American Express cardholders now have the option to split purchases with their friends on Venmo or PayPal directly from the Amex mobile app.
American Express has added a new feature to its mobile app – allowing cardholders to split the cost of their purchases with friends via Venmo or PayPal. Now, rather than have to calculate your friend’s portion of last night’s dinner or a movie ticket, you can request half the cost directly from your Amex statement.
To access this new feature, open your Amex app and go to your account page. You should see the option to split purchases.
You’ll have to enroll to be able to take advantage of the perk, but it is incredibly straightforward. You’ll be prompted to choose either a Venmo or PayPal account to link to Amex.
How it works
The new American Express split purchase functionality is incredibly easy to use. You can select any transaction from your statement and opt to split it on the detail page.
Then just choose a linked Venmo or PayPal account to send a request through. You can enter as many different contacts to share the cost with as you like. From there, Amex will calculate your share of the total cost for you – so you don’t have to worry about doing the math. You’ll be redirected to either the PayPal or Venmo app to complete your request.
Any payments received from an Amex split purchase request will remain in your Venmo or PayPal account. From there, you can choose to transfer to your bank account or pay online as you typically would. The good news – you still keep all the rewards earned from the total purchase price.
See related: How to send, receive money using Venmo
Pay with Membership Rewards points via PayPal
Beyond this new split purchase service, American Express is also launching another initiative in tandem with PayPal. Beginning this week, Amex cardholders who earn Membership Rewards points will be able to pay with points at millions of merchants who accept PayPal.
This is exciting news, as it greatly adds to the flexibility of Membership Rewards redemption. All you have to do to take advantage of this option is link your Membership Rewards card to the PayPal app. When you complete a qualifying transaction with your card, you’ll be prompted to choose to pay with points or on the card itself.
Points redeemed this way will have a value of around 0.7 cents per point, making this a more attractive redemption option than a statement credit. Unfortunately, this is not the most you can get out of your points – airfare booked through amextravel.com is the most lucrative there at 1 cent per point.
See related: Best ways to spend American Express points
Nevertheless, this new service speaks to an increased flexibility of Membership Rewards.
Are these new features worth it?
In theory, splitting up a purchase between friends via the Amex app or using your own calculations on Venmo or PayPal isn’t all that different. The only real upside is saving the time of visiting two separate apps and calculating each person’s share on your own. It’s up to you if this shortcut is worth linking your accounts.
However, the terms and conditions of the new program mention that it is only available in its current state for a limited time. Coming June 2020, Amex plans to announce new features on the product and current members will have to re-enroll. This means there might be cooler functionality around the corner.
As for the new pay with points feature linked to PayPal, this could be a great new way to redeem your Membership Rewards points. You’ll be able to use rewards to cover all kinds of purchases – as PayPal partners with millions of merchants. Just keep in mind that non-travel redemption options typically eke less value from your points than if you redeem them through American Express Travel.