American Express Credit Cards

American Express is world-renowned for its high-value rewards and great customer service. The issuer’s numerous offerings cover nearly every category—from everyday cash back cards to premium luxury travel cards laced with valuable perks and benefits. Our partner American Express can help you find the perfect card to add to your wallet using our guide below:

The best American Express credit cards:

Best for restaurant and U.S. supermarket spending

American Express Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On American Express's secure website

American Express® Gold Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants worldwide. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X) Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
Welcome Offer:
Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
Annual Fee:
$250
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
See Rates & Fees

Card Details

  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants worldwide. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.

Best for a large welcome offer

American Express Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On American Express's secure website

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Rewards Rate:
5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
Welcome Offer:
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
Annual Fee:
$550
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
N/A

Card Details

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Best cash back card for families

American Express Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On American Express's secure website

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Rewards Rate:
6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%) 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations 1% Cash Back on other purchases
Welcome Offer:
$250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months
Annual Fee:
$95
Purchase Intro APR:
0% on purchases for 12 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% on balance transfers for 12 months
Regular APR:
14.74%-25.74% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • New 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • New 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Over 3 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017 and 2018.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.74% to 25.74%
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Best for hotel rewards and a large welcome offer

American Express Image

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent to Good (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On American Express's secure website

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio. Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card
Welcome Offer:
Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
Annual Fee:
$95
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
17.49%-26.49% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Best for business startups

American Express Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On American Express's secure website

American Express® Blue Business Cash Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%. 1% cash back on all eligible purchases after spending $50,000 per calendar year.
Annual Fee:
No annual fee
Purchase Intro APR:
0% on purchases for 12 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% on balance transfers for 12 months
Regular APR:
14.99% - 20.99% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%. Cash back earned is automatically credited to your statement.
  • From workflow to inventory to floor plans, your business is constantly changing. That’s why you’ve got the power to spend beyond your credit limit with Expanded Buying Power§.
  • Just remember, the amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us and other factors.
  • 0.0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, then a variable rate, 14.99%, 17.99%, or 20.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
  • No Annual Fee
  • Terms Apply

Best for business perks with no annual fee

American Express Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On American Express's secure website

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Rewards Rate:
Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
Annual Fee:
No annual fee
Purchase Intro APR:
0% on purchases for 12 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% on balance transfers for 12 months
Regular APR:
14.99% - 20.99% Variable

Card Details

  • Get rewarded for business as usual. Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners.
  • 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
  • Enjoy the flexibility to put more purchases on the Card and earn rewards when you buy above your credit limit*.
  • You’ve got the power to use your Card beyond its credit limit* with Expanded Buying Power.
  • More buying power for your business means more opportunities to earn points. That’s everyday business with the Blue Business Plus Card.
  • *The amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us, and other factors.
  • 0.0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, then a variable rate, 14.99%, 17.99% or 20.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
  • Terms Apply

Best business card for points

American Express Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On American Express's secure website

American Express® Business Gold Card

Rewards Rate:
Get 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month** Earn 1X on other purchases Airline Bonus: Get 25% points back after you use points for all or part of an eligible flight booked with Amex Travel, up to 250,000 points back per calendar year.*
Welcome Offer:
Earn up to $500 back in the form of statement credits by purchasing qualifying services with FedEx using your American Express® Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card membership.Limited time Offer ends 11/06/2019.*
Annual Fee:
$295
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
15.99% - 23.99% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn up to $500 back in the form of statement credits by purchasing qualifying services with FedEx using your American Express® Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card membership.
  • Limited time Offer ends 11/06/2019.*
  • More Rewards: Get 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month**
  • **4X points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year.*
  • Airline Bonus: Get 25% points back after you use points for all or part of an eligible flight booked with Amex Travel, up to 250,000 points back per calendar year.*
  • Pay Over Time Option: A flexible payment option to help manage cash flow on purchases of $100 or more.*
  • Access to the Working Capital Terms program: get additional funding beyond what you can spend on Business Gold with this flexible funding solution designed to pay U.S. based vendor invoices directly when cards are not accepted.*
  • *Terms Apply

Best business card for travel

American Express Image

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent Credit (740 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On American Express's secure website

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

Rewards Rate:
Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com. Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
Welcome Offer:
Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
Annual Fee:
$595
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
N/A

