What is the difference between Membership Rewards, MR First, and MR Select?

American Express Membership Rewards comes with three tiers: Membership Rewards, MR First, and MR Select. The first two are virtually identical, whereas MR Select points are different from the others in that they cannot be transferred to frequent flyer programs.

Membership Rewards is the proprietary rewards program run by American Express, and there are three tiers to the program: the regular Membership Rewards, the MR First tier, and the MR Select tier. You’ll see these monikers when you choose which Membership Rewards account to use…

 
 

…or when browsing through your credit cards on your American Express dashboard.

 
 

The MR First tier is used by American Express’s premium line of charge cards, which includes the Platinum Card and the Business Platinum Card.

The Membership Rewards tier is used by American Express’s standard line of products, which includes the Gold Rewards Card and the Business Gold Card.

The MR Select tier is used exclusively by the Cobalt Card.

To understand the differences between the tiers, it’s useful to keep the below chart from the Membership Rewards program’s terms and conditions on hand:

 
 

As you can see, the benefits of MR First and Membership Rewards are virtually identical, the only difference being that you can’t use regular Membership Rewards points on Platinum Concierge bookings. That’s a trivial difference and makes sense anyway since only the high-end charge cards have access to the Platinum Concierge in the first place.

Meanwhile, the MR Select tier is missing one crucial feature that the other two tiers enjoy: the ability to transfer points to airline frequent flyer programs. Indeed, that’s the main difference between MR Select and the rest – you can’t transfer your points to programs like Aeroplan and British Airways Avios.

Instead, the main draw of MR Select is therefore the ability to transfer points to hotel partners, such as the Marriott loyalty program, or to use them on alternative redemption options such as Amex Fixed Points Travel.

Last updated 23 November 2018. Any questions?
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