American Express Membership Rewards – A Detailed Review [2017]

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American Express has been around since 1850, and has a long history of providing premium products and rewards for business and hobby travelers alike.

Since Amex launched its credit card business in 1958, it has been a huge player (and leader) in the market. With its Membership Rewards program, you can earn and redeem points in a multitude of ways.


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What Is American Express Membership Rewards?

American Express Membership Rewards, sometimes called “MR” or “Amex MR,” is the points loyalty program offered by American Express through a variety of credit cards. By owning one of these cards, you are automatically enrolled in the program.

All cards earn at least one point per dollar for a purchase, but each card focuses on different bonus categories and therefore each card will have unique value for different people.

The Amex rewards program has been around for a long time, and in general they have more options than most other programs.

How To Sign In to Your Amex Account

You can sign in to your American Express Rewards account in a couple of ways. The first is by going through the American Express home screen:

American_Express_Account_Login_Screen
Log in to your account on AmericanExpress.com in order to access Membership Rewards.

Simply put in your username and password, and you’ll be taken to your account home screen:

American_Express_Account_Home_Page
The account summary screen for your American Express credit cards.

From here, there are three ways you can get to the awards portal: the top left menu, or through either of the links under the “Membership Rewards” summary box on the upper right.

How_to_Get_to_American_Express_Membership_Rewards
Access your Membership Rewards area from multiple spots in your account summary screen.

Alternatively, you can go to a separate American Express Rewards login screen instead, which looks like the following:

American_Express_Account_Login_Screen_Alternative
It’s possible to log in directly to the American Express Rewards Program area.

View Your Account Summary (Home Page)

In either case, you will be taken to the Amex Rewards home screen.

The home screen tells you how many points you have in the upper right (green box with a yellow star), and it shows you a bunch of suggested ways to redeem points as you scroll down.

American_Express_Membership_Rewards_Main_Screen
Your Membership Rewards account summary. Find your point summary in the top right green box with the yellow star, and scroll down to see options to earn and use points.

If you click on the green points menu in the top right and then click “Points Summary,” you’ll be taken to a screen that has more details on your points and all the cards you have.

On this screen, you can also link your loyalty program accounts for transferring points.

Amex_Points_Summary_Screen_and_Loyalty_Account_Information
You can view where all of your points came from, which cards you have that earn points, and link your desired loyalty program accounts in the Points Summary screen.

With Membership Rewards, all your points pool into a common account, so there is no need to switch between cards or worry about which card has which points. This is a very nice feature that makes it easy to manage your account.

In addition, the way this system is set up, you won’t have to worry about switching between cards to take advantage of benefits that you get from one versus another.

For instance, having The Platinum Card® from American Express allows you to waive Amex Travel booking fees, and that will automatically be detected in your account.

To change between cards on the Amex account home screen, you can click in the upper right hand corner or in the menu at the top left.

Switch Between Cards American Express
To switch between cards, simply click their picture at the top right of the screen, or you can click on “My Cards” to bring up a list of cards.

The last thing to note is that if you are viewing a card that only earns cash-back, the screen will look a bit different, and you’ll have to navigate to Membership Rewards via the menu.

Amex_Cash_Back_Card_Homescreen
Cash-back cards have a slightly different layout since they don’t earn Amex Rewards points.

If you click “Track Reward Dollars” on the reward summary box, you will instead be taken to the cash back summary for that card:

Amex_Cash_Back_Summary
You can still view information and summaries about your cash-back, however.

What Are Membership Rewards Points Worth?

American Express gives you many different options to use your points, so it can be confusing as to what the points are really worth.

There are always options for redeeming at the standard value of $0.01 per points. These include booking flights, gift cards, or Uber. Other redemption options, however, come in at a much lower value.

If you take advantage of the points transfer to Amex travel partners, you can increase the value of your points to $0.02 or more (this depends on how you redeem them through the airlines or hotels).

We will discuss the value of each redemption option in the appropriate section below.

Note: Unfortunately, not all Amex Membership Rewards cards are eligible to transfer points to loyalty programs. However, if you have at least one card that does, you can transfer points from any card since all the benefits are pooled.

