Comparing American Express Credit Card Offers
Updated: December 28, 2020
American Express offers some of the most exclusive credit cards (and a charge card), 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 2021 – Expert Ratings
|Credit Card||Best Use||Annual Fee||CreditCards.com Rating|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||High cash back rates||$0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95.||4.3 / 5|
|American Express® Green Card||Travel||$150||3 / 5|
|Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express||Tiered cash back||$0||3.9 / 5|
|American Express Cash Magnet® Card||Flat-rate cash back||$0||4 / 5|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||Luxury travel perks||$550||4.5 / 5|
|American Express Blue Business CashTM Card||Cash back rewards for business||No annual fee||3.1 / 5|
|American Express® Gold Card||Dining rewards||$250 ||4.3 / 5|
|Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card||Hilton hotel stays||$95||4.2 / 5|
|The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express||Business rewards with no annual fee||No annual fee||4.2 / 5|
|Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card||Airline miles||$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99||3.6 / 5|
A closer look at 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 what you crave.
With a larger family, this card can help you maximize cash back. There’s a bonus offer of a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 within the first 6 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 earned for the year. This card also earns you 3% back at U.S. gas stations and transit, making your cash back even greater. Terms apply. There is a $95 annual fee, although it is waived the first year. Furthermore, the ongoing fee is quickly offset by the cash back you can get with this card.
Receive up to $100 each year in statement credits on your LoungeBuddy purchases, which allows you access to LoungeBuddy network lounges without memberships, elite statuses or first-class tickets required, as well as up to $100 in statement credits each year for CLEAR membership, which allows you to clear security more quickly with biometrics. Also, earn 3X points on eligible travel and at restaurants worldwide.
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.
In addition to the competitive welcome offer and ongoing rewards (all with no annual fee), the Cash Magnet offers some unique planning features, including Plan It®. With this feature, you can select a qualifying transaction to pay off over a fixed period of time for a fixed monthly fee, rather than interest payments.
If you travel often, this card offers a host of features that help to enhance your travel experience, including an annual Uber credit up to $200. As one of the best travel credit cards with access to exclusive airport lounges and 5X points for flights booked through airlines or American Express Travel, this card also gives you 75,000 points after a $5,000 spend within the first 6 months of card membership. Terms apply. Heads up that there’s a $550 annual fee, and that beginning Jan. 1, 2021, you’ll only earn 5x points on flights or AmexTravel on up to $500,000 in purchases per calendar year.
With no annual fee, you can quickly rack up the business cash back with this card. You’ll earn 2% cash back on all purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year (then 1%) Terms apply. This card also offers Expanded Buying Power, which means you can go over your limit, provided you meet certain criteria.
As the revamped successor to the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, the American Express Gold Card has superb rewards for dining and shopping. Now available in fashion rose gold, it earns 4X points at restaurants worldwide 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. While there is an $250 annual fee, there are also some notable benefits that help to offset it – namely, an up to $120 annual dining credit (up to $10 per month) at participating locations.
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 level’ benefits.
The rewards abound with this card, making its $95 annual fee worthwhile. There’s a 150,000 points introductory bonus (after $2,000 in purchases within your first 3 months of membership) in addition to earning a $150 statement credit after you make your first purchase within your first 3 months; 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.
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. Unlike typical credit cards, the Blue Business Plus allows you to carry a balance for certain charges, but not all. 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 client dinners (first $50,000 per year, then it’s 1X points). Terms apply.
If you are a frequent traveler of Delta airlines, this consumer card is a great option as you earn 2x miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets. For a limited time, earn 70,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months (offer expires 4/28/2021).
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. 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). American Express also offers a charge card; charge cards allow you to potentially make a large charge at the point of sale because there is no pre-set credit limit.
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.
2019 market shares (%) of purchase volume for top credit card issuers
- American Express
- Bank of America
- Capital One
- U.S. Bank
- All others
- Source: Nilson Report Feb. 2020
Services offered by American Express
American Express 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.
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 survey, on a scale of 1,000, with 1,000 as the best:
What is the Amex 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 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 are the 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 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 certain Chase 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.