American Express Membership Rewards: Program Guide

Various American Express cards let you earn Membership Rewards points, and there are several ways to redeem them. Your points tend to offer the best value when redeemed for travel rewards.

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Last Updated: 7/7/2022
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For those who wish to earn rewards for their spending, the Amex EveryDay Credit Card and the premium Amex Platinum Card, among other American Express cards, are popular options since they earn Membership Rewards points. The number of points you earn depends on your card and spending habits. And there are multiple ways to use your points — although transferring them to a participating airline loyalty program often offers the best value. Given the flexibility cardholders enjoy through the American Express rewards program, it qualifies as one that’s worthy of your attention.

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MoneyGeek’s Takeaways

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The rate at which you earn Membership Rewards points depends on your Amex card.

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The value of Amex Membership Rewards points depends on the redemption method.

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American Express Membership Rewards points come with no expiration date.

Which Credit Cards Earn American Express Membership Rewards?

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American Express rewards its credit card holders in different ways, one of which is by offering Membership Rewards points. Depending on the other features and benefits you’re after, you can opt for a no-annual-fee card or an annual-fee card with a range of added perks.

  • Amex EveryDay Credit Card. The Amex EveryDay Credit Card charges no annual fees. It offers 10,000 Membership Rewards points as a welcome bonus if you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first six months. You get 2X points per dollar on spending of up to $6,000 at U.S. supermarkets each year. You also earn 2X points per dollar when you use your card to make travel bookings through AmexTravel.com. All other purchases earn 1X points per dollar. When you use the card at least 20 times each billing period, you'll receive 20% bonus points. This card comes with an intro 0% APR offer on purchases for the first 15 months.
  • Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card. The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card comes with a $95 annual fee. You stand to earn a welcome bonus of 15,000 Membership Rewards points if you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first six months. It offers 3X points per dollar on spending of up to $6,000 at U.S. supermarkets each year. You get 2X points per dollar on gas purchases at U.S. gas stations and on travel purchases made through AmexTravel.com. All other purchases come with 1X points per dollar. This card is excellent for frequent users because you'll receive 50% extra points after making 30 or more purchases each billing period. This card comes with an intro 0% APR offer on purchases for the first 12 months.
  • American Express Green Card. The American Express Green Card charges $150 as annual fees. It offers 45,000 Membership Rewards points as a welcome bonus if you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first six months. You get 3X points per dollar at U.S. restaurants (including takeout and delivery) as well as on transit and travel purchases. You get 1X points per dollar on all other purchases. This card offers annual statement credits to cover CLEAR and LoungeBuddy purchases. Using this card outside of the U.S. is perfect because it does not charge foreign transaction fees.
  • American Express Gold Card. You need to pay a $250 annual fee if you get the American Express Gold Card. This card’s welcome offer lets you earn 75,000 Membership Rewards points if you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first six months. You earn 4X points per dollar at restaurants worldwide and on takeout and delivery in the U.S. Spending up to $25,000 on groceries at U.S. supermarkets earns 4X points per dollar. You get 3X points per dollar on flight tickets booked through AmexTravel.com or directly with airlines. All other purchases earn 1X points per dollar. This card offers $120 Uber Cash and up to $120 dining credit each year. You also get a $100 experience credit when you use your card to book from The Hotel Collection with American Express Travel. Using this card outside of the U.S. does not incur foreign transaction fees.
  • The Platinum Card. The Platinum Card charges a hefty $695 annual fee. It offers a welcome bonus of 125,000 points if you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first six months. You get 5X points per dollar on flight tickets booked through AmexTravel.com or directly with airlines, on up to combined spending of $500,000 each calendar year. You get 5X points on prepaid hotel bookings made through AmexTravel.com. All other purchases earn 1X points per dollar. It includes $200 in Uber Cash as well as up to $200 airline fee credit each year. This card also offers statement credits toward hotel, digital entertainment, Walmart+, Equinox, Saks Fifth Avenue and CLEAR purchases. Access to the Amex Global Lounge Collection is free for all cardholders.

How to Get the Most Value From Amex Membership Rewards

The value of your Membership Rewards points depends on the redemption method you select, so it might be worthwhile to look at how to make the most of the points you earn. While the number of points you earn depends on the card you have, their worth remains the same across all cards. For instance, the value of 1,000 Amex Platinum points is the same as that of 1,000 points you earn through the EveryDay Preferred Card, provided you redeem them in the same manner. The American Express points calculator helps give you an indication of the worth of your Membership Rewards points.

