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I’m a big fan of the American Express Membership Rewards program, which lets you transfer points to all kinds of partner loyalty programs that can help you maximize your points.
Personally I primarily use The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express to maximize my Membership Rewards points, while Ford uses The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN to maximize his Membership Rewards points.
In this post I wanted to focus on one type of Membership Rewards card that a lot of people ask me about. Specifically, what are the best no annual fee American Express cards that earn Membership Rewards points?
Why you want a no annual fee Membership Rewards card
There are several excellent cards that earn Amex Membership Rewards points. The good news is that even if you cancel a card that earns Membership Rewards points you can keep all the points you earned on the card as long as you maintain at least one card that earns Membership Rewards points.
So the ideal situation is to have a no annual fee credit card that earns Membership Rewards points. Not only is it great to earn valuable rewards, but it’s also great because it allows you to maintain your Membership Rewards points balance long term without paying an annual fee.
Not just that, but it just happens to be that the best personal and business no annual fee cards earning Membership Rewards points are also extremely lucrative.
Where can you transfer Amex Membership Rewards points?
Amex Membership Rewards has a variety of airline and hotel transfer partners. Here are all the partners, including the transfer ratios and transfer times:
|Membership Rewards Transfer Partner||Transfer Ratio||Transfer Time|
|Aer Lingus AerClub||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Aeromexico Club Premier||1000 : 1600||~ 4 to 5 days|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Air France KLM FlyingBlue||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Alitalia MilleMiglia Club||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|ANA Mileage Club||1000 : 1000||~ 2 to 3 days|
|British Airways Executive Club||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||1000 : 1000||~ 1 to 4 days|
|Delta SkyMiles||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|El Al Matmid||1000 : 20||Instant|
|Emirates Skywards||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Etihad Guest||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Hawaiian HawaiianMiles||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Iberia Plus||1000 : 1000||~ 1 to 2 days|
|JetBlue TrueBlue||250 : 200||Instant|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||1000 : 1000||~ 12 to 24 hours|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Choice Privileges||1000 : 1000||Instant|
|Hilton Honors||1000 : 2000||Instant|
|Marriott Rewards / Starwood Preferred Guest||1000 : 1000||Instant|
Best no annual fee personal card: Amex EveryDay Card
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express offers the following return on spend:
- 2x Membership Rewards points for spend at US supermarkets (on the first $6,000 spent annually)
- A 20% points bonus when you make 20 or more transactions on the card per billing cycle
In other words, this card offers up to 2.4x Membership Rewards points at US supermarkets, and up to 1.2x Membership Rewards points on everyday spend. This return on non-bonused spend is 20% better than what’s offered on most of American Express’ cards with significantly higher annual fees.
You can complement The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express with another personal card offering great bonus categories, including:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express, which offers 5x points on airfare purchased directly from airlines
- The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, which offers 3x points for flights booked directly with airlines, and 2x points at US restaurants, US supermarkets, and US gas stations
Transfer your Amex points to Aeroplan for redemptions in Lufthansa first class
Best no annual fee business card: Amex Blue Business Plus Card
The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express offers 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent per calendar year. As far as I’m concerned, this is the single best credit card for the first $50,000 of non-bonused spend annually, so it’s amazing that this card also has no annual fee.
I value Membership Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so to me that’s like an incredible 3.4% return on spend. That’s quite literally unrivaled, as far as I’m concerned.
For bonus categories you can still use cards like The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN to maximize your points.
Transfer your Amex points to KrisFlyer for redemptions in Singapore Suites
It’s great to have a no annual fee card that earns Amex Membership Rewards points, not just because it’s good to avoid annual fees, but also because it will help with maintaining a balance of Membership Rewards points at no cost.
The best part is that two no annual fee Amex cards earning Membership Rewards points are also extremely lucrative. The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express offers up to 2.4x points on US supermarket spend, and up to 1.2x points on other purchases, while The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express offers up to 2x points on everyday spend.