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Having an American Express card can be an exciting addition to your wallet because it can mean getting new travel benefits, cashback rewards and access to a catalog of goods and services through the Membership Rewards® Program.
While it seems there’s an Amex card out there for almost anyone — individuals, small businesses and corporations —it’s important to choose one that’s best for your specific financial situation and needs. To do that, compare the best Amex cards, learn about typical Amex card features and learn how to apply.
What's in this guide?
- Best American Express credit cards
- Compare American Express credit cards
- Full list of American Express credit cards
- American Express rewards programs
- Typical card benefits and features of an American Express card
- How to apply for a credit card with American Express
- Bottom line
- Frequently asked questions
Best American Express credit cards
American Express cards fall into several categories, each with benefits and potential drawbacks to consider.
Best for cashback rewards: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
The American Express Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express may be best for families. It comes with a $95 annual fee (see rates & fees), but the card can pay for itself with excellent cashback potential.
Earn 6% cash back at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 a year and 1% after, 6% cash back on select US streaming services, 3% at US gas stations, 3% cash back on transit and 1% on all other eligible purchases.
If your family spends more than $30 a week in groceries alone, you can break even on the card. Busy families will likely blow past that threshold and pocket a generous cashback haul.
- Welcome offer. Get $250 cash back after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
- Intro APR. Take advantage of a 0% intro APR for 12 months on balances you transfer within the first 60 days days of account opening and on purchases. After the intro period, your APR varies from 14.49% to 25.49%.
- Solid cashback categories. Earn rewards at US supermarkets, US gas stations, on transit — places you’re likely to frequent in your day-to-day. Common everyday categories can make it easier to build up rewards quickly.
Best for travel rewards: American Express® Gold Card
The American Express® Gold Card offers 3x points on airfare when you book directly and 4x points at restaurants. At US supermarkets, earn 4x points on up to $25,000 per calendar year on purchases, then 1x. This gives you a broad base of spending from which to collect valuable Membership Rewards® points. You can also redeem your points for vacations through American Express Travel.
Unlike our other winners, the American Express® Gold Card is a hybrid between a charge card and a regular credit card. If you’re interested in a travel-specific credit card, learn more about our choice for best airline rewards card and hotel rewards card.
- Welcome offer. Get 35,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
- Airport credits. Charge up to $100 a year in fees from an eligible airline and get it back in statement credit. Checked bag fees, itinerary change fees and the like qualify for the credit.
- Hotel Collection perks. Get a $100 hotel credit when booking two or more consecutive nights at a property within Amex’s Hotel Collection.
- Great point earnings. Earn 3x points on flights you book directly with airlines or through American Express Travel and 4x points at restaurants. At US supermarkets, earn 4x points on up to $25,000 per calendar year on purchases, then 1x. Earn 1x points on all other eligible purchases.
Best for airline rewards: Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
American Express offers three Delta Cards: The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. The midtier choice — the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card — is a standout option.
It offers a domestic main cabin round-trip companion certificate that the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card doesn’t bring to the table. And it’s half the price of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, while offering 3x points on Delta purchases and perks like priority boarding.
- Welcome offer. After you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open, you’ll get 80,000 miles.
- Mile earnings. Earn 3x miles on eligible Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels. Earn 2x at restaurants and supermarkets and 1x miles on all other purchases.
- Invite a guest to fly. Each year you renew your Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, you receive a domestic main cabin round-trip companion certificate. This allows you to take a guest along on a round-trip domestic flight for only the price of the taxes and fees.
- Delta benefits. Get a complimentary checked bag and priority boarding when flying Delta. And get 20% off — as statement credit — when you make in-flight Delta purchases.
Best for hotel rewards: Hilton Honors American Express Card
With the Hilton Honors American Express Card you get generous point earnings outside of hotel spending: 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations and 3x on all other eligible purchases. You can also accumulate a trove of points, even if you’re not a Hilton regular.
If you consistently stay at Hilton, however, you’re rewarded with an exceptional 7x point multiple on Hilton purchases. That’s in addition to a complimentary upgrade to Silver status in the Hilton Honors loyalty program.
Perhaps best of all, you get it all for a $0 annual fee (see rates & fees).
- $0 annual fee. You won’t pay a dime in annual fees to keep this card open.
- Welcome offer. Earn 75,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
- Additional points. Each time you book online with a Hilton Honors property, you receive 500 bonus points.
- Point earnings. You’ll earn a minimum 3x points on eligible purchases. Hilton properties and US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations earn even more.
Best for balance transfers: Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card is a solid basic credit card that’s great for balance transfers. You’ll get an introductory APR of 0% on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months after your account is open — just be sure to transfer your balances within 60 days days of opening your account. After the promo period, your standard purchase and balance transfer APRs revert to 14.49% to 25.49% variable.
What makes Amex EveryDay® Credit Card even better for balance transfers is there’s no fee per transaction. Some cards come with a balance transfer fee of up to 5% of the transfer, which could mean paying $500 to transfer $10,000 in debt.
- No annual fee. Your annual fee for this card is $0.
- No balance transfer fees. You’ll pay no fee on balances you wish to transfer. Other cards charge a fee equal to 3% to 5% of the transaction.
- Introductory APR. Balance transfers in the first 60 days days of account opening and purchases made with Amex EveryDay® Credit Card come with a 0% intro APR for the first 15 months after opening your account. A 14.49% to 25.49% variable APR applies after the promotional period ends.
- Welcome offer. 15,000 points after spending $1,500 in your first 3 months Redeem points for travel, shopping, gift cards and more.