Membership Rewards Points Expiration

As long as you have at least one active Amex Rewards card open, your points don’t expire.

Since Membership Rewards points pool into a common account instead of on individual cards, you won’t lose any points on a certain card if you don’t transfer them (like you would with Chase Ultimate Rewards).

If you decide to close your accounts, make sure to transfer your points to an Amex travel partner first. You may have a 30-day grace period once you close your accounts, but you will require at least one other open Amex card.

There is the possibility that you can reinstate your points if you lose them, and you could work with American Express customer service to determine whether this is possible.

How To Earn Membership Rewards Points

Earning rewards points can be done in a variety of ways. However, to begin earning points at all, you will need to have at least one American Express Rewards credit card.

You can apply for one online, and there are 12 main cards. Note that American Express does not always advertise or offer every card to every person. Available cards are:

Credit Card Review Application
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express Apply Here >>
The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express Apply Here >>
The Platinum Card® from American Express Apply Here >>
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN Apply Here >>
Gold Card from American Express Apply Here >>
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express Apply Here >>
American Express® Green Card Apply Here >>
Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN Apply Here >>
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN Apply Here >>
Blue from American Express® Apply Here >>
Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express Apply Here >>
Mercedes-Benz Credit Card from American Express (review coming soon) Apply Here >>

Additional Tips on Earning American Express Rewards Points >>

Earning Rewards Points Using Credit Cards

Credit cards allow you to earn points with sign-up bonuses and through everyday spending. Sign-up bonuses are usually the most beneficial source of points, since they provide more points at once than you could likely earn over a year.

Additionally, there are American Express offers you can add to individual cards that allow you to earn extra points or cash-back with specific businesses.

You will be able to earn more points if you have a variety of different cards, depending on which categories you typically spend in.

Some cards cost nothing each year, while others have larger annual fees, so you should make sure the card or cards you choose can pay for themselves (and then some!) if you want to gain value.

Amex cards differentiate themselves based on the benefits you can get by using them. They can all earn Amex travel rewards, but some cards add additional value to these rewards or reduce fees that you incur.

Amex Rewards Points Categories Overview

It’s helpful to know what categories the cards cover before you commit to a certain membership portal, because much of the decision will depend on your big spending categories.

For instance, if you spend a lot at U.S. supermarkets or gas stations, you’ll see that you can earn 2-3x points with certain cards.

POINTS CATEGORY POINTS EARNED
U.S. Supermarkets 2-3x points
U.S. Gas Stations 2-3x points
Airfare directly through the airline 2-3x points
Select U.S. media advertising 2-3x points
U.S. Shipping 2-3x points
Select U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases 2-3x points
Travel booked through the Amex Travel Portal* 2x points
Rides with Uber* 2x points
U.S. Dining 2x points
Everything 1x points

*Applies to all American Express Membership Rewards cards. For all categories, Terms and Conditions Apply.

Hot Tip:  Figure out the right card for you by comparing the above list to your normal expenditures. Once you know where you’ll get the most points, sign up for the associated card to start earning! You can find more tips like this in our Beginner’s Guide.

Earning Through Sign-Up Bonuses

Again, the sign-up bonus is likely the best part about getting a new credit card. Many American Express cards have a sign-up bonus you can only get once in a lifetime, so you should plan accordingly.

The sign-up bonus on Membership Rewards cards varies from 5,000-100,000 points, depending on the card and the time of year. However, most bonuses seem to be around the 5,000-25,000 point range, although a targeted offer may provide more.

In order to earn the sign-up bonus, you typically must make a minimum spend, or alternatively it comes after your first purchase. Your minimum spend in the first three months usually needs to be between $1,000 to $5,000 (depending on the card).

Using American Express Rewards Program Cards: Additional Tips

Selecting the right card or combination of cards can be a little tricky. However, in general you will find good overall value with The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express as long as you are meeting the minimum purchase requirements each month.

Getting a 20% to 50% bonus on your points makes them earn more than most of the other cards if you aren’t utilizing a specific category frequently.

