How to Earn 100k+ Amex Membership Rewards Points [in 90 Days]

American Express Sign on An Urban Building

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For American Express cardholders, the Membership Rewards program provides a fantastic opportunity to earn points and redeem them for travel.

Many American Express credit cards earn Membership Rewards at a minimum of 1x point per dollar spent with bonus categories offering up to 5x points per dollar, making it easy to rack up points with everyday purchases.

Plus, there are tons of other ways of earning points as well — you just need to know where to look.

With this in mind, you can easily earn 100,000 American Express Membership Rewards points in just 90 days. And to prove just how easy that is, we’re going to show you how to do it in this article.

We’ll start out by taking a look at why you’d want 100,000 American Express points and then move into some of the earning strategies like signing up for new credit cards, allocating spend, and taking advantage of Amex Offers.

Let’s get started!

Why Would You Want to Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards Points?

A Photo of Prague At Night
Use your Membership Rewards points to visit exciting European cities, like Prague! Image Credit: Polina Podlesnaya via Unsplash

There are many ways to redeem your Membership Rewards points, but by far the best way to use them is by transferring your points to one of American Express’ various transfer partners.

Membership Rewards points transfer to airlines in all of the major alliances, so you can book a ticket to Australia, Europe, or anywhere in between.

In fact, 100,000 miles is more than enough to get anywhere in the world from the U.S. in economy class, and even enough for a round-trip business class ticket from the U.S. to Tokyo in business class.

Don’t worry — we’ll go more in-depth on these redemptions later in the article. But for now, let’s take a look at how to actually earn these points!

1. Use Amex Membership Rewards Credit Cards

American Express has a suite of different personal and business credit cards, each with varying benefits, points-earning, and annual fees.

Several American Express cards offer 2x, 3x, 4x, and even 5 points per dollar on purchases made at supermarkets, gas stations, and directly with airlines or through Amex Travel.

Study the list of personal and business American Express cards below and compare each of their points-earning rates with what you spend in a normal month. We’ve also listed out other various benefits for each card, so make sure to give them a look.

Recommended American Express Cards (Personal)

The Platinum Card® from American Express - There's currently a welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months. This is our favorite card for getting into 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide (including Priority Pass) and we get about $2,700+ in value from the card every year.

Plus, get up to $200 in Uber credits annually ($15 per month and a $20 bonus in December) — and up to $200 in annual credit for airline incidental charges (e.g. baggage fees). For rates and fees of the Platinum Card, click here.
American Express® Gold Card - We love using this card as it earns 4x points at restaurants worldwide and 4x points at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x). There's no better card in our opinion if you eat out and/or shop at supermarkets regularly.

With a welcome bonus of 35,000 points after you spend $4,000 in your first 3 months and a $100 airfare credit per year, for many this is an easy addition to your wallet. For rates and fees of the Gold Card, click here.

Recommended American Express Cards (Business)

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express - Right now, there's a welcome bonus of up to 75,000 points. Earn 50,000 points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 after you spend an additional $10,000, on purchases within the first 3 months.

We get ~$5,525+ in value per year by leveraging many of the benefits & perks.

This is the best business card for lounge access as you'll get into 1,200+ airport lounges worldwide. For rates and fees of the Business Platinum, click here.
American Express® Business Gold Card - probably our favorite Amex business card because we earn 4x points across the top 2 select categories that we spend the most money in each month. The 4x points applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year. This means you'll max out at a (whopping) 600,000 points per year. After that, you earn 1x. For rates and fees of the Business Gold Card, click here.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express - This is a simple card that earns you 2x points on any business purchase, up to $50,000 annually (then 1x). That makes for an easy 100,000 points per year! The card has no annual fee. For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus, click here.

Further, each of these cards offers a welcome bonus. This is a lump-sum of points that you’ll earn after spending a set amount of money on your new American Express account within a specified time of actually opening the account.

These minimum spend requirements are usually between $1,000 and $5,000, but they can reach up to $20,000 for large bonuses on business cards. You can earn anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 Membership Rewards points thanks to these introductory bonuses.

It can take up to 8 weeks for the points to appear in your account, but the welcome bonus often posts sooner than that. In our experience, they generally post a few days after you meet the spend requirement.

Even better, the points you earn from the bonus are in addition to the standard points you will earn from spending on the card.

Depending on how much you spend and the card you sign up for, you can meet or exceed your 100,000 goal from a single card!

2. Allocate Your Spending to the Right Cards

As discussed, each American Express card has different spend categories. So with that in mind, don’t be afraid to open a couple of Membership Rewards earning cards over time. Doing this will not only give you multiple welcome bonuses, but you’ll also be able to earn the maximum points on all of your everyday purchases.

