AmEx Membership Rewards: How to Earn and Use Them
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American Express offers multiple rewards cards, some of which earn points on purchases in the form of Membership Rewards.
Membership Rewards vary in how much they’re worth depending on how you choose to redeem them. For example, you could potentially double their value by turning them into Hilton Honors loyalty points versus using them to shop at Yeti — and those are just two out of hundreds of options.
Here’s how to get the most out of your American Express Membership Rewards.
In this article
American Express Membership Rewards: The basics
Earning points: Many American Express cards earn Membership Rewards points with each purchase. Cards that earn points include AmEx's signature Green, Gold and Platinum cards.
You'll earn at least 1 point per dollar spent with your card. Depending on the card, you may earn extra points for spending in specific categories, such as 3 points per dollar at restaurants or 5 points per dollar on certain travel purchases. (Jump ahead to cards that earn Membership Rewards points.) Additional points can be earned through bonus offers for new cardholders, targeted "Amex Offers" that give you bonus points for shopping with specific merchants, or other incentives.
Not all American Express rewards cards earn Membership Rewards. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express and the American Express Cash Magnet® Card earn cash back in the form of Reward Dollars, which can be redeemed as a statement credit. And if you have a card issued by American Express with a hotel or airline partner — such as Delta or Hilton — you'll earn points or miles in that partner's loyalty program instead.
Using points: Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for things like:
Point transfers to partners, including airlines and hotels.
Donations to charity.
You can view all of your options by logging into the American Express Membership Rewards website.
How much are American Express Membership Rewards points worth?
You have a lot of options when it comes to redeeming your Membership Rewards points — and the value you get per point varies depending on how you use them. You can also look up the values for different options based on your card using a tool on the American Express Membership Rewards website. Here are ways to redeem:
Book travel via the AmEx portal or Expedia
You can use Membership Rewards points to book travel directly through American Express via the AmEx Travel site, where you can find flights, hotels and vacation packages. You can also use points to book directly through Expedia at checkout. Either way, the value of points ranges between 0.7 and 1 cent each in these cases.
Transfer points to travel partners
AmEx has multiple transfer partners — more than any other major U.S. card loyalty program — and you can transfer your points directly to those partners' loyalty programs. The transfer rate varies by partner, but in most cases, it's 1-to-1, meaning that when you transfer 1,000 Membership Rewards points, you get 1,000 points in the partner program.
One thing to keep in mind: When transferring Membership Rewards points to U.S. airlines, you'll owe a fee of 0.06 cents per point, up to a maximum of $99. For a 1,000-point transfer, that comes out to 60 cents.
The exact value you ultimately get per point depends on which program you transfer to and how you redeem the points within that program, but NerdWallet estimates the overall transfer value at 2 cents per point.
Use points to upgrade your seat
The Upgrade with Points feature, available via the Membership Rewards portal, allows you to bid on seat upgrades with your points at over 20 participating airlines. It’s a convenient option when you fear you may be cramped into a long flight. Still, be aware that your points can lose value as your bid escalates. Membership Rewards are worth at least 1 cent per point, depending on how you redeem them. If you’re not getting the equivalent amount on your bid, it may not be the best use of your rewards.
Cover your card charges
You can redeem your Membership Rewards points for a statement credit, which is essentially a cash-back option. Points are generally worth 0.6 cent apiece when used in this way.
Shop with points via the American Express site
Cardholders can get discounts and shop with points at retailers from Sephora to Tumi, with the point value varying by store. At Yeti, for example, points are worth about 0.5 cent each. Cardholders can also shop for unique experiences, like VIP treatment at the Met Museum in New York, a $300 value that costs 60,000 points, for a value of 0.5 cent each.
Use points toward online purchases elsewhere
When you’re shopping online at retailers including Walmart and Amazon, you can use your points to pay at checkout. You may have to sign into the retailer's account, enter your card number or otherwise follow the prompts to pull up your point balance. Each point is typically worth 0.7 cent when used in this way, with some variance.
Redeem for gift cards
You can redeem your points for gift cards through the AmEx site at several dozens of retailers, from Home Depot to iTunes, and the point value varies by retailer. At Target, a $25 gift card costs 3,572 points, making each point worth about 0.7 cents. At Tiffany, a $250 gift card costs 25,000 points, making each point worth 1 cent.
Donate to charity
After selecting a cause through the JustGiving website, you can make a donation using points. Points are generally worth 0.7 cents when used in this way.
» HOW THEY STACK UP: See how American Express Membership Rewards points compare with other issuer programs on our points and miles valuations page. Or:
See our guide to Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
See our guide to Citi ThankYou Points.
Cards that earn American Express Membership Rewards points
More than a dozen American Express cards earn Membership Rewards; here are some of the most popular, including some with no annual fee:
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
Earn 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases.
Earn 1 Membership Rewards point per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
» READ OUR REVIEW of the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
American Express® Green Card
Earn 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on all eligible travel and transit purchases.
Earn 3 points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide.
Earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
» READ OUR REVIEW of the American Express® Green Card
American Express® Gold Card
Earn 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at restaurants.
Earn 4 points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in spending each year, then 1 point back).
Earn 3 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines and American Express Travel.
Earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.
» READ OUR REVIEW of the American Express® Gold Card
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Earn 5 Membership Rewards points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
Earn 5 points on prepaid hotels booked on American Express Travel.
Earn 1 point on all other eligible purchases.
Terms apply —see rates and fees.
» READ OUR REVIEW of the The Platinum Card® from American Express
American Express® Business Gold Card
Earn 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent in two categories (from the following six) where you spend the most each billing cycle (up to the first $150,000 in combined purchases per year; then 1 point back):
Airfare purchased directly from airlines.
U.S. purchases at restaurants.
U.S. purchases at gas stations.
U.S. purchases for shipping.
U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio).
U.S. purchases made directly from select technology providers of computer hardware, software and cloud solutions.
Other spending earns 1 point per dollar spent. Terms apply — see rates and fees.
» READ OUR REVIEW of the American Express® Business Gold Card
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
Earn 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on eligible flights and prepaid hotels booked through American Express — and earn 1 point for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
Earn 1.5 points per dollar on eligible purchases at U.S. construction material and hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers, software and cloud system providers and shipping providers — as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
» READ OUR REVIEW of the The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
Other AmEx cards that earn Membership Rewards points include:
Other ways to earn American Express Membership Rewards points
AmEx doesn’t have a traditional online “bonus mall,” but you can enroll in individual “AmEx Offers” when you log in to your account, either online or via the American Express app. By adding these offers to your card, you'll earn extra Membership Rewards points for a limited time when you use the card at the featured retailer.
You can also earn additional Membership Rewards through the following partners:
Rakuten is a cash-back shopping website, but users can opt to earn Membership Rewards points instead of cash. (You need an eligible American Express card first, as well as a minimum of 500 points for a transfer.)
The fine print
Membership Rewards points don’t expire, and there's no cap on the amount you can earn.
All information about the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card is no longer available through NerdWallet. see rates and fees see rates and fees see rates and fees
To view rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, see this page. To view rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.
All information about the American Express Cash Magnet® Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The American Express Cash Magnet® Card is no longer available through NerdWallet. To view rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, see this page.
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