Lesser-Known Ways to Snag American Express Membership Rewards

Welcome offers and everyday spending are tried-and-true ways to earn rewards, but there are other ways, too.
Sara RathnerOct 19, 2021

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Some American Express cards earn rewards in the form of American Express Membership Rewards points, which give you lots of options when you’re ready to redeem them — travel, statement credits, gift cards and merchandise. Plus, you can transfer points to airline and hotel partners or cash them in at select merchants, including Amazon, PayPal and Best Buy, at the point of purchase.

There are two tried-and-true ways to earn Membership Rewards points: through your spending and through a welcome bonus. But American Express cards offer other ways to earn even more.

Keep an eye on AmEx partners

AmEx pairs with a rotating selection of brands and merchants, offering you extra points when you use your card to make purchases through them. At the time of this writing, for example, AmEx has partnered with the cash-back site Rakuten to offer the option to earn up to 20 bonus points per $1 spent, instead of cash back, when you link your Membership Rewards account to your Rakuten account and shop through the Rakuten shopping portal as you normally would. Terms apply.

Activate AmEx Offers

You can earn Membership Rewards points (or, in many cases, statement credits) when you add AmEx Offers to your card. Deals change frequently, so check your account online or in the AmEx app for the latest additions. Once you add an AmEx Offer to your card, you’ll automatically earn points when you shop.

Boost your points with select cards

Certain cards that earn Membership Rewards points offer extra points if you use the card a certain number of times in a billing cycle. With the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card, you can earn 20% extra bonus points if you use the card 20 or more times in a billing period, while The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express earns 50% extra points when you use the card 30 or more times in a billing period. For both cards, bonus earnings are earned only for spending within that billing period. Terms apply.

Add an authorized user

Working with a partner means you can accelerate your pace of earning points. Primary cardholders earn rewards on their authorized user’s purchases as if they made those purchases themselves. Just keep in mind that if the card account is yours, you’re on the hook to pay the bills, including what your authorized user charges.

Refer a friend

From time to time, you may receive a referral link to send along to others. If they apply for the card using your link and their application is approved, you’ll receive a bonus. You may be subject to limits on how many points you can earn in a calendar year because of referrals, and there's a chance you could be subject to taxes on rewards earned from referrals. Terms apply.

See if AmEx will incentivize you to stick around

If you’re considering canceling your American Express card, it might be worth dialing the number on the back of the card to see if you're eligible for a retention offer. The answer might not be enough to keep you around, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. You may get a sum of points that will entice you to hold onto the card. If you want to keep your account open but no longer want to pay an annual fee, you may be able to downgrade to a no-fee card.

What's next?

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. All information about The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express is no longer available through NerdWallet.

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