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American Express Membership Rewards – Earning, Redeeming, Transfer Partners & More

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Alex Miller
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Alex Miller

Founder & CEO

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Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business...
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Juan has extensive experience in writing and editing content related to credit cards, loyalty programs, and travel. He has been honing his expertise in this field for over a decade. His work has been ...
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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American Express Membership Rewards has long been one of the most valuable transferable points currencies. There are tons of ways to earn Membership Rewards points through your credit card purchases.

Thanks to plentiful airline and hotel transfer partners, you’ll also have plenty of ways to redeem Membership Rewards for some amazing flights and stays that can take you just about anywhere you want to go.

What Is American Express Membership Rewards?

Amex Membership Rewards is a credit card rewards program that lets cardholders earn points on almost all purchases.

To earn Membership Rewards points, you must hold one of the many affiliated American Express cards. By holding one of these cards, you are automatically enrolled in the program.

The number of points you will earn per dollar depends on which card you use and the category of your purchases, as some are bonus categories. Bonus categories can help you earn between 2x and 5x points per dollar on some purchases.

There are many ways to redeem Membership Rewards points, but transferring your points to airline partners to book award flights is how you can get the most value out of your points.

The Best Amex Membership Rewards Cards

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 1 American Express Rewards credit card. Consider our favorites:

The Platinum Card® from American Express

BEST LOUNGE ACCESS
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

The Platinum Card® from American Express

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.
Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
80,000 points
$1,760
$695
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

When it comes to cards that offer top-notch benefits, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better card out there than The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Make no mistake — the Amex Platinum card is a premium card with a premium price tag. With amazing benefits like best-in-class airport lounge access, hotel elite status, and tremendous value in annual statement credits, it can easily prove to be one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet year after year.

Pros

  • The best airport lounge access out of any card (by far) — enjoy access to over 1,400 worldwide lounges, including the luxurious Amex Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Plaza Premium Lounges, and many more!
  • 5x points per dollar spent on flights purchased directly with the airline or with AmexTravel.com (up to $500,000 per year)
  • 5x points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels booked with AmexTravel.com
  • Annual and monthly statement credits upon enrollment (airline credit, Uber Cash credit, Saks Fifth Avenue credit, streaming credit, prepaid hotel credit on eligible stays, Walmart+ credit, CLEAR credit, and Equinox credit)
  • TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit
  • Access to American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts
  • Access to Amex International Airline Program
  • No foreign transaction fees (rates and fees)

Cons

  • $695 annual fee (rates and fees)
  • Airline credit does not cover airfare (only incidentals like checked bags)
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal) with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card®. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Up Benefits are excluded.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only. Terms Apply.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $300 back in statement credits per calendar year on an Equinox membership, or an Equinox club membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required. Visit https://platinum.equinox.com/ to enroll.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR Plus at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card®. Learn more.
  • $100 Global Entry Credit: Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 years for a TSA PreCheck® (through a TSA official enrollment provider) application fee, when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $300 SoulCycle At-Home Bike Credit: Get a $300 statement credit for the purchase of a SoulCycle at-home bike with your Platinum Card®. An Equinox+ subscription is required to purchase a SoulCycle at-home bike and access SoulCycle content. Must charge full price of bike in one transaction. Shipping available in the contiguous U.S. only. Enrollment Required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card® to your Resy profile.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

The American Express Platinum credit card is the classic Amex Membership Rewards card. It comes with a variety of benefits including access to over 1,300 airport lounges, complimentary Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status (upon enrollment), and more.

Additionally, this card earns 5x points per dollar on flights purchased directly with airlines. Flights and prepaid hotels purchased through AmexTravel.com also earn 5x points per dollar (note that 5x on flights is capped at up to $500,000 in purchases per calendar year). It earns 1x points per dollar on all other purchases.

You’ll also receive an annual airline fee credit of up to $200, $15 monthly ($35 in December) in Uber Cash, up to $100 in Saks credits, up to $240 in digital entertainment credits, and so much more.

American Express® Gold Card

BEST FOR DINING
American Express® Gold CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

American Express® Gold Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

American Express® Gold Card

This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
60,000 points
$1,320
$250
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The American Express® Gold Card is a game-changer.

With this card, you can earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and you’ll also earn 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x.

There isn’t another card on the market that offers a 1-2 punch like this. Of course, there are several other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.

