- Travel booked with Amex travel portal
- Flights booked directly with airlines
- Hotel bookings
- US supermarkets
- US restaurants
- US gas stations
- See full earning guide
- Transfer points to travel partners
- Amazon purchases
- Statement credits
- Gift cards
- See full redemption guide
- Aer Lingus
- Air France KLM
- All Nippon Airways
- Asia Miles
- Avianca LifeMiles
- British Airways
- Delta Air Lines
- Etihad Airways
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Iberia Plus
- Qantas Loyalty
- Singapore Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic Airways
- Choice Privileges
- Hilton Honors
- Marriott Bonvoy
The American Express Membership Rewards program is a valuable and well-known loyalty program that offers a multitude of strong transfer options for your points. Its combination of flexibility and value makes it one of the more coveted credit card rewards programs out there, though it takes a little know-how to get the most out of it. Here’s how the program works and ways you can earn and spend your Membership Rewards points.
You have a wide variety of travel partners to choose from provided you’re using an Amex card that can transfer points. We’ve listed transfer values as of the time of writing.
|Aer Lingus Aerclub||1000:1000|
|Aeromexico Club Premier||1000:1600|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||1000:1000|
|Air France KLM||1000:1000|
|All Nippon Airways||1000:1000|
|British Airways Executive Club||1000:1000|
|Etihad Airways Guest||1000:1000|
|JetBlue Airways TrueBlue||250:200|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||500:500|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||1000:1000|
|Virgin Atlantic Airways Flying Club||1000:1000|
Data obtained May 2021. Values are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.
What to watch out for
Unfortunately, you can’t transfer points earned using some of Amex Membership Rewards cards.
The following cards are not eligible to transfer points:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Blue from American Express® Card
- Some Blue from American Express cards
- Business Management Account
- American Express® Gold Card
- Optima Credit Card
- Optima® Platinum Card®
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
- Zync from American Express®
American Express also has a limit on the number of welcome offers you’re able to earn with their cards — specifically, you’re allowed one welcome offer bonus per “lifetime” per card type. In most cases, this means you’ll only be able to take advantage of one welcome offer, though you might be eligible for others depending on the card type.
Fill out the welcome offer eligibility tool on the American Express website if you’re unsure whether you qualify for a card’s welcome offer.
American Express makes it easy to access your Membership Rewards account from your online dashboard. Once you have your account set up, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the features of your Membership Rewards account. Below your points snapshot, you’ll find a navigation bar of five tabbed redemption options. Points required for your purchases vary by redemption option and retailer.
- Pay with Points at Checkout. Put your points toward online orders at such retailers as Amazon, Grubhub and Walmart. You may also see local merchants as an option — for us, the option to use points for New York City taxis.
- Redeem for Gift Cards. Redeem your points for future spending at big names in clothing, travel, dining and entertainment. Boost your points redemption by 10% or more through curated promotions and “sale” cards.
- Cover Your Card Charges. Cash in your points for credit toward eligible charges on your current statement.
- Book Travel. Use your points toward insider fares on flights, hotels, cars, cruises and packages.
- Go Shopping. Search for limited-time offers and membership perks at select retailers, and Amex credits all or part of your purchase with your points on your next statement.
The biggest benefactors of the American Express Membership Rewards program are frequent travelers. After all, one of the main draws of the American Express Membership Rewards program is the sheer number of transfer partners available. While not all partners accept point transfers at a 1:1 ratio, Amex has a whopping 21 partners. Chase Ultimate Rewards has just 12 transfer partners in comparison. If you value flexibility and spending your points on travel, the Amex Membership Rewards program should be high on your list of reward programs.
If you enjoy simplicity in your rewards programs and don’t want to have to go into your account to juggle your points, you might look for a credit card that simply earns rewards in the form of cash back statement credit, several of which you can find with Amex.
Of American Express’s 30 plus cards, about a third of those can help you earn Membership Rewards points – six personal cards and four business cards.
These cards offer varied earning categories, with many offering just one or two. Some of these cards also offer additional point bonuses when you make a certain number of purchases in a given month. Not all Membership Rewards cards feature a welcome offer, so you’ll want to carefully examine your spending habits versus available cards to determine your best choice for earning points. Check out all of your Membership Rewards card options to find a card that best fits your purchasing needs.
Do American Express Memberships Rewards points expire?
No. Your Membership Rewards points have no expiration date. However, you can lose earned points by returning purchased items, making late payments or canceling your account.
Is the Amex Membership Rewards program free?
It depends on your card. Many cards are enrolled automatically for free when you activate your account. Others need to pay an annual fee to participate. Check out the Amex Membership Rewards site for a full list of cards that need to pay.
Can I transfer points to a friend?
No. You currently can’t transfer accumulated points to a friend’s account.
Can I transfer points between Amex cards?
No. Your Amex points are stored in a single account pool. You can transfer those points to partners so long as you own a card that allows you to do so.
What is the best way to use Amex points?
For pure value, transferring your points to travel partners is often the “best” use of your Amex points. You can read more about redemption values at our full Amex redemption guide.
The American Express Memberships Rewards program couples strong point values with great flexibility and opportunities for bonus point earnings. Make sure to apply for an Amex card that can transfer points to take advantage of the true value of the program and explore the world.
If Amex cards don’t offer the perks and earning categories you want, compare your reward card options to find one that fits your spending habits.
Read more on how to earn and redeem points