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At the beginning of this month, American Express announced that it would be launching two new products called the EveryDay cards that would earn full Membership Rewards points and have the potential to earn 20-50% bonuses on everyday purchases (hence the name) if you used them on a certain amount of transactions per month. The cards were initially supposed to launch on April 2, 2014 – but it looks like the offers are already live on the American Express website.

To find them, visit americanexpress.com and look at the consumer cards and they should be listed and available for comparison.

Amex feat

First off, there are two versions of the card, the EveryDay and the EveryDay Preferred.

 

You could be earning up to 9% back on groceries with the EveryDay Preferred.
You could be earning up to 9% back on groceries with the EveryDay Preferred.

What’s great is that these are the first two consumer credit cards from Amex that earn full Membership Rewards points – meaning they’re the kind like you earn with the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express or the Platinum Card from American Express that you can transfer to the program’s travel partners rather than just Membership Rewards Express points which you can just redeem for merchandise and cash back. The other cards that earn full MR points are all charge cards, meaning you have to pay them off in full each month or incur huge fees, while these new cards are traditional credit cards, meaning you have the flexibility to pay off over time if needed with fewer fees.

The Amex Everyday basic version has no annual fee, which is a first for a full Membership Rewards earning card, and the preferred version is $95, which is more in line with competitors like Chase Sapphire Preferred ($95, waived the first year) and Barclaycard Arrival World Elite Mastercard ($89, waived the first year).

Where these cards really get interesting, though is in their transaction threshold bonuses. With the basic card, you earn 20% bonus points on all purchases when you make 20 or more transactions in a billing period and with the EveryDay Preferred, you get a 50% bonus when you make 30+ transactions in a billing period. That could equate to some serious earning potential.

I value Amex Membership Rewards points at about 2 cents apiece thanks to being able to transfer them to dozens of partners as well as using Pay With Points to book travel – so on the basic card, you’re earning between 1-2.4x points per $1 on purchases (so a 2-4.8% return on spending for me) while with the Preferred card, you’re earning between 1-4.5x points per $1, so you’re getting 2-9% return on spending in my opinion.

Category Bonuses

I try to earn more than 1 point or mile per dollar on all my purchases, but that’s not always easy. With the Sapphire Preferred, I get 2x on travel and dining, and even when I am not using the Freedom to earn 5x points on the quarterly rotating spending category bonus merchants, I get a 10% bonus on purchases thanks to Chase Exclusives, but remember that 10% bonus requires a checking account with Chase.I also try to shop online as much as possible to maximize online shopping portal bonuses, but sometimes you just have to go into a store to buy something. In that case, I usually use my Freedom, or even my Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express since even though it only earns 1x points per $1, I value those points very highly as well.

Where these cards will come in handy is as a basic go-to card for purchases you might not earn bonus points on otherwise since you just need to meet a certain number of transactions to get a bonus on all the points you earn – and that bonus comes on top of category bonuses, so if you earn 3x points per $1 on groceries and meet the transaction number on the Preferred card, you’ll actually end up earning 4.5x points per dollar.

I’ll get into a spending and companion card strategy in future posts, but if you are looking for an intro Membership Rewards cards, the EveryDay cards would be great starter products, and are much cheaper than existing cards like the Premier Rewards Gold or Platinum cards.  Just keep in mind that those premium cards do currently have bigger sign-up bonuses, and if you hit the $30,000 calendar year spending threshold bonus on the Premier Rewards Gold to earn those 15,000 bonus points, you are upping your everyday potential earning to about 1.5x points per $1 – but these new cards certainly add an interesting element to the mix and could very well become a cornerstone of your points portfolio.

Know before you go.

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

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