Pros

  • 4x points per dollar at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4x points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases; and 1x thereafter
  • 3x points per dollar on flights purchased directly from airlines or at Amex Travel
  • Up to $120 annual dining credit: up to $10 monthly statement credit when you pay with the Amex Gold card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations
  • Up to $120 in annual Uber Cash: get $10 monthly in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S. when you add your Gold Card to your Uber account
  • No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees)
  • Access to Amex’s The Hotel Collection
  • Access to American Express transfer partners

Cons

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

The Amex Gold card has been given a major upgrade for travelers and foodies. It earns 4x points per dollar at restaurants and 4x points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 spent per calendar year (1x thereafter).

You’ll also earn 3x points on airfare booked directly with the airline or through AmexTravel.com.

Plus, you will receive up to $10 per month in dining credits to use with participating restaurants and takeout services, as well as $10 in monthly Uber Cash.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

OUR BEST OFFER
The Business Platinum Card® from American ExpressTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This card is ideal for business travelers who enjoy luxury travel and are looking for a card loaded with benefits!

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

This card is ideal for business travelers who enjoy luxury travel and are looking for a card loaded with benefits!
Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
120,000 points
$2,640
$695
19.49% - 28.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express is a premium travel rewards card tailored toward business owners who are frequent travelers with a high number of annual expenses.

When you factor in the large number of perks that the card offers like the best airport lounge access at over 1,400 lounges, along with tons of annual credits, it’s easy to see why this card can is a top option for frequent traveling business owners.

Hot Tip: Check to see if you’re eligible for a huge welcome bonus offer of up to 170,000 points with the Amex Business Platinum. The current public offer is 120,000 points. (This targeted offer was independently researched and may not be available to all applicants.)

Pros

  • 5x Membership Rewards points per $1 on flights and prepaid hotels at Amex Travel
  • Up to $200 annual airline fee credit on your selected qualifying airline
  • Statement credits on select purchases with your card
  • 35% airline bonus when using Pay With Points (up to 1,000,000 bonus points per calendar year)
  • Access to over 1,400 worldwide airport lounges as part of the American Express Global Lounge Collection
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards points (1.5 points per $1) on eligible purchases in key business categories, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more (cap applies)
  • Access to Amex’s Fine Hotels & Resorts program

Cons

  • High annual fee of $695 (rates and fees)
  • Airline fee credit does not cover airfare, only incidentals like checked bags
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on AmexTravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on each eligible purchase at US construction material, hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers, and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees charged by your one selected, qualifying airline to your Card.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Use your card and get up to $189 in statement credits per calendar year on your CLEAR® Plus Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Business Platinum Card®.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more airport lounge options than any other credit card issuer on the market as of 03/2023.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 19.49% - 28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

Hot Tip: Check to see if you’re eligible for a huge welcome bonus offer of up to 170,000 points with the Amex Business Platinum. The current public offer is 120,000 points. (This targeted offer was independently researched and may not be available to all applicants.)

The Amex Business Platinum card has very similar benefits to the personal version of the card (the lounge access and hotel status bumps are the same).

It earns 5x points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotel purchases made through AmexTravel.com.

Additionally, it does earn 1.5x for eligible purchases on your card made at U.S. construction material and hardware suppliers, at U.S. electronic goods retailers and software and cloud system providers, and at U.S. shipping providers, as well as on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more everywhere else (up to $2 million in purchases per calendar year).

It also comes with up to $200 annual airline fee credit, up to $400 in Dell credits per year, up to $360 in Indeed credits per year, up to $150 in Adobe credits per year, and more.

American Express® Business Gold Card

BEST FOR BONUSES
American Express® Business Gold CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

American Express® Business Gold Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Get 4x points in 2 select categories where your business spends the most each month (on your first $150,000 spent each year).

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

American Express® Business Gold Card

Get 4x points in 2 select categories where your business spends the most each month (on your first $150,000 spent each year).
Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership
70,000 points
$1,540
$375
19.49% - 28.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The American Express® Business Gold Card is excellent at racking up rewards for your business spend.

The card earns a whopping 4x points per $1 in the 2 categories (from a list of 6) that your business spends the most money on each month. With no need to opt-in or preselect your categories, so you can focus on what matters most — running your business.

