If you’ve gotten approved for your first American Express Membership Rewards card and are itching to earn your way to a free vacation, you may be asking yourself, “Is there a way to rack up American Express points a little faster?”
Well, the good news is that there are ways to earn extra Membership Rewards points, which you can use to try and maximize your rewards points. Here are some of the fastest ways to rack up the Amex points.
1. Apply for American Express cards to earn introductory bonuses
Earning introductory bonuses is one of the best ways to earn a significant number of Membership Rewards points. For example, you can earn 125,000 points with The Platinum Card® from American Express when you apply and meet the $8,000 spending requirement in the first six months.
It’s important to note, though, that American Express is very strict on introductory bonuses. You can only earn the introductory bonus once for each card. So, if you want to maximize your points, it may benefit you to watch the bonuses for each card and try to apply for an Amex card when the bonus offers are at their peak.
There are a number of American Express credit cards that offer introductory bonuses, including:
American Express introductory bonuses
CardIntroductory bonusAmerican Express Everyday Preferred card*15,000 points if you spend $2,000 in first 6 months (Terms apply)American Express® Green Card*60,000 points if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months (Terms apply)American Express® Gold Card90,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 6 months (Terms apply)The Platinum Card® from American Express125,000 points if you spend $8,000 in first 6 months (Terms apply)The Business Platinum Card® from American Express170,000 points if you spend $15,000 in first 3 months (Terms apply)American Express Platinum Card® for Schwab*80,000 points if you spend $6,000 in first 6 months
2. Get a larger introductory bonus through a targeted offer
American Express tends to use targeted offers with large introductory bonuses to draw in customers, so you shouldn’t always take the first offer you see. With some research and patience, it may be possible to score 50 to 100 percent more points compared to the advertised introductory bonus. You should check back often with the American Express website, as frequent visitors are more likely to trigger an offer. You should also keep an eye on your mail or call American Express directly to ask if you qualify for any offers.
4. Get a referral bonus
You can earn 5,000 points or more by referring friends to an American Express card. There is a cap on the number of points you can collect on each card, but 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 and determine whether you’re eligible to refer others. Keep in mind that referral bonuses are only for the primary cardholder, not authorized users.
4. Use Amex Offers
Unlike many competing credit card rewards programs, American Express does not have a shopping portal. Instead, it has Amex Offers — which is a list of special offers that include 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 must log in regularly to see what offers you currently qualify for.
American Express will occasionally offer limited-time promotions that allow you to earn additional points or redeem your points at a discount. The limited-time offers on the market are always changing, so be sure to keep an eye out for them.
6. Juggle Membership Rewards cards
You can seriously boost your rewards earning rate by signing up for multiple Membership Rewards cards and maximizing the cards in their respective bonus categories to earn the greatest number of points. If you feel bold, you could even try for the Amex trifecta. By earning a large number of Membership Rewards points, you may be able to redeem your American Express points for the highest value.
The average cardholder only earns an average of 1.24 points per dollar when using the American Express Platinum card by itself, and the average number of points earned in a year is 19,716 points.
Scenario 1: Using one card for every purchase ($15,900 annual spend)
Platinum cardAverage rewards rateEstimated points/year5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel5X points on eligible hotels booked with American Express Travel1X points on other purchases1.24 points per dollar19,716 points
However, when the same cardholder combines the American Express Platinum card with the Everyday Preferred card — earning 3X points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1X) and 2X points at U.S. gas stations — as well as The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express to earn 2X points on every purchase (up to $50,000 per year, then 1X points), the cardholder’s overall rewards rate more than doubles.
Scenario 2: Combining Membership Rewards cards ($15,900 annual spend)
Platinum Card + Everyday Preferred card + Business Plus CardAverage rewards rateEstimated points/year5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel5X points on eligible hotels booked with American Express Travel3X points at U.S. supermarkets ($6,000 yearly purchase limit)2X points at U.S. gas stations2X points on other purchases ($50,000 yearly purchase limit, then 1X)2.41 points per dollar38,319 points
Combining these cards results in the average cardholder earning an additional 18,603 points per year, for a total of 38,319 points. With American Express, you only have one Membership Rewards account, no matter how many different credit cards you have. This makes it easy to pool points earned from different cards into a single account. Points can then be transferred to Amex’s hotel and airline partners.
7. Buy gift cards
Not every retailer offers merchant gift cards or allows you to purchase gift cards with a credit card. However, many 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. When you use your Amazon gift card, you’ll essentially be earning 3X points on your Amazon purchase. This is also a good way to max out the grocery bonus category on this card if you cannot manage to max out the $6,000 in purchases.
When it comes to maximizing rewards, there are numerous strategies you can employ. With American Express, the card trifecta is a great way to earn a large number of Membership Rewards points, but by employing any of the strategies outlined above, you’ll be more likely to rake in the extra points and make the most of your Amex cards.
*All information about the American Express Everyday Preferred card, American Express Green Card and American Express Platinum Card for Schwab has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuer did not provide the content, nor is it responsible for its accuracy.
The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.