For instance, even though you could earn 2x to 3x points on U.S. gas stations with the Gold cards, you can earn 2x on The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express and then get a 50% bonus on the points earned on all other purchases.

The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express is also only $95 annually versus $160+ for the others.

Hot Tip:  Always follow good credit-building strategies when getting new cards. You’ll boost your credit score while doing so, which allows you to earn better rewards offers, lower interest rates, and improve your financial future.

A great strategy is to match a no annual fee card like The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express (which earns a minimum of 1.2x if you make it to 20 purchases) with a premium card that either matches your spend categories or offers benefits that you find valuable.

As an example, you could use The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express along with The Platinum Card® from American Express if you are a frequent business traveler and work pays for your flights.

Since you wouldn’t earn the points for the flights anyway, you can instead enjoy lounge access and elite status in HHonors and SPG.

If you are a business owner who travels a lot, you should get a card that offers bonuses for things like gas and flights. Note that you can earn extra sign-up bonuses by opening cards for yourself as an individual and through your business.

Bottom Line: Great strategies arise when you review your spending and get cards that cater toward your own bigger purchase categories. Having multiple cards allows you to stack points to earn bonuses and other benefits.

Earning Rewards Points Using Uber

One way to earn extra points with an American Express card is to pay for your Uber rides with one of the cards mentioned above. You will earn 2x Membership Rewards points for all Uber rides.

All cards are eligible, including business and corporate cards . However, you must sign up in order to participate.

Hot Tip:  You can also connect your Uber account to earn 1x Starpoints through SPG at the same time as getting 2x on AMEX Membership Rewards. The only caveats are that you have to sign up your card to do so, and you must have stayed at a Starwood property once this year before you can sign up.

Earning Rewards Points Using American Express OPEN Merchants

All business cards with Amex are part of “American Express OPEN,” which allows you to earn 2x extra Membership Rewards points or a 5% discount on purchases with FedEx, Hertz, HP, 1-800-FLOWERS, and Barnes and Noble’s website (BN.com).

This feature is automatically activated on your business card, and you will earn the bonus after you make a purchase with the card. You can, however, change between the reward that you want.

Earning Points By Using American Express Offers

When you log in to your account home page, you can scroll to the bottom of the page to find a section titled “Amex Offers & Benefits.” This replaced what used to be the American Express shopping mall (similar to the Chase Shopping Mall).

Now, you can add offers from select merchants, and when you make purchases with that merchant you will earn whatever award is offered. These offers can be additional rewards points, cash-back, or a cash discount.

There are often some good offers, including 2x Amazon points, discounts on your cell phone or cable bills, and so forth. Amex also advertises their services in this area, and you can find referral links here.

Note that to take advantage of the offer, you must use the specific card the offer is attached to.

Amex_Offers_and_Benefits
You can find Amex Offers & Benefits at the bottom of your credit card account summary screen. Each card has different offers.

Earning Points By Booking Through the American Express Travel Portal

All American Express Membership Rewards cards will earn 2x points when booking through the Amex Travel portal.

Unfortunately, even if you are using a card that earns 3x points for flights, you will still only earn 2x points in the portal. That’s because Amex requires you to purchase travel directly through the airline in order to get the higher bonus.

One advantage to look for here is whether your booking charge comes directly from the airline. In that case, you’ll get the bonus for booking through the portal and the bonus category!

In their travel portal, Amex negotiates deals for their cardmembers that are only available online. Additionally, you can still earn frequent flyer miles when booking through the portal, which is a bonus.

You’ll only earn hotel points if you book through the Fine Hotels and Resorts benefit.

Not everything in the portal will be eligible for 2x points: exceptions include car rentals, non-prepaid hotels, and Fine Hotels and Resorts bookings.

However, the 2x points may be a better value than your hotel points, and you may get a cheaper room.

If you find a better deal somewhere else for the same room and dates, the portal offers a low price guarantee for its prepaid hotel rooms so you can get a refund for the difference.

One last thing to note is that booking through the rewards portal will cost you a service fee. Depending on the deal and how you value your points, this may not be worth it for you.

