Comparing American Express Credit Card Offers
American Express offers some of the most exclusive credit and charge cards, with excellent benefits and superior rewards to boot. With partnerships with such brands as Delta and Hilton, there are a host of products to choose from.
With Amex's superior products and customer satisfaction, there are plenty of good reasons to look into these cards further. Here, we look at:
Best American Express Credit Cards of 2018 - Expert Ratings
|Credit Card||Best Use||Annual Fee||CreditCards.com Rating|
|Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express||Cash back with no annual fee||$0||3.3 / 5|
|American Express Cash Magnet™ Card||Flat-rate cash back||$0||3.8 / 5|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||Luxury travel perks||$550||2.8 / 5|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||High cash back rates||$95||4.1 / 5|
|American Express® Gold Card||Dining rewards||$250||4.2 / 5|
|The Blue BusinessSM Plus Credit Card from American Express||Business rewards with no annual fee||$0||4.4 / 5|
|American Express® Business Gold Card||Multiple business reward categories||$295||3.8 / 5|
|SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express||Saving interest on business expenses||$0||3.0 / 5|
|Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card||Hilton hotel stays||$95||4.3 / 5|
|Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express||Business travel||$195||4.6 / 5|
Details on the best Amex cards
Whether you are in the market for a business card, a travel card or an everyday card, American Express likely has one for you. Here are the best Amex cards and what they have to offer.
Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express
For the small family that doesn't want to be saddled with an annual fee, the Blue Cash Everyday delivers 3% back at U.S. supermarkets and 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores. Terms apply. There's also a $150 introductory bonus after you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months of card membership.
American Express Cash Magnet™ Card
This card is a good choice for someone who wants a no-fuss cash back credit card. The Cash Magnet gets you 1.5% cash back on all purchases. You can use your cash back to redeem for stuff like statement credits, gift cards, and purchases through Amex's shopping portal.
The Cash Magnet also comes with a good welcome offer, totaling to $250 cash back. $150 of that amount comes after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months, and the other $100 after you spend $6,500 on top of that in your first 12 months. While the intro bonus is certainly large in total compared to other cash back offers, the requirements for getting there are steep.
The Platinum Card from American Express
If you travel often but don't love it, this card offers a host of travel features, including an annual Uber credit up to $200. With access to exclusive airport lounges and 5X points for flights booked through airlines or American Express Travel, this card also gives you 60,000 points after a $5,000 spend within the first 3 months of card membership. Terms apply. Heads up that there's a $550 annual fee.
Blue Cash Preferred from American Express
With a larger family, this card can help you maximize cash back. There's the $200 welcome bonus after you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months of card membership, as well as the 6% back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spend in a year, then 1%). That means if you spend $500 a month on groceries, that comes to $360 for the year. This card also earns you 3% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, making your cash back even greater. Terms apply. There's a $95 annual fee, but that fee is quickly offset by the cash back you can get with this card.
American Express® Gold Card
As the revamped successor to the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, the new American Express Gold Card has superb rewards for dining and shopping. It now earns 4X points at U.S. restaurants, and 4X points at U.S. supermarkets up to $25,000 in purchases per year. Furthermore, it earns 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com, making it a very well-rounded card. While there is a $250 annual fee, there are also some notable benefits that offset it – namely, a $100 annual airline fee credit and a $120 annual dining credit (up to $10 per month) at participating locations.
The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express
This card has the rare feature of serving as a hybrid – it's a credit card, but it has the feature of a charge card in that you can go over your credit limit, within reason. What does that mean? American Express evaluates your credit, payment habits and income to decide whether you can go over. Meanwhile, you can carry a balance month to month because it is a credit card.
As a business card, you can benefit from business purchases with 2X points on expenditures such as office supplies or office dinners (first $50,000 per year, then it's 1X point). Terms apply. There's no annual fee and you can get 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (then 13.24%, 17.24%, or 21.24% variable).
American Express® Business Gold Card
This card is ideal for the small-business owner who has a wide range of business-related expenditures. You'll earn 4X points on your 2 top spending categories (out of 6 possible categories) each billing cycle, for up to $150,000 in expenses each year. Categories include tickets purchased directly from airlines; U.S. advertising from select media; U.S. gas stations; U.S. restaurants; U.S. shipping; and select U.S. computer-related purchases. Terms apply.
While there is a $295 annual fee, it's a card worth considering for businesses that spend a meaningful amount on purchases in the 4X categories.
SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express
With no annual fee, you can quickly rack up the business cash back with this card. You'll earn a whopping 5% back on the first $50,000 on wireless services purchased directly from U.S. providers and U.S. office supply stores. Then, get 3% back on the first $50,000 spent on your choice of 8 categories (and 1% on other purchases). Terms apply. This card also offers Expanded Buying Power, which means you can go over your limit, provided you meet certain criteria.
Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card
Like the Delta suite, this card is among a suite of Hilton products that are ideal for the traveler who frequents this brand. You can earn a weekend night after spending $15,000 in a calendar year; and with a yearly $40,000 spend, you can upgrade to Diamond status, which affords you such benefits as executive lounge status, 48-hour room guarantee, elite status gifting, as well as the lower levels' benefits.
