These are the top Amex cards in cash back, travel, airline and hotel rewards.
If you’re looking for an American Express card, you have quite a few choices. At current count, there are around 20 Amex cards offered.
Among them, however, are a few that are head and shoulders above the rest.
We picked four winners from the bunch: the Blue Cash Preferred Card, the Premier Rewards Gold Card, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Card, and the Hilton Honors Card.
Best American Express credit cards at a glance
Blue Cash Preferred Card
- Best for cash back
Among Blue Cash cards, Preferred is the best choice for most families. There’s a $95 annual fee, but it pays for itself with the card’s excellent cash back.
Earn 6% at US supermarkets (up to $6,000, and then 1%), 3% at US gas stations and some US department stores, and 1% on other eligible purchases.
If you spend more than $30 a week in groceries alone, you’ll break even on the card. Busy families will blow past that threshold and pocket a generous cashback haul.
- Signup bonus. $200 cash back after you spend $1,000 in the first three months.
- Intro APR. 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months.
- Excellent cash back. 6% at US supermarkets (up to $6,000, then 1%), 3% cash back at US gas stations and some US department stores, 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
- Watch out for the $95 annual fee.
Premier Rewards Gold Card
- Best for travel
It’s easy to feel that something’s missing from most American Express charge cards: The Green Card is simply outclassed by cheaper cards. The Gold Card is missing accelerated point earnings on groceries and gas. And the Platinum Card offers incredible points on travel but no point multiple on everyday purchases.
The Premier Rewards Gold Card is the perfect medium, offering 3x points on airfare and 2x points at US restaurants, grocery stores and gas stations. This means you’ll have a broad base of spending from which to collect valuable Membership Rewards points. You can later redeem these points for vacations at American Express Travel.
- $0 intro annual fee. $195 afterward.
- Great point earnings. Earn 3x on airfare and 2x points at US restaurants, gas stations and supermarkets. Earn 1x points on all other eligible purchases.
- Signup bonus. 25,000 points when you spend $2,000 in the first three months.
- Airport credits. Charge up to $100 a year on an eligible airline’s fees (checked bags, itinerary change fees, etc.) and get it back in statement credit.
- Hotel Collection perks. Get 2x Membership Rewards points when booking two or more consecutive nights in a Hotel Collection property. You’ll also get a $75 hotel credit.
- Watch out for a $195 annual fee starting the second year and a requirement to pay off your balance in full each month.
Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card
- Best for airline rewards
American Express offers three Delta cards: the Gold SkyMiles, Platinum SkyMiles and Delta Reserve. The mid-tier choice — the Platinum SkyMiles — is a standout option. It offers a domestic main cabin round-trip companion certificate that the Gold card doesn’t bring to the table. And it’s half the price of the Delta Reserve, at the same time offering 2x points on Delta purchases and perks like priority boarding.
- Strong, balanced signup bonus. After you spend $1,000 in the first three months, get 35,000 miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles. Also get a $100 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months.
- Mile earnings. Earn two miles per dollar spent on eligible Delta purchases like flight tickets, food or beverages and movies. Earn one mile per dollar spent on other eligible purchases.
- Invite a guest to fly. Each year you renew your Platinum Delta card, you’ll receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate. This allows you take a guest on a round-trip domestic flight for free (after taxes and fees).
- Delta benefits. Check your first bag free and get priority boarding when flying Delta. Get 20% off (as statement credit) when you make in-flight Delta purchases.
- Miles boost. When you spend $25,000 or more in a calendar year, earn 10,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles. When you spend $50,000 or more get another 10,000 miles and 10,000 MQMs.
- Watch out for the $195 annual fee.
Hilton Honors Card
- Best for hotel rewards
In a contest between Amex’s Hilton Honors and the stellar Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card, the Hilton card has the edge. That’s in part because you’ll get generous point earnings outside of hotel spending: 5x at US restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations, and 3x on all other eligible purchases. This means you can accumulate a trove of points even if you’re not a Hilton regular.
If you consistently stay at Hilton, however, you’ll be rewarded with a great 7x point multiple on Hilton purchases. That’s in addition to the complimentary upgrade to Silver status you’ll receive in the Hilton Honors loyalty program.
Perhaps best of all, you get all of this for no annual fee.
- No annual fee.
- Signup bonus. Earn 50,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months.
- Excellent point earnings. Earn 7x points at Hilton properties; earn 5x points at US restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations; and earn 3x points on all other eligible purchases.
- More points when you book through a Hilton Honors website. Each time you book online with a Hilton Honors property, you’ll receive 500 bonus points.
- Complimentary upgrade to Hilton Honors Silver status. Silver status reaps a 15% bonus on Hilton Honors Base Points you earn, as well as your fifth night free when you book five nights or more in one stay with points. It also includes standard perks like digital check-in, complimentary Wi-Fi and late checkout.
- Watch out for the foreign transaction fees.