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American Express travel cards 2021

Choose among airline cards, hotel cards, or a top luxury travel card.

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Our pick for an Amex travel card: American Express® Gold Card

60,000-point

Welcome offer after spending $4,000 in first 6 months

  • Choose from two designs: Gold or Rose Gold
  • 4x points on restaurants, including delivery
  • 4x points at US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 annually, then 1x)
Apply now
Terms apply, see rates & fees
American Express travel cards are some of the most popular cards in their category, and for good reason. Each of them lets you earn a generous welcome offer and points or miles on your purchases. They all also have the added benefit of no foreign transaction fees. Compare American Express travel credit cards to find the option that works best for you.
Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
American Express® Gold Card
4x at restaurants including delivery and Uber Eats; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points) and 3x points on directly-booked flights
See Pay Over Time APR
$250
Earn up to 4x points on select purchases, a bevy of travel perks, and a welcome offer worth up to $600 with this upper-mid tier travel card. Terms apply, see rates & fees
The Platinum Card® from American Express
10x points at US gas stations and US supermarkets on up to $15,000 combined in the first 6 months, 5x points on directly-booked flights on up to $500,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on other purchases
See Pay Over Time APR
$550
One of the most valuable premium travel cards, featuring two welcome offers worth up to $4,500, multiple travel credits and unrivaled lounge access. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
6x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, 3x at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2x for all other purchases
15.74% to 24.74% variable
$450
Earn 75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 or more within your first 3 months. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
2x miles on Delta purchases, restaurants and at US supermarkets and 1x miles on all other purchases
15.74% to 24.74% variable
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
With a welcome offer worth up to $840, up to 2x miles on select purchases, and assorted Delta perks, this is a strong choice for Delta fans. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Hilton Honors American Express Card
7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
15.74% to 24.74% variable
$0
With a massive welcome offer for a no-annual-fee card and up to 7x points at Hilton, this is a solid pick for Hilton fans and occasional travelers. Terms apply, see rates & fees
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American Express travel cards

American Express has several travel cards that aren’t aligned with specific hotel or airline brands. These cards earn rewards on a wide variety of travel purchases which you can spend on an equally wide variety of redemption options. The Platinum Card from American Express, for example, is one of the most well known Amex travel cards both for its high annual fee and it’s large number of luxury travel perks and benefits.

Typical benefits of American Express travel cards

  • American Express Membership Rewards. Most Amex travel cards earn Membership Rewards points. You can redeem these flexible points on several options, including cash back, gift cards, and travel.
  • Travel partners. Several Amex travel cards, such as the Gold and Platinum, can transfer earned points to eligible travel partners. Depending on where you transfer them, this can more than double the value of your Membership Rewards points.
  • Top-notch perks. When it comes to travel perks, no other provider on the market can match the benefits and luxuries offered by their high-end travel cards.
  • Centurion lounge access. Among the perks you’ll find with some of these cards is Centurion Lounge access. The Amex Centurion Lounge is a chain of airline lounges renowned for their high quality.

American Express airline cards

American Express is partnered with Delta Airlines and has four cobranded cards with specific benefits for Delta fliers. These cards work similarly to Amex’s standard travel cards, though they earn miles you can only redeem with Delta. Likewise, the travel perks you’ll find on these cards only work with Delta airlines. These cards range from introductory level to luxury level, capping out at the Delta SkyMiles Reserve, a $550 behemoth comparable in value to the Amex Platinum Card.

Typical benefits of American Express airline cards

  • Delta miles. Using an Amex Delta credit card is one of the most consistent ways of earning Delta miles outside of booking Delta flights.
  • Earn more MQM. Several Delta credit cards let you earn additional Medallion Qualifying Miles when you make eligible purchases. These miles are essential for boosting your status within the Delta SkyMiles program.
  • Delta companion certificate. The Delta Platinum and Reserve cards both offer a complimentary companion certificate each year on your card anniversary. You can use this certificate to let a travel partner fly with you for just the cost of taxes and fees for a booked itinerary.
  • Delta specific perks. This includes perks such as free checked bags and priority boarding.

American Express hotel cards

Similar to its partnership with Delta, American Express produces several cobranded hotel cards. In this case, you have two hotel options: Hilton and Marriott Bonvoy. These work much like Amex’s airline offerings, earning points that you can redeem only with the respective hotel chain. The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is the highest-end hotel card available with Amex, offering perks and features befitting of the card’s $450 cost.

Typical benefits of American Express hotel cards

  • Earn hotel points. Spending in select categories on your Amex hotel card will earn you points with that respective hotel chain. This makes it easier to earn free nights, even when you aren’t traveling.
  • Complimentary status boost. Some Amex hotel cards come with a complimentary status boost. The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass, for example, will give you a bump to Gold status, moving you much closer to the more lucrative status tiers.
  • Weekend night awards. Spend enough on eligible cards and you can earn a free weekend reward night.
  • Delta specific perks. This includes perks such as free checked bags and priority boarding.

How to compare American Express travel cards

To figure out which Amex travel card most closely meets your needs, there are a few simple questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you mostly dine out and travel? The American Express® Gold Card offers accelerated rewards at restaurants, US supermarkets and flights booked through Amex Travel. In addition, you get airline fee credit, dining credit, perks at the Hotel Collection and more.
  • Do you want to travel in style? If you’re looking to get the best travel perks, the The Platinum Card® from American Express is undoubtedly worth considering. You get to earn points on flights and hotels booked through Amex Travel, you get access to more than 1,200 lounges worldwide, airline fee credit, hotel perks and more.
  • Do you fly Delta? If you’re an occasional Delta flyer, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card could be a solid choice. You get to earn the same number of miles as the more expensive Delta cards, priority boarding and first checked bag free.
  • Do you want a hotel card? With the Hilton Honors American Express Card you’ll earn points at hotels and resorts within the Hilton Portfolio, and you’ll get a variety of perks on your stays.

American Express travel rewards

Depending on the type of card you pick up, you’ll have a few different rewards programs at your disposal. The standard Amex travel cards use the Membership Rewards program. Check out our guides on how Membership Rewards work, how to best earn points, and how to best redeem your points.

If you’re using a Hilton card, Delta card, or Marriott card, you’ll engage with the Hilton Honors program, Delta SkyMiles program, or Marriott Bonvoy program respectively.

American Express travel card alternatives

If American Express isn’t your preferred provider or you don’t like the airlines and hotels they partner with, you have a few strong alternatives. The first place to look is Chase’s credit card lineup. There are several strong luxury options here, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and several cobranded options to choose from, including Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and British Airways.

You’ll also find the Venture travel cards from Capital One a solid alternative. Capital One also features a few local travel card options, like the Savor Cash, that you won’t find direct equivalents for with Chase or Amex.

Bottom line

It’s hard to go wrong with Amex’s diverse travel card options and your choice will come down to how often you travel and if you have any preferred airlines or hotels. Travelers of all types can find a card with a price befitting their needs.

But if you’re not sure that any of these cards would work for you, consider other travel credit cards to compare your options.

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