For example, if you have an Amex Gold card, Amex Platinum card, and an American Express® Green Card, you’ll earn at least 3x points on travel, dining, flight, and grocery purchases across the 3 credit cards.

So look through the American Express card lineup and apply for cards that align with your frequent purchase categories. Then, make sure to use the right cards when you make purchases in said bonus categories.

Depending on how much you spend, this can net you some serious extra points every month. This is especially true if you make lots of reimbursable business expenses in these purchase categories.

3. Book Flights Through American Express Travel

Have an upcoming vacation or business trip? Book your flight through American Express Travel with any American Express card that earns Membership Rewards and you’ll earn bonus points!

Any American Express card that doesn’t earn bonus points on flights will earn 1 extra Membership Rewards point per dollar spent on flights booked through American Express Travel.

If you’d rather book your flight directly, you can still earn category bonuses with cards such as the Amex Platinum card and the Amex Gold card at 5x and 3x points per dollar, respectively.

Note that the Amex Business Platinum card earns 5x points per dollar when booking flights through American Express Travel, so always book through the portal when paying with this card.

Hot Tip: The Amex Gold card earns 3x points per dollar for all airfare purchased directly from an airline.

4. Check Out Your Amex Offers

Looking at Amex Offers
Amex Offers can help you save money and earn points on purchases from select merchants. Image Credit: American Express

Most loyalty programs have shopping portals that award points for online purchases.

For example, United has MileagePlus Shopping, Southwest has Rapid Rewards Shopping, and Chase Ultimate Rewards has the Chase Shopping Mall.

While American Express used to have a shopping mall, it has been replaced by Amex Offers. These are located at the bottom of the page once you log into your account.

You will find select offers from various merchants that will provide statement credits or bonus Membership Rewards points for purchases. Make sure to use the specific card to which the offer is attached or you won’t earn the extra points or the statement credit.

For example, we’ve seen an offer that gives select cardholders 3,000 Membership Rewards points for spending $300+ at Best Buy. Just note that you’ll need to charge your Best Buy purchase to your American Express card to earn points.

Keep in mind that once you add an Amex Offer to a card, you won’t be able to add it to other cards. If you have separate logins, you will be able to add it to multiple cards. Make sure you check the terms and conditions of each offer to ensure your purchase is eligible for the statement credit or bonus points.

5. Refer a Friend to Membership Rewards Cards

Check your current referral offers to discover how many points you can earn for referring friends to specific American Express cards. Offers vary, but you can usually earn 5,000 to 15,000 Membership Rewards as a referral bonus.

Go to the “Amex Offers & Benefits” section at the bottom of your online account summary and click the “Refer Now” button to find current offers. You will have the option to share via email or to copy the link and share it as you please. More more information check out our guide to the American Express Refer A Friend program.

6. Use the Rakuten Shopping Portal for Even More Points

Earning Membership Rewards Points on Marriott Purchases With Rakuten
Use Rakuten to earn Membership Rewards points on all of your online purchases. Image Credit: Rakuten

Like we mentioned earlier, American Express does not have its own shopping portal. Recently, though, the credit card company partnered with cash-back portal Rakuten — formerly known as eBates — to offer Membership Rewards in lieu of cash-back.

In short, Rakuten lets you earn bonus Membership Rewards points when you click through a link on its website before you make a purchase with select merchants online. The number of points you’ll earn is based on how much you spend, with some merchants offering as much as 10 points per dollar spent.

Using Rakuten is simple: just create an account and select Membership Rewards earning instead of cash-back. Then, look for the merchant you’d like to make a purchase with and click the orange “Shop Now” button on the left-hand side of the page.

Hot Tip: Download the Rakuten Android or iPhone app and click on the Lyft option before you take a ride with Lyft — you’ll earn 25 Membership Rewards per ride!

You’ll then be redirected to the merchant’s website where you can make your purchase as usual. The points will post to your Rakuten account within a few days. Then, the points will be transferred to your Membership Rewards account based on the following schedule:

Purchases Posted to Your Rakuten AccountPoints Transferred to American Express
January 1 – March 31May 15
April 1 – June 30August 15
July 1 – September 30November 15
October 1 – December 31February 15

Make sure to check Rakuten before you make purchases online as you can earn some serious bonus points through the portal. Depending on how much you shop, this could make nice progress towards your 100,000 goal — especially if you have frequent business expenses.

Further, consider using CashBackMonitor to compare points-earning for specific merchants across all shopping portals. Nearly all airlines have their own cash-back portal, so you could be leaving valuable points on the table without comparing.

7. Book Hotel Stays With Rocket Miles

Searching For Hotels in Chicago with Rocket Miles
You can earn extra Membership Rewards points when you book hotels with Rocket Miles. Image Credit: Rocket Miles

Rocket Miles and American Express have partnered to offer extra points on hotel bookings. Simply make your reservation through the American Express Rocket Miles portal and you’ll earn points on all of your hotel stays worldwide.

