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Amex Membership Rewards: Guide 2024

Amex membership rewards
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updated: July 2, 2024

American Express Membership Rewards is a flexible rewards currency offered by many of the top Amex credit cards. The program works similarly to the Capital One Miles program and Chase Ultimate Rewards. Cardmembers can earn points by signing up for the right Amex credit card and using it for spending, after which they can redeem their rewards for flexible options like gift cards, statement credits, travel, and transfers to Amex airline and hotel partners.

That said, rewards in this program can vary in value depending on how you redeem them. How much you earn in Amex Membership Rewards points for purchases also depends on the card you have. This guide will explain how the Amex Membership Rewards program works, which cards offer this type of rewards currency, and how to maximize points once they're safe in your account.

How to earn Amex Membership Rewards points

Earning Membership Rewards points requires you to have a credit card from this issuer, but not just any card.

The fact is, not all American Express credit cards earn Membership Rewards points, and many offer cash back or other types of rewards instead. With that in mind, you'll want to be selective about the Amex card you sign up for if you want to earn flexible rewards with this card issuer.

Cards that earn Amex Membership Rewards points

Here's a rundown of the top Amex credit cards that earn Membership Rewards points at the moment:

card_name

American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

Credit score needed
credit_score_needed
Annual fees
annual_fees
Welcome offer
bonus_miles
  • Earn 4x Membership Rewards® points at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • Earn 4x Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (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.
  • Earn 1x Membership Rewards® points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases. Terms apply.
card_name

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Credit score needed
credit_score_needed
Annual fees
annual_fees
Welcome offer
bonus_miles
  • Earn 5x Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 per calendar year.
  • Earn 5x Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Earn 1x Membership Rewards® points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases. Terms apply.
card_name

The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

Credit score needed
credit_score_needed
Annual fees
annual_fees
Welcome offer
bonus_miles
  • Earn 2x Membership Rewards® Points on up to $50,000 in purchases per year.
  • Earn 1x Membership Rewards® points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases. Terms apply.
card_name

American Express® Business Gold Card

American Express® Business Gold Card

Credit score needed
credit_score_needed
Annual fees
annual_fees
Welcome offer
bonus_miles
  • Earn 4x Membership Rewards® points on the two select categories where your business spent the most each month (up to $150,000 in purchases from these categories per year).
  • Earn 1x Membership Rewards® points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases. Terms apply.
card_name

The Business Platinum Card from American Express

The Business Platinum Card from American Express

Credit score needed
credit_score_needed
Annual fees
annual_fees
Welcome offer
bonus_miles
  • Earn 5x Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • Earn 1.5x points on eligible purchases at U.S. construction material and hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers, software and 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.
  • Earn 1x Membership Rewards® points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases. Terms apply.

Earning Amex Membership Rewards with a credit card is easy since you earn points on all purchases charged to your card, including miscellaneous spending, bills, gas, groceries, and more. That said, there are other ways to earn points in this program with an Amex credit card as well:

Amex Offers

Amex Offers is a promotion available to all Amex credit cards that lets users get cash back or bonus Amex Membership Rewards points for specific purchases. Cardholders can add these offers to their cards within the Amex app or their online account management page. They just have to meet the terms and conditions of the offer to earn the bonus.

Amex offers

Note that terms vary for these offers and that some offers come with a statement credit to your card instead of Amex Membership Rewards points. Also be aware that offers change all the time, and that each one has a firm expiration date.

Rakuten

While Amex doesn't have a shopping portal of its own for you to earn points in, you can maximize rewards with the help of the Rakuten shopping portal. While this portal normally awards consumers with cash back when they make eligible purchases, cardholders with an eligible Amex credit card can opt to earn Membership Rewards points instead.

Note that earning 1% cash back through Rakuten on eligible purchases translates into earning one Membership Rewards points per dollar spent if you opt to earn this flexible currency.

Refer-a-friend

Amex cardholders who refer friends to their favorite rewards card earn cash back or American Express Membership Rewards points for each friend who signs up. For example, someone with the American Express® Business Gold Card can earn 20,000 Membership Rewards points for each referral, up to a maximum of 100,000 additional points per calendar year.

How to redeem Amex Membership Rewards points

There are numerous ways to redeem Amex Membership Rewards points, although some can be significantly more lucrative than others. Ultimately, redeeming for travel tends to give cardholders the best bang for their buck. Here's a rundown of all the ways you can use these points:

Book travel through Amex

If you want to redeem points for travel with minimal hassle or research involved, you can redeem your rewards directly for airfare, hotels and more through amextravel.com. Note that you'll get 1 cent per point in value when you redeem for flights, but you'll only get 0.7 cents per point if you use the portal to redeem points for hotels, cruises, or car rentals.

book travel with amex

Transfer points to airline and hotel partners

You can also transfer points to Amex airline and hotel partners, which are numerous through this program. Most point transfers happen at a 1:1 ratio, and popular options include the Delta SkyMiles program, Air France (Flying Blue), Choice Privileges, JetBlue, Hilton Honors, and more.

Be aware that transferring points to airlines and hotels is always one way, so you cannot transfer them back to your Amex account after the fact. That said, you can often get considerably higher values for point transfers than you can elsewhere. In fact, Amex Membership Rewards points can easily be worth 2 cents each or more when utilized for a premium travel redemption with a partner.

Redeem for statement credits

amex rewards cover your charges

Redeeming points for statement credits through Amex is also a possibility, although you'll only get 0.6 cents per point with this option.

Book fine hotels and resorts

Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts is a collection of high-end properties that offer additional benefits for eligible bookings, such as early check-in, late check-out, room upgrades, daily breakfast for two and more. Cardholders with eligible Amex cards can use points for these bookings and get 1 cent per Amex point redeemed.

