How to earn American Express Membership Rewards points

Spend mindfully to grow your point bank.

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It can be a little tricky to earn points with the American Express Membership Rewards program due to their welcome offer policies and relatively thin earning categories across eligible cards.

Given their value however, Membership Rewards are worth the trouble. Here are the best ways to earn Amex Membership Rewards points.

7 ways to earn Amex Membership Rewards points

Our pick for earning Membership Rewards

American Express® Green Card

  • Receive up to $100 in statement credits towards any eligible purchase made directly with Away in your first 3 months. Offer ends 1/15/2020.
  • Plus, earn 30,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new card in your first 3 months.
  • Earn 3x Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, from subway swipes and window seats to hotel stays and city tours.
  • Earn 3x Membership Rewards® points at restaurants worldwide.
  • Receive up to $100 per year in statement credits when you use the American Express® Green Card to pay for your CLEAR® membership.
  • Receive up to $100 in statement credits per year on your LoungeBuddy purchases. Use the American Express® Green Card to purchase lounge access through LoungeBuddy to any of the lounges in the LoungeBuddy network — no memberships, elite statuses, or first class tickets required.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • $150 annual fee.
  • Terms apply.
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Earn points with welcome offers

All of Amex’s Membership Rewards credit cards — save for the Blue from American Express® Card and The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express — feature a welcome offer. Review your spending goals and how you intend to use your Amex points when choosing a card.

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
30,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
3x Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, 3x points at restaurants and 1x points on all other purchases
$150
Earn 3x Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, 3x points at restaurants and 1x points on all other purchases. Rates & fees
30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months, plus $50 when you make a Delta purchase in the same timeframe
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn 30,000 miles after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months, plus $50 when you make a direct Delta purchase in the same timeframe. Rates & fees
75,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
$0
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees
60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months
5x points on directly-booked flights or on flights and hotels on Amex Travel. 1x points on all other purchases
$550
Get 5x Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5x points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com. Rates & fees
35,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on directly-booked flights; 4x at restaurants; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points)
$250
Earn 4x points at restaurants worldwide. Rates & fees

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Welcome offer restrictions

American Express has one of the more restrictive welcome offer policies, allowing consumers to earn just one welcome offer bonus per “lifetime” per card type. They’ll also review the total number of American Express cards you’ve opened and closed when determining your welcome offer eligibility.

If you want to know whether you’re eligible for a welcome offer or a bonus, check out the welcome offer tool on American Express’s site without needing to apply for the card directly.

How to earn American Express Membership Rewards points Image: Supplied

Spend in eligible categories

Like most reward credit cards, American Express offers a variety of earning categories that can help you earn Membership Rewards points when you make eligible purchases. Some categories include:

  • Travel booked through Amex’s travel portal.
  • Flights booked directly with airlines.
  • Hotel bookings.
  • Supermarkets.
  • Restaurants.
  • Gas stations.
  • All other purchases.

However, aside from their premium cards — such as the American Express® Gold Card — each American Express rewards card limits you to only a few of these categories. Many cards have just two, and the Blue from American Express® Card offers only one.

Considering you’re likely to receive only one welcome offer from Amex, choosing an Amex card could get a little tricky, since the card that features earning categories you spend on most often might have a meager welcome offer.

Amex Offers

Amex provides a regularly changing set of promotional offers through its site called “Amex Offers.” This program provides preset offers from shopping, dining and other partnered brands you can purchase through your Membership Rewards account.

When you purchase an Amex Offer, you’ll earn a set number of Membership Rewards points depending on the partner and offer. Read more about the Amex Offer program to see how you can earn save money and earn points.

Spending bonuses

Some Amex cards offer “milestone” point bonuses for meeting certain eligibility requirements with your card. Two cards offer this opportunity currently: the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card and Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card.

If you make 20 or more eligible purchases with the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card in a single billing period, you’ll earn 20% more points on those purchases. Requirements for the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card are similar, though you’ll earn 50% more points when you use your card 30 times or more in a billing period.

Business purchases

Some Amex cards, such as The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, offer bonuses on large business purchases. For example, you can earn 50% more points on eligible purchases of $5,000 or more with The Business Platinum® Card from American Express.

Book hotels through Rocketmiles

You can earn up to 10,000 points per night for eligible hotel stays booked through Rocketmiles. You’ll need to have a Membership Rewards account already set up and pay using your card associated with the account.

Refer a friend

You can earn extra points to your American Express Membership Club account when you refer a friend to sign up for a card and they sign up using the link you sent them. The number of points you’ll earn depends on the card.

Bottom line

With a little know-how, you’ll be racking up valuable Amex Membership Rewards points in no time. Once you’re ready to cash in, review your Amex redemption options to find out how to squeeze the most value from your points.

If you’re looking for a rewards program with more flexible earning categories, compare rewards cards to find one that fits your spending.

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