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These two cards have been unique among American Express’s card portfolio, ever since AmEx (a CreditCardForum advertising partner) launched them in early 2014.
But does either deserve to be your go-to card? And how do they stack up against other rewards cards? Read our review to find out.
There are two versions of the card: the American Express EveryDay and the American Express EveryDay Preferred.
Use this chart to compare them:
|Compare AmEx Everyday Cards|
|Rewards||2 Membership Rewards Points (MRPs) per dollar at supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1 point per dollar)||3 MRPs per dollar at supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1 point per dollar)|
|N/A||2 MRPs per dollar at gas stations|
|1 MRP per dollar on other purchases||1 MRP on other purchases|
|Extra points||Earn 20% extra points after 20 purchases with card in billing period||Earn 50% extra points after 30 purchases with card in billing period|
|Sign-up bonus||10,000 MRPs after spending $1,000 in first three months.||15,000 MRPs after spending $1,000 in the first three months|
|Click here to apply||Click here to apply|
Although the cards have their differences, here’s what they have in common:
EMV technology: As with most cards these days, the Everyday cards come with chip and signature technology. While most of the places you shop in the U.S. might still require you to swipe, chip transactions are the norm abroad. However, keep in mind that both cards have a 2.7 percent foreign transaction fee, meaning they might not be the best fit for purchases overseas.
MRPs for no (or low) annual fee: Both cards let you earn Membership Rewards Points. This was an interesting twist when AmEx launched the cards, since they’re outliers in the somewhat exclusive club that is AmEx Membership Rewards. They’re the only credit cards (not charge cards) in the program that have a low (or no) annual fee. Other AmEx fan favorites that get you MRPs include the Gold Card ($160 annual fee) and the Premier Rewards Gold Card ($195 annual fee). Its entry-level charge card (the Green card) does get you in the Membership Rewards door for $95 (just like the new EveryDay Preferred), BUT it gives you double points only on eligible travel expenses booked through AmEx’s travel site.
The Membership Rewards program lets you do quite a bit with your points, from using them toward charges you’ve made, to redeeming them for gift cards and merchandise, to using them to shop on Amazon, to transferring them to a variety of frequent flier and hotel loyalty programs. This ability to transfer points is generally considered the best use of your points, because your MRPs (which are each generally worth 1 cent or less across other redemption methods) can be worth more when you change them into hotel loyalty or frequent flier points.
Extra protections and perks: Both cards have a suite of extra protections, including access to the AmEx Roadside Assistance hotline, rental car insurance (secondary coverage), access to the Global Assist Hotline, travel accident insurance, extended warranty coverage (one extra year added to warranties of five years or less), purchase protection and return protection.
You’ll also get exclusive access to event pre-sales and special member-only events via American Express.
Getting the bonus points
The stand-out factor of these cards is their bonuses – the extra points you get for making a certain number of purchases in a billing period. If you make 20 purchases in a billing period with the basic Everyday card, you’ll get 20 percent more points. With the Preferred card, if you make 30 purchases in a billing period, you’ll get 50 percent more points. It’s a pretty Pavlovian scheme. AmEx is basically conditioning cardholders to reach for the EveryDay card first to “get their 20,” as Tina Fey put it in the commercial that launched the cards (or 30, for those with the Preferred card). There’s no dollar-per-purchase minimum to qualify, so if you’re five short of your 20 (or 30) purchases, you could potentially run out and get five candy bars before the billing cycle ends. AmEx offers a counter app so that you can track each month’s progress.
A lot of shoppers tend to use cash or debit for smaller, routine purchases, and it seems that AmEx is trying to give them an incentive to use their EverDay cards instead. And why wouldn’t it? American Express gets a cut of every purchase made with the card via swipe fees paid by merchants.
If you make the required number of purchases every billing period, it could really pay off. Say you earn a base of 10,000 points in a year and hit the bonus threshold each month. With the EveryDay version, you’ll end up with 12,000 MRPs – and with the Preferred version, you’ll end up with 15,000. Depending on how you redeem, 15,000 MRPs could get you:
- Up to $150 in gift cards (from various retailers)
- A weekend in a Starwood Category 1 hotel
- A free one-way ticket within the continental U.S. on some of American Express’s airline transfer partners.
- A set of Bose speakers
So should you carve out some wallet space for either of these cards? As with all rewards cards, it depends — on how many cards you already have, on how often you make credit card purchases and on what you want to redeem your rewards for.
