Best of

Best Charge Cards of July 2020

NerdWalletJuly 1, 2020

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Charge cards have no pre-set spending limit, but you must pay off your entire balance every month. Otherwise, they work like credit cards. For business owners and others who spend a lot but don't need to carry a balance from one month to the next, charge cards provide flexibility and convenience. Many also provide generous welcome bonuses and amenities that fit a high-spending lifestyle.

Charge cards have been largely replaced by credit cards. Some individual merchants still offer charge accounts, but American Express is the only major issuer in the U.S. that continues to provide charge cards. (AmEx does offer credit cards, too.) Here are our favorites.

NerdWallet's Best Charge Cards of July 2020

Best Charge Cards From Our Partners

Our pick for

Premium rewards

American Express Premier Rewards Gold Credit Card

on American Express's website

Rates & Fees

on American Express's website

Rates & Fees
Annual Fee

$250

Regular APR

See Terms

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

If the annual fee on The Platinum Card® from American Express is too rich for your blood but you still want generous rewards and yearly airline credits, the American Express® Gold Card is a worthy option. 

Pros

Earn 4 points per dollar spent at worldwide restaurants, 4 points per dollar on up to $25,000 a year spent at U.S. supermarkets, 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, and 1 point per dollar on other purchases. You also get a yearly $100 credit for incidental airline fees and up to $120 in annual dining credit (available in monthly credits on select purchases). Welcome 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 annual fee isn't as high as on this card as on its platinum-colored sibling, but it's still a doozy: $250. Many of the same drawbacks apply, including limited international acceptance.

  • 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

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

If you travel and spend a lot for business, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express makes life on the road not only comfortable but rewarding, too. 

Pros

Start with the welcome offer: Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms apply. Earn 5 points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com; 1.5 points per dollar on purchases of $5,000 or more; and 1 point per dollar on other purchases. When you use Pay with Points for all or part of an eligible flight, you get 35% of those points back. You'll receive an annual $200 airline fee credit and access to hundreds of airport lounges, plus other benefits. Terms apply.

Cons

There's a high annual fee ($595) and a high spending requirement for the welcome bonus. American Express cards are less widely accepted than Visa and Mastercard.

  • Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 you book on amextravel.com.
  • Terms Apply
  • View Rates and Fees

Our pick for

Flexible business financing

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

Regular APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

The value offered by The Plum Card® from American Express doesn't come in the form of rewards or perks. Rather, it provides cash-flow flexibility to businesses with large expenses.

Pros

This card offers both a discount for paying early and extra time to pay without interest. Here's how it works: When your monthly statement period closes, you'll have a minimum amount due. Pay at least that much within 10 days of the closing date, and you'll get a discount of 1.5% of the amount you paid. (The discount appears as a credit on your next statement.) As long as you pay the minimum by your due date, you'll have up to 60 days to pay the rest of your balance interest-free. Terms apply.

Cons

There's an annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $250. Unlike with the other cards listed here, you can't earn rewards or a bonus to offset that cost. However, the fee is a tax-deductible business expense — and if you make early payments of about $16,700 in a year, you'll cover the fee.

  • Paying early pays off: get a 1.5% Early Pay Discount, with no cap on what you can earn back.
  • Take up to 60 days to pay with no interest, when you pay your minimum due by the Payment Due Date.
  • 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

EDITORIAL PICKS: BEST CHARGE CARDS

Click the card name to read our review. Before applying, confirm details on the issuer’s website.

Our pick for: Luxury travel perks: 

The Platinum Card® from American Express comes with a hefty annual fee, but travelers who like to go in style (and aren't afraid to pay for comfort) can more than get their money's worth. Enjoy extensive airport lounge access, hundreds of dollars a year in travel and shopping credits, hotel benefits and more. That's not even getting into the high rewards rate on eligible travel purchases and the rich bonus offer for new cardholders. Read our review.

Our pick for: Premium rewards

The American Express® Gold Card can earn you a pile of points from everyday spending, with generous rewards at U.S. supermarkets, at restaurants worldwide and on certain flights booked through amextravel.com. Other benefits include hundreds of dollars a year in available dining and travel credits and a solid bonus offer for new cardholders. There's an annual fee, though, and a pretty substantial one, so it's not for smaller spenders. Read our review.

Our pick for: Business travel

Like the consumer version of this card, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express comes with a big annual fee. But business travelers who prefer to go in style will find plenty that appeals to them: high rewards on certain travel purchases, bonus rewards on larger non-travel purchases, a superb newcomer bonus offer, extensive airport lounge access, elite hotel status, hundreds of dollars a year in available credits and a list of perks as long as your arm. It's not cheap, but luxury never is. Read our review.

Our pick for: Flexible business financing

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. There's a substantial annual fee, but if you're using the card for, say, big inventory purchases, the benefits could far outweigh the costs. Read our review.

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® Gold 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 Plum Card® from American Express, please visit this page.

Last updated on July 1, 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.