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Guide to American Express Membership Rewards program

Double your point values with this program's 20+ travel transfer partners.

American Express Membership Rewards program overview

Average point valueMembership Rewards credit card earning optionsMembership Rewards redemption optionsTransfer partners
2.0 cents
  • 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
  • Travel
  • Amazon purchases
  • Donations
  • Statement credits
  • Gift cards
  • See full redemption guide
  • Aer Lingus
  • Aeromexico
  • Aeroplan
  • Air France KLM
  • Alitalia
  • All Nippon Airways
  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • British Airways
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue
  • 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.

Transfer partners

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.

Travel partnerTransfer ratio
Aer Lingus Aerclub1000:1000
Aeromexico Club Premier1000:1600
Air Canada Aeroplan1000:1000
Air France KLM1000:1000
Alitalia Millemiglia1000:1000
All Nippon Airways1000:1000
Asia Miles1000:1000
Avianca LifeMiles1000:1000
British Airways Executive Club1000:1000
Delta SkyMiles1000:1000
Emirates Skywards1000:1000
Etihad Airways Guest1000:1000
Hawaiian Airlines1000:1000
Iberia Plus1000:1000
JetBlue Airways TrueBlue250:200
Qantas Frequent Flyer500:500
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1000:1000
Virgin Atlantic Airways Flying Club1000:1000
Choice Privileges1000:1000
Hilton Honors1000:2000
Marriott Bonvoy1000:1000

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.

I’ve opened my account. Now what?

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.

Should I sign up for the American Express Membership Rewards program?

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.

American Express cards that earn Membership Rewards points

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.

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
American Express® Gold Card
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 6 months
4x at restaurants including delivery and Uber Eats; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points), 3x points on directly-booked flights and 1x points on other eligible purchases

Rose Gold is here to stay. Card Members can choose between a Gold or Rose Gold Card.

Earn up to 4x points on select purchases, a bevy of travel perks, and a welcome offer worth up to $600 based on our valuation with this upper-mid tier travel card. Terms apply, see rates & fees
The Platinum Card® from American Express
100,000 points after spending $6,000 in your first 6 months
5x points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, 5x points on directly-booked flights on up to $500,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on other eligible purchases
100,000 points after spending $6,000 in your first 6 months. Terms apply, see rates & fees
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
Earn 2x Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2x applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
Earn 2x Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases on up to $50,000 with no category restrictions. Rates & fees

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You asked, we listed: top five American Express Membership Rewards program questions

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.

Bottom line

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.

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