The American Express (Amex) Trifecta: Credit Card System for Maximizing Membership Reward Points (Gold Card Update)

American Express recently shook up the game by revamping and rebranding the Amex Premier Rewards Gold (PRG) to the Amex Gold Card. The new benefits and spending multipliers warrant a refresh to the (old) Amex Trifecta.

The Amex Trifecta is a 3-card system that helps you maximize the number of MR points you can earn with everyday spend.

The revised (unofficial Sebby version) 3-card system consists of the Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express , the Platinum Card® from American Express, and the American Express® Gold Card. Alternatively, you can pick any three cards from the chart below and create a system that works for you.

However, if you’re not planning on spending money on flights or hotels, or if you don’t qualify for business cards, the Amex Duo might be a better card system to earn points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. grocery stores, and U.S. gas stations. The Amex Duo consists of the Amex Gold Card and the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card or Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card.

Again, if the Amex Gold Card plus an Amex EveryDay card isn’t the ideal combo for you, pick a combo that fits your spending habits.

View this post to calculate if you should apply for the Amex EveryDay or the Amex EveryDay Preferred. 

Membership Rewards (MR) Valuation

Depending on how you redeem MR points, the value can range from 0.6 cents per point (CPP) to 3 CPP. 

  • 0.6 CPP = Cash out rate (BAD value)

  • 1.0 CPP = Travel

  • 1.25 CPP = Cash out rate (w/ the Amex Schwab Platinum)

  • 2 to 3 CPP = Aspirational travel

The ideal situation is to redeem points for at least 1.0 CPP.

The Amex Trifecta

A few important notes before we dive into the Amex Trifecta:

  1. If you are a business owner, you can apply for the Amex Blue Business Plus card to earn 2X MR points on everything, up to $50,000/year.

  2. You don’t necessarily have to build out a trifecta if the cards don’t match your lifestyle. Having an Amex Duo works as well.

  3. There are terms that apply to some of the spending multiplier categories; these are noted with a red letter and footnotes at the bottom.

  4. The Amex EveryDay and Amex EveryDay Preferred have a % boost if you have a certain amount of transactions each month (20 and 30, respectively). We’re going to assume you have enough transactions to earn the points boost.

In the chart below, you’ll notice a few YELLOW highlighted cells. These indicate the cards that stand out to me the most for the respective points multiplier category.

For example, if you want to optimize for U.S. Supermarkets and U.S. Restaurants, I recommend going for the Amex Gold Card instead of the Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card.

However, if you want to optimize for U.S. Supermarkets and U.S. Gas Stations, then the Amex EveryDay Preferred would be a better fit than the no annual fee Amex EveryDay card.

The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express

  • Welcome offer: $0

  • Earn 2X MR on everything up to $50,000 in purchases each year

  • Earn 1X MR on everything thereafter

  • Terms apply

American Express® Gold Card

  • Welcome offer: 25,000 MR points after $2,000 in spend within the first 3 months of account opening

  • Earn 4X at U.S. Supermarkets (up to $25k/calendar year; then 1X)

  • Earn 4X at U.S. Restaurants

  • $100 Airline incidental credit per year

  • Limited edition Rose Gold metal card available until 1/9/19

  • Terms apply

The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Welcome offer: 60,000 MR points after you spend $5,000 within the first 3 months of account opening

  • Up to $200 Uber credit per year

  • Earn 5X on flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel

  • Earn 5X on prepaid hotels booked on

  • Terms apply

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

  • Welcome offer: 10,000 MR points after you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months of account opening

  • 2X MR points at U.S. Supermarkets (on up to $6,000 of spend; then 1X)

  • Earn a 20% bonus when you make 20+ transactions (less any returns) per billing cycle.

  • Terms apply

Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, vendors or companies, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. 

UGC disclosure: These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.