How to Maximize Rewards With the AmEx Trifecta

This combination of three AmEx cards can help you earn the most points across several spending categories.

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There are plenty of great rewards credit cards available, but none of them fit every need that you have. That's why it makes sense to combine the features and rewards of multiple cards to maximize your benefits.

The AmEx Trifecta is one way of doing this. You can combine three American Express cards to earn more Membership Rewards on different spending categories.

What is the AmEx Trifecta and why should you have it?

The AmEx Trifecta uses the different features of separate American Express cards to optimize your benefits and rewards. Users of this strategy pick three American Express cards that earn Membership Rewards.

Plus, these cards also offer valuable benefits that improve travel — including complimentary airport lounge access, up to $100 in reimbursed airport security memberships and hundreds of dollars in annual credits. Terms apply.

Smart ways to redeem Membership Rewards points

With the AmEx Trifecta, you'll earn a lot of Membership Rewards points by maximizing the money you're already spending. There are many options when it comes to redeeming American Express Membership Rewards points.

Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Transferring points to 20+ airline and hotel airline partners.

  • Booking flights and prepaid hotel rooms through AmEx Travel.

  • Upgrading eligible flights through AmEx Travel.

  • Redeeming for gift cards.

Terms apply.

The value of your points will vary widely based on the type of redemption you choose. In general, you'll receive the most value when you transfer points to an airline to book award tickets, particularly those in premium cabins. Your goal should be to receive at least 1 cent per point in value from the rewards you've earned.

Earning rates that maximize the AmEx trifecta

Earn 4x on dining and U.S. supermarkets - American Express® Gold Card

American Express Premier Rewards Gold Credit Card
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The American Express® Gold Card rewards cardholders for their eating habits. You will earn 4 points per dollar on your dining purchases. Plus, when you're buying groceries at U.S. supermarkets, you'll earn 4 points per dollar on the first $25,000 you spend each year at U.S. supermarkets. Terms apply.

New cardholders can earn the following welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months. Terms Apply.

The American Express® Gold Card has an annual fee of $250. However, monthly dining credits ($10 a month, up to $120, enrollment required) and Uber Cash ($10 a month, up to $120 a year) cover the majority of that cost. Terms apply.

Nerdy tip: To get access to the Uber Cash bonus for use on U.S. rides and Uber Eats orders, you must add your card to your Uber account.

Up to 5x on travel - The Platinum Card® from American Express or American Express® Green Card

American Express Platinum Credit Card
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When picking a rewards card to pay for travel, you have two solid options from American Express. You'll choose between them based on your budget, benefits and the rewards they earn. The Platinum Card® from American Express is a luxury travel card with a premium price. The American Express® Green Card is more budget-friendly, but still packs a ton of benefits.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

This is a luxury card that offers a lot of perks for its $695 annual fee. You'll earn 5 points per dollar when booking flights with airlines or through AmEx Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year). Plus, you'll also earn 5 points per dollar on AmEx Travel prepaid hotel reservations. Terms apply. Upon approval, you can earn this welcome bonus: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

The Platinum Card® from American Express offers up to a $100 reimbursement on Global Entry or TSA Precheck and another $500 in annual credits with Uber ($200 in total, rides or eats orders in the U.S. up to $15 each month and $35 in December), airline fees ($200), prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® bookings or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel ($200), Equinox ($300), entertainment purchases with certain companies ($240) and Saks Fifth Avenue ($100). Cardholders also receive automatic Gold elite status with Hilton and Marriott. Enrollment is required for the airline credit, Saks Fifth Avenue credit and hotel elite status. Terms apply.

The American Express® Green Card

The Platinum Card® from American Express earns up to 5 points per dollar and offers a lot of benefits, but its pricey annual fee is outside many budgets. For an annual fee of $150, the American Express® Green Card is a solid travel card that earns 3x points on travel and dining. Most notably, it earns 3x points on a wide range of travel purchases. Conversely, The Platinum Card® from American Express earns 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels bought from airlines or AmEx Travel only (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year). Terms apply.

If you’re looking for ultimate flexibility on travel purchases, the American Express® Green Card is the way to go.

The American Express® Green Card also includes a $100 annual credit toward a Clear membership and $100 in annual LoungeBuddy airport lounge credits. It also has no foreign transaction fees and includes trip insurance to cover delays, rental car damage and theft, and baggage loss or delay. Terms apply.

Bonus points on everyday spending - The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

American Express The Blue for Business® Credit Card
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For all of your spending that doesn't fall into the above spending categories, The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express has you covered. It has no annual fee and earns 2 points per dollar on all of your purchases (up to $50,000 each year). Terms apply.

Nerdy tip: In general, your minimum earning goal for all purchases should be at least 2 points per dollar spent.

If you reach the $50,000 annual limit, you'll continue to earn 1 point per dollar on everything else. The card is eligible for AmEx Offers, just like all of your other American Express cards (enrollment required). One drawback is that the card charges foreign transaction fees, so it's not a good companion for international travel. Terms apply.

Because this is a business card, some people may think that they don't qualify for it. However, in today's economy, many people have side hustles, rental properties and other sources of income in addition to their main job. You don't have to be a multimillion-dollar business to be eligible for a business card. In fact, you don't even need an EIN to apply if your business is registered as a sole proprietorship.

The bottom line

Because each card offers different benefits and earning power, it makes sense to carry more than one card. By using the AmEx Trifecta of cards, you'll earn maximum points on travel, dining, groceries and other purchases. All of the Membership Rewards points you earn from the AmEx Trifecta are deposited into one account. This makes tracking your points easier and accelerates your ability to redeem for travel, gift cards or other rewards.

All information about the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The American Express® Green Card is no longer available through NerdWallet. To view rates and fees of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, see this page. To view rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, see this page. To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:

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