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A Complete Guide to American Express Membership Rewards Points

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American Express Membership Rewards has always been one of the best credit card rewards programs. It offers lots of ways to redeem your points, including a huge roster of airline and hotel partners, which is a real highlight. You can also choose from several great American Express cards with which to earn Membership Rewards points.

Those points can be very valuable, but that depends in large part on how you redeem them. In this guide, you'll learn all about American Express Membership Rewards points, including what they're worth, how to earn them, and what the best redemption options are.

What are American Express Membership Rewards points worth?

American Express Membership Rewards points are worth between $0.01 and over $0.03 per point when used correctly. The value depends both on the card you have and how you choose to redeem your points.

Most American Express Membership Rewards cards let you transfer points to travel partners. It partners with over 20 different airlines and hotels, and you can make award bookings through their loyalty programs. Transfers offer the most value for your points because you can get $0.03 per point or more with the right award booking.

American Express also offers several fixed-rate redemptions, including:

  • Flights
  • Hotels
  • Gift cards
  • Cash back

These types of redemptions will give you anywhere from $0.005 to $0.01 per point.

How do you earn American Express Membership Rewards points?

To earn American Express Membership Rewards points, you need to open a credit card in the rewards program. Here are some of the Membership Rewards consumer cards you can apply for:

As of Sep. 26, 2022
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The Platinum Card® from American Express American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Green Card

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Apply Now for The Platinum Card® from American Express

On American Express' Secure Website.

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Apply Now for American Express® Gold Card

On American Express' Secure Website.

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Rates & Fees Rates & Fees Rates & Fees

Credit Rating Requirement:

Good/Excellent (670-850) Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Credit Rating Requirement:

Good/Excellent (670-850) Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Credit Rating Requirement:

Good/Excellent (670-850) Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Welcome Offer: Welcome Offer info Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

100,000

Welcome Offer: Welcome Offer info Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

60,000

Welcome Offer: Welcome Offer info Earn 45,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months

45,000 Membership Rewards® points

Rewards Program: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. Earn 1X Membership Rewards® Points on other purchases.

1X - 5X points

Rewards Program: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. Earn 1X Membership Rewards® Points on other eligible purchases.

1X - 4X points

Rewards Program: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. 3X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery. 3X Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, from subway swipes and window seats to hotel stays and city tours. The 1x points on other purchases.

1x - 3x points

Intro APR:

Purchases: n/a

Balance Transfers: n/a

Intro APR:

Purchases: n/a

Balance Transfers: n/a

Intro APR:

Purchases: N/A

Balance Transfers: N/A

Regular APR:

See Pay Over Time APR

Regular APR:

18.99%-25.99% Variable

Regular APR:

18.24% - 25.24%, variable

Annual Fee:

$695

Annual Fee:

$250

Annual Fee:

$150

Highlights:

  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. And if you fly, you can receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year after you select a qualifying airline and incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at select airports and stadiums.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Highlights:

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • Updated $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.

Highlights:

  • Earn 45,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, from subway swipes and window seats to hotel stays and city tours.
  • Earn up to $100 in annual statement credits to help you get through security faster with CLEAR®.
  • Earn up to $100 in annual statement credits to access 750+ airport lounges globally through LoungeBuddy.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $150 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Apply Now for The Platinum Card® from American Express

On American Express' Secure Website.

Terms apply

Apply Now for American Express® Gold Card

On American Express' Secure Website.

Terms apply

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If you're looking for a card with a lower annual fee, you can apply for either of these Membership Rewards consumer cards to earn points:

As of Sep. 26, 2022
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Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
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4.50 stars
Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
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Apply Now for Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

On American Express' Secure Website.

Terms apply

Rates & Fees Rates & Fees

Credit Rating Requirement:

Good/Excellent (670-850) Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Credit Rating Requirement:

Good/Excellent (670-850) Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. Falling within this credit range does not guarantee approval by the issuer. An application must be submitted to the issuer for a potential approval decision. There are different types of credit scores and creditors use a variety of credit scores to make lending decisions.

Welcome Offer: Welcome Offer info 10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases in your first 6 months

10,000 Membership Rewards® points

Welcome Offer: Welcome Offer info Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.

$200

Rewards Program: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. 2x points at US supermarkets ($6,000 spending cap per year), 1x points on other purchases. Use your Card 20 or more times in a billing period to earn 20% more points

1x - 2x points

Rewards Program: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%. 3% Cash Back on U.S. online retail purchases, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%. 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.

1% - 3% cash back

Intro APR:

Purchases: 0%, 15 months

Balance Transfers: N/A

Intro APR:

Purchases: 0%, 15 months

Balance Transfers: 0%, 15 months

Regular APR:

15.24% - 26.24%, variable

Regular APR:

16.99%-27.99% Variable

Annual Fee:

$0

Annual Fee:

$0

Highlights:

  • Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases in your first 6 months.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases, then a variable rate, currently 15.24% to 26.24%.
  • 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x); 1x points on other purchases.
  • Use your Card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period and earn 20% more points on those purchases less returns and credits.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Highlights:

  • Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Balance Transfer is back! Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months from the date of account opening. After that, 16.99% to 27.99% variable APR.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%.
  • New! 3% Cash Back on U.S. online retail purchases, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.
  • Get $7 back each month after using your Blue Cash Everyday® Card to spend $13.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription to The Disney Bundle, which includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. Enrollment required.
  • Terms Apply.
Apply Now for Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

On American Express' Secure Website.

