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The Best American Express Credit Cards of 2015

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Come one, come all: find the best American Express cards for suburban homemakers, luxury travelers, and five-star hotel-goers, and let us help you do it. Get fancy with luxurious perks like airport lounge access, travel in luxury with special hotel amenities, or rack up rewards on everyday purchases like groceries. Here are our top Amex picks for every spending profile.

Best card for families: the Blue Cash Preferred

The American Express Blue Cash Preferred is a good fit for the “everyday” shopper. You’ll get 6% cash back on up to $6,000 spent at supermarkets and unlimited 3% cash back at department stores and gas stations. All other purchases will get you 1% cash back. The has a signup bonus of 100 Reward Dollars when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months..

But wait, there’s more. Shop smart, and you can earn 6% rewards on just about everything by purchasing gift cards to your favorite stores and restaurants at the grocery store (just keep in mind the $6k spending cap). The Blue Cash has an annual fee of $75, but spend at least $25 in groceries weekly, and you’ll nix the fee with change to keep.

Example image of Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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Pros

  • 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months

Cons

  • Has annual fee

Sign-up Bonus

Get 100 Reward Dollars, redeemable for a $100 statement credit, after you make $1,000 in purchases with your new Card in the first three months. Plus, get one year of Amazon Prime after you sign up for a new membership with your Card and meet the spending requirement in the same time period.

Intro APR Promotions

0% on Purchases for 15 months; 0% on Balance Transfers for 15 months

APR

  • APR: 12.99% - 21.99% Variable
  • Penalty APR: 27.24%, Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

Annual Fee

$75

Card Details

  • Get $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $150 back in the form of a statement credit.
  • Hassle-free cash back: no enrollment required, the same great reward categories year-round.
  • Earn Cash Back: 6% US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 3% US gas stations & select US dept stores, 1% other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Terms and limitations apply.

Best travel card: The Starwood Preferred Guest

The Starwood American Express is a top choice for high rollin’ luxury hotel-goers. You’ll earn up to 5 Starpoints per dollar spent at SPG hotels and 1 per $1 spent elsewhere. A 1-point base rate doesn’t sound so impressive, but each Starpoint is valued at 2.3 cents when redeemed at SPG hotels. A rate like that has even the hyped Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card beat. The has a signup bonus of 25,000 Starwood Points when you spend $5,000 . Multiply that by 2.3 cents, and you’ve got yourself a deal that more than makes up for the $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $65.. You can redeem your Starpoints for miles on major airlines, including Delta and United, at a base rate of 1.25% – still better than most. And, of course, there are additional perks, e.g. your fifth night free and elite status credit. If you’re a frequent Starwood guest, this card’s a no-brainer.

Example image of Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

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Pros

  • High rewards rate

Cons

  • Has annual fee
  • Needs excellent credit

Sign-up Bonus

Earn up to 25,000 bonus points: 10,000 after your first purchase and another 15,000 after you spend $5,000 within the first 6 months of Card membership.

Intro APR Promotions

None

APR

  • APR: 15.24% - 19.24% variable
  • Penalty APR: 27.24%, Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

Annual Fee

$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $65.

Card Details

  • Earn up to 25,000 bonus Starpoints®
  • Earn 10,000 Starpoints after your first purchase on the Card and an additional 15,000 Starpoints after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 6 months.
  • Redeem Starpoints for free nights at over 1,100 hotels & resorts in nearly 100 countries and for free flights on over 150 airlines with SPG Flights - all with no blackout dates.
  • Some hotels may have mandatory service and resort charges.
  • Starpoints stay active as long as you continue to spend on your Card
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $65.
  • Terms and Restrictions apply.

Best prestige travel card: The American Express Platinum

The Amex Platinum makes luxury practical, offering perks that are hard to pass up, despite its infamous $450 annual fee. Earn 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. In addition, you’ll get:

  • Priority Pass airport lounge access (valued at ~$400 by itself)
  • Access to Centurion and select Delta and Airspace lounges
  • An annual $200 airline incidentals credit to offset fees and extras
  • The Global Entry program, which lets you skip customs lines when returning to the US (for anyone who’s gone through customs, you can’t put a price on happiness)
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Gold elite status
  • A really good concierge service
  • Special offers at hotels, destinations and more

…we could go on. Despite the sticker shock, the Platinum actually makes up for the fee and more through its member benefits. You’ll get a big bang for your bucks, all 450 of ‘em. Frequent travelers will be more than compensated for the hefty annual fee with ease of travel, fee cuts and refunds, and auxiliary perks.

Example image of The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

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Pros

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • Has annual fee
  • Needs excellent credit

Sign-up Bonus

Earn 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.

Intro APR Promotions

N/A [You must pay your balance in full each month]

APR

  • Purchase: N/A

Annual Fee

$450

Card Details

  • Earn 40,000 points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Up to a $200 Airline Fee Credit Annually.
  • To receive the statement credit, you need to select a qualifying airline.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees with purchases made on your Platinum Card.
  • Platinum Card Concierge is your personal resource to help secure a last minute restaurant reservation, or shop for a hard-to-find gift.
  • Terms and restrictions apply