- Amex just announced two new payment features that integrate with PayPal and Venmo.
- A new “split purchases” feature in the Amex mobile app will let you select a charge, divide up the total, and send Venmo or PayPal requests to your friends.
- Additionally, starting this week you can use your Amex Membership Rewards points to pay for purchases through PayPal at a rate of 0.7 cents per point.
- If you like to travel, the best use of your Amex points remains booking flights or hotels through Amex Travel or through Membership Rewards transfer partners. But if you never travel and want to use points points, you shouldn’t have trouble finding merchants that use PayPal.
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The American Express® Gold Card is one of my most frequently used rewards credit cards thanks to the 4x points it earns at restaurants worldwide – that’s equal to an amazing 8% return on my spending, and helps me get closer to my next trip booked on points. And with a new “split purchases” feature in the Amex app, I’ll be able to send my friends Venmo (or PayPal) requests for their share of dinner while still earning points for footing the bill.
This new feature will automatically split a charge equally after you designate which contacts you’d like to send a Venmo or PayPal request to. Later in October, the app will add the ability to customize the amount you request from each person, which will make this feature more useful.
Read more: The best American Express cards
I’m always logged into Venmo on my phone, so that’s usually the easiest way for me to send requests after shared meals, but this new addition could be helpful to Amex cardholders who frequently log into the app – and it’s nice that you have the option to request funds via either Venmo or PayPal. Another advantage of going through the Amex app is that it will do the math for you if you want to split it evenly, and you can keep track of who’s paid you back with a “money tracker” interface.
It’s also a great reminder that eating out with friends can be an easy way to rack up lots of rewards points – provided you trust your friends to pay you back. Whether using the Amex app’s new “split purchases” feature or simply going through Venmo is your method of choice, make sure you’re requesting what you’re owed. Then you’re really coming out ahead by earning rewards for the entire bill even though you’re not paying for all of it. (And be generous – let your rewards card-loving friends take their turns putting their cards down!)
Read more: My 5 favorite credit cards for earning rewards on dining out, no matter how much you spend
You can now use Amex points through PayPal – but that doesn’t mean you should
This week, Amex is also rolling out the ability to use your Membership Rewards points through PayPal. This is similar to how you can use Amex points to cover purchases at Amazon – you’ll see the option to use Amex points for your purchase when you use an eligible Amex card on PayPal and go to check out.
If you’re concerned with getting the maximum value from your points, this isn’t a great option. Your Amex points are worth just 0.7 cents apiece when you redeem them for purchases on PayPal (and Amazon). That’s compared to The Points Guy’s 2-cent valuation of Amex points – which factors in how far your points can go when you use them for travel.
With Amex points and with other rewards like Chase Ultimate Rewards points, your best bet is usually to redeem them for travel, especially for premium-cabin flights that would cost thousands of dollars out of pocket. But for those who aren’t looking to travel, having more options for using your points is never a bad thing.