Card Details

  • Welcome Offer: Earn up to 100,000 Membership Rewards® points.
  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
  • 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
  • Enroll to get up to $200 in statement credits annually by getting up to $100 semi-annually for U.S. purchases with Dell. Terms apply.
  • Get one year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork. With this membership, you can access 300+ premium, inspiring workspaces in 75+ cities. To get this exclusive offer, enroll between 2/15/2019 and 12/31/2019.
  • Terms Apply

Best for airline specific perks

American Express Image

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent Credit (740 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On American Express's secure website

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

Rewards Rate:
Earn 2 Miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile on every eligible dollar spent on purchases.
Welcome Offer:
Earn 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
Annual Fee:
$195 ($250 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020)
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
17.49% - 26.49% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) and 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn a $100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • Check your first bag for free and save up to $60 on a round trip Delta flight.
  • Find room for your carry-on and settle into your seat sooner with Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.
  • Enjoy 20% savings on eligible in-flight purchases in the form of a statement credit with the American Express Delta Card.
  • Earn 2 Miles per dollar spent on purchases made directly with Delta. Earn 1 mile on every eligible dollar spent on purchases. Miles don’t expire.
  • Terms and limitations apply

Best business card for hotel rewards

American Express Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On American Express's secure website

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Rewards Rate:
12X at hotels & resorts in the Hilton portfolio 6X on Select Business & Travel Purchases 3X Everywhere Else. Terms & Limitations Apply.
Welcome Offer:
Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership.
Annual Fee:
$95
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
17.49% - 26.49% Variable

Card Details

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card: 12X at hotels and resorts in the Hilton portfolio, 6X on Select Business & Travel Purchases, 3X Everywhere Else. Terms & Limitations Apply.
  • Enjoy complimentary Gold Status with your Hilton Honors Business Card.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn another Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend an additional $45,000 in purchases on your Card in the same calendar year.
  • Relax with 10 free airport lounge visits each year once enrolled in complimentary Priority Pass™ Select membership, which offers access to over 1,000 lounges in over 120 countries.
  • Terms apply.

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.


Author: Barry Bridges


In this article:

Bankrate’s top picks for the best American Express credit cards in 2019

Card Name Best for Bankrate Review Score
American Express® Gold Card Restaurant and U.S. supermarket rewards 4.4 / 5
The Platinum Card® from American Express Large welcome offer 4.8 / 5
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Cash back for families 4.6 / 5
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card Hotel rewards and a large welcome offer 4.5 / 5
American Express® Blue Business Cash Card Business startups 3.7 / 5
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express Business perks with no annual fee 4.4 / 5
American Express® Business Gold Card Business card for points 4.4 / 5
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express Business card for travel 4.7 / 5
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express Airline specific perks 4.4 / 5
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card Business card for hotel rewards 4.3 / 5

How we chose our favorite American Express credit cards

Bankrate’s team of credit card experts studied the gamut of American Express cards before evaluating each card against Bankrate’s proprietary scoring method. Each American Express offering was then given a rating on our 5-star scale.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to credit cards but the good news is that we have investigated the fine print to help you to find the American Express card that suits your needs. The Bankrate team have identified the best cards for various scenarios.

Scoring

Bankrate’s team of credit card aficionados have evaluated the various pros and cons of American Express cards. They have analyzed the details of card offerings from welcome bonus, travel rewards and perks, redemption, annual fees, and more, to determine the best card for different use-cases.

American Express® Gold Card

Unlike many premium travel cards, the Gold card offers above-average rewards rates on everyday spending categories as well as on the high-value travel purchases you would expect. In addition to high rewards earnings at restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and travel, the card’s additional statement credit perks help to make up for the sizeable $250 annual fee. Other cards may serve you better if you’re looking for luxury travel benefits like lounge access or concierge service, but depending on your spending habits the Gold card may offer higher earnings potential.

Pros:

  • 4X points rewards on spending at restaurants worldwide, U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, then 1x) and 3X points rewards on flights booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel.com.
  • 21 airline transfer partners for flexible redemptions.
  • $100 annual statement credits for airline fees at one selected qualifying airline and up to $10 monthly statement credits for select delivery and restaurant purchases (enrollment required).
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Cons:

  • $250 annual fee.
  • No lounge membership, although you can obtain passes.

Read our full American Express® Gold Card review.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card offers a high-value welcome offer and no shortage of perks for cardholders seeking luxury. Its annual fee ($550) is one of the highest around, but the benefits make it more than worth the cost for the right cardholder.

