Imagine flying business class to Paris or enjoying a luxurious beach resort in the Maldives – all paid for with points! American Express Membership Rewards make these dream vacations possible. This flexible program offers numerous ways to earn and redeem points, putting incredible travel experiences within your reach. In this guide, discover the secrets to earning, redeeming, and maximizing your Amex points for the ultimate travel rewards.

How To Earn American Express Membership Rewards

Let's start by diving into how to boost your Membership Rewards balance. Amex provides several avenues to accumulate points quickly:

Credit Cards That Earn Membership Rewards

Amex offers a suite of personal credit cards tailored to different spending habits. Look for cards with attractive welcome bonuses, lucrative earning rates on common spending categories (think groceries, dining, or travel), and perks like airport lounge access or travel credits. Cards come with varying annual fees, so weigh the value of the benefits against the cost.


Refer friends and family to American Express, and there's potential to score bonus points. Amex has a generous referral program with rotating offers. What's unique is that a referral bonus can be earned even if the friend applies for a different Amex card.

Amex Offers

Amex Offers are a treasure trove of bonus points. These offers give you the chance to earn extra Membership Rewards points when spending at participating retailers. Offers like "Earn 10,000 points after you spend $500 at Reebok" or "Spend $150 at Hugo Boss, get 3,000 points" could be found frequently.  Check the Amex Offers section of your account regularly to find deals.

Rakuten Shopping Portal

Double-dip on rewards with Rakuten! Earn cash back or Membership Rewards points on online purchases through the Rakuten Shopping Portal. Use the browser extension or app and explore in-store offers too.  To score even more rewards, link debit or credit cards for those in-store deals.

Combining American Express Membership Rewards

If you hold multiple eligible Amex cards, points automatically pool into a central Membership Rewards account. Just note that points can't be combined with another cardholder's account and can only be transferred to airline and hotel programs under the cardholder's name.

How to Redeem Amex Membership Rewards Points

Now, for the fun part – how to cash in those points. Amex gives you a wide range of redemption options:

Book Travel Through Amex

The American Express Travel portal offers a convenient way to use your Membership Rewards points just like cash.  Book a wide range of travel experiences, including flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, or rental cars directly through the portal. While the value per point is generally around one cent each, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Best for Simple Bookings: If you're looking for straightforward flight or hotel bookings, using the portal can be a good option. It offers ease of use and the flexibility to pay fully with points or combine points and cash.
  • Potential for Increased Value: Occasionally, Amex offers promotions where points are worth more when used through the travel portal. Keep an eye on your account offers for these deals.
  • Compare Before You Book: Before committing, always compare prices through Amex Travel against booking directly with the airline or hotel. Sometimes, transferring points to a partner and booking through them can yield a significantly better value.

Transfer Points to Airline and Hotel Partners

Here's where things get exciting! Stretch your point value by transferring to Amex's many airline and hotel partners. Transfers often happen at a 1:1 ratio, and your points can be worth significantly more when redeemed for premium flights or luxury hotel stays with partners like Delta, Air France, or Hilton. Remember, transfers are irreversible, so be strategic!

Redeem for Statement Credits

While it offers the lowest point value (approx 0.6 cents/point), redeeming for statement credits remains an option if you need to offset account charges quickly.

Shop with Points

Pay with your points at checkout for purchases through participating partners like Amazon or Best Buy. Before using this option, it's wise to check an online points calculator to make sure you're getting a good value.

Redeem for Gift Cards

Amex offers a selection of gift cards, but the point value varies widely between brands. Do your research before redeeming.

Sell Your Points for Cash

Not interested in flights or hotel stays? Consider turning your points into cash for maximum flexibility. Reputable sites like The Miles Market offer a secure and convenient way to sell your Membership Rewards points. This gives you the freedom to use the cash for any travel expense you desire, potentially even earning more rewards by booking paid flights and hotel stays.

How to Maximize Amex Membership Rewards Points

Let's power up your point-earning strategy:

Pair Several Amex Credit Cards

Hold multiple Amex cards to maximize your point earning on different spending categories.  This also lets you collect several card welcome bonuses. It's like having a specialized toolkit for points! Consider the popular Amex trifecta, or pair high-earning cards like the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card with your premium travel card.

Transfer Points Partners Before You Redeem

This is the best way to boost your Membership Rewards points! Instead of booking flights directly through Amex Travel, consider transferring your points to one of Amex's numerous airline partners and then booking through the airline's website. Here's why this strategy is often superior:

  1. Premium Experiences: Transferring points can unlock premium cabin bookings on international flights or luxury hotel stays that would otherwise be out of reach if paying with cash.
  2. Higher Value Per Point: Your points can stretch considerably further when redeemed through partners. It's not uncommon to see point values of 2 cents, 3 cents, or even higher when transferring to airlines and booking premium travel.
  3. Transfer Bonuses: Look out for transfer bonuses! Amex periodically offers promotions where you'll receive a percentage bonus when transferring points to specific partners, increasing your value even more.

Remember, point transfers to partners are usually one-way and irreversible. Take the time to carefully research award availability and redemption rates with Amex's airline and hotel partners before making a transfer.

Do Amex Rewards Points Expire

American Express Membership Rewards points are incredibly valuable, but they're not designed to last forever. Here's what you need to know:

  • Keeping Your Account Active: Ensure you have at least one open American Express card in good standing.
  • Timely Payments: Points can be forfeited if you miss payments or violate the terms of the card agreement.
  • Account Closure: Closing an Amex card without redeeming or transferring your points will result in their loss. Always plan when canceling a card.

American Express Membership Rewards unlocks a world of incredible travel opportunities. By understanding how to earn, redeem, and maximize points, you can turn everyday spending into unforgettable adventures. Here's a quick recap:

  • Keys to Earning: Choose the best Amex cards for your spending style, leverage Amex Offers, refer friends, shop with Rakuten, and consider pairing multiple Amex cards.
  • Redemption Wisdom: Prioritize transferring points to travel partners for the maximum point value. Use the Amex travel portal judiciously, and consider other options like statement credits and gift cards only when they offer suitable value for your needs.

Don't let your Amex points expire. The Miles Market is the trusted marketplace to buy and sell miles and points for top value. Visit us to explore your options and get the most out of your travel rewards.