Here’s How To Earn More Amex Membership Rewards Points

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Last week I took at look the transfer partners of the four major transferable loyalty currencies – Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood’s Starpoints. All are currencies I value highly and all a currencies I prefer to individual airline miles or hotel points.

As a follow up to those articles I’m taking a look at the best ways to earn the four transferable loyalty currencies and hopefully giving you some idea of what you can do to earn more points and to boost your balances quickly and/or frequently.

Earning Amex Membership Rewards Points

1. Credit Card Welcome Bonuses

American Express has a large number of different personal and business credit cards that offer Amex Membership Rewards points as a welcome bonus. These welcome bonuses vary from month to month but if you’re looking for a quick boost to your Amex Membership Rewards balance then these are very good options.

Amex Membership Rewards Cards – Personal

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The welcome bonuses below are correct at the time of writing but will change over time

Bonus shorthand used below: Number of points/amount of spend required/time in which to meet the spend requirement.

  • Amex EveryDay Credit Card – 10,000 points/$1,000/3 months
  • Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card – 15,000 points/$1,000/3 months
  • The Platinum Card from American Express – 60,000 points/$5,000/3 months
  • Premier Rewards Gold Card – 25,000 points/$2,000/3 months
  • The Mercedes-Benz Credit Card – 10,000 points/$1,000/3 months

Amex Membership Rewards Cards – Business

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  • The Business Platinum Card – 50,000 points/$10,000 & extra 25,000 after a further $10,000 (all in 3 months) (OFFER EXPIRED)
  • The Business Gold Rewards Card – 50,000 points/$5,000/3 months (OFFER EXPIRED)
  • Business Green Rewards Card – 5,000 points after first purchase on the card (OFFER EXPIRED)

Successfully applying for any of the cards above and then meeting the minimum spend criteria will see you boot your Ultimate Rewards balance quicker than you can boost it in any other way.

Note: Other Amex Membership rewards earning cards are available (and will appear at various points in this post) but these do not earn a welcome bonus.

2. Credit Card Spending – Category Bonuses

All of the credit cards mentioned above offer you Amex Membership rewards points in return for spending on the cards and, while you’re guaranteed at least 1 Membership Reward point per dollar you spend, most of these cards also come with category spending bonuses where you can earn even more.

Amex EveryDay Credit Card Bonus Categories

  • 2 points per dollar spent at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 in annual spend

Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card Bonus Categories

  • 3 points per dollar spent at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 in annual spend
  • 2 points per dollar spent at US gas stations

The Platinum Card from American Express Bonus Categories

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  • 5 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or though
  • 5 points per dollar spent on hotels booked through

Premier Rewards Gold Card Bonus Categories

  • 3 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines
  • 2 points per dollar spent at US restaurants
  • 2 points per dollar spent at US gas stations
  • 2 points per dollar spent at US supermarkets

The Mercedes-Benz Credit Card Bonus Categories

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  • 5 points per dollar spent on select Mercedes-Benz purchases
  • 1.5 points per dollar spent on business purchases of $5,000 or more

American Express Green Card Bonus Categories

  • 2 points per dollar spent at

The Business Platinum Card Bonus Categories

  • 5 points per dollar spent on flights & prepaid hotels booked on
  • 1.5 points per dollar spent on business purchases of $5,000 or more

The Business Gold Rewards Card Bonus Categories (OFFER NOW EXPIRED)

  • 3 points per dollar spend in one of the following categories:
    • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
    • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
    • U.S. purchases at gas stations
    • U.S. purchases for shipping
    • U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
  • 2 points per dollar spent on the 4 categories not selected above

Business Green Rewards Card Bonus Categories

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  • 2 points per dollar spent at

Blue Business Plus Bonus Categories

  • 2 points per dollar spent on the first $50,000 of purchases each year

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There are so many opportunities here to earn more Amex Membership Rewards points that it’s hard to know where to start…but I’ll give it a try.

The key to earning more points (in whatever rewards program you’re interested in) is making sure you have credit cards that offer you bonus points for spending in categories that are part of your everyday life – like when you go grocery shopping or if you eat out.

