All information about the American Express® Green Card and the American Express Cash Magnet® Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer. The American Express Cash Magnet Card and the American Express Green Card are no longer available through CreditCards.com.
A guide to American Express Credit Cards
American Express, originally known for its charge cards, currently offers some of the best rewards credit cards*, business credit cards and travel credit cards on the market. Many Amex cards are known for their excellent benefits, superior rewards and, even, exclusive perks through partnerships with major travel brands like Delta and Hilton. How can you determine which American Express card is right for you? Here, we look at:
*Unlike typical credit cards, some American Express cards allow you to carry a balance for certain charges, but not all.
Editor’s picks: American Express credit cards
The Platinum Card® from American Express: Best for luxury travel perks
Why we picked it: One of the best travel credit cards on the market, the Platinum Card offers a bevy of luxury travel benefits, including airport lounge access, an up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCcheck, up to $200 in Uber cash, up to a $100 onsite hotel credit for qualifying activities (minimum two night stay required) and no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees). The base rewards program offers 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), and 5X points on pre-paid hotels booked with American Express Travel. Cardholders earn 1X points on general purchases.
Pros: A lucrative welcome offer lets cardholders earn 75,000 points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first six6 months. They also receive 10x points on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during their first six months.
Cons: That laundry list of premium travel benefits come for a $550 annual fee, not waived the first year. All travel rewards must be redeemed through American Express Travel.
Who should apply? With its first-rate travel perks, The Platinum Card from American Express offers an excellent value for frequent travelers.
Read our Platinum Card from American Express review.
American Express® Gold Card: Best for dining rewards
Why we picked it: The American Express Gold Card has superb rewards for dining, shopping and traveling. Now available in rose gold, it earns 4X points at restaurants and Uber Eats purchases, and 4X points at U.S. supermarkets up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year before converting to 1X. Furthermore, it earns 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com, making it a well-rounded card.
Pros: Cardholders can earn 60,000 points if they spend $4,000 in their first six months. There’s also an up to $120 annual dining credit at participating locations (up to $10 statement credits per month, enrollment required).
Cons: There’s a $250 annual fee (not waived the first year).
Who should apply? Frequent travelers will get the most use of its travel credits and other perks, particularly Delta flyers who can transfer points to SkyMiles. Foodies will also enjoy the dining credits and Uber Eats subscription.
Read our American Express Gold Card review.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: Best for tiered cash back
Why we picked it: The Blue Cash Everyday is the mini-me of the Blue Cash Preferred, with excellent cash back at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, but with no annual fee. Earn 3% back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 a year (then 1%), and earn 2% back at U.S. gas stations, perfect for the growing family.
Pros: Through the current welcome offer, cardholders can receive a $100 statement credit after they spend $2,000 in purchases within the first six months of card membership and earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the card in the first six months, up to $150 back.
Cons: Depending on how much you spend, the Blue Cash Preferred might offer more bang for your buck. Learn when a credit card with an annual fee is worth it.
Who should apply? Large families stand to do very well in these featured rewards categories. Plus, the 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 15 months (13.99% to 23.99% variable APR thereafter) is attractive to those who want to make a large purchase and carry the balance for a bit.
Read our Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express review.
Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express: Best for high cash back rates
Why we picked it: We love this card’s generous cash back rates. Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%); 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions and 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit. It also offers 1% cash back on general purchases.
Pros: There’s a welcome offer of a $150 statement credit after you spend $3,000 within the first six months of card membership and you can earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the card within the first six months, up to $200 back. Plus, there are no rotating categories to keep track of.
Cons: The 6% bonus at U.S. supermarkets is great, though it’s capped to $6,000 in purchases per year and 1% thereafter. There is a $95 annual fee, although it is waived the first year.
Who should apply? The Blue Cash Preferred card offers a high cash back rate on categories that will appeal to big families on the go.
Read our Blue Cash Preferred from American Express review.
American Express® Business Gold Card: Best for small business travel
Why we picked it: Despite the fact that the introductory bonus has decreased slightly since last year, this card still offers a decent value to small business owners who stand to earn 70,000 points after spending $10,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership. That’s in addition to potential bonus rewards in categories such as gas and travel.
Pros: Business travelers can earn a 25% bonus when redeeming points for travel through the American Express Travel portal (up to 250,000 points per calendar year). Cardholders will enjoy flexible rewards in bonus categories, with the ability to earn 4X points per dollar in the two top categories your business spends the most in per billing cycle.
Cons: If you plan on redeeming points for anything other than travel, you may be left feeling a tad underwhelmed by your options.