To kickstart your card ownership, you can earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $5,000 within the first 3 months. The card’s premium rewards include airport lounge access, up to $200 in annual airline fee credits (at one qualifying airline), up to $100 annual credits for Saks Fifth Avenue purchases (enrollment required) and up to $200 in annual credits for Uber rides. The card also offers generous 5X Membership Rewards points for every dollar spent on eligible hotels booked through the American Express travel portal and on airfare (booked with the airline or through Amex’s travel portal).

Pros:

  • Access to Global Lounge Collection, which includes proprietary lounge locations around the world, and Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit.
  • Great airline and hotel rewards.
  • 60,000 Membership Rewards points welcome offer.
  • Annual statement credits on travel incidentals, shopping and Uber.

Cons:

  • $550 annual fee, though statement credits and rewards largely make up the cost for big spenders.
  • $200 airline fee credit may not be used towards ticket prices.

Read our full review of The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

The recently revamped Blue Cash Preferred Card is one of the best cash back cards for everyday spending. Rewards categories now range from 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to a $6,000 a year limit, then 1%), 6% on select U.S. streaming services, 3% cash back on transit and at U.S. gas stations and 1% on all other purchases. These are some of the highest cash back rates on the market, making the $95 annual fee worth it for frequent spenders across these categories.

Pros:

  • $250 welcome bonus after spending $1,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Generous rewards rates on everyday spending categories.
  • More than 3 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express cards in 2017 and 2018.

Cons:

  • Many specialty grocers and wholesale clubs don’t count toward the 6% cash back category.
  • U.S. supermarket rewards are limited to $6,000 per year in spending.

Read our full Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express review.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Relatively high spenders can rack up a lot of extra benefits from the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass card. You can earn 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after spending $2,000 in eligible purchases in the first 3 months of card membership. Plus, spending $15,000 in a calendar year makes you eligible for a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors. Hilton loyalists will find a lot to love about this card for a relatively low $95 annual fee.

Pros:

  • Generous welcome bonus.
  • Weekend Night Rewards (terms apply) and Hilton Honors Diamond status are great offers if your spending aligns with the required thresholds.
  • In addition to spending with Hilton, you can earn rewards on everyday purchases: 6X points at U.S. restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations and 3x points for all other purchases.

Cons:

  • Very high late payment fee.
  • If you want the flexibility to stay with different hotel chains you should consider a travel rewards card.

Read our full Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card review.

American Express® Blue Business Cash Card

The American Express Blue Business Cash Card could help resolve a question facing many new business owners: What happens when you need to spend more than your credit limit allows? This card offers expanded spending capacity so that you can go beyond your credit limit without worrying about over-limit fees. (Just remember that spending above your credit limit isn’t indefinite. It will adjust according to factors including your payment history and credit record.) Also, eligible purchases earn 2% cash back on up to $50,000 a year, after which the rate slips to 1%.

Pros:

  • Expanded Buying Power lets you spend above your credit limit with no over-limit fees The amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the card, payment history, credit record, financial resources and other factors.
  • 2% cash back on eligible purchases up to $50,000 per calendar year, 1% thereafter
  • Several American Express business perks including Expense Management Tools, Global Assist® Hotline and Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance
  • No annual fee

Cons:

  • Even a small business could find the $50,000 earnings cap on the 2% earnings rate a bit restrictive.
  • The cash back you earn is automatically credited to your statement, meaning that you have no other way to redeem.
  • Currently, the card doesn’t have a welcome offer.

Read our full American Express® Blue Business Cash Card review.

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Pros:

  • The card offers a number of perks including Expense Management Tools, Extended Warranty, Purchase Protection and more. If you take a lot of business trips, the Baggage Insurance Plan and Roadside Assistance Hotline will offer extra peace of mind.
  • You earn 2X Membership Rewards Points on up to $50,000 a year and 1X afterward, with no category restrictions.
  • With Expanded Buying Power, you can exceed your current credit limit in case you have to make a lot of big purchases. This option provides a lot of flexibility, even though your ability to spend beyond your credit limit isn’t unlimited.
  • No annual fee.

Cons:

  • If you’re looking for a quick rewards infusion as an introductory bonus, remember that this card currently has no welcome offer.
  • The 2X rewards rate slips to 1X after the first $50,000 spent per calendar year. Depending on your expenditures, that drop in earnings could be significant.
  • The 7% foreign transaction fee after conversion to U.S. dollars is quite a bit higher than that of other credit cards. If you shop overseas or buy online from international vendors, that 7% could sting (see rates and fees).