Outside of mortgage/rent payments most people’s spend goes on things like groceries, gas and eating out and Amex has you covered on all of those.

To maximize your points earning you should find a happy medium between a card (or cards) that reward you for shopping where you shop/spend most often and a card (or cards) with affordable annual fees.

Personally I hold on to the Amex Platinum Card despite the astronomical annual fee because I make good use of the benefits but also because I travel a lot and 5 points/dollar on airfare helps me rake in a lot of points.

3. Maximize Spending Bonuses

Two of the Amex personal cards offer users bonuses just for making a certain number of transactions on their cards:

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  • Amex EveryDay Credit Card – 20% more points when you make 20 or more purchases on your card in a billing period.
  • Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card – 50% more points when you make 30 or more purchases on your card in a billing period.

The transactions don’t have to be over a certain amount so, if you’re having trouble hitting the transaction target in any given month, you can get creative – e.g. buy multiple $1 e-gift cards on Amazon or split your grocery shop in to multiple transactions (easiest if you’re using self check-out).

4. Shop With American Express OPEN Merchants

All of the Amex Business Cards are part of Amex’s OPEN program which offers savings or bonus Membership Rewards points when you spend at select retailers.

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Here’s how Amex describes the benefit:

Did you know that the OPEN Savings benefit is built-in to your Business Card from American Express OPEN? It’s designed to get you a 5% discount or 2 extra Membership Rewards® points for every eligible dollar spent with OPEN Savings partners. If your Card is enrolled in the Membership Rewards® program, the choice is yours. All other Cards will receive automatic discounts credited to your billing statement.

Personally I think that 5% cash back is worth more than 2 Membership Rewards points but if you’re only a few points away from being able to book an award then this could be an option.

5. Earn Bonus Points Through Amex Offers

One of the major benefits of holding American Express Cards is that Amex issuer frequently has some pretty good offers for cardholders prepared to used their card(s) at select merchants.

The merchants that offer these discounts cover a broad spectrum of the market so you’ll see offers from everyday retailers (like GAP, Macy’s & Bloomingdale’s), offers from more specialist vendors (like Adobe, Dropbox, Mont Blanc & Este Lauder) and, as well as a few restaurants that appear here and there, you also get offers from various travel providers.

This is where things can get interesting.

Some of the offers can earn you a nice chunk of cash back or, as we saw recently, a lot of Membership rewards points:a close-up of a logo

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You’ll find these offers at the bottom of the homepage of every Amex card you hold.

6. Refer Your Friends & Get A Bonus

American Express offers referral bonuses on a number of its credit cards and they’re relatively simple to pick up.

If you head over to your account homepage and scroll to the very bottom you should see a link (under “links you may like”) for “Refer A Friend”:

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Clicking on this link will take you to a page showing you all the referral options open to you – the screenshot below is one of my options.

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Most cards allow you to earn up to 55,000 Membership Rewards per year for referring friends and family who successfully apply for the card you referred them to.

7. Get Bonus Points When You Book Travel Through Amex Travel

This can be a useful way of earning Membership Rewards points but you need to be careful.

All American Express cards will earn 2 points per dollar spent through but, while for some cards that’s a nice bonus, for others it’s actually a loss.

For example, take the Business Gold Rewards Card which normally earns 3 points per dollar spent on flights. If you were to use this card to book a flight through Amex travel you would be capped at 2 points per dollar.

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Both the Business and the Personal Platinum cards will earn 5 points per dollar for spend on Amex travel but that still doesn’t mean that it’s always a good idea.

While there’s little downside to booking flights through Amex Travel it’s a bit different when it comes to booking hotels. Amex Travel is considered a travel agent by hotels and, because of this, hotel bookings though Amex Travel are not eligible for elite benefits or elite points/stay accrual.

Bottom Line

If you make sure you sign up for the Amex Membership Rewards credit and charge cards when the welcome bonuses are high and you make a concerted effort to use your cards for spend in categories which earn bonus points then you’re off to a good start.

Make sure you make the most of the Amex offers you’ll find on your card’s homepage as not only can these help to boost your Membership Rewards balance but the cash back offers can easily cover your card’s annual fee and more.