19 Best Ways to Earn Lots of American Express Membership Rewards Points

Amex Blue Credit Card

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When it comes to earning Membership Rewards points, you have lots of Amex credit card options to choose from. American Express offers a wide range of personal and business credit cards with a variety of bonus categories to boost your earnings.

To take advantage of this earning potential, you’ll need to determine which cards are right for you.

Then, with a simple strategy, you’ll be on your way to earning some serious points and reaping the rewards.

Before long, you’ll have enough points to book a family vacation or a luxury trip for yourself.

Amex points are transferable to more than 10 airlines and 3 hotel loyalty program partners, which makes booking a trip on points even easier.

In this article you’ll learn:

  • Why you’d want to earn Membership Rewards points
  • Which personal and business American Express credit cards earn Membership Rewards points
  • All of the other ways you can earn Membership Rewards points

Now, let’s dive into all the best ways to earn Membership Rewards.

The Value of Membership Rewards Points

Flexibility of Membership Rewards Points

Flexible redemption options for your Membership Rewards points result in rewards that you can actually use. Here are some examples:

  • Redeem rewards at any time for any amount per transaction
  • Transfer rewards to the loyalty programs of Amex travel partners
  • Transfer rewards between business and personal Membership Rewards accounts
  • Use a combination of points and cash for travel purchases
  • Have the option to redeem points for cash, gift cards, and more

Ease of Earning Membership Rewards

It’s easy to earn Membership Rewards points on purchases when your mix of spending matches the reward-earning categories on your American Express credit card.

  • Every purchase made earns Membership Rewards points
  • Bonus category purchases earn multiple Membership Rewards points per dollar spent
  • Generous welcome bonuses jumpstart your earnings
  • Earn Membership Rewards points through Amex Offers

Bottom Line: Membership Rewards points are valuable because of their flexibility at redemption time and the ability to earn points quickly. 

Personal Cards That Earn Membership Rewards Points

Not all American Express personal cards earn Membership Rewards points, but American Express issues these 5 cards that do.

You can earn valuable transferable Membership Rewards points on any of these recommended personal cards:

The Platinum Card® from American Express - There's currently a new welcome bonus offer of 60,000 100,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $6,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.

This is our #1 card for accessing 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide, including Priority Pass (enrollment required). We leverage ~$4,900+ in benefits and perks from the card every year. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.
American Express® Gold Card - This card has a welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

We love using this card as it earns 4x Membership Rewards Points at restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and earns 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x).

With an annual fee of $250, there's no better card in our opinion if you eat out and/or shop at supermarkets regularly; and you'll have access to many benefits and perks. Terms apply and for rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, click here.

Business Credit Cards That Earn Membership Rewards Points

If you own a business, you’ll want to select a business card that earns the most rewards on your highest expenses. Amex has several options to choose from.

Here are some of our recommended Amex business credit cards that earn Membership Rewards Points:

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express - Right now, there's a new welcome bonus of 85,000 120,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

See how we get $4,000+ in value per year by leveraging many of the benefits & perks, including access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Business Platinum, click here.
American Express® Business Gold Card - one of our favorite Amex business cards because we earn 4x points across the top 2 select categories that we spend the most money in each month, such as Facebook or Google ads. The 4x points applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year. After that, you earn 1x.

The current welcome bonus is 70,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $10,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Business Gold, click here.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express - A super simple, no-annual-fee card that earns you 2x points on everyday business purchases, up to $50,000 in purchases per year. After that, earn 1x. Right now, you can 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. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus, click here.

Bottom Line: Whether you need a personal card that earns rewards on everyday purchases or a business card with perks and business bonus earning categories, American Express offers choices with 9 options that earn Membership Rewards. 

Earn Lots of Membership Rewards With American Express Personal Cards

Introductory Welcome Bonuses

The fastest way to earn plenty of Membership Rewards points is to apply for an American Express credit card that earns Membership Rewards, complete the initial spending requirement, and earn a welcome bonus.