You’ll pay $6.99 for a domestic plane ticket and $10.99 for an international one, but hotel bookings are free. Remember also that folks who have The Platinum Card® from American Express get these service fees waived.

One cool thing about the travel portal is that it will show you what benefits you have when you log in, including waived fees and which lounges you have access to with your cards.

American_Express_Rewards_Travel_Portal
The Amex travel portal allows you to book flights, hotels, cars, cruises, and vacation packages. You will earn 2x points with all your Amex cards.

Bottom Line:  The travel portal is a good way to earn extra Membership Rewards points at 2x per dollar. However, you should check around to ensure you are getting the best deal, and consider the cost of the service fee as well. Also consider any restrictions before booking.

Earning Points by Referring a Friend

The referral links can be found at the bottom of each of your account summary screens in the “Amex Offers & Benefits” section.

Click on the “Refer Now” button, and you’ll be taken to another screen where you can enter multiple emails and choose which card you want to refer.

Amex_Refer_a_Friend_Link
Friend referral links are in the “Amex Offers and Benefits” section.

That screen will tell you what your current referral offer is (often 5,000-10,000 points, or $50-$100 for cash-back cards). It will also tell you the offer your friend can get, so they can compare that to any offers they already have.

Amex_Refer_a_Friend_Details
Once you open the referral section, you will be able to choose which card you want to refer, and it will display the current bonus for you and your referral.

Note that American Express seems to have some trouble with these referral links, and they may not always work once the person receives the email.

Taking Advantage of Other American Express Benefits

Many cards have specific benefits, such as travel credits, Boingo WiFi, and complimentary elite status. The American Express account portal makes it easy to review and activate these benefits right from your account summary screen.

American_Express_Card_Benefits_Screen
The Benefits screen displays all the benefits for your card and has links for further details.

Go to the menu bar and click “Benefits” to see a benefits summary screen. From this screen, you can review everything your card offers and find links to sign up for all applicable benefits.

Amex Benefits Portal Navigation
Clicking the “Benefits” button in the menu will take you to a screen that displays all the benefits.

Alternatively, you can get to these benefits screens via the “Amex Offers & Benefits” list at the bottom of each cards account page.

How To Redeem American Express Membership Rewards Points

With the American Express Rewards Program, most rewards options will be available to you regardless of the card you have. There are a few travel options that are only available to certain card members, which we will discuss in the sections below.

Another thing Amex  provides is a portal where you can check the value of your points, which is nice transparency. They are not claiming to provide the highest value on their points, and this portal allows you to see exactly what the values are.

You can find this portal on the main screen of Membership Rewards at the very bottom.

Additional Tips on Using Amex Membership Rewards Points >>

Option 1: Using Pay With Points for Statement Credit

You can use your points to pay off statement balances directly. Unlike most other points programs, however, points are not worth $0.01. Instead, using this feature only provides a value of $0.006 per point.

Amex_MR_Use_Points_for_Charges
You can use your points to pay off charges on your statement. These come in at $0.006 per point.

Option 2: Gift Cards and Other Vouchers

If you’re going to use points for gift cards, the value of your points will be between $0.005 and $0.01 per point, depending on the gift card you choose.

Membership_Rewards_Gift_Cards
You can find a variety of gift cards in Amex Rewards. Buying them with points brings a value of $0.005 to $0.01 per point.

There are a lot of different categories of cards, and you can choose the type you’re looking for on the American Express gift card portal:

MR_Gift_Card_Options
Scrolling down displays the different categories available to more quickly navigate to what you want.

There are also vouchers available for other businesses, but these values change depending on the choice of the partner. For instance, you could buy a one-day ski pass at Vail for 15,900 points, which isn’t that great of a value.

Or, you could get 10 AMC movie tickets for 11,800 points, which could be a great value depending on your theater. If each movie ticket would cost you $12, then the value of those vouchers is $120, making the points worth a little over $0.01 each.

Amex_MR_Vouchers_for_AMC
Buying AMC vouchers in bulk actually provides a value of slightly over $0.01 per point.