Read our full Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express review.

American Express® Business Gold Card

This card sets small business owners up for success in their spending. You will earn 4X rewards in the two categories where your business spends the most each month. Between this card’s easy-to-use rewards structure and added perks, the $295 annual fee may be worth it for your small business.

Pros:

  • 4X points on 2 select categories in which your business spends the most each month (up to $150,000 in annual spending).
  • Earn up to $500 back in the form of statement credits on purchases of qualifying services with FedEx in the first 3 months (offer ends 11/6/19)
  • Airline bonus on flights booked with Amex Travel, expense management tool access and more perks to help your business

Cons:

  • Annual fee of $295.
  • If you do a lot of business spending, the $150,000 annual cap on your 4X points rewards categories may be limiting.

Read our full American Express® Business Gold Card review.

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

Like the personal version of the Platinum Card, this card is the top of the line for frequent business travelers. It offers premium travel benefits like access to American Express’ Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass Select membership, and up to $200 per calendar year in airline incidentals credit. Airport lounge access alone could be worth the steep $595 annual fee. The card’s rewards are also suited for frequent travel, including 5X Membership Rewards points on flights and prepaid hotels through the Amex travel portal.

Pros:

  • Tiered welcome offer totaling up to 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $25,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months.
  • One Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check statement credit every 4 years.
  • No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees).
  • Complimentary concierge service access.
  • 50% rewards bonus on eligible purchases over $5,000 (up to 1 million extra points per calendar year).

Cons:

  • All purchases on this card have to be business-related.
  • Not optimal for those who don’t travel enough to fully maximize all of the card’s travel benefits.
  • High annual fee of $595.

Read our full The Business Platinum® Card from American Express review.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express

American Express offers a few cards in partnership with Delta, but the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business is the best value for frequent Delta business travelers who can save with the card’s airline-specific perks. Priority boarding, 20% savings on eligible in-flight purchases (in the form of statement credit), and a free first checked bag on round-trip Delta flights all add convenience and ease for those who spend much of their time in the air.

Pros:

  • Earn 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles and 75,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months of card ownership, plus a $100 statement credit after making a Delta purchase in the same period. Offer expires 10/20/2019. 
  • Earn 2X miles per dollar on purchases directly with Delta and 1X miles on everything else.
  • Airline perks like priority boarding, 20% off eligible in-flight purchases and a free first checked bag on round-trip Delta flights.

Cons:

  • $195 annual fee (which extends to $250 if application is received on or after 1/30/2020).
  • Other travel cards offer better rewards rates, especially if you don’t fly Delta regularly.

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

For a relatively low annual fee of $95, this card’s sizable welcome bonus and high 12X rewards on spending at Hilton Hotels and resorts make it a lucrative pick for Hilton fans. You’ll also earn 6X points on select business and travel purchases and 3X on everything else. What’s more, complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status and the ability to earn a Weekend Night Reward after you spend an additional $15,000 in purchases on your card each year really set this card apart for Hilton loyalist business travelers.

Pros:

  • 125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points welcome offer after spending $3,000 in eligible purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Great rewards rates on spending directly with the hotel chain and other perks for Hilton Honors members, as well as bonuses on other business and travel spending.
  • 10 free airport lounge visits each year once enrolled in Priority Pass Select membership.

Cons:

  • If you like flexibility in choosing which hotel chain you stay with, a different travel rewards card may suit you better.

What is American Express?

American Express began as a freight-forwarding business in 1850 and has since grown to be one of the largest credit card issuers in the world. As of 2018, American Express made up the highest purchase volume among issuers in the United States, according to Nilson.

Top card issuers, U.S. purchase volume in 2018 …

  • $755 billion
  • American Express
  • $739 billion
  • Chase
  • $410 billion
  • Citibank
  • $361 billion
  • Bank of America
  • $337 billion
  • Capital One

Nilson Report

Unlike many other banks, American Express is both a payment processing network and a credit card issuer. That means Amex issues credit cards to consumers and facilitates transactions with merchants through their network. Networks, which include Visa, Mastercard and Discover as well as American Express, make money by taking a cut of each transaction they process. Many, but not all, American Express credit cards are both issued by American Express and part of the American Express payment network.

American Express is one of the few credit card issuers that offers charge cards, or cards that require balances to be paid in full each month, but allows for potentially high charges. Many customers seek out Amex for its premium rewards offerings across both personal and business credit cards.

