American Express Cash Magnet® Card review
Best for no-hassle cash back
- Rewards rate: Earn unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases.
- Welcome offer: $150 statement credit for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
- Annual fee: $0
- Purchase intro APR: 0 percent for the first 15 months
- Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
- Regular APR: 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent variable
- Terms apply
The American Express Cash Magnet® Card is one of the best cash back credit cards. You’ll earn cash back on every purchase at a flat rate of 1.5 percent back, no matter what you buy. The card also carries a nice welcome bonus and no annual fee. Approval odds for the Amex Cash Magnet are better when you have good to excellent credit since this is an unsecured card that doesn’t require a security deposit.
Current welcome bonus
The current welcome bonus for the Amex Cash Magnet Card is $150 cash back statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within the first three months of having the card. That equals just about $333 per month in purchases, which is a reasonable target for most cardholders to spend.
However, the payday for the spending requirement isn’t the most competitive when compared with similar cash back cards’ welcome offers. The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card offers a $200 cash bonus after only spending $500 in the first 3 months, as does the Chase Freedom Unlimited®.
The Amex Cash Magnet Card has a straightforward cash back rewards program, allowing you to earn cash back at the same flat rate, no matter where, when or what you buy. This makes it an ideal choice for cardholders looking for a no-hassle way to earn cash back, without having to track spending or enroll in bonus categories.
Earning cash back
Like other American Express cash back cards, the Amex Cash Magnet actually earns “Blue Cash Reward Dollars,” which are equivalent to cash back when used toward rewards.
To earn cash back, simply make purchases on your Amex Cash Magnet card. You’ll get an unlimited 1.5 percent back on every purchase. Unfortunately, there aren’t many other ways to accumulate extra cash back except adding family members as authorized users or via the Amex Offers program.
Redeeming cash back
The Amex Cash Magnet does not earn American Express Membership Rewards. Instead, you can redeem your rewards as cash back in the form of a statement credit, merchandise or gift cards. Your cash back never expires and there’s no limit to how much you can earn.
The downside is that you’ll need to wait until you’ve earned at least $25 in cash back before you can redeem your rewards. Meanwhile, some cards can redeem cash back starting at any amount and can deposit it directly to your bank account.
How much are rewards worth?
Blue Cash Reward Dollars have a 1:1 redemption rate, so one dollar of your rewards would be worth one dollar of cash back.
The main benefit of the Amex Cash Magnet Card is the cash back rewards you can earn on every purchase without paying an annual fee. The card also comes with some travel, entertainment and Amex-specific benefits that other cash back cards may not have. For example, all personal U.S. American Express cards offer a complimentary ShopRunner membership.
Intro APR on purchases
The Amex Cash Magnet Card offers a 0 percent intro purchase APR period for the first 15 months of having the card. After that, the APR is a 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent variable APR based on creditworthiness.
Pay It Plan It®
The American Express Pay It Plan It® feature enables cardholders to select qualifying purchases to pay off over a fixed time period for a set monthly fee, which could be useful if you want to finance a large purchase while minimizing extra charges.
American Express also gets you access to Amex Offers, a program that features deals on select purchases, including extra discounts or rewards on popular retailer purchases and/or travel and dining purchases. Amex Offers won’t make you bundles of cash back, but you can expect to occasionally see offers like 10 percent back on GrubHub purchases (usually with a rewards spending cap, like up to $75).
The Amex Cash Magnet Card provides car rental loss and damage insurance. When you use your card to pay for the entire rental and reject the collision damage waiver with the rental car company, you can be covered for theft or damage to a rental vehicle in a covered location.
The card also provides access to the Global Assist Hotline, which provides 24/7 access to financial, medical, legal and emergency assistance services, like missing luggage assistance and passport replacement.
American Express Experiences
Thanks to American Express’ partnership with Ticketmaster and other programs, cardmembers can use the American Express Experiences program to obtain access to exclusive ticket presales and cardholder-only events, like Broadway shows, concerts, sporting events and family events.
