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How to earn American Express Membership Rewards points

Spend mindfully to grow your point bank.

Updated

Fact checked

Our pick for earning Amex Membership Rewards: American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card logo

60,000-point

Welcome offer after spending $4,000 in first 6 months

  • Points on flights, dining and groceries
  • Annual dining and flight credits
  • Access hotel collections, Personalized Travel Service and more
Apply now
See rates & fees

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

Earn points with welcome offers

All of Amex’s Membership Rewards credit cards — save for the Blue from American Express® Card — 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
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
$300 after spending $3,000 in the first 6 months (Offer expires 12/10/2020)
6% on select US streaming services, 3% on transit and US gas stations, 6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Perfect for families: Get up to 6% on everyday purchases and a welcome offer worth $300. This heavy-hitter rewards card has uncontested value. Rates & fees
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
20% at Amazon.com up to $200 back in the first 6 months, plus $100 after spending $1,000 in the same timeframe
20% at Amazon.com up to $200 back in the first 6 months, 2% at US gas stations and select US department stores, 3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
$0
This everyday cashback card is ideal for Black Friday and holiday shopping with 20% back at Amazon.com up to $200 back in the first 6 months. Rates & fees
American Express® Gold Card
60,000 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 up to 4x points on select purchases, a bevy of travel perks, and a welcome offer worth up to $600 with this upper-mid tier travel card. Rates & fees
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
100,000 points after spending $5,000 in the first 3 months, plus earn 25,000 after the first anniversary of card membership (offer expires 1/13/2021)
6x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3x at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2x for all other purchases
$450
Earn 100,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 or more within your first 3 months, plus earn 25,000 after the first anniversary of card membership (offer expires 1/13/2021). Rates & fees
American Express Cash Magnet® Card
$150 after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
1.5% cash back on all purchases
$0
With 1.5% back on everything and a 15 months intro APR on purchases, this no-annual-fee rewards card makes it simple to earn more rewards. 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.

A popular way to maximize earnings is by employing what is popularly known as the Amex Trifecta. This involves pairing up two Amex rewards cards for earning points with a luxury reward card for redemptions. This helps not only maximize your gains, but your redemption value as well!

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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