Amex’s premium rewards also often come at a premium cost. Not only do many of the issuer’s offerings have an annual fee, but Amex generally requires potential cardholders to have a good or excellent credit score to qualify.

Usage limitations

International travelers and domestic buyers alike may find that their American Express cards are accepted by fewer merchants than Visa or Mastercard, historically due to their merchant fees surpassing those charged by other networks. Merchants ranging from popular retailers like Costco to small, local businesses may not accept Amex payments in their stores.

The issuer is working to remedy the gap, though. According to Amex, over 3 million more merchants have begun accepting American Express cards since 2017.

What does American Express offer?

There’s no shortage of benefits to having an American Express card in your wallet, even beyond the card’s individual rewards.

Customer service

American Express is highly regarded for its customer service. In 2018, Amex ranked second in customer satisfaction among issuers in the J.D. Power U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study.

2018 U.S. credit card satisfaction survey …

  • 836 (out of 1,000)
  • Discover
  • 830
  • American Express
  • 806
  • Barclays U.S.
  • 804
  • Chase
  • 803
  • Capital One

J.D. Power

The company’s Global Assist hotline provides travel assistance for any trips you take more than 100 miles from home and additional services like missing luggage services, passport replacement services and even medical prescription replacement assistance.

Cardholder perks

Many Amex perks are available to all cardholders and can go a long way in making your card’s annual fee worth the price.

If you’re looking to save money, keep an eye on Amex Offers. You can log in to your account to find active offers, then add them to your card and save as you spend across dining, retail and travel categories. Currently, Amex is also offering a complimentary ShopRunner membership for cardholders, a service which provides free 2-day shipping for over 140 online retailers.

Many Amex cards offer purchase protections like extended warranties and return protections. You can benefit from Amex travel perks like baggage insurance, car rental loss and damage insurance, roadside assistance and travel accident insurance. Not all American Express perks are included with each card, though, so make sure to read the fine print of your cardholder agreement to find which apply to you.

Rewards redemptions

One of the best benefits of becoming an Amex cardholder is the issuer’s rewards redemptions on cards that come with access to American Express Membership Rewards.

Through the Membership Rewards portal, you can use your rewards earnings to shop for merchandise and gift cards, redeem for statement credits and use Pay With Points at participating online retailers.

A major bonus of the Amex Membership Rewards Program for travelers in particular is the option some cardholders have to transfer rewards points to American Express hotel and airline partners (often at a 1:1 value) or use points to book through AmexTravel.com.

What are charge cards?

Many of American Express’ card offerings are charge cards, making them unique from many other cards on the market. A charge card requires customers to pay balances in full each month (or take on penalty fees) instead of allowing the option to pay a minimum amount. They don’t have a set limit like other credit cards, but charge cards are not unlimited lines of credit; how much you can spend is based largely on your purchase and payment history.

If you’re worried about high interest rates (currently averaging near 18% nationally), a charge card may be right for you, since paying balances in full each month allows you to avoid interest payments. However, American Express now offers a Pay Over Time feature which can help you use your charge card like a credit card, by making smaller payments on eligible purchases over $100 while accruing interest.

Individuals or small businesses who have the cash flow to pay off balances each month and want a flexible spending limit may benefit most from a charge card, while those with less predictable cash flow who may need additional time to pay off larger purchases are likely better off with a regular credit card.

Which American Express cards are charge cards?

Currently, the following Amex cards operate as charge cards:

  • American Express® Gold Card
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • The Plum Card® from American Express
  • The Business Platinum® Card from American Express
  • American Express® Business Gold Card
  • Business Green Rewards Card from American Express

Can you get an American Express card with bad credit?

American Express has a reputation for premium card offerings, which, subsequently, means they prefer cardholders with an equally premium credit score. Most American Express credit cards require good or excellent credit scores for approval.

There are a few options available to you if your credit score is keeping you from opening an Amex card, though.

If you have a thin credit profile or are working to rebuild subpar credit, you can become an authorized user on someone else’s American Express account. This allows you to build your credit and have access to American Express cardmember perks even if your credit alone doesn’t qualify. Just be sure to pick someone trustworthy; although you can remove the information from your credit report, someone else’s bad credit habits may affect your score as long as you’re still an authorized user on their account.

Another option is to open an Amex card without premium rewards that can simply help you build credit, like the Blue from American Express® Credit Card. You’ll only earn 1X Membership Rewards points for each dollar spent, but it has no annual fee and a lower credit requirement than other cards.