The rewards abound with this card, making its $95 annual fee worthwhile. There's up to 125,000 points introductory bonus (after $2,000 in purchases within your first 3 months of membership); 12X points for spending at participating hotels and resorts within the Hilton Portfolio; 6X points at U.S. restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations; and 3X points on all other eligible purchases. Terms apply.
Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express
This card is a premium travel card designed specifically for businesses that frequently fly on Delta Airlines. Although it comes with a sizable $195 annual fee, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business card also has an intro bonus of 35,000 miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. There's an additional $100 statement credit if you make a Delta purchase in your first 3 months.
Ongoing rewards include 2 miles per dollar on direct purchases from Delta, and 1 mile per dollar on other purchases. Because the 2X rate only applies to Delta purchases, this card ultimately only makes sense for businesses where Delta flights account for a large chunk of expenses. If your business fits that description, the card can be extremely lucrative.
What is American Express?
Seen as a gold standard in card services, American Express is both an issuer and a network. That means it issues credit and charge cards and services them through its own network of merchants.
But Amex is more than just a card issuer. It also offers savings accounts and even personal loans to qualifying members. Here are some of its services.
- Credit cards. Likely best known for its premium credit cards, Amex products typically only accept good or excellent credit. With exclusive partnerships with Hilton and Delta, Amex also offers cards that reward mightily for loyalty.
- Charge cards. The dominant issuer of charge cards, Amex offers these products for the consumer or business person who doesn't need to carry a balance month to month and likes the convenience of getting approved for a high charge at the counter.
- Business cards. With a full suite of cards that cater to the business owner, Amex offers products that reward handsomely for business purchases.
- Consumer cards. There's a wide range of consumer cards, from charge cards with excellent travel benefits to cards with loyalty points or miles to rewards cards for everyday spending.
- Savings accounts. While not well known for this offering, Amex's savings accounts are worth a look with interest rates well above competitors.
- Personal loans. For the qualifying member, you can get a personal loan with well under 10% APR.
Satisfaction among Amex customers is bar none, JD Power found with its most recent survey. Take a look at how Amex fared, on a scale of 1,000, with 1,000 as the best:
Customer satisfaction for credit card companies...
Amex Membership Rewards program and best redemption options
The Amex Membership Rewards program allows you to redeem your points in a variety of ways, whether you want to use it to give a gift or to save up for the big trip. Here are the ways you can redeem:
- Travel Rewards
- Transfer Points. Amex partners with a variety of hotels and airlines
- Use points on AmexTravel.com. You can use them for part or all of your flight, or a prepaid hotel, vacation package or cruise booking.
- Gift Cards. You can redeem for gift cards to more than 100 restaurants, retailers, or for entertainment or travel brands. You can also redeem for an Amex gift card that you can use at participating retailers.
- Merchandise. Shop on MembershipRewards.com for such items as electronics, jewelry, sports equipment or home decor.
- Shopping. You can use points when shopping online and in-store with participating merchants.
- Charges. You can apply points toward eligible charges you've already made on your card.
- Charity. Use your points to donate to a non-profit registered with Members Give.
Other benefits of having an Amex card
Frequently, not only do the more exclusive Amex cards offer these features, but the Everyday and Blue Cash cards might offer them as well. You can get purchase protection, return protection and a variety of travel benefits, such as car rental insurance and baggage insurance.
- Extended warranty. When you make a purchase with your card, a 1-year warranty is added to the original U.S. manufacturer's warranty up to 5 years and for a maximum of $10,000. You can't exceed $50,000 in a calendar year.
- Purchase protection. When you make a purchase on your card, your purchases can be protected up to 90 days if stolen or accidently damaged. It's limited to $1,000 per item and $50,000 per card member per calendar year. With some premium cards, such as Platinum Card, the limit is $10,000 per item for up to $50,000 per calendar year.
- Return protection. If a merchant won't take back an eligible item within 90 days, Amex might reimburse you for the full amount minus shipping and handling for up to $300 per item and up to $1,000 per calendar year.
- Baggage insurance plan. A travel and business card benefit, this plan varies according to the corresponding card and the state you are in.
- Car rental loss and damage insurance. Unlike certain Chase cards, this insurance is secondary, meaning it kicks in after other insurance, such as your personal insurance, pays.
- Global Assist hotline. Global Assist is available to all U.S. card members and helps to prepare for your trip with customs information and destination guides. When you are more than 100 miles from home, benefits can include lost passport replacement assistance and translation services. There is also Premium Global Assist for superior products.
- Roadside assistance. This is a 24-hour hotline that will send a tow truck or locksmith to you. You are charged for goods or services provided.
- Travel accident insurance. This benefit varies by card and which state you are in.
To recap, here are the best American Express credit cards of 2018:
Laura is an editor and writer at CreditCards.com. She has written extensively on all things credit cards and works to bring you the most up-to-date analysis and advice. Laura's work has been cited in such publications as the New York Times and Associated Press. You can reach her by e-mail at email@example.com and on Twitter @creditcards_lm.