20 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 personal cards:

Recommended Amex 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 $1,500+ 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 $2,000 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.

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. American Express has several options.

Here are the American Express business cards that earn Membership Rewards Points:

Recommended Amex Cards (Business)

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express - Right now, there's a HUGE welcome bonus of up to 100,000 points.

We get ~$1,250+ in value per year by leveraging many of the benefits & perks and that more than offsets the annual fee. It's also a card we use for larger transactions ($5k or more) as it earns unlimited 1.5X points.

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.

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 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” does 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 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

Big Spend Bonus

The Business Platinum Card offers 1.5 points per dollar on all single purchases of $5,000 or more.

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 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 courtesy of Amex.

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, 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 Ebates and many similar platforms have long offered cash-back awards, Ebates is the first to partner with a transferrable 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.

Existing Ebates users can’t convert their accounts from cash-back to Membership Rewards. Instead, everyone needs to sign up for a new Ebates account at the Ebates Membership Rewards portal. You’ll need to verify your Amex account using your Amex login.

Upon signing up, you’ll receive a 1,500 Membership Rewards points bonus for your first purchase of $25+ within 90 days of account opening.

Hot Tip: Using Ebates 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 Ebates site.

Earn Thousands of Points With RocketMiles

American Express and Rocketmiles partner to allow you to earn 500-10,000 Membership Rewards points when booking a hotel stay.

Shop around to compare the Rocketmiles rate with other rates available to see whether the points earned are worth it to you.

Note that stays booked with RocketMiles typically do not earn hotel loyalty program points, and you may not be eligible for hotel program benefits such as room upgrades.

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!


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.


The Platinum Card® from American Express

SPECIAL OFFER: Do You Qualify for a 100,000 Welcome Bonus with the Amex Platinum?


Want The Best Lounge Access?

The Amex Platinum is the best card for airport lounge access; no other card even comes close. Get into more than 1,200+ airport lounges across 130 countries including the amazing Centurion lounges.

We get ~$1,500+ in value each year with The Amex Platinum.

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

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