Best Cards For Earning Amex Membership Rewards Points (2021)

Filed Under: American Express, Credit Cards
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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 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:

American Express® Gold Card (Review)

Annual fee: $250 (Rates & Fees)
Bonus categories: 4x points at restaurants globally, 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year), 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines, and 1x points everywhere else

The Amex Gold Card offers extremely well rounded and potentially lucrative bonus categories. Arguably this is an even more useful card in the coronavirus era than before, given how much money people spend at supermarkets and on restaurants (this category includes takeout). 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 offers some valuable credits that help offset it. This includes an up to $120 annual dining credit, and Uber Cash and Uber Eats benefits

Earn bonus on all kinds of food purchases with the Amex Gold Card

American Express® Green Card (Review)

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 fees.

Get a $100 annual CLEAR credit with the Amex Green Card

Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card (Review

Annual fee: $95
Bonus categories: 3x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year), 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.

Earn bonus points at supermarkets with the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express (Review)

Annual fee: $0
Bonus categories: 2x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year), 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 on everyday spending

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.

The Platinum Card® from American Express (Review)

Annual fee: $550 (Rates & Fees)
Bonus categories: 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines; if you apply for the card now, you can also earn 10x points at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, for the first $15,000 spent within six months

The Amex Platinum is historically a card you get primarily 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, Marriott Bonvoy Gold status, and more. The card is even offering some great temporary perks, like a $30 monthly PayPal credit for the first half of 2021.

However, the Amex Platinum 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. If you apply for the card now, it even offers an unheard of 10x points on U.S. supermarket and U.S. gas station purchases for a limited time, which is all the more reason to pick up this card now

Access Amex Centurion Lounges with the Amex Platinum

Best Amex Business Cards For Earning Points

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 Amex 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 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.

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

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 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 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, Delta SkyClub access, Amex Centurion Lounge access, a Priority Pass membership, Hilton Honors Gold status, Marriott Bonvoy Gold status, and much more.


Access Delta SkyClubs with the Amex Platinum

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:

If you’re going to apply for American Express cards, see this post for the credit card application rules you should be aware of.

Bottom Line

Amex Membership Rewards points are among the most valuable points currencies out there, given just how much flexibility these points give you. While not everyone is traveling right now, these are rewards that can be valuable towards future adventures when you are comfortable to travel again.

What also makes Amex so great is how you can build a portfolio of personal and small business cards that really helps you maximize your points earning potential.

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

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Comments
  1. I’ve had an American Express card of one type or another since 1983 🙂

    I started out with a green card and I now have the green card 😉

    I got the EveryDay Preferred on an upgrade MR bonus and figured out a way to ensure 30 transactions a month by changing my charitable & political giving to small monthly amounts than just 1 large gift annually. Now easy to get to the 30 transactions a month! 🙂

  2. I’m in the midst of prioritizing which Amex credit card to get next (targeting one that earn MR points) and your summary helped a great deal. Thank you!

  3. Just tried applying for the plat 100K offer and got the dreaded pop-up that I’m not eligible for bonus because of history, which is kind of surprising. I have never had the personal Platinum though have opened/closed the biz plat, biz gold and personal gold cards over the past few years. Currently I have only Blue for business card, and I am AU on my wife’s Gold card.
    Its been a while (probably a couple of years) since I opened a new Amex card for myself. Is there any point in contacting Amex to get more info or request reconsideration?

  4. In regards to the personal Gold card, isn’t the $100 airline credit gone for new users? As I understand it, If one was a holder prior to 2021, then yes the $100 airline credit is still available until December 31, 2021. However, new accounts (those applying in 2021) still get this benefit?

  5. Have you ever published a review of EU Amex cards? I am a small time traveller these days (retired now). Is it better to save points on Amex Rewards than e.g. on an airline FF programme? Thanks for your insights.

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