Who should apply? Small business owners who hope to rack up points to put towards travel will appreciate the flexible bonus rewards, lack of foreign transaction fee, and other travel perks associated with this card.
Read our American Express® Business Gold Card review.
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: Best for luxury business travel perks
Why we picked it: With a whopper of an introductory bonus and excellent travel benefits, the Business Platinum Card from American Express is a solid card for high-spending business owners on the go. Earn up to 100,000 points after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months of membership. When booking through American Express Travel, cardholders earn 2X points per dollar on travel and enjoy a 35% bonus on points redeemed on qualifying flights.
Pros: The high-end travel perks are hard to beat, from access to over 900 lounges worldwide to discounts at luxury hotels booked through American Express’s Fine Hotels and Resorts program.
Cons: You get what you pay for, and in this case the high annual fee of $595 (not waived the first year) may scare away some business owners. And what could be seen as a minor strike for some, points must be redeemed through American Express Travel. There’s also a fee for transferring points directly to frequent flier programs.
Who should apply? Globetrotting business types searching for the very best luxury travel perks and rewards will be quite pleased with what’s on offer here. Small business owners may balk at the high annual fee and $15,000 spend required to satisfy the introductory bonus.
Read our The Business Platinum Card® from American Express review.
Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card: Best for Delta-loyal small business owners
Why we picked it: Business travelers enjoy a 50,000 mile welcome bonus plus a $50 statement credit after spending $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership. Additionally, you can earn a credit of up to $100 for future Delta flights after spending $10,000 in a calendar year. Earn two miles per dollar on direct Delta purchases, U.S. purchases for advertising in select media, U.S. shipping purchases and at restaurants and one mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
Pros: Miles never expire. There are no blackout dates and no foreign transaction fees.
Cons: If your business doesn’t fly Delta regularly, the great welcome bonus and travel perks will be totally lost on you. There is an annual fee of $99 but it is waived the first year.
Who should apply? This card is a great fit for small businesses located in or around a Delta hub city, or if Delta is simply your preferred airline, and you frequently spend in categories such as dining, shipping, and advertising.
Read our Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card review.
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: Best for Hilton hotel stays
Why we picked it: This card is ideal for the traveler who frequents the Hilton brand. Cardholders earn 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.
Pros: There’s a 130,000 points welcome offer after spending $2,000 on eligible purchases within your first three months of membership, plus 50,000 additional points for spending $10,000 within the first six months on eligible purchases. You get automatic Gold Status, 10 Priority Pass lounge passes, and additional perks.
Cons: There’s a $95 annual fee (not waived the first year) that isn’t so easily recouped if you don’t frequent Hiltons.
Who should apply? Frequent travelers, particularly Hilton loyalists, can take advantage of elite status and lounge access plus Hilton’s expansive network of hotels and resorts around the world.
Read our Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card review.
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card: Best for status-chasing business travelers
Why we picked it: This high-value travel card offers an introductory bonus of 60,000 miles, 5,000 MQMs, and up to a $100 statement credit after spending $3,000 within the first three months of card membership.
Pros: This card comes with an annual round-trip companion pass, issued each year after card renewal (taxes and fees apply). Plus, earn 20% off all eligible in-flight purchases, a complimentary checked bag, priority boarding, and no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees).
Cons: The $250 annual fee may seem high until you consider what the card gives back in its introductory bonus plus benefits and overall value. You can easily recoup that and then some by simply making use of the annual companion pass.
Who should apply? Status-chasing business owners who frequently fly Delta will find a lot of value in this card’s wide range of travel perks.
Read our Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business American Express Card review.
American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card: Best for cash back rewards for business
Why we picked it: With no annual fee, you can quickly rack up cash back for your business with this card. You’ll earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%.
Pros: This card also offers Expanded Buying Power, which means you can go over your limit, provided you meet certain criteria.
Cons: The biggest drawback is that $50,000 cap per calendar year on 2% earnings (then drops to 1%).
Who should apply? Start-ups and small businesses will appreciate this pared-down rewards card.
Read our American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card review.
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card: Best for status chasers
Why we picked it: This card includes an excellent introductory bonus of 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of membership. Frequent travelers and Delta loyalists will be delighted by the long list of travel perks, such as an annual companion certificate, Delta Sky Club access (including up to two companions at $39 per person), discounts on inflight purchases, priority boarding, and more.
Pros: Rewards rates are more generous than you’ll find with other airline-branded cards, with eligible hotel and Delta airline purchases earning 3X miles per dollar, U.S. supermarkets and restaurants earning 2X miles per dollar, and all other eligible purchases earning 1X mile per dollar. Also popular is the annual companion certificate which lets you invite a loved one along on an eligible round-trip domestic flight (taxes and fees apply).
