Best of

Best American Express Cards of January 2020

NerdWalletJanuary 16, 2020

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 January 2020

Our pick for

Family spending: Groceries, gas, transit, streaming

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card

on American Express's website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$95

Rewards Rate

1%-6%

Intro offer

$250

Recommended Credit Score
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers top-notch rewards at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations, as well as on transit expenses and select U.S. streaming subscriptions.

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 14.49% to 25.49%
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • View Rates and Fees

Our pick for

Balance transfers + rewards

American Express Amex EveryDay Credit Card
Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

1x-2x

Points

Intro offer

10,000

Points

Recommended Credit Score
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card offers the rare "triple zero" of balance-transfer benefits: a $0 introductory balance transfer fee (transfers must be requested within 60 days of account opening), a $0 annual fee and and a 0% intro APR period. Terms apply.

Pros

The triple-zero benefits allow you to pay down debt without a penny in fees or interest. And unlike many balance-transfer cards, this one offers rewards. (See the product details tab for specifics.) There's a bonus offer for new cardholders, too.

Cons

You can get a longer 0% introductory APR period with other several balance-transfer cards. The ongoing rewards aren't anything too special, if long-term value is a factor in your decision.
  • Earn 20% Extra Points - Use your Card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period and get 20% more points on those purchases less returns and credits.
  • 2X Points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1X).
  • Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $1,000 in qualifying purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • $0 Balance Transfer Fee.¤ Balance transfers must be requested within 60 days of account opening.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable APR, 14.49% to 25.49%.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • View Rates and Fees

Our pick for

Luxury travel perks

American Express Platinum Credit Card

on American Express's website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$550

Rewards Rate

1x-5x

Points

Intro offer

60,000

Points

Recommended Credit Score
The Platinum Card® from American Express comes with an annual fee as heavy as the stainless steel it's made of. But for big spenders who enjoy traveling in luxury, the generous perks and rewards can defray the cost and add more value to a vacation.

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 get a solid welcome bonus. And that's just to start. The lengthy list of ongoing perks — from airport lounge access and travel credits to automatic elite loyalty status at participating hotels — 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

Simple, flat-rate cash back

American Express Cash Magnet℠ Card

on American Express's website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

1.50%

Intro offer

$150

Recommended Credit Score
The American Express Cash Magnet® Card offers simple, solid rewards for those who aren't interested in keeping track of bonus categories. The card pairs well with other credit cards that offer elevated rewards rates on specific spending.

Pros

It doesn’t get more simple than 1.5% cash back on all purchases and a $0 annual fee. The card comes with a decent welcome bonus, and if you need to make a large purchase — or move a high-interest balance to the card — you’ll get a good introductory 0% APR period.

Cons

You’ll need to earn a minimum of $25 in rewards before you can redeem. 
  • Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on your purchases.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.49% to 25.49%.
  • 0% introductory plan fee for plans set up during your first 15 months of Card Membership with Plan It®, a feature that lets you split up big purchases into monthly payments with a fixed fee.
  • Over 3 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017 and 2018.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • View Rates and Fees

Our pick for

Travel rewards on everyday spending

American Express Premier Rewards Gold Credit Card

on American Express's website

Rates & Fees

on American Express's website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$250

Rewards Rate

1x-4x

Points

Intro offer

35,000

Points

Recommended Credit Score
The American Express® Gold Card gives foodies and travelers a large side of Membership Rewards with their bites and flights. The rewards you earn are ideal for redeeming toward travel.

Pros

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 with superb bonus offer.

Cons

The $250 annual fee may be a dealbreaker for some. The perks can defray the cost, but only if you make full use of them. This is also a charge card rather than a credit card, meaning 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

No-annual-fee grocery and gas rewards

American Express Blue Cash Everyday Credit Card

on American Express's website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

1.00%

Intro offer

$150

Recommended Credit Score
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is a decent option if you spend regularly on groceries and gas but can't stomach the fee on the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (described above).

Pros

This card earns 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 spent per year, then 1%), 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% back on everything else. Terms apply. There's a good 0% period and a solid bonus offer for new cardholders, too.

Cons

If you spend at least $61 per week at the supermarket, you’re actually better off paying the annual fee on the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express because you'll come out ahead with the higher rewards rate. This card also lacks the bonus streaming and transit rewards of the "Preferred" version.
  • Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • 2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.49% to 25.49%.
  • Over 3 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017 and 2018.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • View Rates and Fees

Our pick for

Travel and dining rewards

American Express Green Credit Card

on American Express's website

Rates & Fees

on American Express's website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$150

Rewards Rate

1x-3x

Points

Intro offer

30,000

Points

Recommended Credit Score
The American Express® Green Card is a good fit for heavy travelers who are invested in American Express's Membership Rewards program and can take advantage of the product's perks and credits. The annual fee will be a blocker for many, though.

Pros

You earn 3 points per $1 spent on eligible travel and transit purchases, 3 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide, and 1 point per dollar on other purchases. Travel credits include $100 a year for LoungeBuddy day passes at airport lounges and $100 reimbursement for membership in the Clear program for expedited airport screening. Terms apply. There's a modest bonus offer as well.

Cons

The annual fee is high for what this card offers. Make sure you can squeeze at least $150 worth of value out of it each year.
  • Earn 30,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, from subway swipes and window seats to hotel stays and city tours.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points at restaurants worldwide.
  • Receive up to $100 per year in statement credits when you use the American Express® Green Card to pay for your CLEAR® membership at select airports and stadiums across the U.S. and Permissible Biometric Scanning Technology terms: eye scanning, irises scanning and fingerprints scanning.
  • Use the American Express® Green Card to purchase lounge access through LoungeBuddy to any of the lounges in the LoungeBuddy network — no memberships, elite statuses, or first class tickets required. Earn up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year on your LoungeBuddy purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $150 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • View Rates and Fees

Our pick for

Luxury perks for business travelers

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

Rewards Rate

1x-5x

Points

Intro offer

50,000

Points

Recommended Credit Score
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express can add value and luxury to your travel experience, if you don’t mind the sizable cost of card ownership.

