Amex Membership Rewards Credit Cards: Comparing the Benefits and Perks

Singapore Airlines Business Class A350

The American Express Membership Rewards program is a staple for many who enjoy award travel. While you’ll probably want to start with Chase Ultimate Rewards, you should still learn about Membership Rewards so you’re ready when the time is right to expand your strategy.

American Express offers several cards, both personal and business, that earn Membership Rewards. Each one comes with bonus categories as well as a number of perks and benefits.

With so many great options to earn, you’ll be able to redeem Membership Rewards for some fantastic award travel!

American Express Membership Rewards Cards

To earn Membership Rewards points, you must have at least 1 affiliated credit card from American Express.

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
The Platinum Card® from American Express

Need Inspiration?
> 57 Best Ways To Redeem Amex Points
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • Up to $200 Uber Savings Annually.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $550
  • Detailed Review
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
  • Earn 25,000 points.
  • 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines.
  • 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and at US supermarkets. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, then $195
  • Detailed Review
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Detailed Review

Recommended Amex Cards (Business)

CREDIT CARDCARD INFO
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN

Need Inspiration?
> 57 Best Ways To Redeem Amex Points
  • Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Detailed Review
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points
  • Get 3x points - Choose 1 out of 5 categories. Terms Apply.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
  • Detailed Review
The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 2X points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Detailed Review

Let’s dive into the benefits and perks and see how each Membership Rewards card can help you.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express is what made Amex famous, and it’s loaded with perks. You can jumpstart your Membership Rewards points balance with the sign-up bonus and utilize its bonus categories to keep earning more points.

This card earns 5X points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel. Additionally, you can also book hotels with Amex Travel and earn 5X points per dollar. Other purchases will earn 1X points per dollar.

If you enjoy redeeming Hilton Honors points or SPG Starpoints, you can enjoy the perks of Gold status with each hotel chain thanks to The Platinum Card® from American Express.

American Express Centurion Lounge Houston
American Express Centurion Lounges are considered some of the best in the U.S.

While flying around the country or the world, you will enjoy access to Amex’s Centurion Lounges and a Priority Pass Select membership, which provides access to over 1,000 lounges around the world. Each of these lounge memberships also allows you to bring guests with you so your traveling companions can join the fun.

When you fly Delta Air Lines, you will also have access to Delta Sky Clubs. Keep in mind that you must be flying on Delta to use this benefit.

To offset baggage fees and other incidental fees, you’ll receive an airline fee credit of $200 per calendar year. It only covers fees from your selected airline, so make sure you choose your airline before making a reimbursable purchase.

Another perk that makes travel easier is a $100 fee reimbursement for Global Entry or an $85 reimbursement for TSA PreCheck. This credit is provided every 5 years.

Hot Tip: A Global Entry membership provides access to TSA PreCheck to make departures and international arrivals easy.

Additionally, you will receive $200 in credit for Uber each calendar year. The credit is divided across 12 months, which means you receive $15 per month for 11 months. In December, you receive a $35 credit to Uber.

As a cardholder, you will also receive access to Fine Hotels & Resorts. Booking stays with this program comes with a number of benefits including upgrades and early check-in when available, guaranteed late check-out, free Wi-Fi, daily breakfast for 2, and an extra amenity valued at $100 (varies by property).

Other benefits include Boingo Wi-Fi access at more than 1 million hotspots around the world, the International Airline Program (for discounted business and first class tickets), exclusive ticket access to concerts, and more.

The annual fee for this card is $550.

Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express

The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express is a points-earning powerhouse. Not only does it offer a sign-up bonus to give your account a nice chunk of points, but it comes with several lucrative bonus categories.

You will earn 3X points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines. Additionally, you can earn 2X points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, and U.S. supermarkets. Other purchases will earn 1X points per dollar.

Cardholders also receive an annual $100 airline fee credit that can be used toward baggage fees and other incidentals. Note that inflight Wi-Fi such as Gogo does not qualify as a reimbursable expense (since it’s not provided directly by the airline).

As with The Platinum Card® from American Express, you must select your desired airline prior to making a reimbursable purchase. You may only choose 1 airline per calendar year.

The annual fee is $195.

The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express

The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express has a creative points-earning structure in addition to a nice sign-up bonus.

You can earn 3X points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets with a cap of $6,000 per year, and 2X points per dollar at gas stations with no annual spending limit. Other purchases will earn 1X points per dollar.

When you use the card for 30 purchases in a month, you will receive a 50% bonus on the Membership Rewards you earned with the card that month. You are eligible for this bonus every month.

The annual fee for this card is $95.

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express is very similar to The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express. It also comes with a sign-up bonus.