If you’re worried about being denied a line of credit with American Express, check to see which offers you pre-qualify for on the issuer’s website before submitting an application and agreeing to a hard inquiry on your credit report.

What is the best American Express card?

Any of the American Express cards listed above can add value to your wallet, but deciding on the very best American Express card for you requires some investigation into your spending habits and the benefits that you’re looking to get out of your card. Here are some things that are important to consider:

Personal vs. business

This should be the easiest factor in your decision. If you’re looking for rewards that you can earn on your own everyday spending or any personal traveling you do throughout the year, then a personal card is the way to go. Small business owners, however, will benefit more from a small business card that offers rewards tailored to the categories in which their business spends the most.

You can check out Bankrate’s guide to the Best Business Credit Cards for 2019 for more information on when to make the switch to a business card and how to decide on the best rewards for your business.

Membership Rewards points vs. miles vs. cash back

Next, you should evaluate your spending habits to determine which card offers the highest rewards in the categories in which you already frequent. For instance, a suburban family of four will likely benefit more from the Blue Cash Preferred® Card’s U.S. supermarket, select U.S. streaming service and U.S. gas station rewards than a jet-setting world traveler, who may see more value in the premium travel rewards offered by The Platinum Card®.

Similarly, you should determine which types of rewards will bring you the most value. Some people may prefer the simplicity of cash back, while others will benefit most from miles they can put towards travel purchases. Perhaps the most flexible option (and most protected from devaluations) is a card that earns Membership Rewards points, which can be redeemed for travel and statement credits or transferred to partners, among other options.

Fees, earnings rate, spending

In addition to determining what you spend your money on, you should narrow down how much money you spend annually and whether that makes up for the cost of card ownership.

American Express offers great cards that range from no annual fee to more than $500, and you don’t want to find yourself paying for a card that you’re not at least getting an equal amount of value from. Look at your spending over the past year to determine what fee you’re willing to pay and calculate your estimated rewards earnings so you can make an educated guess on whether the card is worth it. Don’t forget to factor in any ancillary fees, like balance transfer fees or foreign transaction fees, if you may be affected by those as well.

Big spenders should also make sure the rewards cap on their card doesn’t hinder their rewards. Many Amex cards have annual caps on their top-earning rewards, and if you surpass that cap every year, compare and see if another rewards card on the market may offer more value. This may be especially important for small business owners who have high operational costs.

Who are American Express cards good for?

Once you’ve considered the above options to find which rewards and card details matter most to you, it’ll be easier to narrow down which American Express card will bring you most value. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to finding the best credit card, which is why it’s important to have an idea of exactly what you’re looking for.

The following profiles are just a few examples of the types of consumers who may benefit from specific American Express cards, but may help you in determining your perfect match.

On-the-go families

Many families will be hard-pressed to find any card on the market that can bring them more value on everyday spending than the Blue Cash Preferred® Card. Its rewards categories align with the everyday purchases that are important to parents and kids on-the-go, whether they’re in a bustling city, rural America or anywhere in between. Its reasonable $95 annual fee also doesn’t put it out-of-reach for families on a budget.

Luxury travelers

Anyone looking to travel in style and with convenience (and who can afford the $550 annual fee) can find their ideal card in The Platinum Card®. As one of the most high-end cards on the market, it offers benefits and perks with some of the top airlines and finest hotels around the world. If you’re willing to pay, and can maximize its benefits, this card can set luxury travelers’ experiences apart and even make it easier to travel more with rewards.

Occasional travelers

Not everyone can justify The Platinum Card® or even needs its premium rewards. Those looking to redeem rewards less regularly but still earn on their everyday spending will find much more value in the Gold Card. You’ll still earn rewards on travel purchases, but the card’s highest-earning categories are restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, meaning you don’t have to be a world traveler to maximize your value (but you’ll still get plenty of premium perks).

Business travelers

Like its personal card counterpart, The Business Platinum® Card is ideal for business travelers looking for luxury (and willing to pay for it). Anyone who spends much of their time in airports for business will likely find the experience much more enjoyable after gaining access to the benefits and services the Platinum Card offers. The business version also includes business-specific perks, like WeWork membership, which can improve productivity as well as comfort.


Senior Editor Barry Bridges has been writing about credit cards, personal loans, mortgages and other personal finance products since 2017. Before joining Bankrate, he was an award-winning newspaper journalist in his native North Carolina. Send your questions about credit cards (and fantasy baseball) to bbridges@bankrate.com.

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