaming, shipping, and wireless purchases on select cards until the end of 2020. It's not just customers who have reaped the rewards, either — earlier this year, Amex offered up to $50 in statement credits for purchases at eligible small businesses to promote shopping locally.

Now, the issuer is launching another "Shop Small" promotion that can help you save money on holiday shopping and give small businesses a much-needed boost. From November 28 (Small Business Saturday) until December 31, Amex cardholders will have the opportunity to redeem points for purchases through the Membership Rewards Shop Small Holiday Gift Guide at ShopAmex.com

You can get decent value for your Amex points at small businesses 

Using Amex Membership Rewards points for merchandise, statement credits, or gift cards doesn't normally get you the best return from your rewards. Points are only worth 0.5 to 1 cent each when you redeem this way, compared to potentially much more if you transfer your points to an airline or hotel partner for award travel.

American Express Amex Membership Rewards Shop Small Holiday Gift Guide Landing Page
Use Amex Membership Rewards points at small businesses by shopping through the ShopAmex website.
American Express

That said, this Shop Small promotion could offer decent value, although it will vary depending on the merchant. The sample redemptions Amex shared with us both offered a rate above 1 cent per point:

  • A $95 Larq water bottle for 7,125 Membership Rewards points (1.33 cents per point)
  • A $149 Modern Picnic lunch tote for 10,430 Membership Rewards points (1.42 cents per point)

These rates are attractive, particularly if you're looking to save money on holiday gifts by using credit card rewards instead of cash — as well as support small businesses that are struggling during the pandemic. Many of us are stuck at home right now, so it's encouraging to see American Express offer customers another way to redeem rewards that doesn't involve travel.  

The full list of participating merchants won't be live until November 28, but here are a few other teaser examples provided by Amex:

  • 11" Smart Pan + induction cooktop smart cooking system from Hestan Cue
  • Holiday candle, diffuser and room spray from Harlem Candle Co.
  • High-tech 2-in-1 kids laptop, laptop sleeve, and mouse from Tanoshi

You can participate in this promotion if you have an Amex card that earns Membership Rewards points.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, please click here.

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