All American Express credit cards that earn Membership Rewards points offer an introductory bonus, and some are occasionally quite generous. (It’s still possible to find the coveted Amex Platinum Card 100,000 point intro bonus!)

Although offers can differ, a welcome bonus is generally earned after completing an initial spending level in the first 90 days after you are approved for the card.

Flights Booked With Airlines

If you spend a lot on airfare, you’ll earn plenty of Membership Rewards points booking directly with the airline.

Earn on Purchases Through Amex Travel

Most American Express cards earn multiple points per dollar spent when booking through Amex Travel.

Women shopping grocery store
Earning Membership Rewards points for grocery shopping can be very rewarding! Image Credit: Shutterstock

Earn Points at Supermarkets

Grocery purchases add up, so it would be a shame to miss out on rewards for those purchases!

Select one of these American Express cards, and you’ll earn big on purchases at U.S. supermarkets.

Hot Tip: The “supermarkets” category does not include wholesale superstores like Costco and Sam’s Club.

Earn Points on Dining

You might consider picking up the tab more often if you’re earning lots of Membership Rewards points on your dining purchases.

Also, it’s worth noting that “restaurants” do not always include eateries inside hotels or resorts — those are sometimes coded as hotel transactions.

Earn Points at Gas Stations

You’ll earn 2 Membership Rewards points for every dollar spent at U.S. gas stations with the EveryDay Preferred Card.

Frequent Transaction Bonuses

American Express wants you to use your card often and offers an incentive for frequent purchases. Keep these cards in your wallet to earn up to 50% more Membership Rewards points each statement period.

Bottom Line: With so many bonus categories, personal American Express cards offer a variety of ways to earn lots of Membership Rewards.

Earn Lots of Membership Rewards With American Express Business Cards

Introductory Bonuses

American Express business cards offer lucrative introductory bonuses that vary depending on current promotional offers and the specific card you select.

Just choose the card that is right for you based on your spending habits, your tolerance for an annual fee, and whether the card offers benefits you can use.

Flights Booked With Airlines

If airfare is your highest expense during your monthly statement period, the Amex Business Gold Card will earn 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent when purchasing airfare directly with the airline.

Book With Amex Travel

American Express business cards will serve you well if you spend a lot on travel.

Some cards, like the Business Platinum Card, also come with premium travel benefits such as lounge access, elite status, and more.

Pile of Money
Earn more Membership Rewards Points on the Business Platinum Card when you make a large purchase. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Bonus Spend

The Amex Business Platinum Card offers 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 & 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).

Earn on Other Business Expenses

Business bonus categories on the Business Gold Card elevate rewards-earning on your highest business expenses each statement period.

The Blue Business Plus Card ensures every business expense you make (up to $50,000 per year) earns 2x points.

Earn on Dining

Those business meetings over dinner or that office lunch you had delivered for the crew should all be earning Membership Rewards points!

Be sure to use a card that earns multiple points per dollar spent on dining, like these.

Earn at Gas Stations

Filling up the tank can be rewarding when you’re earning Membership Rewards points.

Hot Tip: One major benefit of the Amex Business Gold Card is that bonus category earnings are automatic — you don’t have to pre-select your bonus categories. Whichever 2 categories have the most expenses each statement period will earn 4 points per dollar spent

Earn Rewards on Every Purchase

Every business American Express card we’re discussing here earns at least 1 Membership Rewards point for every dollar spent on every purchase you make.

More Ways to Earn Membership Rewards Points

Add an Authorized User

American Express occasionally targets current cardholders and offers Membership Rewards points for adding authorized users. The offer usually comes in the form of an email.

Be on the lookout for your own personal offer to earn additional Membership Rewards points!

Amex Offers

You can earn thousands of extra Membership Rewards points each year with Amex Offers. These offers, which deliver great deals and bonus earning potential at select merchants, can be accessed at the bottom of your account home screen once you log in.

From there, you can add special offers to your card that will help you earn extra Membership Rewards points.

All cards, even cash-back credit cards, have their own offers — and there are tons of possibilities to use these to build your rewards bank!

