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How to earn American Express Membership Rewards points

Earn your welcome offer and create a spending strategy to maximize your points.

The American Express Membership Rewards program offers big value, allowing you to use your points as statement credits, on gift cards, and more importantly, on travel. But earning these points can prove a bit difficult thanks to Amex welcome offer policies and relatively thin earning categories across eligible cards. Given their worth, 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

1. Earn points with welcome offers

If an Amex card can earn Membership Rewards points on purchases, it typically also comes with a welcome offer. Reaching the spend requirements of a card’s welcome offer can give you a huge boost to your point stash and is the quickest way to earn enough points to book yourself a vacation.

The tradeoff: 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. That means you’ll have just a few opportunities to earn Membership Rewards with a welcome offer.

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.

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Up to $350: 20% back on Amazon.com purchases in the first 6 months for up to $200 back, plus $150 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in the first 6 months
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 (redeem as statement credit)
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn up to $350. In your first 6 months, you can earn a $150 statement credit when you spend $3,000, and earn 20% back on Amazon purchases made with your card, up to $200 total. Having 6 months to earn a welcome offer is a rare benefit as most cards give you only 3. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Up to $250: 20% back on Amazon.com purchases in the first 6 months for up to $150 back, plus $100 statement credit after spending $2,000 within the first 6 months
3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year (then 1%), 2% at US gas stations and select US department stores and 1% on all other purchases (redeem as statement credit)
$0
Earn up to $250. You'll get 20% back on Amazon.com purchases in the first six months for up to $150 back, and $100 after you spend $2,000 in the first six months. This is a higher-than-average welcome offer for a card with no annual fee. Terms apply, see rates & fees
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 all other purchases
$250

Rose Gold is Back

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
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2. Spend in eligible categories

American Express offers a variety of earning categories across its rewards cards 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.

Membership Rewards earning strategy

Since each Amex Membership Rewards card only earns in a few categories, it pays to pick up a few different Amex cards to cover as many earning categories as possible. 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.

3. 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 after you enroll in the program.

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.

4. Monthly credit card 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.

  • Amex EveryDay® 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.
  • Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card. 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.

5. Large purchase bonuses

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.

6. 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.

7. 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 and there’s also a cap to the number of points you can earn this way.

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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