  • Pay With Points at Checkout: 10,000 Membership Rewards points are worth $70 in most instances. They are worth $100 when you use them with New York City taxis and worth $50 through Ticketmaster.
  • Redeem for Gift Cards: 10,000 Membership Rewards points can get you a gift card of up to $100.
  • Cover Card Charges: 10,000 Membership Rewards points are worth $60.
  • Book or Upgrade Travel: The value of 10,000 Membership Rewards points typically varies from $70 to $100. If you use your points to cover excise tax offset fees when transferring points to a U.S. airline frequent flyer program, 10,000 points are valued at $50.
  • Shopping: When you use your Membership Rewards points to shop through any Amex merchant partner, or if you use them to cover all or part of your purchases, you get $50 in value for 10,000 points.
  • Transfer to a Travel Partner: In most cases, transferring points to an Amex travel partner comes at a 1:1 ratio. Exceptions include the JetBlue rewards program, where you get 200 TrueBlue points for 250 Membership Rewards points; the Aeromexico Club Premier, through which you get 1,600 Premier points per 1,000 Membership Rewards points; and the Hilton Honors program, which offers 2,000 Hilton Honors points for 1,000 Membership Rewards points. Bear in mind that you need to pay a fee of $0.0006 per point when transferring your points to a U.S. airline’s frequent flyer program. While most such transfers take place at a 1:1 ratio, the value of your points also depends on the loyalty program you transfer your points to and other variables such as travel dates and routes. Some popular Amex transfer partners include British Airways Executive Club, Delta SkyMiles, Emirates Skywards and Singapore KrisFlyer.
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When you have multiple American Express cards, all of your Membership Rewards points are automatically saved in one bucket. This makes it easier to keep track of your rewards and save up for a large redemption. And, if you close one of your Membership Rewards cards, you don't need to worry about losing your points as long as you have at least one account open. — Lee Huffman, credit card expert at BaldThoughts.com

Are American Express Membership Rewards Any Good?

One distinct advantage of the American Express Membership Rewards program is that it gives you the ability to earn additional points in different ways. For instance, if you use Rakuten, an online shopping portal, you may choose to earn Membership Rewards points instead of cash back as long as you have an eligible Amex card. You need a minimum of 500 points before you may carry out a transfer from Rakuten to your Membership Rewards account. You may also earn points faster when you use your card at participating merchants and by signing up for Amex offers.

However, the fact that you don’t get any bonus points when you redeem your points through the Amex Travel Center works as a drawback.

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You may transfer your Membership Rewards points to Avianca LifeMiles or Air Canada Aeroplan and use the miles to get good deals on economy and business domestic fares through United, a Star Alliance partner. If you transfer your points to a British Airways Executive Club account, you may use your Avios to get reasonably good deals when booking flights through American Airlines or Alaska Airlines, which are both oneworld alliance members.

How to Redeem American Express Membership Rewards

What you need to do to redeem Amex points depends on the desired redemption method. Bear in mind that while the value of Membership Rewards points from all sources are the same, their worth varies based on how you choose to use them.

1

Log in to the membershiprewards.com website.

2

Select Earn and Redeem on the homepage.

3

Choose the desired redemption method.

4

Follow the prompts.

5

In some cases, you might have to complete the process by visiting an Amex partner’s website.

You need to use the Membership Rewards website to redeem your points for gift cards, to cover your card charges, to make charitable donations and to transfer them to an Amex travel partner. If you wish to use the Pay With Points at Checkout method, you might need to link your eligible Amex credit card with the partner merchant first. You may also use the Amex Shop With Points platform to make purchases through various merchant partners.

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Transfer your Membership Rewards points to an Amex airline travel partner to get the best value, but bear in mind that their worth varies depending on the partner you select.

FAQs About American Express Membership Rewards

Go through answers to other commonly asked questions about Membership Rewards from American Express to determine if this rewards program might work well for you.

Next Steps

Now that you know how the American Express rewards program works, determine if you might benefit by becoming a member. If you decide to move forward, consider which Amex card linked to the Membership Rewards program suits you best based on factors such as annual fees, reward rates, welcome bonuses and added perks.

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About the Author


Rajiv Baniwal has been writing about different financial topics for over 15 years. Meticulous in his research, he makes sure he provides accurate and up-to-date information. His areas of expertise include mortgages, personal loans, credit cards, insurance and international money transfers.


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*Rates, fees or bonuses may vary or include specific stipulations. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. We recommend visiting the card issuer’s website for the most up-to-date information available.
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