Avoid Annual Fees and Keep American Express Membership Reward Points

Membership-RewardsAuthor’s Note: We earn a commission for some links on this site.  Please see our Advertiser Disclosure for information.

American Express Membership Rewards (MR) Points are one of the most flexible point systems available.  They transfer to many flight and hotel partners, including Delta, British Airways, Hilton, and Starwood Preferred Guest, to name a few.  They can also be use to book airline travel through the Amex Travel portal.  These points can have significant value, but they are often tied to credit cards with annual fees.  I will suggest a simple way to keep all of your MR points without paying another annual fee.

The best cards for earning MR points come with significant annual fees:

Amex Card Max Bonus Annual Fee
Personal Platinum 100,000 MR $450
Business Platinum 150,000 MR $450
Premier Rewards Gold 50,000 MR $195
Business Rewards Gold 75,000 MR $175

Unless the additional benefits provide significant value, most people want to cancel these cards before the first year to avoid paying the steep annual fee.  Additionally, the business cards can be churned 12 months after closing the card, so keeping them open does not make much sense.

Unfortunately, if you cancel all of the MR-earning cards associated with your account, ALL your points will be forfeited!  This would be a terrible situation, particularly if you have built a large balance of MR points.  So, how do you keep your points alive, while avoiding annual fees?


Allow me to introduce the American Express Everyday Card, a NO FEE card from American Express that earns Membership Rewards!  As long as you have this card sitting in your account, you will not have to pay an annual fee to retain your points.  You can cancel all of the high annual fee cards with no worries.  The sign up bonus of 10,000 MR points for spending $1,000 is definitely smaller than the flashier cards listed above, but I believe the main value in this card is the ability to retain MR points until you are ready to use them.

I picked up the Amex Everyday Card to maintain my point balance until I find the best use for my MR points.  Perhaps I will transfer to Singapore Airlines to experience some of the best first class seats in the sky!  How will you use your MR points?


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