Best Cards For Earning Amex Membership Rewards Points (2021)

Best Cards For Earning Amex Membership Rewards Points (2021)

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The US American Express Membership Rewards program is one of the all-around most useful transferable points currencies. Not only does Amex have a lot of airline and hotel partners, but the program also often has transfer bonuses that can get you even more value for your points.

Nowadays Amex has an impressive suite of cards earning Membership Rewards points, and we’ve even seen many of these cards refreshed in the past couple of years. In this post I wanted to recap the cards that earn Amex Membership Rewards points, including both personal and business cards.

Best Amex Personal Cards For Earning Points

Amex has a solid selection of personal cards that earn Membership Rewards points, and if you’re maximizing your spending, you can earn anywhere from 1.5-5x points per dollar spent. There are cards offering bonuses for spending on groceries, restaurants, gas stations, travel, transit, airfare, and more.

Let’s take a look at some of the best personal cards for earning Membership Rewards points:

American Express® Gold Card

Annual fee: $250 (Rates & Fees)
Bonus categories: 4x points at restaurants, 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year and then 1x), 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines, and 1x points elsewhere else

The Amex Gold Card offers extremely well-rounded and potentially lucrative bonus categories. In my opinion here’s not another card that’s so rewarding for food & drinks, between the restaurant and supermarket bonus categories — if you spend a decent amount in this category, then this is the card for you.

If you’re put off by the annual fee, the card offers some valuable credits that help offset it. This includes a $120 annual dining credit and a $100 annual Uber credit. While there are some terms associated with this, you’re potentially looking at offsetting most of your annual fee by maximizing this.

Read a full review of the Amex Gold Card, apply for the Amex Gold Card.

Earn bonus points on dining with the Amex Gold Card

American Express® Green Card

Annual fee: $150
Bonus categories: 3x points at restaurants globally, on travel, and on transit, and 1x points everywhere else

The Amex Green Card is perhaps the most underrated Amex card, and it’s a phenomenal option for those who spend a lot on dining, travel, and transit. This card is geared more towards those who eat out than those who cook.

The card has a reasonable annual fee to begin with, but it gets even more reasonable when you consider it offers a $100 annual CLEAR credit, as well as a $100 annual LoungeBuddy credit. For some people, those benefits will more than offset the annual fee.

Read a full review of the Amex Green Card, apply for the Amex Green Card.

Get a $100 annual CLEAR credit with the Amex Green Card

Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card 

Annual fee: $95
Bonus categories: 3x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per calendar year and then 1x), 2x points at U.S. gas stations, and 1x points everywhere else; a 50% points bonus when you use your card 30 or more times per billing cycle, meaning you earn up to 4.5x points at supermarkets, 3x points at gas stations, and 1.5x points everywhere else

The Amex EveryDay Preferred Card has the potential to be the best card for families that spend a lot at supermarkets. It’s also the most rewarding Amex personal card for everyday, non-bonused spending, since you’re earning up to 1.5x points per dollar spent.

Read a full review of the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card, apply for the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card.

Earn bonus points at supermarkets with the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

Annual fee: $0
Bonus categories: 2x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per calendar year and then 1x), and 1x points everywhere else; a 20% points bonus when you use your card 20 or more times per billing cycle, meaning you earn up to 2.4x points at supermarkets and 1.2x points everywhere else

The Amex EveryDay Card is a great option for those who like the idea of the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card, but don’t want to pay an annual fee. This is a fantastically rewarding no annual fee card. You’re earning more than one point per dollar spent, and even earn significant bonus points for supermarket spending.

Read a full review of the Amex EveryDay Card, apply for the Amex EveryDay Card.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Annual fee: $695 (Rates & Fees)
Bonus categories: 5x points on airfare purchased directly from airlines or through Amex Travel (up to $500,000 per calendar year and then 1x); if you apply for and are approved for the card, you can also earn 10x points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during the first six months of cardmembership

The Amex Platinum underwent a refresh in July 2021. It’s a card you get primarily for the benefits, like the $240 digital entertainment credit, $200 annual airline fee credit, $200 annual hotel credit, $200 annual Uber credit, $179 CLEAR credit, $100 annual Saks credit, Delta SkyClub access, Amex Centurion Lounge access, a Priority Pass membership, Hilton Honors Gold status, Marriott Bonvoy Gold status, and more (enrollment required for select benefits).

However, the card is also extremely rewarding for airfare purchases, and best of all, the card offers valuable travel coverage for those purchases.

Read a full review of the Amex Platinum Card, apply for the Amex Platinum Card.

Access Amex Centurion Lounges with the Amex Platinum Card

Best Amex Business Cards For Earning Points

Amex has an excellent selection of business cards, including what I’d consider to be one of the single best credit cards in the world for non-bonused spending. With Amex business cards you can earn anywhere from 2-5x points per dollar spent, depending on the category.

Let’s take a look at some of the best business cards for earning Amex Membership Rewards points:

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Annual fee: $0 (Rates & Fees)
Bonus categories: 2x points on the first $50,000 spent each calendar year and then 1x

For a fairly small business, it’s tough to beat earning 2x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent. As far as I’m concerned, this is the best return on non-bonused spending offered by any business credit card. Add in the fact that the card has no annual fee, and this is a real winner.