Shop with points

shop with points

You can also use your point for a shopping spree with Amex, but we wouldn't recommend it. You'll only get 0.5 cents per point if you go this route.

Redeem for gift cards

You can also redeem your rewards for gift cards to various merchants, restaurants, travel brands, and more. However, the value of this option varies dramatically. Where some gift cards let you redeem points at a rate of 1 cent each, other gift card redemptions come with a value of 0.5 cents per point.

Gift card options can change over time, but they often include a variety of brands such as Airbnb, Olive Garden, Uber, Neiman Marcus, and Nike, among others.

How to maximize Amex Membership Rewards points

You can accumulate Amex Membership Rewards points on both the earning side and the redemption side of the equation, but you should try to be strategic in doing so. Here's how you can get the most of your rewards upfront and later on when you redeem:

Pair several Amex credit cards

American Express lets you have multiple Membership Rewards cards and pool all points in one account. This allows consumers to earn multiple welcome offers over time, as well as pair up cards that have unique earning structures they can maximize.

For example, many people opt for the Amex trifecta, which includes the card_name, the card_name, and the card_name. This combination of Amex cards lets users maximize earnings on dining, U.S. supermarket spending and travel, and all while users earn Membership Rewards points for their business spending with no annual fee.

Many people also pair a premium Amex credit card with the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card, which is the only Amex card for consumers that earns Membership Rewards points with no annual fee required.

Transfer points to partners before you redeem

When you go to redeem your points, you should know that you'll almost always get more value for travel when you transfer to an airline partner instead of using points to book the same flight through amextravel.com. You'll only get 1 cent per point in value if you redeem Amex points for flights through the Amex portal, yet the value you get with an airline partner can be twice that or more.

Consider this example:

With the Air France / Flying Blue program, an Amex transfer partner, we found round-trip business class flights from Chicago (ORD) to Rome (FCO) for 61,000 miles one way or 122,000 miles round-trip. Total airline taxes and fees for this redemption came in at $492.25, which makes this deal pretty stellar for a round-trip international business class flight in a lie-flat seat.

AF example

From there, we looked for the exact same flight in the same cabin through the Amex travel portal for the exact same dates (March 12 to March 20, 2024). Crazy enough, this flight would set you back 324,985 Amex Membership Rewards points or $3,249.85 in cash if you booked through Amex.

Amex cost comparison

Obviously, it makes a lot more sense to transfer 122,000 miles from Amex to Air France before making this booking, right? This is even true after you account for the $492.25 in airline taxes and fees you would have to pay.

Also note that you're getting an outsized redemption value for this premium partner redemption. When you subtract the $492.25 in airline taxes and fees from the cash price of this round-trip flight ($3,249.85) and consider how many miles you have to transfer to make this booking (122,0000), you're getting a little over 2.2 cents per mile in value.

Full list of Amex Membership rewards travel partners

American Express has more transfer partners than any other credit card rewards program and options include both domestic and international airlines along with three major hotel brands. The chart below shows all Amex transfer partners and their current transfer ratios.

Amex airline partnersTransfer ratio (Amex points to airline miles)
Aer Lingus AerClub
1:1
Aeromexico Club Premier
1:1.6
Air Canada Aeroplan
1:1
Air France / Flying Blue
1:1
ANA Mileage Club
1:1
Avianca LifeMiles
1:1
British Airways
1:1
Cathay Pacific
1:1
Delta Air Lines
1:1
Emirates
1:1
Etihad Airways
1:1
Hawaiian Airlines
1:1
Iberia
1:1
JetBlue TrueBlue
250:200
Qantas
1:1
Qatar Airways Privilege Club
1:1
Singapore Airlines
1:1
Virgin Atlantic
1:1
Amex hotel partners
Transfer ratio (Amex points to hotel points)
Choice Privileges
1:1
Hilton Honors
1:2
Marriott Bonvoy
1:1

How much are Amex Membership Rewards points worth?

Amex Membership Rewards points are worth 0.5 cents each at the bare minimum, but they can be worth well over 2 cents each if you redeem them for premium airfare with a transfer partner. Other transfer-partner values for rewards can vary widely, so make sure to compare the cost of booking travel through Amex with points to how many points you would need to book travel with a partner instead.

TIME Stamp: Amex Membership Rewards points are worth most for travel

For the most part, Amex points are most valuable when you redeem them for travel with partners. However, booking airfare through the Amex portal isn't a bad deal, either. That said, you'll probably want to steer clear of redeeming rewards for statement credits or merchandise bought through Amex. You'll get a lot less value for your points that way, which defeats the purpose of earning them in the first place.

Also be aware that some other flexible programs let you get more bang for your buck for non-travel redemptions if you want that flexibility. For example, both Capital One Miles and Chase Ultimate Rewards let you redeem for gift cards at a rate of 1 cent per point, and Chase Ultimate Rewards lets you redeem for statement credits at the same redemption value.

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For rates and fees of the card_name, please visit this URL.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Which are the best Amex credit cards?

The best Amex credit cards earn Membership Rewards points instead of cash back, but the right card for you can depend on how you spend. Popular cards include the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card and the card_name for consumers. The card_name is also popular for frequent travelers who want to travel in luxury with plenty of perks.

How much are 50,000 Membership Rewards points worth?

The value of 50,000 Membership Rewards points varies based on how you redeem them. These points can be worth $500 in airfare through amextravel.com, yet they can be worth $1,000 or more if transferred to a partner for a premium redemption.

Do all American Express cards earn Membership Rewards points?

Some Amex credit cards earn different types of rewards, including cash back, airline miles, or hotel points. Make sure to compare all rewards cards from this issuer and others so you know which rewards you'll earn and how you can use them.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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