Cons: If you’ve had your eye on this card for a little while, you might notice the introductory bonus is dramatically lower than last year – 40,000 miles lower to be exact. Another potential annoyance for those who tend to carry a balance is the high APR (15.74 to 24.74%, variable). That’s in addition to the somewhat pricey $250 annual fee (not waived the first year).
Who should apply? Delta and SkyTeam regulars who plan to pay their monthly balance in full can get a lot of value out of this card, including a 5,000 MQM introductory bonus to help you reach Silver Medallion status a little sooner.
Read our Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card review.
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card: Best for airline miles
Why we picked it: If you are a frequent traveler of Delta airlines, this card is a great option as you earn 2X miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets.
Pros: In addition to Delta, travelers have its large network of airline partners to choose from. Best of all, miles don’t expire. Earn 40,000 bonus miles after spending $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months, plus earn up to $50 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your Card within the first three months of membership.
Cons: The card’s benefits are largely geared to Delta flyers, so be sure you patronize the airline enough to justify the $99 annual fee (waived the first year).
Who should apply? This card offers Delta flyers a quick way to beef up their SkyMiles while also saving on Delta flights, checked bags, and lounge access.
Read our Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card review.
American Express® Green Card: Best for travel
Why we picked it: The Green Card offers a good return on travel-centric purchases, while charging a lower annual fee than American Express’ premium travel cards. Green cardholders get 3X points on travel, transit and dining worldwide, and 1X points on other purchases.
Pros: There are also notable travel benefits, including no foreign transaction fees, an up to $100 annual statement credit for airport lounge booking service LoungeBuddy, and an up to $100 annual statement credit for a CLEAR membership, which allows you to clear security more quickly with biometrics.
Cons: The $150 annual fee (not waived the first year) can still feel a bit steep; budget travelers may want to consider a no annual fee credit card with travel perks.
Who should apply? The American Express Green Card will appeal to frequent travelers looking to enjoy airport lounge access, CLEAR membership and other frills without having to shell out for a high annual fee premium card.
Read our American Express Green Card review.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express: Best for business rewards with no annual fee
Why we picked it: A good option for owners of smaller businesses, this no annual fee business card pairs solid rewards with some flexible financing features. Cardholders earn 2X points per dollar on everyday business purchases, up to $50,000 per year; and 1X point thereafter.
Pros: The financing options include a 0% introductory APR on new purchases for the first 12 months from account opening (13.24% to 19.24% variable after that) and Expanded Buying Power, which lets you spend over your credit limit in certain circumstances (terms apply).
Cons: There’s no welcome offer and the 2X points is limited to $50,000 per year, so businesses with large expenses can conceivably earn more rewards with a different card.
Who should apply? Membership Rewards points can be transferred one-to-one to a variety of hotels and airlines, making it an excellent choice for frequent business travelers.
Read The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express review.
Comparing the best American Express credit cards
|Credit Card||Best Use||Annual Fee||CreditCards.com Rating|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||Luxury travel perks||$550||4.4 / 5|
|American Express® Gold Card||Dining rewards||$250 ||4.5 / 5|
|Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express||Tiered cash back||$0||3.9 / 5|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||High cash back rates||$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.||4.0 / 5|
|American Express® Business Gold Card||Small business travel||$295||3.5 / 5|
|The Business Platinum Card® from American Express||Luxury business travel perks||$595||4.4 / 5|
|Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card||Delta-loyal small business owners||$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99||3.7 / 5|
|Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card||Hilton hotel stays||$95||3.7 / 5|
|Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card||Status-chasing business travelers||$250||4.6 / 5|
|American Express Blue Business CashTM Card||Cash back rewards for business||No annual fee||3.6 / 5|
|Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card||Status chasers||$250||4.1 / 5|
|Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card||Airline miles||$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99||3.7 / 5|
|American Express® Green Card||Travel||$150||3.9 / 5|
|The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express||Business rewards with no annual fee||No annual fee||3.8 / 5|
How we picked the best American Express credit cards
Methodology: We analyzed American Express’ suite of cards to identify its top products in popular credit card categories. Core criteria we considered in our analysis include:
- Base rewards program: Does the card’s base rewards program offer a competitive return on spending for its card category (cash back, travel, business, etc.)?
- Ancillary benefits: Does the card include applicable American Express ancillary services or benefits, like purchase protection, return protection, and an extended warranty for everyday spending cards, or baggage insurance, lounge access, or trip cancellation insurance for travel credit cards?
