This guide will show you nine ways you can use your everyday spending to rack up American Express points faster.
Information about the Everyday Preferred Card, Mercedes-Benz card, Morgan Stanley card, Morgan Stanley Platinum card and Schwab Platinum card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuer did not provide the content, nor is it responsible for its accuracy.
You’ve signed up for your first American Express Membership Rewards card, and you’re itching to earn your way to a free vacation and perhaps you’re wondering – is there a way to rack up points a little faster?
In fact, you can try a slew of tricks to earn extra Membership Rewards points. Read on to see the top nine fastest ways to stack up on Membership Rewards points.
7 ways to earn Membership Rewards points
1. Apply for American Express cards to earn introductory bonuses
Earning introductory bonuses is one of the best ways to get a large influx of Membership Rewards points. For instance, you can earn 100,000 points with the The Platinum Card® from American Express when you apply and meet the $6,000 spend requirement in the first six months. It’s important to note that American Express is very strict on introductory bonuses – you can only earn the introductory bonus for each card once in your lifetime. So, if you want to maximize your points, carefully watch the bonuses for each card and try to apply when they’re at their peak.
Luckily, American Express has a plethora of cards that offer introductory bonuses (and, yes, the Platinum cards all count as a separate card):
American Express introductory bonuses
|Introductory bonus||Estimated value|
|Everyday Preferred card*||15,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months||$179|
|American Express® Green Card*||30,000 points if you spend $2,000 in first 3 months||$357|
|American Express® Gold Card||60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 6 months||$714|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||100,000 points if you spend $6,000 in first 6 months||$1,190|
|The Business Platinum Card® from American Express||100,000 points if you spend $15,000 in first 3 months||$1,190|
|Mercedes-Benz card||10,000 points if spend $100 in first 3 months||$119|
|Morgan Stanley card||10,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months||$119|
|Morgan Stanley Platinum card||60,000 points if you spend $5,000 in first 3 months||$714|
|Schwab Platinum card||60,000 points if you spend $5,000 in first 3 months||$714|
Why should you get this card?
The Amex Platinum card comes with a massive list of perks – including the most extensive lounge access of any credit card and hundreds of dollars in travel credits – making it the best value for a luxury traveler.
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2. Get a larger introductory bonus through a targeted offer
American Express likes to use targeted offers with larger introductory bonuses to draw in customers, so you shouldn’t always take the first offer you see. With some research and patience, it’s often possible to score 50% to 100% more points over the advertised introductory bonus. You should check back often with the American Express website (if you are a frequent visitor, you are more likely to trigger an offer), and keep an eye on your mail or even call American Express directly to ask if you qualify for any offers.
You also should check our CardMatch service. American Express currently is offering up to 150,000 bonus points (after spending $6,000 in the first six months) to certain customers who sign up for its Platinum card through CardMatch. (This targeted offer is not available to all CardMatch users.)
3. Get a referral bonus
You can earn 5,000 points or more by referring friends to an American Express card. Although there is a cap on the number of points you can collect on each card, the limits are high – you can earn 70,000 to 200,000 points per card, or more, per year. You’ll need to log in to your card account to see which offers you qualify for. Here are some of the sample offers from the Amex refer-a-friend page:
American Express referral bonuses
|American Express Gold Card||5,000 points for each approved referral up to 75,000 points|
|Platinum card||15,000 points for each approved referral up to 225,000 points|
|Business Gold Rewards card||10,000 points for each approved referral up to 150,000 points|
|Business Platinum card||25,000 points for each approved referral up to 225,000 points|
4. Use Amex OffersUnlike many competing credit card rewards programs, American Express does not have a shopping portal. Instead, it has Amex Offers – a list of special offers, including the opportunity to earn extra points when you use your card to make a purchase from a participating merchant. Just like Amex’s referral bonus site, Amex Offers are targeted to each account holder, which means you’ll need to log in regularly to see what offers you currently qualify for.
5. Take advantage of other limited-time promotions
Occasionally, American Express will offer limited-time promotions that allow you to earn additional points or to redeem your points at a discount. See our limited time-promotions page for a list of current offers.
6. Juggle Membership Rewards cards
You can seriously boost your rewards earning rate by signing up for multiple Membership Rewards cards and using the cards to earn extra points in all their bonus categories. Getting a ton of Membership Rewards points will help you be able to redeem your Membership Rewards points for the highest value.
As you can see from the first chart below, the average cardholder only earns an average 1.24 points per dollar when using the American Express Platinum card by itself:
Scenario 1: Using one card for every purchase ($15,900 annual spend)
|Platinum card||Average rewards rate||Estimated points/year|
|1.24 points per dollar||19,716|
However, when the same cardholder combines the American Express Platinum card with the Everyday Preferred card – earning 3 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 in purchases per year) and 2 points per dollar at U.S. gas stations – as well as The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express – earning 2 points per dollar on every purchase (up to $50,000 per year and then 1 point per dollar thereafter) – the cardholder’s overall rewards rate more than doubles.
Combining all these cards earns the average cardholder an additional 18,603 points for a total 38,319 points per year. With American Express, you only have one Membership Rewards account, no matter how many different credit cards you have. This makes it easy to earn points from different cards or to transfer to Amex’s hotel and airline transfer partners.
Scenario 2: Combining Membership Rewards cards ($15,900 annual spend)
|Platinum card + Everyday Preferred card + Business Plus card||Average rewards rate||Estimated points/year|
|2.41 points per dollar||38,319|
7. Buy gift cards
Not every retailer offers merchant gift cards or allows you to purchase gift cards with a credit card, but many rewards cardholders successfully use credit cards to purchase gift cards and earn bonus Membership Rewards points in categories not covered by their cards.
For example, you could use your Everyday Preferred card to purchase an Amazon gift card from a supermarket to earn 4.5 Membership Rewards points on your Amazon purchases. As an added benefit, this is a good way to max out the bonus on this card if you can’t muster $6,000 worth of grocery purchases.
We’ve covered most of the major points-earning opportunities here, but there’s much more to maximizing rewards. Many rewards enthusiasts have their own tips and tricks for collecting Membership Rewards points, and knowing what your American Express rewards points are worth with each redemption option will help you choose the best option for you.
*All information about the American Express Green Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuer did not provide the content, nor is it responsible for its accuracy.