Best American Express Credit Cards for 2020

American Express is world-renowned for its high-value rewards and great customer service. The issuer’s numerous offerings run the gamut from everyday cash back cards to premium luxury travel cards brimming with valuable perks and benefits. Our partner American Express can help you find the right card to add to your wallet in 2020 using our guide below.

Bankrate's Top American Express Credit Cards:

Best for cash back and 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

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Rewards Rate:
3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% back on other purchases
Welcome Offer:
Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% on purchases for 15 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% on balance transfers for 15 months
Regular APR:
12.99%-23.99% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • 2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 23.99%.
  • Don't wait for your Card in the mail. Start earning cash back before your card even arrives, if eligible for Instant Card Number.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Best for U.S. restaurant and 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 $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
Annual Fee:
$250
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
See Rates & Fees

Card Details

  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 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 bonus

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
Balance Transfer 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:
12.99%-23.99% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 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 at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more). 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Don't wait for your Card in the mail. Start earning cash back before your card even arrives, if eligible for Instant Card Number.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 23.99%
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Best for hotel rewards and a large welcome bonus

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

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
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
15.74%-24.74% 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 no-hassle travel

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® Green Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, from subway swipes and window seats to hotel stays and city tours. Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points at restaurants worldwide.
Welcome Offer:
Earn 30,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
Annual Fee:
$150
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
See Rates & Fees

Card Details

  • Earn 30,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, from subway swipes and window seats to hotel stays and city tours.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points at restaurants worldwide.
  • Receive up to $100 per year in statement credits when you use the American Express® Green Card to pay for your CLEAR® membership at select airports and stadiums across the U.S. and Permissible Biometric Scanning Technology terms: eye scanning, irises scanning and fingerprints scanning.
  • Use the American Express® Green Card to purchase lounge access through LoungeBuddy to any of the lounges in the LoungeBuddy network – no memberships, elite statuses, or first class tickets required. Earn up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year on your LoungeBuddy purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $150 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets. Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
Welcome Offer:
Earn 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
Annual Fee:
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
15.74%-24.74% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free and Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights.
  • New! Get ready for your next trip - spend $10,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year and receive a $100 Delta Flight Credit to get you there sooner.
  • Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.
  • Terms Apply.
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

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Rewards Rate:
New! Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels. New! Earn 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets. Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
Welcome Offer:
Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 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:
$250
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
15.74%-24.74% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 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.
  • New! With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 MQMs after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • New! Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free and Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights.
  • New! Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • New! Earn 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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 Cash Magnet® Card

Rewards Rate:
Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on your purchases.
Welcome Offer:
Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% on purchases for 15 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% on balance transfers for 15 months
Regular APR:
12.99%-23.99% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on your purchases.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 23.99%.
  • 0% introductory plan fee on each purchase moved into a plan during the first 15 months from the date of account opening with Plan It®, a feature that lets you split up big purchases into monthly payments with a fixed fee. After that, your plan fee will be up to 1.17% of each purchase moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase.
  • Don’t wait for your Card in the mail. Start earning cash back before your Card even arrives, if eligible for Instant Card Number.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
American Express Image

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent (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

Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

Rewards Rate:
New! Earn 2X Miles per dollar at restaurants, now worldwide. Earn 2X Miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases. Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
Welcome Offer:
Earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
15.74%-24.74% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • New! Earn 2X Miles per dollar at restaurants, now worldwide.
  • Earn 2X Miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • New! No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.
  • 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 | bbridges@bankrate.com


Which Amex card is best for you? Here’s how to find it

American Express is one of the best-known names in the credit card industry, offering a large array of options for consumers, business owners and travelers. You can count on Bankrate to help you evaluate your choices and zero in on the Amex card that’s right for you.

Bankrate’s picks for best American Express credit cards

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
American Express® Green Card No-hassle travel 4.6 / 5
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express Business card for travel 4.7 / 5
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card Airline-specific perks 4.4 / 5

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 $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.
  • Up to $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 Blue Cash Preferred Card is one of the best cash back cards for everyday spending, especially for people with families. Rewards categories include 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 a year, then 1%, 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit, and 1% on all other purchases. (Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.) 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.
  • You don’t have wait for your card in the mail. You can start earning cash back before your card even arrives if you’re eligible for Instant Card Number.

Cons:

  • Many specialty grocers and wholesale clubs don’t count toward the 6% cash back category.
  • The 6% cash back rate is limited to $6,000 per year in spending, 1% afterward.

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

Like some other Amex business cards, the Blue Business Plus offers an intriguing option for new, smaller businesses whose spending needs eclipse their credit limits. Expanding Buying Power gives you the chance to spend beyond your credit limit without having to pay over-limit fees. Just bear in mind that the capacity for over-limit spending isn’t indefinite. The card also offers a competitive intro offer on balance transfers and purchases: 12 months from account opening at an introductory 0.0% APR and then a variable 13.24% – 19.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors. In the rewards department, the card earns a flat 2X on up to $50,000 in business purchases every year and 1X afterward.

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 combined annual spending).
  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months
  • 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.

American Express® Green Card

In October, American Express made a few intriguing upgrades to the Amex Green sure to appeal to consumers who want a certain level of convenience and style when they travel. Cardholders now can earn statement credits for purchases from CLEAR and LoungeBuddy. The card also expanded its rewards-eligible travel purchases, including buses, rideshares, taxis, tolls and subways. The annual fee has risen from $95 to $150, but frequent travelers who want more luxury and less hassle should have ample opportunity to offset that cost.

Pros:

  • You earn a generous 3X Membership Rewards points on all eligible travel purchases and at restaurants worldwide.
  • The welcome bonus is 30,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months.
  • You can receive up to $100 per year in statement credits for using the card to make purchases from travel/lifestyle brands including CLEAR and LoungeBuddy.
  • No foreign transaction fee.

Cons:

  • The $150 annual fee is higher than that of similar competitors, most of which charge annual fees in the $95 range.
  • The required booking through AmexTravel.com might make you ineligible for some benefits from your hotel loyalty reward program.

Read our full American Express® Green 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:

  • Welcome offer — earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • 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 when you book on amextravel.com.
  • 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.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card

American Express offers a few cards in partnership with Delta, but the Delta SkyMiles Platinum 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 3X miles per dollar on purchases directly with Delta and directly with hotels 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:

  • $250 annual fee.
  • Other travel cards offer better rewards rates, especially if you don’t fly Delta regularly.

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 Amex cards operating as charge cards include:

  • The Plum Card® from American Express
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
  • 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 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 services 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, which can improve productivity as well as comfort.

How we chose our top American Express credit cards

Bankrate’s personal finance experts have evaluated the top American Express cards according to our 5-point rating system. Our analysis covers everything from welcome bonuses and travel rewards to customer satisfaction and annual fees to determine the best cards for different types of consumers.


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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* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.