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Over $4k with One App?! My Favorite Amex Mashup Right Now

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Question: Do Amex Employee Cards Earn the Same As Normal Cards?

Amex Gold Referral

Much in our points hobby spoils us, and that’s mostly Amex for me.  My favorite has done it once again.  A maybe-best-ever Hilton Amex Business welcome offer (among others) appeared last week.  It gets better.  This same offer is available via Amex Gold referral.  Any Amex referral, actually, but it’s best via the Gold.  Those in two player mode with a spouse or domestic partner can do big things here – easily over $4k in value.  And that doesn’t require a long-haul international flight in premium class which many aren’t interested in, anyway.  Here’s how.


…an existing Amex Gold cardmember should refer their player two.  Why?  Because many have been targeted to receive an extra five Membership Rewards on supermarket spending up to $25k spend for three months plus 10k (at least) Membership Rewards.  This includes 9x Membership Rewards on any future supermarket spend up to the Gold’s annual $25k cap.


…player two should follow the referral link and find the optimal Amex card for their situation.  Many excellent options exist, but Hilton fans have three options.  The Hilton Amex Business is my favorite.  The current welcome offer is outstanding: cardholders earn 150k bonus Hilton Honors points and a free night certificate by spending $4k within three months.  Remarkable!  I loved last fall’s 130k points and FNC offer, but that required $5k and $10k spend to earn each bonus, respectively.

Crunching The Numbers

Before applying, you’ll obviously want to run the rewards numbers.  The referring Amex Gold cardholder can earn up to 225k Membership Rewards on supermarket spending.  Obviously, tweak that total based on your situation, including how much category spending you have remaining there.  My minimum value for Membership Rewards is 1.1 cents per point (cpp), and I happily accept that rate as an avid cashout fan.  The average value of a Membership Reward point is 2.4 cpp, based on MtM’s calculations, and many can obtain a higher return.  Of course, calculate your own values based on your planned redemptions.

Player two with the fresh Hilton Business Amex card is up next.  MtM values Hilton Honors points at 0.5 cpp, and I’ve routinely received that value (at least) with a bit of flexibility.

Now, to the free night cert.  I consider Hilton’s certs the most valuable across all hotel chains.  They’re redeemable at the vast majority of properties in the healthy Hilton Honors portfolio.  The exceptions are primarily timeshare properties which many aren’t interested in, anyway.  I’ve easily used certs to book nights at properties with cash rates starting over $1k.  Again, customize your Hilton point and FNC value for your specific situation and goals.

Amex Gold Referral

Putting It All Together

Let’s (finally) do the math:

  • Gold Referral:  225k MR points * 0.011 (via Schwab Cashout) = $2,475
  • Minimum Gold “Normal” Referral Bonus:  10k MR points * 0.011 = $110
  • Hilton Welcome Offer Bonus Points:  150k points * 0.005 cpp = $750
  • Minimum Regular Earn (3x) On Hilton Biz MSR:  12k points *  0.005 cpp = $60
  • Hilton Free Night Certificate Value:  $1,000
  • Minus Hilton Business Amex Annual Fee:  $95
  • Total Value:  $4,300


Once again, this is just an example.  All numbers must be customized to your situation.  Before applying, map out your goals and crunch the numbers accordingly.  You may find that some bonuses end up higher or lower than what I’ve calculated above.  You may have noticed I didn’t include the Gold and Schwab Platinum annual fees in this example.  That’s because many already hold these cards and have previously incorporated those fees into other calculations.

Amex Gold Referral


Not everyone is in the position to take advantage of this referral-application combination or the huge numbers, but it’s definitely worth considering for those Hilton fans who are.  Taking the play further, FNC lovers can spend another $11k for an additional valuable cert at $15k annual spend.  Or you may find that a different Hilton Amex card suits you better.  Or both!  Regardless, all of the currently-elevated Hilton Amex cards are worth contemplating.  And picking up one now via an Amex Gold referral could be the optimal move.

Have you pursued this angle or something similar for more Membership Rewards and Hilton Honors points?

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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.


  1. Don’t you think $1,000 is overvaluing the free night? You’d have to find a place you want to stay that has saver availability for the dates you want that costs at least a grand and then you have to personally value the certificate at face value. That’s a number of things that have to go exactly right. I’d say that I’m most likely to use the certificate for a room that would cost maybe $300 and is available for my dates. When trying to extract maximum value it can easily get to the point where the juice ain’t worth the squeeze.

    • Christian,
      That’s how I value it in my situation, which is the basis for the example calculations. Indeed, I have a stay coming up where the FNC’s are covering a room which is well over a $1k nightly cash rate. (Shameless plug – stay tuned for that review.)

      As I mentioned multiple times in the article, any individual should make their own calculations based on their situation.

  2. How do maximize the grocery bonus on AMEX? I was under the impression that gift card purchases don’t earn bonus points from AMEX.

  3. I’ve loved the Amex points parade recently. Maxed out 100K of referrals from my platinum and have done 90/100K from my gold. Currently focusing on 9X spend on my gold as I buy Very Good Cheese to pay down my wife’s student loans (her servicer accepts debit cards for payment). Also picked up a 15K retention offer on my gold.


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