Pros

  • 4x points per dollar spent on your 2 highest purchase categories each month up to $150,000 each calendar year in purchases; categories include:
    • NEW! Transit purchases including trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways
    • NEW! U.S. purchases made from electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers
    • NEW! Monthly wireless telephone service charges made directly from a wireless telephone service provider in the U.S.
    • U.S. purchases at gas stations
    • U.S. purchases at restaurants, including takeout and delivery
    • Purchases at U.S. media providers for advertising in select media (online such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, plus TV and radio)
  • 3x points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com using your Business Gold Card
  • Access to Amex’s The Hotel Collection
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty protection
  • Trip delay insurance
  • Car rental insurance
  • Cell phone insurance

Cons

  • $375 annual fee (rates and fees)
  • No elite travel benefits like airport lounge access or elite status
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.*
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 categories where your business spends the most each billing cycle from 6 eligible categories. While your top 2 categories may change, you will earn 4X points on the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these categories each calendar year (then 1X thereafter). Only the top 2 categories each billing cycle will count towards the $150,000 cap.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com using your Business Gold Card.
  • Earn up to $20 in statement credits monthly after you use the Business Gold Card for eligible U.S. purchases at FedEx, Grubhub, and Office Supply Stores. This can be an annual savings of up to $240. Enrollment required.
  • Get $12.95 back in statement credits each month when you pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal) with your Business Gold Card. $12.95 plus applicable taxes.
  • Your Card – Your Choice. Choose from Gold or Rose Gold.
  • *Terms Apply

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 19.49% - 28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

Hot Tip: Check to see if you’re eligible for a huge welcome bonus offer of up to 110,000 points with the Amex Business Gold card! The current public offer is 70,000 points. (This targeted offer was independently researched and may not be available to all applicants.)

The Amex Business Gold card is one of the best cards for heavy spenders.

This card earns 4x Membership Rewards points on the top 2 categories in which your business spends the most every month (up to $150,000 in combined purchases every calendar year):

  • NEW! Transit purchases including trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways
  • NEW! U.S. purchases made from electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers
  • NEW! Monthly wireless telephone service charges made directly from a wireless telephone service provider in the U.S.
  • U.S. purchases at gas stations
  • U.S. purchases at restaurants, including takeout and delivery
  • Purchases at U.S. media providers for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio)

Although there are no luxury travel benefits like lounge access, this card earns lots of points on top of business purchases very quickly.

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American ExpressTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Earn Membership Rewards for your business spending the easy way: get 2x points for the first $50,000 in purchases per year.

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Earn Membership Rewards for your business spending the easy way: get 2x points for the first $50,000 in purchases per year.
Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
15,000 points
$330
No annual fee
18.49% - 26.49% Variable,0% on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-840)

As a business owner, getting a credit card that maximizes each dollar you spend does not have to be complicated or expensive. Especially when you opt for The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express.

With the Amex Blue Business Plus card, you’ll earn 2x Membership Rewards points on everyday business purchases throughout the year (up to $50,000; 1x thereafter) and receive purchase protections and no-additional-charge employee cards all for no annual fee (see rates and fees).

The simple and straightforward earning structure makes it a great fit for those looking to earn flexible rewards, without having to fixate on which purchases earn the most points.

Let’s take look at all that the Amex Blue Business Plus card has to offer.

Pros

  • 2x Membership Rewards points per $1 on everyday business purchases (up to $50,000; 1x thereafter)
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty protection
  • No annual fee and employee cards at no additional cost

Cons

  • No unique bonus categories and 2x earnings are capped at $50,000 in annual spend
  • No elite travel benefits like lounge access or elite status
  • Charges foreign transaction fees
  • Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • 0.0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 18.49% - 26.49%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors at account opening. APR will not exceed 29.99%
  • Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
  • You’ve got the power to use your Card beyond its credit limit* with Expanded Buying Power.
  • *The amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us, and other factors.
  • No Annual Fee
  • Terms Apply

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 18.49% - 26.49% Variable,0% on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

Card Categories

Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

Probably the best non-premium business card, the Amex Blue Business Plus card earns 2x points per dollar for everyday business purchases on up to $50,000 in spending each calendar year. After that, it earns 1 point per dollar.

Earn Points and Save With Amex Offers

Amex offer
You can find Amex Offers & Benefits at the bottom of your credit card account summary screen. Each card has different offers. Image Credit: American Express

When you log in to your account home page, you can scroll to the bottom of the page to find the Amex Offers & Benefits section.