With this card, you’ll earn 2X points per dollar on purchases at U.S. supermarkets with the same annual limit of $6,000 in spending. Other purchases will earn 1X points per dollar.

Using the card 20 or more times per month will earn you a 20% bonus on the Membership Rewards you have earned with the card.

This card does not have an annual fee.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN is very similar to the personal version of the card and has long been a leader in the business credit card market.

It earns 5X points per dollar on flights and hotels (not including Fine Hotels & Resorts) booked through Amex Travel. Additionally, cardholders will earn 1.5X points per dollar on purchases of $5,000 or more, which is a great benefit for many small businesses. Other purchases will earn 1X points per dollar.

Just like the personal version of the card, this card provides Hilton and Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status, Centurion Lounge access, Delta Sky Club access (when flying Delta), a Priority Pass Select Membership, a $200 airline fee credit, and a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

You will also receive access to Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots, the International Airline Program, Fine Hotels & Resorts, and exclusive access to concert tickets.

While this card doesn’t provide the monthly Uber credit, you will receive 10 Gogo inflight internet passes. Each pass provides complimentary Wi-Fi access throughout a flight.

The annual fee for this card is $450.

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN

The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN is an excellent card for small business owners who want to earn tons of Membership Rewards points.

While it doesn’t have the same level of perks as The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN, it does have several bonus categories that make it a powerhouse.

This card comes with 5 bonus categories. You can pick 1 of the 5 to earn 3X points per dollar, and the remaining 4 will earn 2X points per dollar.

Your options include flights purchased directly with airlines, purchases at U.S. gas stations, shipping costs, advertising in select media, and computer products from select providers. There is a $100,000 limit per year on earning bonus points in these categories.

Other purchases will earn 1X points per dollar.

This card has an annual fee of $175.

The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express

You might not find a better no-annual-fee business card on the market than The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express.

With this card, every purchase becomes a bonus category since it earns 2X points per dollar on all purchases up to $50,000 in spending each calendar year. This is a great way for business owners to really boost the points they earn.

How to Combine and Transfer Membership Rewards

American Express makes it easy to have multiple cards that earn Membership Rewards. All of the points you earn will automatically pool into 1 account, so you don’t have to take extra steps to combine your earnings.

It’s also very easy to transfer Membership Rewards to airline partners. You can start the process by logging into your account. Once in your account, select “Transfer Points” so you can choose an airline transfer partner.

You will need to link the appropriate frequent flyer account number the first time you transfer to an airline. Additionally, to process a transfer you will need some information from your credit card.

With a transfer complete, you’ll be ready to book an award flight!

What Can You Do With Membership Rewards?

Lufthansa First Class A380 TV
You can use your Amex points to enjoy Lufthansa First Class.

American Express Membership Rewards can be transferred to 17 different airline partners or 3 hotel partners. To get the most value out of your points, choose an airline partner that has a 1:1 transfer ratio. Transferring to hotels is generally not a good use of your hard-earned points.

Hot Tip: If you want some fun award flight ideas, check out the best ways to redeem Membership Rewards points!

Using the AmexTravel Portal

You can also book flights through AmexTravel with each point valued at 1 cent per point. This is rarely a good idea, since your points will likely be worth more elsewhere.

If you have The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN, you can receive a 35% rebate on the points used to book a flight on your selected airline, or any business class or first class ticket.

Which Membership Rewards Card Should You Get?

American Express has a Membership Rewards card for just about everyone. If you travel a lot and enjoy having some extra perks, The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN are great choices. Earning 5X points on paid flights is a great way to boost your earnings!

If you don’t want all of the perks, The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express or The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN both provide great opportunities to earn tons of points.

The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express is a great card for any small business owner since all purchases earn 2X points per dollar. With no annual fee, it pairs nicely with other Membership Rewards cards.

Final Thoughts

Earning Membership Rewards is an easy way to earn some amazing award travel. American Express has put together a great lineup of cards to meet your needs, whatever they are.

The great bonus categories and numerous benefits and perks make Membership Rewards cards a high priority for anyone who wants to travel. With these cards, you’ll be able to travel in style.

From lounge access around the world to tons of airline transfer partners—these cards help make travel fun.

*Featured image courtesy of ausbt.com.au

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

FAQ

Which airlines and hotels partner with Membership Rewards?
The Membership Rewards program has 17 airline and 3 hotel travel partners. For more info, check out the full list of transfer partners and learn how to transfer your Membership Rewards.

Do Membership Rewards points expire?
As long as your account is open, the points will not expire.

Can you earn Membership Rewards points without the credit cards?
No. You must have at least 1 of the Membership Rewards cards to earn these valuable points.