Ask yourself these questions before applying:
What’s my existing rewards strategy?
This card basically demands to be your go-to card, considering that you need to use it 20 to 30 times a month to get maximum rewards. If you have a few other rewards cards in your arsenal, that might be inconvenient. For example, if you’ve got the AmEx Blue Cash Preferred, you might prefer to get 6 percent in straight-up cash back on your groceries. If you have a card with 5 percent rewards in rotating categories, you’re probably trying to milk that quarter’s category. If you have an airline card that earns miles toward elite status, you’re probably trying to use that card as much as you can. In other words, adding this card to your lineup could split your focus and dilute your rewards, depending on your current strategy.
Could I use it to replace or complement another card?
If you like the Membership Rewards program, either of the EveryDay cards could be a good replacement for a more expensive MRP-earning AmEx charge card. If you have the American Express Gold card and aren’t making use of all its benefits, you could lower (or eliminate) your annual fee AND increase you rewards earnings by closing it and switching to an EveryDay card.
Or perhaps you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which lets you transfer points into some frequent flier and hotel programs that don’t partner with AmEx. With that card and your AmEx EveryDay (just two cards) you essentially have the ability to dispatch your points to more than 30 programs.
Do I have the time to maximize my MRPs?
What’s a bit strange about the card is that it’s been marketed toward the busy-parents market (in the commercial, Fey plunks the card down for everything as she navigates a chaotic day with her kids in tow). But the rewards are MRPs — and it can take quite a bit of strategizing to make sure you’re getting the most out of them. Often, maximizing your points involves shuffling them into frequent flier and hotel loyalty accounts. That means not only do you have to travel, you have to have a bunch of frequent flier and hotel loyalty accounts open – and do the research to determine which accounts will get you the most bang for your buck on a particular trip.
So, while the card is being marketed at harried consumers, getting the most out of it requires a strategy. For customers who don’t have time to play around with MRPs, a cash-back card (such as either of the Blue Cash cards from AmEx) could provide higher earnings with less fuss.
The bottom line: If you are a fan of the Membership Rewards program, can put the work into maximizing your rewards and know that you’ll make a certain number of transactions each billing period, the EveryDay cards will be hard to beat. However, there are cards out there that will give you a similar rate of return for less work.
If you are interested in the American Express EveryDay card (with a sign-up offer of 10,000 Membership Rewards Points), you can apply for it here.
Looking at the EveryDay Preferred with a sign-up bonus of 15,000 Membership Rewards Points? You can learn more and apply here.
Why we gave them 5 and 4.5 out of 5 stars
These cards were rated based on our standards for Flexible Rewards Programs.
The no-annual-fee EveryDay card earns 5 stars for strong performance in all our rating categories (boosted by the fact that it has no annual fee that cardholders must worry about justifying).
The EveryDay Preferred card was docked half a star for the fact that the monetary value of its benefits didn’t quite offset the annual fee. Even so, category spending and strategic redemptions (especially if you take advantage with the Membership Rewards Program’s travel-transfer partners) could help you earn enough rewards to justify a $95 fee each year.
|American Express EveryDay card||American Express EveryDay Preferred||Explanation|
|Rewards-earning rate: Both cards meet our rewards-earning standards:
Everyday: This card meets our standards for no-annual-fee flexible-rewards cards
(at least 1X points on all spending and at least 2X points in at least one bonus category
not tied to the issuer).
Everyday Preferred: This card meets our standards for annual-fee flexible-rewards cards
(at least 1X points on all spending and at least 2X points in at least TWO bonus categories
not tied to the issuer).
|Rewards value: To earn this star, a card must offer at least one redemption option that gives a value of 1 cent per point. The Everyday cards (which are tied to the Membership Rewards program) fulfill this requirement with gift card and travel-portal redemptions. You also have the option to transfer to partner travel programs, where your points can be worth more than 1 cent each.|
|Unique perks: Both cards offer free FICO-score access and give you complimentary access to ShopRunner (which gives free shipping on certain online purchases).|
|Fair annual fee: To earn this star, the card must have no annual fee OR have perks whose monetary value justifies an annual fee each year.
The Everyday card earns a full star, as it has no annual fee. The Preferred version earns half a star, as its ShopRunner membership offsets some (but not all) of the annual fee.
|Bonus opportunities: Both cards consistently offer sign-up bonus and allow ongoing bonus-earning opportunities (and extra discounts) via the Amex Offers program.|
Last updated Aug. 17, 2016