Update: This offer for the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has expired. Learn more about the current offers here.
A reader emailed to ask me what the best US credit card is for earning Aeroplan miles. Aeroplan is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, but of course the best Amex card for your specific situation varies based on what categories you spend most in. This made me realize I don’t actually have a post outlining the best bonus categories offered by cards earning Amex Membership Rewards points.
So in this post I wanted to look at the cards that earn Amex Membership Rewards points and offer some sort of bonus categories.
Annual fee: $250
Bonus categories: 4x points at US restaurants, 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 in the US. If you’re put off by the annual fee, the card comes with a $100 annual airline fee credit, which lowers your real “out of pocket” on the card.
Annual fee: $95
Bonus categories: 3x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 of spend 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 spend
For many families, the ability to earn 4.5x points on supermarket spend is huge. This is also the most rewarding Amex personal card for everyday, non-bonused spend, as you’re earning up to 1.5x points per dollar spent.
Annual fee: $0
Bonus categories: 2x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 of spend 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 spend
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.
Annual fee: $550
Bonus categories: 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines
Personally I greatly benefit from the 5x points category on airfare purchases, given that I spend a good amount on airfare. However, this is otherwise really a card that you get for the perks, which include a $200 annual airline fee credit, a $200 annual Uber credit, Delta SkyClub access, Amex Centurion Lounge access, a Priority Pass membership, Hilton Honors Gold status, and much more.
Annual fee: $0
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 spend offered by any credit card, business or personal. Add in the fact that the card has no annual fee, and this is a real winner.
Annual fee: $295
Bonus categories: This very lucrative card offers 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month. The 4X points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year.
The bonus 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
Annual fee: $450
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 spend, 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, 10 Gogo wifi passes per year, Hilton Honors Gold and Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status, and much more.
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:
- In terms of personal cards,the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card or American Express® Gold Card are probably your best bet for maximizing points; some might prefer The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express if they really don’t want an annual fee, and some might value The Platinum Card® from American Express if they spend a lot on airfare and value the perks the card offers
- In terms of business cards, The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express is a no brainer business card, as it has no annual fee, and offers 2x Membership Rewards points; that can be nicely complemented by American Express® Business Gold Card, which has bonus categories that will supercharge your points earning