Thank you to everyone who left comments on my first American Express Membership Rewards post! You all had wonderful suggestions for spending 25,000 points, from airline tickets to gift cards to kitchenware to Swarovski crystals to every kind of electronic gadget possible. I'm amazed at the number of rewards you can redeem for just 25,000 points!
So what are my Top Five Finds under 25k? I have to admit, the thought of taking all 25,000 points and redeeming them for an airline ticket to New York so I can watch a Broadway show and get away from the kids is really tempting :) But I'm a practical sort of gal, and if I had 25,000 points I don't think I'd blow it all on a single purchase. Darn it, I have my husband and kids to think of, so I guess I would share the love (and the points). After all, it's about the experiences you enjoy and the memories you make.
So here are the top 5 ways I would redeem 25,000 Membership Rewards points:
1) Go shopping In general, gift cards are one of the best ways to redeem Membership Rewards points. First of all, you can start redeeming gift cards at just 1,000 points. Second, almost every gift card will give you a penny per point conversion (i.e. 100 points will get you $1 worth of merchandise, or 1% cash back). Almost none of the products will (which is pretty standard for any loyalty rewards program), so if you're treating your points like cash, go with gift cards.
The Membership Rewards program lets you redeem gift cards to hundreds of popular retailers -- Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Land's End, Home Depot, Pottery Barn, Zappos, Victoria's Secret and REI, to name a few -- so you can give them as presents to friends and family, or you can use them to buy things that you would buy anyway.
2) Go out for dinner I always feel like it's such a splurge to take the kids out to a restaurant with real silverware, napkins and waiters! But with the Membership Rewards program you can redeem points for a restaurant gift card and treat the family to a nice dinner out. Gift cards to restaurants are also great because they give you $1 worth of dining dollars for every 100 points.
The Membership Rewards catalog has a wide choice of restaurants, from upscale places like Roy's or Smith and Wollensky, to family-friendly eats like The Olive Garden, The Cheesecake Factory or California Pizza Kitchen (our favorite!) , so you can always find a great place to eat.
3) See a movie I love going to see movies at the cinema, so redeeming 10,000 points for 10 Cinemark movie tickets is a no-brainer. You get to see any movie you want (note: the theatre may charge extra for 3D movies or special attractions), any time, for 1,000 points per ticket. In my area of the world, movie tickets go for $10.75, so I'm getting $10.75 worth of services for 1,000 points -- what a great deal!
4) Visit an amusement park Great news for parents saving up for a theme park vacation in LA: a single-day ticket to Universal Studios Hollywood is only 8,500 points in the Membership Rewards catalog, so you can take the whole family out for the day and enjoy all the rides and shows in the park! I love this reward because now that my kids are bigger, they can go on almost any ride in any theme park. Even better, they love all the drops, twists and loops of all the "scariest" coasters, so Alfie and I no longer have to do parent switches on all the best rides -- and we get to enjoy more of the park as a family.
5) Give to charity I really love that the Membership Rewards program lets cardholders donate their points to the causes that mean the most to them, via the Members Give project. Right now they are featuring Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief, but you can choose from over 1 million nonprofit organizations. If you've ever felt like you don't have the budget to make charitable donations, donating points is a great way to support a cause and help make a difference without subtracting from your bank balance. Again, you can donate as few as 1,000 points ($10), and again, you are maximizing that points-per-dollar ratio. Your donations are even tax-deductible!
Win a $100 American Express Gift Card!
American Express is giving away a $100 American Express Gift Card to one lucky Bonggamom Finds reader! Required Entry
Browse the American Express Membership Rewards catalog at http://www.membershiprewards.com/ , then leave a comment on this post telling me which reward(s) you would choose if you had 50,000 Membership Rewards points. This entry must be completed before you can complete any of the extra entries below.
Extra Entries For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following (maximum of 4 extra entries for this post). Please leave a separate comment for each extra entry with a way to verify the entry (i.e. tweet link, blog post link, Facebook id, Twitter id, etc.).
1) Follow Bonggamom Finds on Networked Blogs (1 entry).
2) Grab my blog button and post it up on your blog (1 entry).
3) Share the link to this post (http://ow.ly/4sWa4) on your Facebook page wall, along with the following text (1 entry):
If you had 50,000 American Express Membership Rewards points, what would *you* redeem them for? Share your answer with Bonggamom for a chance to win a $100 Amex gift card!
4) Tweet this (1 entry):
What would you do with 50k Amex rewards points? Tell @bonggafinds for a chance to win a $100 Amex gift card! http://ow.ly/4sWa4 #giveaways
For more entries to this giveaway, check out last week's AmEx post. You can gain even more entries by commenting on AmEx post #3, coming up next week.
The Rules This giveaway ends at 11:59PM PST on April 14, 2011; I will draw a winner at random on April 15 from all valid entries on my AmEx posts on March 28, April 4 and April 11. Winner will be announced on my April 18 AmEx post. Due to time constraints, winner will have 24 hours to respond to my email, otherwise I will draw an alternate winner. Continental US residents only. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!
Disclosure: I am being compensated for my participation in American Express' Membership Rewards Program via complimentary Membership Rewards Points. Thanks to American Express for providing the $100 American Express Gift Card giveaway prize. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.