Rates and fees
The Amex Cash Magnet Card has no annual fee. There’s a relatively standard 0 percent intro APR period on purchases for the first 15 months, after which the card’s ongoing APR of 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent variable applies, based on your creditworthiness. After the intro APR period ends, the American Express Cash Magnet remains a low-interest credit card since the lower end of its ongoing APR is well under the current average interest rate.
The APR for cash advances is 25.24 percent variable and the penalty APR is 29.24 percent variable. The cash advance fee is either 5 percent of the cash advance amount or $10, whatever’s higher. There’s also a foreign transaction fee of 2.7 percent of each transaction, making this a less-than-ideal option if you need a card to use while traveling abroad. Penalty fees are up to $40 for late payments and returned payments.
How the American Express Cash Magnet Card compares to other cash back cards
As far as flat-rate cash back cards go, the American Express Cash Magnet Card is a relatively standard option. The 1.5 percent cash back rate is par for the course and it doesn’t carry any features outside Pay It Plan that distinguish it from more rewarding options like the Chase Freedom Unlimited. The Freedom Unlimited offers unlimited 5 percent cash back on Chase Ultimate Rewards travel and Lyft rides (through March 2022) and unlimited 3 percent on dining and drugstore purchases on top of its 1.5 percent flat rate. Plus, the Chase Ultimate Rewards Points it earns are much more valuable and versatile in the long run than Amex’s Blue Cash Reward Dollars.
If you’re looking for a cash back card and your spending is a bit more specialized, you might want to consider some other options with specific bonus categories. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is like an Amex Cash Magnet upgrade, with a higher cash back earning potential for cardholders who spend heavily at U.S. supermarkets. You earn 6 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in transactions each year. After that, you’ll earn 1 percent. You also earn 6 percent back on select U.S. streaming services, 3 percent back at U.S. gas stations, 3 percent back on transit and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases.
On the other hand, if your spending is more seasonal and you want a higher cash back rate with the same low fees, you might consider is the Discover it® Cash Back credit card. This card has no annual fee and an intro APR period of 0 percent for the first 14 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, there’s an 11.99 percent to 22.99 percent variable APR. With this card, you can earn 5 percent cash back on rotating categories when they’re activated each quarter (on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter, then 1 percent). All other purchases earn 1 percent cash back. Discover also matches any cash back you earn within the first year.
|Card||Rewards||Welcome bonus||Annual fee||Other details|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||
||$200 cash bonus after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months||$0||
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||
||$300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first six months.||$95 (waived first year)||
|Discover it® Cash Back||
||All cash back earned within the first 12 months will be matched.||$0||
Best cards to pair with American Express Cash Magnet Card
Since the Amex Cash Magnet is a flat-rate cash back card, the best cards to pair with it should probably offer stronger rewards or benefits for purchases that fall within specific bonus categories that you favor. The Blue Cash Preferred card is an excellent option to maximize your rewards if you’d like to stick with American Express cards. But if you’d like a lower-cost card, the Preferred card’s no annual fee sibling, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, is another solid pick.
Bankrate’s Take — Is American Express Cash Magnet Card worth it?
You can earn easy cash back by using your Amex Cash Magnet Card without having to worry about an annual fee, but you may want to consider your spending habits before getting this card. If you spend significantly in categories that could be rewarded at a higher rate with a different card, it may be worth getting a cash back card with rotating categories or one that requires an annual fee but rewards you more for specific purchases.
Unless you plan on choosing an American Express credit card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited may be a more rewarding option — especially if you consider its more flexible rewards and benefits. But if you don’t want to pay an annual fee or worry about activating categories, the Amex Cash Magnet Card is a good option.
- No annual fee
- Automatic cash back on all purchases
- Straightforward cash back plan with no activation required
- Cash back rate is lower in some categories compared to other cards
- Welcome offer is lower compared to other cash back cards
- The card charges foreign transaction fees