This trusted travel-rewards giant offers cards for international and everyday journeys.
More than 110 million people worldwide carry an American Express card in their wallets. This global financial services giant first issued its American Express® Gold Card in 1966. Today, it offers cards for individuals, small businesses and corporations that feature travel, cash back and access to a catalog of goods and services through its Membership Rewards® Program.
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.
Best American Express credit cards
American Express cards fall into several categories, each with benefits and potential drawbacks to consider.
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
- Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express: Best card for airline rewards
- Hilton Honors American Express Card: Best card for hotel rewards
- Amex EveryDay® Credit Card: Best card for balance transfers
- SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express: Best card for small businesses
Best for cashback rewards: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Among Blue Cash cards, 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.
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.
Best for airline rewards: Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
American Express offers three Delta Cards: The Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express and Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express. The midtier choice — the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express — is a standout option.
It offers a domestic main cabin round-trip companion certificate that the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express doesn’t bring to the table. And it’s half the price of the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, while offering 2x points on Delta purchases and perks like priority boarding.
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).
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 15.24% to 26.24% 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.
Best for small businesses: SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express
The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express 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 15 months on purchases (then 14.49% to 21.49% variable ), cash back categories and a credit limit that offers wiggle room.
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 2019
We added Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express 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.
American Express rewards programs
Membership Rewards® is the American Express rewards program for points. But it’s not the only rewards program. You can also earn air miles with its Delta-partnered credit cards and cash back with Blue Cash Reward Dollars and Cash Back with SimplyCash Plus. Plus you can also activate Amex Offers to earn 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 SimplyCash 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. In other words, 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 that 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 what you want to redeem them for.
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
American Express offers a variety of credit cards to meet your personal and business needs. Each 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®. Eligible cardholders can access selected ticketed events through American Express.
- ShopRunner membership. Apply for a membership with ShopRunner with many American Express cards. ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping, extended warranties and purchase protection when you use it to shop with a retailer in its network.
- Travel accident insurance. You could be protected when traveling by plane, train, ship or bus when you pay for your fare with your American Express card.
- Airport lounge access. You may be able to take advantage of the relaxed space and complementary 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. Assistance with missing luggage, legal or medical referrals, passport services and translation services are a phone call away.
- Uber benefits. Platinum cardholders can receive monthly Uber ride credits.
How to apply for a credit card with American Express
Apply for a credit or charge card with American Express through its 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 through physical and technical features designed to keep you and your card safe. 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. Those aren’t the only things, though: Amex may 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.