Option 3: Shopping on Amazon.com and Other Partners

Amex_MR_Pay_With_Points
Pay with Points options show up under the “More Ways to Use Points” menu. Values range from $0.005 to $0.007 per point.

These options are found in the Membership Rewards portal when you click the “More Ways to Use Points” button at the top.

Amazon is a big partner of American Express right now, and you can pay for purchases directly with Amex Membership Rewards points. However, the points will only be worth $0.007 each.

Similarly, you can use your points on BestBuy.com right now to receive the same value.

Another service is American Express tickets. Partners include Ticketmaster, Telecharge.com, and AXS (another ticket purchasing portal). All these options are worth $0.005 per point.

Option 4: Shopping through American Express

You can also use the American Express shopping mall to redeem your points. Points in this mall are only worth $0.005, although you can mix and match paying with points and cash.

American_Express_Membership_Rewards_Shopping_Portal
Points are typically worth $0.005 each when you shop in the Amex Rewards Shopping Mall.

Option 5: Donate to Charity

This is a great option for those with some extra points. You can donate to many different charities at a value of $0.01 per point for the first 500,000 points in a year. The minimum donation is 1,000 points.

Amex_MR_Donate_to_Charity
If you have extra points, you can always donate them to charity for a good cause. You’ll get $0.01 per point for this.

Option 6: Pay for Uber Rides and Other Point of Sale Partners

When you pay for rides with Uber using your points, you will get a full $0.01 value for your points. You can also do this with New York City Taxis and McDonald’s.

Chili’s offers the service as well, but at a value of $0.0085 per point.

Option 7: Transfer Your Points to American Express Plenti

Plenti Rewards are a new option from American Express, which can be used to pay for services with a specific set of vendors, such as AT&T and Macy’s. This seems to be a somewhat redundant option, since it is just another rewards program.

Points now exchange between Membership Rewards and Plenti at a 1:1 ratio, which is nice. Plenti points are worth $0.01 each.

In order to earn Plenti points, you can use The Plenti® Credit Card from Amex.

Amex_Plenti_Points_for_MR_Points
Points can be transferred from Membership Rewards to Plenti at a ratio of 1:1.

Option 8: Booking American Express Travel Rewards with Points

All Membership Rewards cards are allowed to book Amex rewards travel using points. When booking with points, you’ll get $0.01 per point for flights, and $0.007 for everything else.

Amex_MR_Hotel_Booking_Screen
Booking a hotel through the Amex Travel Rewards Portal. Points for hotels are worth $0.007 and flights are worth $0.01.

Note that booking rewards travel with points will still incur the service fee if you don’t have The Platinum Card® from American Express, which allows these fees to be waived.

AirBnB is included in this list, even though it is more of a shopping partner since you don’t book them through the portal. They are also valued at $0.007 per point.

Use_Amex_Points_with_AirBnB
American Express has a partnership with AirBnB as well.

Option 9: Travel Rewards Partners (Not Available for All Cards)

American_Express_Membership_Rewards_Travel
From the “Travel” menu, you can access the booking portal or the Amex Membership Rewards transfer partners.

This is almost always the highest-value option, as you can typically multiply the value of your points many times over using loyalty programs.

If your card is eligible, you will find this option in the “Travel” menu under Amex Membership Rewards, alongside the Book with Points option.

When you first click the “Get Started” button, you will be brought to the Membership Rewards transfer partners overview screen, which explains the process of transferring your points:

Transfer_Points_to_Membership_Rewards_Partners
When you first enter the travel portal screen, you will find a summary of the process required.

As you scroll down, you’ll begin to see the list of Amex travel partners available. When you click on any of them, you’ll be able to fill out a form and decide how many points to transfer. The minimum is 1,000 points.

You’ll need to link your loyalty program accounts of course, but once linked they will stay that way. You can also do this from your points summary profile, which you can get to by selecting the green box that shows how many points you have.

American_Express_Rewards_Partner_List
Scroll down in the Membership Rewards Transfer Partner home screen to find a list of partners. Click on the desired one to enter your information and transfer points (minimum of 1,000).