Terms apply

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The information for the The Amex EveryDay® Card from American Express has been collected independently by The Ascent. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

There's also Blue from American Express®, which has lower credit score requirements than most other American Express cards. Although it does earn Membership Rewards points, it doesn't let you transfer points to travel partners and it offers less value when booking or upgrading flights through American Express Travel. Blue from American Express® gives you $0.005 per point on airfare bookings or upgrades, whereas the other cards above offer $0.01 per point.

If you have at least a good credit score, then you should stick to one of the five cards listed above. They earn more points and give you better redemption options.

Can you buy points?

You can buy American Express Membership Rewards points for $0.025 per point, but only during the redemption process. There's a minimum purchase of 1,000 points for $25, and purchases must be made in increments of 1,000 points.

Considering the price, it's not usually worth the money to buy points. You're better off finding ways to maximize the points you earn. The only exception is if you want to make a travel redemption right away and you don't quite have enough points for it.

Do points expire?

American Express Membership Rewards points never expire as long as you have an active credit card in that rewards program. If you're planning to cancel your American Express card, make sure you use your points first.

You can lose your points if you violate the card's terms and conditions or try to game the system to earn more points. For example, American Express has been known to cancel card accounts and take back points of consumers who downgrade their cards within 12 months of opening them.

Where can you redeem American Express Membership Rewards points?

You can redeem American Express Membership Rewards points in the Rewards section of your online account. Alternatively, you can call American Express to redeem your points by phone.

Here's a list of all American Express transfer partners. As you'll see, it's extensive, which is a strong suit of these travel cards. Transfer ratios are even (you get 1,000 points in the loyalty program for every 1,000 Membership Rewards points you transfer) except where otherwise noted.

  • Aer Lingus
  • Aeromexico (1,000 Membership Rewards points:1,600 Club Premier points)
  • Air Canada
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • Alitalia
  • All Nippon Airways
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Delta Air Lines
  • El Al Israel Airlines (1,000 Membership Rewards points:20 Matmid points)
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Iberia
  • JetBlue Airways (250 Membership Rewards points:200 TrueBlue points)
  • Qantas
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways
  • Choice Hotels
  • Hilton (1,000 Membership Rewards points:2,000 Hilton Honors points)
  • Marriott Bonvoy

Most transfers process instantly, but it can take longer. You'll also need to link your loyalty program account before you can make a transfer, which can take a couple of days. You can learn how in the section below.

The other redemption options are:

  • Book or upgrade travel through American Express Travel
  • Redeem for gift cards
  • Shop for products with points
  • Pay with points at checkout
  • Redeem as cash back towards previous charges

Although there are quite a few redemptions in the list above, they don't offer much value. The only one worth considering is to book or upgrade a flight through American Express Travel. You can get $0.01 per point that way with all American Express travel cards except Blue from American Express®. It's not great, but it's acceptable if you can't transfer points for the airfare you want.

How do you redeem points?

To redeem American Express Membership Rewards points online:

  1. Go to the American Express website and log in.
  2. Click on the "Rewards" tab in the menu at the top of the page.
  3. Click on the redemption option you want.

After you pick how you want to use your rewards, the remainder of the process will depend on the redemption you chose. Each type of redemption is fairly simple to complete.

Note that if you want to transfer points, you'll need to link to your airline or hotel's loyalty program account.

How to link loyalty program accounts

To link a loyalty program account, log in to your American Express account and click on the "Rewards" tab, just like in the steps above.

Click on "Transfer Points." You'll see the featured loyalty programs, and you can click "View All" to see the rest. Click on the airline or hotel. American Express will then ask you to provide the following information:

  • The name on your card account (this must match the name of the loyalty program account holder).
  • The four-digit card ID and three-digit security code of your American Express card.
  • Your loyalty program account number.

After you've entered that, click "Link Account" and you're done. American Express and the loyalty program may need a couple of days to verify your account.

It's a good idea to link all your loyalty program accounts as soon as you can. The first time that I transferred Membership Rewards points, I almost missed out on the award airfare I wanted because I didn't realize I'd need to wait for my account to be verified.

What is the best way to use American Express Membership Rewards points?

Whenever possible, look for opportunities to transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to the program's partners. Award travel bookings offer the most value, particularly award tickets booked through airline loyalty programs.

That's the best way to get the most value from your American Express Membership Rewards. But here are some other important pointers:

  • Start with where you want to go. Pick your destination, and then see which airlines and/or hotels can help you get there.
  • Luxury travel often (but not always) gets you more value. Business class and first-class airfare tend to be better deals than economy tickets, and the same can be true for pricey hotels. It's typically a good strategy to save your points for expensive travel bookings and pay cash for cheaper ones.
  • A little flexibility goes a long way. Changing your travel date by one or two days can sometimes cut the cost of your booking in half.
  • Decide what you want to book before transferring any points. You can't send your points back once you transfer them, so you should only do so when you're ready to book.

Versatile and valuable travel rewards

Many of the best travel rewards cards let you transfer your points, but American Express goes above and beyond with all its travel partners. Whether you're traveling domestically or internationally, you can likely use American Express Membership Rewards points to cover the cost.

Still have questions?

Here are some other questions we've answered:

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