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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Annual fee: $595 (Rates & Fees)
Bonus categories: Earn 1.5x points per dollar spent on purchases of $5,000 or more (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, $200 annual Dell credit, $179 annual CLEAR credit, Delta SkyClub access, Amex Centurion Lounge access, a Priority Pass membership, Hilton Honors Gold status, Marriott Bonvoy Gold status, and much more.
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:
- For personal cards, the American Express® Gold Card is great if you spend a lot at restaurants supermarkets, which are popular spending categories for many people
- For business cards, the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is a no-brainer for any business for the 2x points on non-bonused spending; the American Express® Business Gold Card can make sense if you have a business that spends a lot in the 4x points categories
If you’re going to apply for American Express cards, see this post for the credit card application rules you should be aware of.
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).