Each partner has a 1:1 transfer ratio, with the exception of the following partners (noted by the number of Amex points to program points):

These options are slightly less valuable due to their reduced transfer ratio (with the exception of Hilton’s, although its value is still low), so try to transfer to a 1:1 partner.

Sometimes, Amex may offer transfer bonuses to certain partners; keep your eyes open to find these extra valuable deals!

Another thing to note on transferring points: for every point you transfer, you will pay a $0.0006 fee, up to a maximum fee of $99 (equal to 165,000 points). Unfortunately, this is another slight hit to the value of the points.

American Express allows you to offset the fee with points, but this is a terrible value at only $0.005 per point.

Compare AMEX Membership Rewards Travel Rewards With Chase Ultimate Rewards >>

Exceptions to the Membership Rewards Transfer Partners

Be aware that unfortunately not all Membership Rewards cards are eligible to transfer to Amex travel partners. According to Amex’s Terms (which were recently updated and more clear), the following cards are not eligible for travel partner points transfer:

  • Gold Card from American Express
  • The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN
  • Some Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
  • Some The Blue for Business® Credit Card from American Express
  • Some Blue from American Express® cards (likely determined at the time of application)

Most shocking of these is The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN, given that their sole focus is on rewards travel and benefits.

The “Some” means that it depends on each individual account; some might have it and some might not. If you’re signing up to one of these cards, make sure it has it and that you don’t have to pay an extra fee to institute it!

Membership_Rewards_Cards_with_No_Travel_Partners
The Terms and Conditions that state which cards do or don’t have the ability to transfer points to Amex travel partners have been made more clear, but unfortunately still are not for all cards.

American Express Membership Rewards Airline Transfer Partners List

Below is the full list of the AMEX airline transfer partners:

Amex Transfer Partner (Airline) Transfer Ratio Transfer Time
AeroMexico 1:1.6 2-12 days
Air Canada 1:1 Almost Instant
Alitalia 1:1 Almost Instant
ANA 1:1 2-3 days
British Airways 1.25:1 Almost Instant
Cathay Pacific* 1:1 1 day to 1 week
Delta Air Lines 1:1 Almost Instant
EL AL 50:1 Almost Instant
Emirates 1:1  Almost Instant
Flying Blue AirFrance/KLM  1:1  Almost Instant
Hawaiian  1:1  Almost Instant
Iberia 1.25:1 1-3 days
JetBlue 1.25:1 Almost Instant
Singapore Airlines  1:1 1-2 days
Virgin America  1:0.5 Almost Instant
Virgin Atlantic  2:1 1-2 days
Etihad Airways  1:1 Almost Instant

*AsiaMiles includes 20 airline programs such as Air China, Air New ZealandGulf Air, Mexicana, and more. Terms and Conditions Apply for all transfers.

AMEX Airline Transfer Partners
AMEX Airline Transfer Partners

Additional Membership Rewards Airline Transfer Partners

Don’t be fooled into thinking this is as far as your miles go! Consider that between the above partners, you have access to all three major alliances (Oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star) as well as the non-alliance partners of each airline.

Two notable programs are Asia Miles and Etihad Guest, which offer many additional valuable partners.

Asia Miles Airline Partners Etihad Guest Airline Partners
Aer Lingus Air New Zealand
Airberlin Air Serbia
Air China Air Seychelles
Air New Zealand Airberlin
Alaska Airlines Alitalia
American Airlines All Nippon Airways (ANA)
Bangkok Airways American Airlines
British Airways Asiana Airlines
Cathay Pacific Bangkok Airways
Gulf Air Brussels Airlines
Iberia Czech Airlines
Japan Airlines (JAL) Etihad Regional
Jet Airways FlyBe
LATAM Garuda Indonesia
Malaysia Airlines GOL
Qantas Airways Hainan Airlines
Qatar Airways Jet Airways
Royal Brunei Airlines Korean Air
Royal Jordanian Airlines Malaysia Airlines
S7 Airlines Oman Air
SriLankan Airlines Philippine Airlines
Royal Air Maroc
South African Airways
SriLankan Airlines
UIA
Virgin Australia

American Express Membership Rewards Hotel Transfer Partners List

Here is the list of the AMEX hotel transfer partners:

Amex Transfer Partner (Hotel) Transfer Ratio Transfer Time
Starwood Preferred Guest 3:1 Almost Instant
Choice 1:1 Almost Instant
Hilton HHonors 1:1.5 Almost Instant

*Terms and Conditions Apply for all transfers.