There, you can add offers from select merchants. When you make purchases that qualify for an activated offer, you will earn the offer’s reward. These offers can be additional rewards points, cash-back, or a cash discount.

There are often great offers available, such as earning 2x points per dollar at Amazon or discounts on your cell phone or cable bills. Amex also advertises its 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 to which the offer is attached. You must add the Amex Offer to your card before making the purchase.

Earn Points by Booking Travel Through AmexTravel.com

Amex Travel
The AmexTravel.com portal allows you to book flights, hotels, cars, cruises, and vacation packages. Image Credit: American Express

Most American Express Membership Rewards cards will earn 2x points per dollar when booking through the AmexTravel.com portal.

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

However, the Amex Platinum card and Amex Business Platinum card will earn 5x points per dollar when booking flights and select hotels through AmexTravel.com, including prepaid Fine Hotels & Resorts booked online.

Hot Tip: You’ll only earn hotel points if you book through the Fine Hotels & Resorts program (you may not earn hotel points with online prepaid bookings).

In the portal, you will find deals exclusively for Amex cardholders that are only available online. Additionally, you can still earn frequent flyer miles when booking through the portal, which is a bonus.

Not everything in the portal will be eligible for 2x points per dollar: exceptions include car rentals, non-prepaid hotels, and non-prepaid Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings or those made over the phone.

However, the 2x points per dollar may be a better value than hotel points, and you may get a cheaper room through the portal.

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 that you can get a refund for the difference.

One last thing to note is that booking through the rewards portal may 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. Amex Platinum cardholders get these service fees waived.

The AmexTravel.com portal will show you what benefits you have when you log in, including waived fees and which lounges you have access to with your cards.

Bottom Line: Booking travel on the AmexTravel.com portal is a good way to earn extra Membership Rewards points. However, make sure you’re getting the best deal and note any restrictions.

Earn Points by Referring a Friend

The American Express “refer a friend” 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 to.

Amex Refer a Friend
Friend referral links are in the Amex Offers & Benefits section or just below your account summary. Image Credit: American Express

That screen will tell you what your current referral offer is (often 5,000 to 10,000 points or $50 to $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.

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.

Take Advantage of Other American Express Benefits

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

Go to the menu bar and click Rewards & Benefits and select Benefits from the drop-down menu 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.

How To Redeem Amex Membership Rewards Points

Membership Rewards can be redeemed in multiple ways, but travel is where you’ll get the most value for your hard-earned points. Specifically, transferring to airline partners is your best option.

Redeem Membership Rewards for Travel

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

Most Membership Rewards cards will allow you to transfer points to travel partners — these cards also happen to be some of the most lucrative cards you can get. However, there are some cards that do not allow transfers (Amex isn’t accepting applications for many of these cards, so you shouldn’t worry about it too much).

Amex Transfer Partners — Airlines and Hotels

As we’ve mentioned, transferring to airline partners is the best way to use your Membership Rewards points. To transfer Membership Rewards points, you’ll only need to follow a few simple steps.

Select Rewards & Benefits on the homepage of your online account, then click Earn & Redeem to expand a dropdown menu. From the dropdown menu, click Transfer Points on the Membership Rewards page and you’ll be taken to a page with all of your transfer options.

Select your desired transfer partner and you will be taken to a page where you can choose how many points to transfer. Most transfer options require you to transfer blocks of 1,000 points. Many of these transfers take place almost instantly, but others can take several days.

If it is your first time transferring to a partner, you will be required to link your airline or hotel loyalty program accounts prior to the transfer. To do this, you will need the appropriate loyalty program membership number.

Once a transfer has been completed, it cannot be undone.

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

Below is the full list of Amex’s airline transfer partners:

SCROLL FOR MORE
Amex Airline PartnerMin TransferTransfer Ratio
(Amex > Partner)
Transfer Time
Aer Lingus1,0001:1Almost Instant
Aeromexico1,0001:1.62-12 days
Air Canada1,0001:1Almost Instant
ANA1,0001:13 days
Avianca LifeMiles1,0001:1Almost Instant
British Airways1,0001:1Almost Instant
Cathay Pacific1,0001:1Up to 1 Week
Delta Air Lines1,0001:1Almost Instant
Emirates1,0001:1Almost Instant
Etihad Airways1,0001:1Almost Instant
Flying Blue Air France/KLM1,0001:1Almost Instant
Hawaiian1,0001:1Almost Instant
Iberia1,0001:11-3 days
JetBlue2501:0.8Almost Instant
Qantas5001:1Almost Instant
Qatar Airways1,0001:1Almost Instant
Singapore Airlines1,0001:11-2 days
Virgin Atlantic1,0001:11-2 days

Thanks to the 3 major airline alliances (Oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance), your Membership Rewards can get you just about anywhere you want to go.