Best for small businesses: American Express® Blue Business Cash Card
The American Express® Blue Business Cash Card is hard to beat when it comes to small business credit cards. Putting it above similar cards is a $0 annual fee, a 0% intro APR period of 12 months on purchases and balance transfers (then 14.74% to 20.74% variable), and a credit limit that offers wiggle room.
- No annual fee. You pay $0 annually with this small business credit card.
- Introductory APR. For the first 12 months your account is open, get a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers. Your APR increases to 14.74% to 20.74% variable after the intro period ends.
- Solid cashback rewards. On all eligible purchases, earn 2% cash back on up to $50,000 each calendar year, then 1%.
- Push the limit. You can spend over your credit limit in select cases as long as you pay off the excess balance in full as part of your minimum payment. The amount you can go over depends on factors such as your payment history, credit score and current income.
Quick look at American Express cards
- Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: Best card for cashback rewards
- American Express® Gold Card: Best card for travel rewards
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card: Best card for airline rewards
- Hilton Honors American Express Card: Best card for hotel rewards
- Amex EveryDay® Credit Card: Best card for balance transfers
- American Express® Blue Business Cash Card: Best card for small businesses
How we selected our top cards
We compared American Express credit cards against one another in several categories commonly found across competing card companies, including types of rewards cards, cards with introductory APRs, cashback potential and travel benefits. We highlighted the Amex cards that stood out as prime performers in a given category.
What’s changed in 2020
We added Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card to our list this year as it provides a sweet spot of price versus features. While the Amex Gold Card remains the number one travel pick, the Delta Platinum is the perfect runner up and potentially a better choice for Delta fans.
The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express is now the American Express® Blue Business Cash Card, with flat-rate cash back and an intro APR on balance transfers.
Our pick for an American Express card
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American ExpressRead more
Compare American Express credit cards
Use our table to sort Amex cards by name, intro APR, annual fee and more. Check the Compare box under up to four cards you’re interested in. Then click the orange Compare button to see a side-by-side comparison of fees, requirements and features. To learn more about a specific card, click Read the full review.
Full list of American Express credit cards
- Amazon Business American Express Card
- Amazon Business Prime American Express Card
- American Express Cash Magnet® Card
- American Express Platinum Card® for Schwab
- American Express® Blue Business Cash Card
- American Express® Business Gold Card
- American Express® Business Gold Card
- American Express® Gold Card
- American Express® Green Card
- Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
- Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
American Express rewards programs
Membership Rewards® is the American Express rewards program for points. But it’s not the only Amex rewards program. You can also earn air miles with its Delta-partnered credit cards and cash back with Amex Blue Business Cash. Plus you can also activate Amex Offers to earn additional points or cash back.
How to redeem points and miles
Redeem Membership Rewards® points for gift cards, vouchers, shopping, travel, point-of-sale transactions, entertainment, statement credits or donations to charity. You can also transfer points to Flying Blue® Award Miles or Marriott Bonvoy points.
Blue Cash Reward Dollars and Cash Back with Amex Blue Business Cash are redeemed in the form of statement credits. The amount you earned typically is applied to the statement that comes two billing cycles after you earned it. So, if you earned $50 in cashback rewards in January, you’d likely find it applied to your March statement.
You can redeem miles earned through Delta-partnered credit cards when you purchase tickets through the Delta website. You’ll need to make sure the flight is marked as eligible for payment with miles and have your credit card on hand when booking.
How much are points and miles worth?
Points values vary, but the Amex Membership Rewards® site allows you to calculate the value of your points depending on your card and how you want to redeem them.
For example, here’s what 10,000 points from an Amex EveryDay® Credit Card might get you, as of June 2018:
Typical card benefits and features of an American Express card
Each American Express card offers its own range of features, including welcome offers that provide upwards of $300 back. But you’ll find a few signature features across several cards, including:
- Entertainment Access®. Get access to selected ticketed events through American Express.
- ShopRunner membership. Get free two-day shipping, extended warranties and purchase protection when you use your card to shop with a retailer in the ShopRunner network.
- Airport lounge access. Take advantage of the relaxed space and complimentary food and beverages at airport lounges around the world. Depending on your card, you may need to pay an additional fee to access some lounges.
- Concierge. Get help planning your trip, finding a place to eat or booking a hotel room at no extra charge.
- Global Assist® Hotline. Get assistance with missing luggage, legal or medical referrals, passport services and translation services are a phone call away.
- Uber benefits. Receive monthly Uber ride credits with your Platinum card.
- Mobile app. You can download the bank’s mobile app to monitor your account, make payments and more.
- Amex Express Checkout. Quickly make payments online without entering your card number with this convenient payment method.
How to apply for a credit card with American Express
Apply for a credit or charge card through the American Express website. Before you apply, make sure you meet the minimum eligibility requirements and ready the information you’ll need.
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- You must have a valid Social Security number.
- Corporate applicants must have over $25 million in annual revenue.
- Full name and date of birth.
- Street address and phone number.
- Valid email address.
- Total annual income.
How does American Express keep my credit card information secure?
American Express protects your personal and financial information with physical and technical features. It encrypts any sensitive information you send online, and accounts left logged in and idle time out for your protection.
Fraud protection is also available. Account alerts and irregular or suspicious transaction monitoring keeps you informed and your account under watch. Amex may also verify your identity before allowing you to make a purchase, confirming you’re actually the one using the card.
You can also choose whether to receive American Express marketing materials and how you’d like to get them. You’re still able to access customer service agents and receive contact regarding your account, when necessary.
American Express offers a variety of rewards, travel and business credit cards, and it’s the only big-name provider to support charge cards. To learn which might be the best fit for your lifestyle or business, compare American Express’s current cards.
To explore what’s out there, look into the features and benefits of other credit card providers.
Frequently asked questions
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
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