Conclusion: American Express Membership Rewards Portal Holds Value

As you can see, the American Express Memberships Rewards program is fairly extensive, with lots of cards and many options for earning points.

Your card options include some that are good for both business and personal use. Redemption options are plenty, although most do not have a very good value and come in at less than $0.01 per point.

Note that American Express has a restriction that only allows you to earn one sign-up bonus per card per lifetime, so it is smart to try to earn the highest known offers on the cards before signing up.

Overall, you should use American Express Membership Rewards if you are planning to transfer points to travel partners, and redeem them at a value above $0.02 per point.

Otherwise, Chase Ultimate Rewards or SPG may be an easier and more valuable choice.

Check Out Other Rewards Portals >>

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
  • Receive 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • No matter where you're traveling, when you use your Premier Rewards Gold Card there are no foreign transaction fees from American Express.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 a year in baggage fees and more at one airline.
  • Get a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, if available with The Hotel Collection at americanexpress.com/hc. Terms apply.
  • There is a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $195.
  • Terms and limitations apply. See Rates & Fees
Apply Now Full review

Frequently Asked Questions

What is American Express Membership Rewards?
American Express Membership Rewards is the points loyalty and awards program provided by Amex for a number of its credit cards. When you sign up for one of these cards, you will be able to earn and redeem points.

You have nine different options for rewards categories, as well as many different choices in each category. Use points for travel rewards to get the most value.

There are 12 different cards that earn Membership Rewards points. Each has their own set of perks, and some even have bonus categories to earn 2-3x points instead of the standard 1x points on most cards.

How much are Membership Rewards points worth?
Membership Rewards points are worth anywhere from $0.005 to over $0.02 each, depending on the rewards choices you make. Your highest value rewards will be transferring points to travel partners.

How do you use Membership Rewards?
Membership Rewards is automatically enrolled on all the eligible cards, so as soon as you are approved and begin using the cards, you will begin earning points.

At any time, you can go into the Membership Rewards portal to view your account summaries and the various ways to earn and redeem points. Once you have enough points, you can start making redemptions.

How do you earn Membership Rewards points?
Points can be earned in a variety of ways. A great way to earn points is through sign-up bonuses. You always earn 1x points minimum on purchases, but some bonus categories earn 2-3x points.

These include supermarkets, restaurants, flights, hotels, and more. Additional bonus points can be earned when you get American Express offers, which are available to you when you log in to your Amex account.

These offers can be to places such as Amazon, Target, and whatever business Amex decides to make a partnership with. The following is a list of Membership Rewards credit cards:

How do you use Membership Rewards points?
Membership Rewards points can be used in nine different options, each of which has multiple choices within that category of redemption.

In general, you can use it to pay for a variety of different merchandise options, gift cards, charity donations, and business partners such as Amazon. You can also use it to pay for trips booked in the Amex Travel portal.

The highest value method of using points is to transfer them to the American Express travel partners, which include a number of different airlines and hotels.

Who are the Membership Rewards transfer partners?
Membership Rewards airline transfer partners include:

British Airways Executive Club, Asia Miles, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Club Premiere Aero Mexico, MilleMiglia Club Alltalia, All Nippon Airways (ANA), Air France / KLM Flying Blue, Delta SkyMiles, JetBlue TrueBlue, Virgin America Elevate, Air Canada Aeroplan, Hawaiian Airlines, Emirates Skywards, Iberia Plus, KrisFlyer, Etihad Guest.

Membership Rewards hotel transfer partners are: HHonors, Choice Privileges, SPG.

What is the Membership Rewards phone number?
You can call Membership Rewards at +1-800-297-3276. You can also use the American Express phone number on the back of each of your cards, or find more online.

What is the American Express login?
You can log into your Amex credit card and all other portals through the AmericanExpress.com login.