Transfer partners like Emirates and Etihad are outside of these alliances and have a large network of partners, meaning you have a lot of interesting ways to redeem Etihad Guest miles or Emirates Skywards miles.

Finally, you can transfer your points to several of Amex’s hotel partners, but you’ll get more value sticking to airline partners.

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Amex Hotel PartnerMin TransferTransfer Ratio
(Amex > Partner)
Transfer Time
Choice Privileges1,0001:1Almost Instant
Hilton Honors1,0001:2Almost Instant
Marriott Bonvoy1,0001:1Almost Instant

Book Travel With Membership Rewards Points

All Membership Rewards cards can book Amex Membership Rewards travel using points. When booking with points, you’ll get 1 cent per point for flights or Fine Hotels & Resorts bookings and 0.7 cents per point for everything else.

Amex Travel hotels
Booking a hotel through the AmexTravel.com portal. Points for hotels are worth 0.7 cents per point (except Fine Hotels & Resorts) while flights are worth 1 cent per point. Image Credit: American Express

Note that booking rewards travel with points will still incur the service fee if you don’t have the Amex Platinum card, which waives these fees.

Hot Tip: If you hold the Amex Business Platinum card, you’re eligible for a 35% Pay With Points rebate when you use Membership Rewards points to book select flights through AmexTravel.com, which effectively gets you a redemption value of ~1.54 cents per point.

Other Redemption Options

There are other ways to redeem Membership Rewards points, but all of them are subpar.

Use Pay With Points for a Statement Credit

You can use your points to pay off statement balances directly. Unlike most other points programs, however, points are not worth 1 cent apiece. Instead, using this feature only provides a value of 0.6 cents per point.

Gift Cards and Other Vouchers

If you use points for gift cards, the value of your points will be between 0.5 cents and 1 cent per point depending on the gift card you choose.

Amex gift cards
You can find a variety of gift cards in Amex Membership Rewards. Buying them with points brings a value of 0.5 to 1 cent per point. Image Credit: American Express

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.

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 1-day ski pass at Vail for 15,900 points, which isn’t that great of a value.

Shop on Amazon and Other Partners

Amazon Shop with Points
Shop with Points options show up under the More Ways to Use Points menu. Values range from 0.5 to 0.7 cents per point. Image Credit: American Express

Shopping redemption 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 Amex 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 at Best Buy to receive the same value.

Another service is purchasing tickets; partners include Ticketmaster, Telecharge.com, and AXS. All of these options are worth $0.005 per point.

Shop With Membership Rewards Points

You can also use Shop With Membership Rewards Points to redeem your points. This option is the American Express shopping mall, similar to Shop through Chase. Points in this mall are only worth $0.005, although you can mix and match paying with points and cash.

Amex shopping
Points are typically worth 0.5 cents each when you shop via Shop With Membership Rewards Points. Image Credit: American Express

Donate to Charity

A charitable donation 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.

JustGiving Amex
You can always donate points to a good cause at a value of 1 cent per point. Image Credit: JustGiving

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 point. These include booking flights and gift cards. Other redemption options, however, come in at a much lower value.

If you take advantage of the points transfer to Amex transfer partners, you can increase the value of your points to 2 cents per point or more (this depends on how you redeem them through the airlines or hotels).

Membership Rewards Points Expiration

As long as you have at least 1 active Amex Membership 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 an account, make sure to transfer your points to an Amex transfer partner first. You may have a 30-day grace period once you close the account, but you’ll need at least 1 other open Amex card.

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

The Membership Rewards Site

Now that we’ve discussed how to earn and redeem Membership Rewards points, let’s make sure you know how to navigate the American Express website.

How To Sign In to Your Account

To manage your account, go to americanexpress.com, click the Log In button in the top-right corner, and simply sign in with your Amex login info.

Amex Login
Log in to your American Express account to get started. Image Credit: American Express

From there, you can select the Rewards & Benefits link to take you to the Membership Rewards page. This page will show you how many points you have in your account and you can select how you would like to use them.

