Best Cards For Earning Amex Membership Rewards Points

Filed Under: American Express, Credit Cards
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Update: This offer for the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has expired. Learn more about the current offers here.


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 quite a suite of cards earning Membership Rewards points, and they’ve even refreshed several of these cards over the past year. 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 credit 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.

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

American Express® Gold Card (Review)

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

American Express® Green Card (Review)

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 recently refreshed, 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

Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit 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

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

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.

The Platinum Card® from American Express (Review)

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.

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 personal credit cards for earning Membership Rewards points:

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (Review)

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 credit card, business or personal. 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.

American Express® Business Gold Card (Review)

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; 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

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (Review)

Annual fee: $595 (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, 10 Gogo wifi passes per year, Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott 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:

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 (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), The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees), and American Express® Green Card (Rates & Fees).

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Comments
  1. I got the revised insurance terms for the Amex EveryDay Card in the mail. The extended warranty protection is removed as of 1/1/2020 (in addition to return protection and the roadside assistance hotline).
    It has been a great no-fee card to keep long term for purchases for which an extended warranty is useful, such as electronics. It is a pity that in addition to Citi’s cards it is being removed from this Amex no-fee card.

  2. I like the Amex Platinum card for the extra benefits we get on cruises with Silversea. We get a $300 shipboard credit, a bottle of Dom and several non-monetary on board perks for charging the entire cost to the card. If you take more than one cruise a year, it is especially lucrative!

  3. The more I look at the Green Card, the more I like it as an entry point to Membership Rewards or an alternative to the CSP. For $170 per year, you’ll have CLEAR, enough lounge visits for the casual traveler, 3x on travel and dining, plus all of the MR perks like transfer bonuses, AmEx offers, converting Rakuten cash back to MR’s, etc. For those new to MR’s, there’s a ton of value in that card. For those with a Plat and/or Gold, I don’t see much value, unfortunately.

  4. @MattR: actually, I think there is some value in Green Card. Since no one else offers credit for CLEAR, this makes the effective fee to be $50, which is quite cheap to cover the rest of travel expenses outside of hotel and airfare (Uber, taxi, transit, etc.). You only need to spend like $1,500/year to earn back $50, and if you spend enough in airfare to justify the Platinum card, you probably need to spend about that much in misc travel.

  5. The Rakuten (visa) card might be better for MR points at many stores if you use Ebates – especially now that you can select MR instead of cash, even for legacy accounts.

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