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With the failure of Silicon Valley Bank on Friday, billions of dollars of deposits have reportedly been flooding into Brex. And Brex has quickly acted… to devalue its Brex Rewards points. Effective immediately, Brex devalued cash and crypto redemptions by 40% and slashed Brex Rewards point transfer rates to airline partners by over 40%.
Here are the details of yet another no-notice devaluation this week.
Who is Brex?
In early 2021, Brex made a name for itself in the points and miles world when it offered small businesses an incredible 110,000-point sign-on bonus for opening a new small business checking account and meeting a couple of achievable onboarding tasks and card spending requirements.
Even better, Brex offers a no-annual-fee rewards card linked to the checking account that offers lucrative bonus categories — including 8x points on rideshare, 5x on travel, and 4x on restaurants.
If that all seems too good to be true, well, maybe it was. In August 2022, Brex decided to close all small business accounts. Instead, Brex is now focusing on larger businesses and funded startups. That pivot seems to have been timely, given Silicon Valley Bank's failure today, March 10, 2023.
Brex Rewards Point Redemption Rates
For years, Brex Rewards points could be redeemed for cash back, travel, gift cards, or cryptocurrency at 1¢ each. Or, Brex Rewards points could be transferred to one of several airline partners at a 1:1 transfer ratio (1 Brex Rewards point = 1 airline mile). Mileage redemptions require a minimum transfer of 500 points.
After losing JetBlue as a transfer partner in October 2021, Brex Rewards members can now transfer points to seven airline mileage programs across all three major airline alliances:
- Aeromexico Club Premier
- Air France-KLM Flying Blue
- Avianca LifeMiles
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Emirates Skywards
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Singapore KrisFlyer
Before today, Brex Rewards points would transfer to all seven partners at a 1:1 transfer ratio. But that changed today when Brex suddenly devalued point transfers. Instead of a 1:1 transfer ratio, you'll now need to transfer 1,670 Brex Rewards points to receive 1,000 airline miles.
Brex accountholders now need to transfer 67% more points to get the same number of airline miles. That equates to more than a 40% devaluation.
Brex Devalues Cash and Crypto Redemptions
In addition to slashing airline transfer rates, Brex also devalued the redemption rates for both cash and cryptocurrency redemptions by 40%. Instead of getting 1 cent per point in value, you'll only get 0.6 cents per point from cashback redemptions effective today.
Likewise, Brex crypto redemptions now provide 0.6 cents in value per Brex Rewards point:
Which Brex Redemptions Haven't Been Devalued?
For now, Brex hasn't devalued gift card or travel portal redemptions. Accountholders can still redeem Brex Rewards points for 1 cent per point through the travel portal. For example, a Delta Main Cabin ticket from New York (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX) can be purchased for either $288 or 28,891 points:
Likewise, Brex accountholders can still redeem points for gift cards at 1 cent per point — including merchants like Delta, Starbucks, and Uber:
Interestingly, a couple of nearly-cash-equivalent gift card redemptions are still available at 1 cent per point, such as Mastercard prepaid cards and Amazon gift cards.
How Brex Accountholders Should Adjust Their Redemption Strategy
Before this change, transferring Brex Rewards points to airline transfer partners was a no-brainer. All other redemption options only provided one cent in value. And with little effort, Brex accountholders could get more than 1 cent per point in value from partner airline redemptions.
With simultaneous devaluations to both cash and airline transfer redemptions, Brex accountholders still have the choice between 1 cent in cashback (or crypto) and 1 airline mile. However, travel portal and gift card redemptions have become a lot more valuable by comparison.
Now, 1,000 Brex Rewards points will net you:
- $10 in value for travel portal and gift card redemptions
- $6 in value for cashback or crypto redemptions
- ~599 airline miles (1,670 Brex points = 1,000 airline miles)
If you value travel portal and gift card redemptions at face value, you'll now want to get 1.67 cents per airline mile in value before transferring Brex Rewards points to travel partners.
That's certainly achievable. In recent redemptions, AwardWallet users have gotten the following average redemption rates from Brex airline transfer partners.
|Loyalty Program||Average Redemption Value||Short-Haul|
|Air France-KLM Flying Blue||2.36¢||1.34¢||2.37¢||1.46¢||2.66¢|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||3.18¢||1.79¢||3.66¢||2.02¢||3.27¢|
Note that we haven't computed average redemption rates for two Brex airline partners: Aeromexico Club Premier and Qantas Frequent Flyer.
As funds flood into the bank, Brex made an immediate and unannounced devaluation to its points. Brex accountholders now must transfer 67% more Brex Rewards points to receive the same number of airline miles. And cash and crypto redemptions have been slashed to 0.6 cents per point. These changes equate to a 40% devaluation in the value of these Brex Rewards point redemption options.
For now, gift card and travel portal redemptions are unaffected; both still provide 1 cent per Brex Rewards point in value. However, considering today's no-notice changes, we wouldn't recommend sitting on a large balance of Brex Rewards points.
AwardWallet reached out to Brex for comment but did not receive a response as of publishing. We will update this post with additional information if we receive a statement.
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Thanks for the update JT! With the devaluation and shift away from small businesses, is there any good business checking and rewards platform for very small businesses?