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 nice welcome offer, then enjoy airport lounge access, a credit of up to $200 for incidental fees (like checked bags) on one airline, and a raft of other perks. 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 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases made on your Business Platinum Card® 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 an extra half point 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 when flight is booked on amextravel.com.
  • 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.
  • Terms Apply
  • View Rates and Fees

Our pick for

Simple rewards for small business

American Express The Blue for Business® Credit Card

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

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

1x-2x

Points

Intro offer

0

Points

Recommended Credit Score
Come for the 0% intro APR offer; stay for the ongoing rewards. The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is a good fit for entrepreneurs looking for a no-fee, no-fuss card.

Pros

The card gives you 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on everything, on up to the first $50,000 in purchases made every year, and 1 point per dollar after that. (Terms apply.) The 0% introductory APR offer is outstanding for a business credit card, and the annual fee is $0

Cons

The $50,000 spending cap on double points reduces this card's value for businesses with high operating expenses. There's no bonus offer for new cardholders, either. Prefer cash to points? See the American Express® Blue Business Cash Card, below.
  • Get rewarded for business as usual. Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners.
  • 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
  • Enjoy the flexibility to put more purchases on the Card and earn rewards when you buy above your credit limit*.
  • You’ve got the power to use your Card beyond its credit limit* with Expanded Buying Power.
  • More buying power for your business means more opportunities to earn points. That’s everyday business with the Blue Business Plus Card.
  • *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, 14.74%, 17.74% or 20.74%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
  • Terms Apply
  • View Rates and Fees

Our pick for

Simple cash rewards for small business

American Express® Blue Business Cash Card

on American Express's website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

1%-2%

Intro offer

$0

Recommended Credit Score
The American Express® Blue Business Cash Card earns a solid cash-back rate on purchases (up to a point) and gives you a good 0% introductory APR period for an annual fee of $0.

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 0% introductory APR offer.

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, 14.74%, 17.74%, or 20.74%, 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

Customized rewards for business

American Express Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN Credit Card

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

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$295

Rewards Rate

1x-4x

Points

Intro offer

35,000

Points

Recommended Credit Score
The unique rewards structure on the American Express® Business Gold Card automatically changes with your spending. It can mean big rewards — if your purchases match its 4X categories.

Pros

You earn 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar in the two categories where you spend the most each month. All other spending earns 1 point per dollar. The categories: airfare purchased directly from airlines; U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio); U.S. purchases made directly from select technology providers of computer hardware, software and cloud solutions; U.S. gas stations; U.S. restaurants; and U.S. purchases for shipping. Terms apply. There's a welcome offer for new cardholders, too.

Cons

The $295 annual fee is steep. If your business doesn't spend much in the 4X categories, you'll have an uphill climb to break even.
  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.*
  • MORE REWARDS: Get 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month**
  • **4X points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year.*
  • AIRLINE BONUS: Get 25% points back after you use points for all or part of an eligible flight booked with Amex Travel, up to 250,000 points back per calendar year.*
  • PAY OVER TIME OPTION: A flexible payment option to help manage cash flow on purchases of $100 or more.*
  • Access to the Working Capital Terms program: get additional funding beyond what you can spend on Business Gold with this flexible funding solution designed to pay U.S. based vendor invoices directly when cards are not accepted.*
  • *Terms Apply
  • View Rates and Fees

Our pick for

Flexible financing for businesses

American Express Plum Card Credit Card

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

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$0 intro for the first year, then $250

Rewards Rate

1.5%

Intro offer

$0

Recommended Credit Score
Businesses with high working capital needs but sometimes inconsistent cash flow might find The Plum Card® from American Express a perfect fit. Pay early and get a discount, or enjoy up to 60 days interest-free.

Pros

Pay your bill within 10 days of your statement closing date, and you get an automatic 1.5% discount. If you need more time, pay the minimum due, and you can get up to 60 days interest-free to pay the rest. The card also has no preset spending limit. Terms apply.

Cons

With a hefty annual fee after the first year, this card is designed for businesses that spend big. And while it offers flexible terms, it's still a charge card, meaning your balance will be due in full — you can't spread out the cost of a purchase over several months.
  • Paying early pays off: Get a 1.5% discount when you pay early, with no cap on what you can earn back.
  • Take up to 60 days to pay with no interest, if you pay your minimum due.
  • Use the power of the Plum Card to buy big for your business.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $250
  • Terms & Restrictions Apply.
  • View Rates and Fees

Other cards issued by American Express

American Express issues branded credit cards in partnership with airlines, hotels and others. Learn more about these cards by reading the reviews linked below:

Delta Air Lines credit cards

Hilton Hotels credit cards

Other credit cards

"American Express" cards not issued by American Express

Several banks offer credit cards that operate on the American Express payment network, but these cards are not issued by American Express itself. You can use them anywhere that accepts AmEx, but their rewards, perks, fees and rates are dictated by the card issuer, not American Express. Those cards are not included on this page.

Examples include the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card, the U.S. Bank Cash 365™ American Express® Card and the USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card

 


 

Information about the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been provided or reviewed by the issuer of this card.

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 The Platinum Card® from American Express, please visit this page.

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

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

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

To view rates and fees of the The Blue Business® Plus Credit 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 American Express® Business Gold Card, please visit this page.

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

Last updated on January 16, 2020

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.