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 they also often have 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 they’ve even refreshed several of these cards over 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
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 on spending for 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 globally, 4x points at US supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year), 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines, and 1x points everywhere else
Those are some extremely well rounded and potentially lucrative bonus categories, given how much many people spend on restaurants and supermarkets. If you spend a decent amount on food (including at supermarkets), then this is the Amex card for you.
If you’re put off by the annual fee, the card comes with a $100 annual airline fee credit and $120 annual dining credit. While there are some terms associated with this, those $220 worth of credits can go a long way towards offsetting your annual fee.
Earn bonus points at restaurants with the Amex Gold Card
Annual fee: $150 (Rates & Fees)
Bonus categories: 3x points at restaurants globally, on travel, and on transit, and 1x points everywhere else
This card was just refreshed in late 2019, and is 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 has a $100 annual CLEAR credit, as well as a $100 annual LoungeBuddy credit. For some people those benefits will more than offset the annual fees.
Get a $100 annual CLEAR credit with the Amex Green Card
Annual fee: $95
Bonus categories: 3x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 of spending per year) and 2x points at U.S. gas stations; 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 on everyday spending
For many families, the ability to earn 4.5x points on supermarket spending is huge. This is also the most rewarding Amex personal card for everyday, non-bonused spending, as you’re earning up to 1.5x points per dollar spent.
Earn bonus points at supermarkets with the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card
Annual fee: $0
Bonus categories: 2x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 of spending per year); 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 on everyday spending
If you 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: $550 (Rates & Fees)
Bonus categories: 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines
The Amex Platinum is a card you primarily get for the benefits, like the $200 annual airline fee credit, $200 annual Uber credit, $100 annual Saks credit, Delta SkyClub access, Amex Centurion Lounge access, a Priority Pass membership, Hilton Honors Gold status, and more.
However, the card also offers 5x points on airfare purchased directly with airlines, which can make Amex points rack up quickly. Best of all, the card offers valuable travel coverage on those purchases.
Access Amex Centurion Lounges with the Amex Platinum
Best Amex Business Cards
Amex has an excellent selection of business cards, including what I’d consider to be the single best credit card in the world for non-bonused spending, bar none.
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 Membership Rewards points:
Annual fee: $0 (Rates & Fees)
Bonus categories: 2x points on the first $50,000 spent each calendar year
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
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; 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
This 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 may be a good lower annual fee alternative, as the card also has a better sign-up bonus.
Earn bonus points on shipping with the Amex Business Gold Card
Annual fee: (Rates & Fees)
Bonus categories: Earn 1.5x points per dollar spent on purchases of $5,000 or more
Frankly this 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, Delta SkyClub access, Amex Centurion Lounge access, a Priority Pass membership, Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold status, and much more.
Access Delta SkyClubs with the Amex Platinum
Which Cards Are Most Rewarding?
As you can see, it really depends on your needs. Personally I have several of the above cards, though if you’re looking to have a lean card portfolio:
- For personal cards, the American Express® Gold Card and American Express® Green Card are tough to beat — the Gold Card is great if you spend a lot at restaurants and supermarkets, while the Green Card is great if you spend a lot on dining and travel
- 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
What’s your favorite credit 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 , 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), The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees), and American Express® Green Card (Rates & Fees).