- Welcome offer: Welcome offers let new cardholders earn extra rewards if they spend a certain amount of money in a specified time period, usually their first three months. They’re a short-term incentive, but often quite lucrative, and can tip the scales when cards offer similar base rewards and benefits. As such, we factored welcome offers in our analysis of the best American Express cards.
- Annual fee: Does the card carry an annual fee? Given many Amex cards do, we assessed whether that fee could be offset by the card’s rewards program, welcome offer and ancillary benefits. In other words, we considered the card’s potential value.
- Annual percentage rates (APR) and/or flexible financing options: Where applicable, are the card’s APRs comparable to the average APR in its card category? Similarly, do cardholders have access to Amex’s flexible financing features? Note: It’s best practice to pay balances off in full on rewards credit cards so you don’t lose points, miles or cashback to interest.
Remember, the right American Express credit for you will ultimately vary, depending on your financial goals and your spending habits. Learn how to choose a credit card.
What is an American Express credit card?
Seen as a gold standard in card services, American Express is both an issuer and a network. That means it issues cards and services them through its own network of merchants. American Express is known for excellent benefits, including no foreign transaction fees in the case of many cards and 2.7% in others (which is lower than many other cards).
But Amex is more than just a card issuer. In fact, it is tied with Chase for having the highest purchase volume of all credit card issuers in the U.S.
Services offered by American Express
- Credit cards. Amex is perhaps best known for its luxury rewards credit cards, which offer premium benefits in exchange for a sometimes sizable annual fee. However, it does offer a few of the best cash back credit cards for everyday spending. With exclusive partnerships with Hilton and Delta, Amex also offers cards that reward mightily for loyalty.
- Business cards. With a full suite of cards that cater to the business owner, Amex offers products that reward handsomely for business purchases.
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.
J.D. Power 2020 credit card customer satisfaction rankings
Satisfaction among Amex customers is consistently among the best in the industry. Take a look at how Amex fared in J.D. Power’s most recent credit card customer satisfaction survey, on a scale of 1,000, with 1,000 as the best:
What are the benefits of having an American Express credit card?
Many American Express credit cards feature competitive base rewards programs and lucrative welcome offers. They also offer a number of ancillary benefits that can prove useful when shopping or traveling. These benefits, which are not exclusive to Amex’s premium products, can include:
- 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 accidentally damaged. It’s limited to $1,000 per item and $50,000 per cardmember 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.
- Transfer partners: If you want to get the biggest bang for your buck, transferring your miles to one of the many American Express airline partners is usually your best bet. Compare American Express transfer partners with our full guide and valuations.
- 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 some of the best Chase credit cards, this insurance is secondary, meaning it kicks in after other insurance, such as your personal insurance.
- Global Assist® Hotline: Global Assist is available to all U.S. cardmembers 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.
- Travel insurance: This benefit varies by card. The most premium cards offer trip cancellation, interruption and delay insurance. Check out our guide to American Express travel insurance for card-by-card comparisons.
- Lounge access: Platinum and Delta Skymiles cardholders can enjoy visiting the luxury Centurion Lounge in select airports.
American Express also offers several flexible payment options on certain personal and business cards. These options can include:
- Pay It, Plan It®: This feature, available on select personal cards, allows eligible cardholders to pay small purchase amounts (less than $100) right away through the American Express app. Alternately, it lets them split up larger purchases (over $100) into monthly payments with a fixed fee. Learn if Amex’s Pay It Plan It is worth it.
- Pay Over Time: This feature, available on select personal and business cards, lets eligible cardholders carry a balance on eligible purchases of $100 or more, with interest.
- Working Capital Terms: This feature allows eligible business cardholders to get access to up to $150,000 in funding.
- Expanded Buying Power: This feature allows eligible business cardholders to spend over your credit limit (terms apply).
What is the American Express Membership Rewards program?
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 some of 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.
What credit score is needed for an American Express credit card?
American Express primarily offers rewards cards for personal or business use, so you generally need good-to-excellent credit to qualify for their products. In numerical terms, that equates to a FICO credit score between 670 and 850.
Specific criteria will vary by product, and American Express considers other factors, like your income or reported debt levels, when considering your application. However, as a general rule of thumb, the more lucrative the rewards, the higher you can expect the credit score requirements to be. In other words, a score of 670 might qualify you for the entry-level Blue Cash Everyday® Card, while the premium Platinum Card might require excellent credit (think a score of 740 or higher).
Learn more about American Express’ credit score requirements, plus get some tips on how to improve your credit.