Amex refer a friend
Refer friends for American Express cards and earn thousands of Membership Rewards points. Image Credit: American Express

Earn Big With Refer-a-Friend

Earn bonus points when you refer a friend for an American Express card. If they apply and qualify for the card using the link you’ve sent to them, you will get bonus points credited to your account.

Refer a friend by logging in to your Amex online account here to get and send your special referral link.

The points vary depending on the card, but both you and your friend will benefit: a special bonus points offer for you and a welcome offer for them.

Hot Tip: You don’t have to have the specific American Express card you are referring to, and you can earn bonus points when referring a friend for most American Express credit cards. 

Earn Points Shopping In-Store and Online by Linking to Rakuten [Formerly Ebates]

Ebates is now Rakuten
Image Credit: Rakuten.com

Rakuten (formerly Ebates) is a shopping portal with in-store and online offers at thousands of merchants. While Rakuten and many similar platforms have long offered cash-back awards, Rakuten is the first to partner with a transferable credit card points program.

You can now earn Amex Membership Rewards points at the same rates as cash bank! At our current points valuations, that is nearly double the value.

New users can sign up online where you’ll be asked to enter your email address and Amex online account credentials. Existing users should go to Account Settings and change your payment method to Switch to Membership Rewards points (you’ll need to enter your Amex online account credentials when prompted).

Hot Tip: Using Rakuten to shop in-store you need to link your credit card and manually activate in-store offers each time you shop. When shopping online you don’t need to link your credit card, though you do need to start your shopping at the Rakuten site.

Final Thoughts

Membership Rewards are easy to earn when the card you select matches your spending profile and rewards your largest purchases.

Whether through introductory bonuses, category-focused spending, or spending on everyday purchases, you will be on your way to earning a LOT of American Express points.

Earning lots of Membership Rewards points is exciting, but redeeming them is even better. Soon enough, you’ll be redeeming points for some amazing award flights that will take you around the world!

The information regarding the The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, Business Green Rewards Card from American Express, The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card, and The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Card® from American Express, 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

Which credit cards earn Membership Rewards points?

What are Amex Membership Rewards points worth?

The value of Amex Membership Rewards points depends on where you are redeeming your points. A really poor redemption, such as redeeming points for purchases at Amazon, has a value of about 0.5 cents per point.

Other airline and hotel partners of Amex Membership Rewards return a value up to 8 cents per point!

That’s like getting a $100 ticket for the equivalent of about 1,250 points.

When do Amex Membership Rewards points post in your account?

Membership Rewards points earned will appear as “pending” in your account at the end of a billing cycle (after your statement closes). This means you can sometimes wait months for points to post — whether from purchases or welcome bonuses.

In their “pending” state, points are eligible to be used if you are in a hurry to use them. As long as your account is in good standing, call up Amex and the representative will turn pending points into posted points immediately.

This may require speaking to a few different agents or a supervisor to make it happen.

When do Amex Membership Rewards points expire?

Amex Membership Rewards points do not expire. The only way you can lose points is if you close all of your Amex Membership Rewards credit cards.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

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Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.


  1. I have the Amex Platinum business credit card, if I add authorized users for the FREE green card will they earn membership rewards through spending on the free card?


  2. Anthony Bilardi March 5, 2020

    Hi, I have had the Amex Platinum card for months and reached my promotional spending amount. If I consolidate with a loan, and pay that account down, does this disqualify me from that promotional offer?


    • Hi Anthony. I assume you’re saying that you have met the initial spending requirement needed to earn the welcome bonus on the Amex Platinum card. First, to answer your question, securing a loan to pay off your credit card will not disqualify you for the welcome bonus if you completed the spending within the required period of time. However, carrying a balance from month to month as a result of spending on your card just to earn a sign up bonus is not a wise decision. Perhaps this doesn’t apply to you but I feel compelled to mention it in case others may attempt to do this. The interest you will incur could negate any value received from the welcome bonus. To gain the maximum value from a card, you should only spend what you can pay off each statement period.


  3. Rocket miles discontinued the ability to earn points last year. Membership Rewards points no longer show as an option.


Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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