As you may have already read via View From the Wing or The Points Guy, American Express is firing the next shots in the rewards credit card competition. They are publicly introducing two new cards today (though they won’t be available for applications for another month or so). In my view, Amex’s goal with these cards is clear. They want everyday folks to put their everyday spending on these cards, and the cards are aptly named the Amex Everyday and Amex Everyday Preferred. They will give you bonus points not just for where you shop via categories bonuses, but how frequently you shop.
Now let me jump ahead to the best part - they both earn real Membership Reward points that are transferable to hotel and airline partners! This is the first time I know of that there has been a card without an annual fee that earns points that are fully transferable to hotel and airline partners by itself. I think that is pretty huge for some families on a budget who don’t want to deal with annual fees or keeping track of when the first fee-free year is up.
- With Amex EveryDay there is NO ANNUAL FEE.
- When you shop at US Supermarkets you can get 2x points on up to $6,000 in purchases each year. You can earn 1x points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
- Use your Card to make 20 or more purchases in any billing period. Earn 20% extra points on all those purchases less returns and credits. Terms and limitations apply.
- As an Amex EveryDay Card Member, you have our Fraud Protection Guarantee, which means you won’t be held responsible for any fraudulent charges when you use your Card.
- Sign-up bonus is 10,000 Membership Reward points after spending $1,000 in the first three months.
- Earn 3x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year on purchases; 2x on US standalone gas stations; and 1x points on all other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
- Use the Card to make 30 or more purchases in a billing period and earn 50% extra points on all those purchases less returns and credits.
- Sign-up bonus is 15,000 Membership Reward points after spending $1,000 in the first three months
- $95 annual fee
The cards are reported to have a 0% introductory APR on your purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months. After that, your APR will be a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
The sign-up bonus might make folks who like to get cards primarily for the sign-up bonus yawn a bit. I also wish the sign-up bonus were higher. However, I don’t think these are cards to yawn at overall. This is a very affordable way to earn Membership Reward points that can be transferred (sometimes with transfer bonuses) to valuable partners like British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Aeroplan, Hilton HHonors, Delta and more. Remember, even if you don’t fly those airlines, you probably fly their partners such as American Airlines via British Airways Avios or United via Singapore Airlines miles. I’ve posted about those options before, and will again soon as this is one of the best ways to use Membership Reward points.
The earning potential is pretty good at up to 1.5x on all purchases with the Everyday Preferred version, if you have 30 transactions per month (and sounds like there will be an app that will keep track of that). I earn 1.5x on my United Club Card now, but that card comes with a $395 annual fee, and this one just has a $95 annual fee. Being able to get up to 4.5x at grocery stores with the Preferred version (3x + 50% bonus) is fantastic as every family I have ever met has sizable grocery expenses. Getting up to 3x at gas stations is also very good (2x + 50% bonus).
If you don’t want anything to do with annual fees, then the Everyday version is the most exciting stand alone fee-free product I have seen (I love the Chase Freedom, but it does require having a product with a fee to unlock its real potential). I get so many emails from people trying to figure out what to do with their Membership Reward points when they cancel their cards due to high annual fees, so this is a perfect solution.
I see these cards as well positioned to compete with cards like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® that earns 2 points worth 1.1 cents each toward travel on all purchases and the Chase Sapphire Preferred that earns points that are transferable to hotel and airline partners for a similar annual fee. I personally value a Membership Reward point at more than 1.5 cents each (especially since I often transfer points out during bonuses), but even at 1.5 cents each you are getting 2.25 cents in value on all purchases at 1.5x on all purchases via the Preferred bonus if you hit 30 swipes per month.
These cards are a very useful tool in my family’s points earning strategy.