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5 Best American Express Cards of 2019

NerdWalletSeptember 19, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

NerdWallet's Best American Express Cards of 2019

Our pick for

Families

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card

on American Express's website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$95

Regular APR

14.74% - 25.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

You'll earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6,000 a year in spending (then 1%); 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions; 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including such things as taxis, rideshares, parking, tolls, trains and buses); and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Terms Apply. There's a great bonus offer for new cardholders and a nice 0% intro APR period, too. Terms apply.

Cons

The $95 annual fee is a steep for a cash-back credit card, but you'll make up for it with rewards by spending just $31 a week at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • NEW 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • NEW 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Over 3 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017 and 2018.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.74% to 25.74%
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • View Rates and Fees

Our pick for

Travel

American Express Premier Rewards Gold Credit Card

on American Express's website, or call (866) 512-6673

Rates & Fees

on American Express's website, or call (866) 512-6673

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$250

Regular APR

See Terms

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

The generous perks and rewards can easily make up for the annual fee. The card offers 4 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at restaurants worldwide; 4 points per $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 spent annually; 3 points per $1 spent on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com; and 1 point per $1 spent on all other qualifying purchases. Other benefits include a $100 annual airline fee credit and up to $120 a year in dining credit (available only in monthly increments on qualifying purchases). Plus, you start out with superb bonus offer: Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

Cons

The $250 annual fee may be a dealbreaker for some. The perks can defray the cost, but only if you can make full use of them. This is also a charge card rather than a credit card, meaning that your balance is generally due in full every month.
  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants worldwide. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X). Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • View Rates and Fees

Our pick for

Luxury benefits

American Express Platinum Credit Card

on American Express's website, or call (866) 512-6673

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$550

Regular APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

The card offers 5X points per $1 spent on airfare purchased directly from airlines or booked through American Express Travel; 5 points per $1 spent on hotels booked on amextravel.com; and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. New cardholders also get a welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. Terms Apply. And that's just to start. The list of ongoing perks is so lengthy — from airport lounge access and travel credits to automatic elite loyalty status at participating hotels — that it can easily be enough to offset the annual fee.

Cons

The $550 annual fee is one of the steepest around, so you'll need to be certain that you can make up the cost of it. The $200 annual airline credit can help, but it's limited to incidental fees (not airfare) on a single airline. Bonus rewards are also limited to travel spending, so you can't rack up points on everyday expenses. Finally, it's a charge card, meaning that your balance is generally due in full every month.
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • View Rates and Fees
  • See if you qualify for a better offer with American Express:

Our pick for

Small-business cash back

American Express® Blue Business Cash Card

on American Express's website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

14.99% - 20.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

This card offers 2% cash back on the first $50,000 a year in eligible purchases, then 1% back. Terms apply. Cash back is automatically credited to your statement. Business owners also can get a break on interest payments with an introductory APR of 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.99% - 20.99% Variable APR.

Cons

The $50,000 annual cap on spending that earns 2% cash back will be a serious limitation for some businesses. If you're willing to pay an annual fee, there are other cards that offer unlimited 2% rewards. There's also no bonus offer for new cardholders, which could otherwise help a business owner offset some costs.
  • Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%. Cash back earned is automatically credited to your statement.
  • From workflow to inventory to floor plans, your business is constantly changing. That’s why you’ve got the power to spend beyond your credit limit with Expanded Buying Power§.
  • Just remember, the amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us and other factors.
  • 0.0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, then a variable rate, 14.99%, 17.99%, or 20.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
  • No Annual Fee
  • Terms Apply
  • View Rates and Fees

Our pick for

Small-business travel

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN Credit Card

on American Express's website, or call (866) 512-6673

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$595

Regular APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

This card is a match for business owners who spend big and prefer to travel in comfort. If that’s you, the card’s long list of perks can elevate your travel experience and offer more value for your money. You’ll start off with a rich welcome offer: Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply. You'll get airport lounge access if you need to skip the crowds, plus a fee credit of up to $200 for incidental fees on one airline, which can help with things like checked bags. As for rewards, you get 5 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on flights and prepaid hotels booked through amextravel.com; 1.5 points per $1 on eligible purchases of $5,000 or more; and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. Terms apply.

Cons

The sky-high $595 annual fee is worth it only if you travel frequently enough to make full use of the card's perks. (The fee is a deductible business expense, though.) You’ll get the VIP treatment with this card, but only at places that accept it.
  • Welcome Offer: Earn up to 100,000 Membership Rewards® points.
  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
  • 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
  • Enroll to get up to $200 in statement credits annually by getting up to $100 semi-annually for U.S. purchases with Dell. Terms apply.
  • Get one year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork. With this membership, you can access 300+ premium, inspiring workspaces in 75+ cities. To get this exclusive offer, enroll between 2/15/2019 and 12/31/2019.
  • Terms Apply
  • View Rates and Fees

To view rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please visit this page.

To view rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please visit this page.

To view rates and fees of the The Platinum Card® from American Express, please visit this page.

To view rates and fees of the American Express® Blue Business Cash Card, please visit this page.

To view rates and fees of the The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, please visit this page.

Last updated on September 19, 2019

Methodology

NerdWallet's credit cards team selects the best cards in each category based on overall consumer value. Factors in our evaluation include fees, promotional and ongoing APRs, and sign-up bonuses; for rewards cards, we consider earning and redemption rates, redemption options and redemption difficulty. A single card is eligible to be chosen in multiple categories.