One of the annoying things about American Express is that you can't really tell much about a merchant category for lesser-known grocery stores or gas stations without trial and error. With Chase bank, you can just click on a transaction and see the bonus points earned at an eligible merchant. Whereas American Express, you have to put in a little effort to hunt for it. Simply clicking on the transaction gives you a general category of the purchase, and thus you can't really tell whether it qualifies for the bonus spend. 

With that being said, I decided to put a list together on merchant categories to earn bonus American Express Membership Rewards (MR) points. The list is provided by American Express from my personal experience and reports from the points and miles community. 

Feel free to bookmark this page for your own reference so that you can be sure to earn additional Amex points whenever you can with your Amex cards. Happy extra points earning!

Complete List of American Express Merchant Categories
Photo Credit: American Express
Table of Contents  [show/hide]

    U.S. Supermarkets/Grocery Stores

    • Albertsons
    • ALDI
    • FreshDirect
    • Gelson's
    • Harris Teeter
    • Hy-Vee
    • Instacart
    • Kings Food Markets
    • Kroger (but not Fred Meyer)
    • Meijer
    • ShopRite
    • Smart & Final
    • Stop & Shop
    • Trader Joe's
    • Vons
    • Whole Foods
    • Winn-Dixie
    The following merchants are not considered U.S. Supermarkets/Grocery Stores:
    • Specialty stores (e.g., fish markets, cheese shops, wine shops, and other specialty food stores )
    • Superstores (e.g.,, Target, and Walmart)
    • Warehouse clubs (e.g., BJs Wholesale Club)

    U.S. Wireless Telephone Service Providers

    • AT&T
    • Sprint/T-Mobile
    • Verizon
    Buying a phone product or service through retailers or resellers such as Best Buy, Wireless Zone, or Walmart does not qualify. The transaction has to be processed directly by the wireless service provider company. 
    • CenturyLink does not accept American Express. 

    U.S. Streaming Subscriptions

    • Amazon Music Unlimited
    • Apple Music
    • Apple TV+
    • AT&T TV Now
    • Audible
    • CBS All Access
    • Disney+
    • ESPN+
    • Fubo TV
    • HBO Max
    • HBO (standalone streaming subscription only, formerly known as HBONow)
    • Hulu
    • iHeartRadio
    • Kindle Unlimited
    • Luminary
    • MLB.TV
    • NBA League Pass
    • Netflix
    • NHL.TV
    • Pandora
    • Peacock
    • Prime Video
    • Showtime
    • Sling TV
    • SiriusXM Streaming and Satellite
    • Spotify
    • Stitcher
    • TIDAL Music
    • YouTube Music Premium
    • YouTube Premium
    • YouTube TV

    U.S. Gas Stations

    • Chevron
    • Gulf
    • Maverik
    • Murphy USA
    • Murphy Express
    • Exxon
    • Mobil
    • Phillips 66
    • Hess
    • Shell
    • Stinker
    Editor's Tip: Purchasing items from those gas station's convenience store qualify for additional Amex rewards as well. 

    You will NOT earn additional rewards for gas stations part of supermarkets or warehouse clubs. Examples:
    • GetGo (Giant Eagle)
    • Target
    • Walmart

    U.S. Restaurants

    As long as the restaurants are located in the U.S. and they are not bars, nightclubs, convenience stores, supermarkets, grocery stores, cafeterias, caterers, theatre clubs, breweries, bakeries, meeting venues, and restaurants located within a hotel, you will be able to earn additional Amex rewards for restaurants category. 

    As far as the restaurant's gift cards go if the gift cards are purchased online and processed directly by the restaurant itself, the purchase qualifies. You can tell by the website URL. However, it is strongly recommended that you purchase the plastic gift card directly at the restaurant. That charge definitely qualifies for Amex bonus spending for restaurants. 

    U.S. Department Stores

    • Bealls
    • Belk
    • Bloomingdale's
    • Bon Ton Stores
    • Boscov's
    • Century 21 Department Stores
    • Dillard's
    • J.C. Penney (JCP)
    • Kohl's
    • Lord & Taylor
    • Macy's
    • Neiman Marcus
    • Nordstrom
    • Saks Fifth Avenue
    • Sears
    • Stein Mart

    How to tell if a purchase is eligible for Amex bonus rewards in a category?

    To see whether your eligible purchase at a merchant is coded according to American Express to earn bonus rewards points, here's how you do it. 

    Please remember that you must give it a few days after your purchase is completed and the charge is posted. Then do the following:
    • Sign in to your American Express account online. 
    • From the top menu, click on More then Rewards
    • Go to Points Summary.
    • You can filter just the Amex card that you are interested in knowing. 
    Although the points show pending, you should see the bonus points earned as well. 

    Amex doesn't just give you total points (base point + bonus points) in one transaction; instead, they list them separately. If you have two transactions, they show the bonus in just one transaction. Take a look at the screenshot below:

    I spent on groceries and gas, which gives me 10x Amex rewards points per dollar spent. As you can see from the screenshot above, I earn 1 base point for each transaction, but Amex shows additional 9x points in a completely separate line, which has the total points for both transactions.