The number of points you’ll earn largely depends on how expensive your hotel stay is. The more expensive a stay is, the more points you’ll earn. Further, select hotels will earn more points if they’ve partnered with Rocket Miles.

Just note that hotels booked with Rocket Miles generally aren’t able to earn hotel points or use elite status benefits. Make sure to assess these benefits and the value of your hotel points before you book a hotel through Rocket Miles.

Regardless, this is an awesome way to earn Membership Rewards when staying at hotels for work or pleasure. You can earn thousands of points on a single stay.

How to Use 100,000+ American Express Membership Rewards Points

So, you’ve earned 100,000 Membership Rewards points — now what?

You’ll definitely want to read our guide to redeeming Membership Rewards points — this article gives you a look at all of the best Membership Rewards redemptions!

But first, here are a few quick suggestions on how you can use your points:

  • Fly to Tokyo in First Class: One of our favorite redemptions is transferring Membership Rewards points to Virgin Atlantic and then using those points to book tickets from the U.S. to Tokyo in first or business class on ANA.
    • This redemption costs just 90,000 0r 95,000 Membership Rewards points for a round-trip ticket from the U.S. West Coast or Midwest/East Coast to Tokyo respectively. If you opt for first class, you’ll pay just 110,000 or 120,000 when departing from the same regions.
  • Grab a Lei and Head to Hawaii: Transfer points to Singapore Airlines and fly to Hawaii on Alaska Airlines from the Midwest U.S. with someone special for 25,000 miles per person for a round-trip booking in economy class. Note that you’ll pay 35,000 miles round-trip if departing from the East Coast.
  • Fly Singapore Suites: Singapore Suites is one of the best first class products in the world. The newest variant of this product has a separate bed and seat, so you can dine and eat in comfort. Better yet? You can fly this product from New York (JFK) to Frankfurt (FRA) for just 86,000 Membership Rewards points transferred to Singapore Airlines and minimal taxes.
  • Walk the Fox Glacier in New Zealand: A round-trip economy flight from the U.S. to New Zealand on a Star Alliance partner airline is just 80,000 Avianca LifeMiles.
  • Transfer Bonus Promos: American Express often runs transfer bonus promotions to select airline partners. If there is a promo for an airline partner that you are planning to use to book an award flight, take advantage of 10%, 15%, 20%, or even 40% transfer bonuses.

Final Thoughts

Between using Amex credit cards, using Amex Offers, and shopping on Rakuten, you’ll be well on your way to earning 100,000+ Membership Rewards points — especially if you apply for multiple Amex cards.

The fun truly begins when the points are in your account, though. Make sure to check out our full article on redeeming Membership Rewards points for some inspiration on booking your next trip.


FAQ

What are American Express Membership Rewards points?

Membership Rewards, the American Express loyalty program, gives you points for using Membership Rewards credit cards and making purchases from Membership Rewards partners. Those points can then be redeemed for free travel, gift cards, merchandise, and more.

Which Amex cards earn Membership Rewards points?

How much are Amex Membership Rewards points worth?

The value of Membership Rewards points will depend on the redemption chosen. You’ll get the most value out of your points by transferring them to an airline partner and booking an award flight. To really get everything out of your points, your best options will be international business class or first class flights.

When do Amex Membership Rewards points officially post to your account?

Although points will appear as “pending” at the end of the billing cycle during which they were earned, it can still take a couple of months for points to become available.

If you ask on the phone or via live chat, an Amex representative might release pending points so you can transfer the points to an airline for a redemption.

Can you transfer American Express Membership Rewards points?

You can transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to participating airline and hotel loyalty programs as long as you have an eligible American Express credit card. You’ll know your card is eligible if the option to transfer points is listed on your account page under “Use Points” when you log in to your account.

A complete list of the Amex credit cards that do NOT offer the option to transfer Membership Rewards points to a loyalty program is available here.

What are Amex Offers?

If you have at least 1 Membership Rewards credit card, you will periodically receive targeted offers to earn additional bonus points. Previous offers have included bonus points for purchases made at Home Depot, Best Buy, and for shopping on Amazon.

Do Membership Rewards points expire?

American Express Membership Rewards points will not expire as long as your account is open and current.

Andrew Kunesh

About Andrew Kunesh

Andrew was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs and now splits his time between Chicago and New York City. He’s a lifelong traveler and took his first solo trip to San Francisco at the age of 16. Fast forward a few years, and Andrew now travels just over 100,000 miles a year, with over 25 countries, 10 business class products, and 2 airline statuses (United and Alaska) under his belt.

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