Amex Transfer Points
Select Transfer Points if you want to transfer Membership Rewards points to an airline partner. Image Credit: American Express

From here, you can select Transfer Points to be taken to your airline partner options.

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 an Amex Platinum card allows you to waive AmexTravel.com booking fees, and that will automatically be detected in your account.

Navigate Between Cards on Your Account Summary Page

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.

Amex navigation
Image Credit: American Express

Comparing Membership Rewards to Other Transferable Points

You can get some amazing value out of Membership Rewards points, but how do they stack up compared to other transferable points programs?

Membership Rewards vs. Chase Ultimate Rewards

Both programs feature lucrative credit card options. There are significantly more Amex card options that can help you earn Membership Rewards compared to the number of Chase cards that earn Ultimate Rewards.

Membership Rewards also has significantly more transfer partners than Ultimate Rewards. However, Chase’s transfer partner World of Hyatt is by far the best hotel partner between the 2 programs.

Starting with Ultimate Rewards is the way to go because of Chase’s 5/24 rule. However, Membership Rewards should be a big part of your points-earning strategy going forward.

Membership Rewards vs. Marriott Bonvoy

The big advantages to Membership Rewards are that there are plenty of credit card options and the cards offered have some great bonus categories.

The advantages to earning Marriott Bonvoy points are the 35+ airline transfer partners and that transfers of 60,000-points blocks earn you a bonus of 5,000 miles (on some partners). However, transferring Marriott Bonvoy points can take longer and there are fewer Marriott Bonvoy-branded credit cards (from Amex and Chase) currently open for new applications that can help you earn them.

Marriott Bonvoy points can also be used for hotel stays at Marriott properties.

Both programs provide great award travel opportunities and can be very useful in your earning strategy.

Membership Rewards vs. Citi ThankYou Rewards

The Citi ThankYou Rewards program isn’t as well-known as the others, but you can redeem ThankYou Points with Citi’s transfer partners for some great award flights.

It can definitely be a useful program down the road, but Membership Rewards should be a higher priority.

Membership Rewards vs. Capital One Miles

Capital One has fewer transfer partners than Amex, and since nearly all of the Membership Rewards transfer partners transfer at a 1:1 ratio, many find these points more valuable than Capital One miles. The programs also share many of the same transfer partners, excluding Capital One’s partners in ALL – Accor Live Limitless and Turkish Airlines.

Amex’s personal and business cards have more points-earning options compared to Capital One, though many have higher annual fees.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the Amex Membership 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. There are plenty of redemption options, although only transferring to airline partners really provides good value.

American Express has a restriction that only allows you to earn 1 welcome bonus per card per lifetime, so make sure you apply when a card has a high bonus.

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 2 cents per point.

Otherwise, Chase Ultimate Rewards or Marriott Bonvoy cards may be an easier and more valuable choice.

The information regarding the Blue from American Express® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is American Express Membership Rewards?

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

You have 9 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 10 Amex cards that earn Membership Rewards points. Each has its own set of perks, and some even have bonus categories to earn 2x to 5x 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 more than $0.02 each, depending on the rewards choices you make. Your highest value rewards are likely to be from transferring points to travel partners.

How do you use Membership Rewards?

All eligible cards are automatically enrolled in Membership Rewards, so you’ll earn points as soon as you begin using your card.

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 introductory bonuses. You always earn 1x points minimum on purchases, but some bonus categories earn 2x to 5x points.

Bonus categories include supermarkets, restaurants, flights, hotels, and more. Additional bonus points can be earned through Amex Offers, which are available when you log in to your Amex account.

How do you use Membership Rewards points?

Membership Rewards points can be used for 9 types of redemption options, each with multiple choices within the redemption category.

In general, you can use points to pay for a variety of merchandise options, gift cards, charity donations, and payments to partners such as Amazon. You can also use rewards to pay for trips booked at AmexTravel.com.

The highest value method of using points is to transfer them to American Express transfer partners, which include several airlines and hotel brands.

What is the Membership Rewards phone number?

You can call Membership Rewards at 800-297-3276. You can also use the American Express phone number on the back of each of your cards.

What is the American Express login?

You can log into your Amex credit card and all other portals at americanexpress.com.

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About Alex Miller

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business, The New York Times, and more.

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