This is a card that just about everyone eligible for a business card should have, as it’s totally worth putting $50,000 of spending on this card annually.

Read a full review of the Amex Blue Business Plus, apply for the Amex Blue Business Plus.

American Express® Business Gold Card

Annual fee: $295 (Rates & Fees)
Bonus categories: 4x points on the two categories in which you spend the most in each month, on a total of up to $150,000 in combined purchases per year (and then 1x); the eligible categories are as follows:

  • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
  • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
  • U.S. purchases at gas stations
  • U.S. purchases at restaurants
  • U.S. purchases for shipping
  • U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers

The Amex Business Gold Card is a solid business card, especially if you spend a lot in any of the above categories. However, in general, I’d note that the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (review) may be a good lower annual fee alternative, as the card also has a better welcome bonus.

Read a full review of the Amex Business Gold Card, apply for the Amex Business Gold Card.

Earn bonus points on shipping with the Amex Business Gold Card

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

Annual fee: $595 ($695 if application is received on or after 01/13/2022) (Rates & Fees)
Bonus categories: Earn 1.5x points per dollar spent on purchases of $5,000 or more and select business categories (up to $2,000,000 of eligible purchases)

Frankly, the Amex Business Platinum isn’t that great of a card for the return it offers on everyday spending, but rather it’s a card that you get for the perks it offers, which include a $200 annual airline fee credit (enrollment required), $400 annual Dell credit (enrollment required), $179 annual CLEAR credit (enrollment required), Delta SkyClub access, Amex Centurion Lounge access, a Priority Pass membership (enrollment required), Hilton Honors Gold status (enrollment required), Marriott Bonvoy Gold status (enrollment required), and much more.

Read a full review of the Amex Business Platinum Card, apply for the Amex Business Platinum Card.

Access Delta SkyClub with the Amex Business Platinum Card

Which Amex Cards Are Most Rewarding?

As you can see, the best Amex card for earning points really depends on your needs and spending patterns. Personally, I have several American Express cards, though if you’re looking to have a lean card portfolio:

If you’re going to apply for American Express cards, see this post for the credit card application rules you should be aware of.

Bottom Line

Amex Membership Rewards points are among the most valuable points currencies out there, given just how much flexibility these points give you. The beauty of Amex’s card portfolio is how you can use multiple cards to really maximize your points, depending on whether you need personal and/or business cards, and what categories you spend the most in.

What’s your favorite card for earning Amex Membership Rewards points?

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: American Express® Business Gold Card (Rates & Fees), American Express® Gold Card (Rates & Fees), The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), and The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees).

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  1. Michael

    We have the Amex Gold card, and it will soon come up for renewal. We've decided to cut back on card fees, so I'm thinking of not renewing. I would ask the Amex rep to open an EveryDay Preferred (or maybe just an Everyday) Amex Card instead. My question is whether my Rewards Points will continue under the new card, or whether the points expire when a card is terminated. In other words, do I...

    We have the Amex Gold card, and it will soon come up for renewal. We've decided to cut back on card fees, so I'm thinking of not renewing. I would ask the Amex rep to open an EveryDay Preferred (or maybe just an Everyday) Amex Card instead. My question is whether my Rewards Points will continue under the new card, or whether the points expire when a card is terminated. In other words, do I have to transfer my Rewards points to an airline before the expiration of my card, or will those points continue under my EveryDay card?

  2. Jeff

    While the the Amex Gold seems like a great card for someone like me given its bonus categories I find that because I spend so much in those categories that I need them to earn the even more lucrative signup bonuses for the cards my wife and I apply for regularly. We both also operate small businesses, giving us as a family 4 options to be signing up for new cards and earning bonuses. Otherwise...

    While the the Amex Gold seems like a great card for someone like me given its bonus categories I find that because I spend so much in those categories that I need them to earn the even more lucrative signup bonuses for the cards my wife and I apply for regularly. We both also operate small businesses, giving us as a family 4 options to be signing up for new cards and earning bonuses. Otherwise it would be the most lucrative card I would own. Anyone else in a similar situation?

Featured Comments Load all 3 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Michael

We have the Amex Gold card, and it will soon come up for renewal. We've decided to cut back on card fees, so I'm thinking of not renewing. I would ask the Amex rep to open an EveryDay Preferred (or maybe just an Everyday) Amex Card instead. My question is whether my Rewards Points will continue under the new card, or whether the points expire when a card is terminated. In other words, do I have to transfer my Rewards points to an airline before the expiration of my card, or will those points continue under my EveryDay card?

Jeff

While the the Amex Gold seems like a great card for someone like me given its bonus categories I find that because I spend so much in those categories that I need them to earn the even more lucrative signup bonuses for the cards my wife and I apply for regularly. We both also operate small businesses, giving us as a family 4 options to be signing up for new cards and earning bonuses. Otherwise it would be the most lucrative card I would own. Anyone else in a similar situation?

Cind

Interesting.

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