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My Favorite 1-2 Punch to Earn American Express Membership Rewards Points

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My Favorite 1-2 Punch to Earn American Express Membership Rewards Points

Brett HolzhauerMy Favorite 1-2 Punch to Earn American Express Membership Rewards PointsMillion Mile Secrets Team

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American Express Membership Rewards points are incredibly valuable for many reasons, mainly because of their versatility.  You can transfer them to a number of airline programs, including Delta, Aer Lingus, Aeromexico, Flying Blue, and Virgin Atlantic, just to name a few.

I just checked my American Express Membership Rewards account, and I’m currently at 210,000 points.  I’m confident I can get roughly $4,200 in travel from that balance!  My wife is currently at 180,000 which we can turn into ~$3,600 in travel!

So how were we able to amass so many American Express Membership Rewards points?  Here is exactly what we use, and what I find to be the best 1-2 credit card combo in the game!

And check out our post here on our overall favorite American Express credit cards.  You’ll find a fantastic card that meets your personal goals, whether you’re a small business owner, world traveler, or just want to earn a bunch of cash back.

Use American Express Membership Rewards points to visit Croatia for free!

The Best American Express Credit Card Duo

Card #1 – American Express® Gold Card

My all time favorite credit card is the newly revamped American Express® Gold Card.  While it is one of the most fashionable cards out there, you can rake in some serious points with the spending categories and perks of this card.

Currently, you can earn 35,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of card membership.  That’s enough for a round-trip coach flight to Hawaii by transferring points to an airline partner like Singapore Airlines!  Depending on where you live, that could save you $700 or more.

While the card does have a $250 annual fee (See Rates & Fees), you can easily make up for it with the perks of the card.  For example:

  • Up to $100 in annual travel credits (seat upgrades, seat selection, checked bags, etc.)
  • Up to $120 in annual dining credits ($10 monthly) at restaurants like The Cheesecake Factory, Grubhub, Seamless, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and participating Shake Shacks!

So right there is $220 in value back if you are able to use these credits.

Along with the perks of the card, you will earn 4X points per $1 at restaurants and US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).  That is an incredible value for expenses many of us have.

My wife and I are hardcore foodies, so the fact that we can earn our way to a Singapore Suites flight through delicious food makes this my all time favorite card.

Card #2 – The Platinum Card® from American Express

Coming in a close second is The Platinum Card® from American Express.  This card is meant for the very frequent flyer and heavy spender.  It’s the card I use to earn the most points with my side hustle.

Currently, you can earn 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of card membership.  That’s more than enough for a one-way Business Class flight to Europe when you transfer your points to Air Canada Aeroplan!  Which means you could easily receive $1,200+ in value from this bonus.

The card does have a hefty $550 annual fee (See Rates & Fees), but it comes with a slew of perks to make the fee more than worth it:

  • Up to $200 in annual credits for Uber (split up over 12 months)
  • Up to $200 annual airline incidental fee credit
  • Up to $100 credit for TSA PreCheck/Global Entry
  • Up to $100 credit for Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Access to The Global Lounge Collection which is over 1,200 airport lounges all over the world
  • Complimentary hotel benefits when you book with AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts

However, the main reason I keep this card with such a large annual fee is earning 5X points per $1 when booking flights directly.  If you are able to book many flights, whether it be for personal or business use, this spending category is a potential gold mine!

With our side business, and our own wanderlust, we have been able to earn hundreds of thousands of points with this card.

Bottom Line

American Express Membership Rewards are extremely valuable and can be earned in many different ways.  If you are looking to earn rack them up for yourself, take a look at your monthly expenses.  While my 1-2 punch works for me, your expenses make look a bit different.  But if you are a foodie and wanderluster like my wife and me, this combo will get you on the trip of a lifetime quicker than you think!

Are you earning American Express Membership Rewards with these cards?  Do you have another favorite AMEX card?  Let me know in the comments!

For rates and fees of the AMEX Gold Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the AMEX Platinum Card, please click here.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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yup. pay bills

@Brett upgrades are not included in the $100 travel credit (I wish!)

*That should say Month.

Another way I earn a lot of points is by converting all my regular monthly bills like water, electric, DirecTV, Netflix, Verizon, etc. to Auto pay on my Amex Gold. That’s at least an extra thousand points a week!!!

Personally, I think a better 2 card lineup is the Gold card paired with the Amex Blue Biz Plus. With just these 2 cards, you can get 2-4 pts on all purchases. Combine with eBates’s new Amex program and can can easily super charge it (I recently got 57,000 MR pts for a $3,000 Dell purchase.)

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