Advertiser Disclosure

NerdWallet’s Best American Express Credit Cards of 2019

At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

American Express offers credit cards with perks and benefits for every spending personality. Whether you’re shopping for a family, traveling in luxury or running a business, there’s an option for you.

The right AmEx card can make a great companion on the go — unless you’re traveling outside of the country. That’s because AmEx cards are not as widely accepted internationally as Mastercard and Visa credit cards. Still, there’s plenty of value to be had from AmEx cards. Here are our top picks.

» MORE: NerdWallet offers American Express pre-qualification. See whether you’re eligible for even better offers from AmEx.

For families: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Apply Now on American Express's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • Leading cash-back rewards at U.S. supermarkets
    • Bonus offer for new cardholders
    • Intro APR period on Purchases and Balance Transfers

    Cons

    • Has annual fee — but if you spend more than $31 per week at U.S. supermarkets, the rewards offset the fee
    • American Express isn’t accepted at as many merchants as Visa or Mastercard
    • $25 minimum redemption

    Annual Fees

    $95

    APR

    • APR: 15.24% - 26.24% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: 29.99%, Variable
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.49%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

    Intro APR

    • 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months
  • Additional Information
    • $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
    • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) - that means spending $60 a week at U.S. supermarkets could earn over $180 back per year.
    • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations. 1% cash back on other purchases.
    • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
    • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
    • $95 annual fee.
    • Terms Apply.

✭ 2019 NERDWALLET AWARD WINNER: Best family card

Why we like it

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is jam-packed with family-friendly spending categories that offer rewards at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and U.S. department stores.

Pros and cons

Pros: The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express can deliver back some value on home-cooked meals, back-to-school shopping and trips to and from extracurricular activities. You’ll earn 6% back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 in spending per year), 3% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% cash back on everything else. Terms apply.

Cons: The $95 annual fee is a bit steep for a cash-back credit card, but you can easily defray the cost if you spend about $31 or more per week at the grocery store.

» MORE: Read our review of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

For flat-rate cash back: American Express Cash Magnet™ Card

American Express Cash Magnet™ Card

American Express Cash Magnet™ Card

Apply Now on American Express's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No annual fee
    • Bonus offer for new cardholders
    • Intro APR period on Purchases and Balance Transfers

    Cons

    • Has foreign transaction fee
    • American Express isn’t accepted at as many merchants as Visa or Mastercard

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 15.24% - 26.24% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: 29.99%, Variable
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.49%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    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. Terms Apply.

    Intro APR

    • 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months
  • Additional Information
    • 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 15.24% to 26.24%.
    • $0 plan fees 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 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
    • No Annual Fee.
    • Terms Apply.

Why we like it

The American Express Cash Magnet™ Card offers a decent flat rewards rate 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 and cons

Pros: It doesn’t get more simple than a 1.5% cash-back rate on all purchases and a $0 annual fee. The card comes with a decent welcome bonus: 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. Terms Apply. And if you need to make a large purchase — or move over a high-interest balance to the card — you’ll get an introductory APR: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.24% - 26.24% Variable APR.

Cons: You’ll need a minimum of $25 in rewards to redeem. The American Express Cash Magnet™ Card also charges a foreign transaction fee, so it’s not ideal for international use.

» MORE: Read our review of the American Express Cash Magnet™ Card

For travel: American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

Apply Now on American Express's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • High rewards rate in certain categories
    • $100 airline fee credit; hotel upgrades and credits
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Transfer partners
    • Annual dining credit

    Cons

    • American Express isn’t accepted as widely as Visa or Mastercard internationally
    • No lounge membership

    Annual Fees

    $250

    APR

    • See Rates & Fees

    Bonus Offers

    Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
    • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. 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 $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth’s Chris Steak House. This is 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.

Why we like it

The American Express® Gold Card gives foodies and travelers a large side of Membership Rewards with their bites and flights. Its highest rewards rates apply whether you’re grabbing takeout or picking up ingredients at U.S. supermarkets for a home-cooked meal. Terms apply. The rewards you earn are ideal for redeeming toward travel.

Pros and cons

Pros: The American Express® Gold Card offers generous perks and rewards that can easily make up for the cost of the $250 annual fee. To start, the card offers a welcome bonus: Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply. Plus, the ongoing rewards can add up quickly. The card offers 4 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants; 4 points per $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 spent annually; 3 points per $1 spent for 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 a $120 annual dining credit (available only in monthly increments on qualifying purchases). 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. A flat-rate cash-back card can offer more simplicity, plus a lower (or nonexistent) annual fee.

» MORE: Read our review of the American Express® Gold Card

For balance transfers: The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

✭ 2019 NERDWALLET AWARD WINNER: Best balance transfer card

NOTE: This card is available only by applying directly through American Express.

Why we like it

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express is the sidekick you want in your wallet to help you crush debt. It hits all three “zeros” for the ideal balance transfer credit card: a $0 annual fee, an 0% introductory APR period for balance transfers (not to mention purchases), and a balance transfer fee of $0 (for transfers requested within 60 days of account opening). Terms apply. On top of all that? It also earns rewards.

Pros and cons

Pros: The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express not only helps you pay down debt, but it gives you a reason to use it long after you’ve paid off your balance. Aside from hitting the triple-zero threshold mentioned above, it also offers rewards: 2 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 spent per year), 2 points per $1 on eligible travel purchases booked through amextravel.com, and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. That’s a hard-to-find combination. Terms apply.

Cons: The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express is an excellent choice as a balance transfer credit card. But as a rewards credit card, it’s still relatively mediocre. Once you’ve paid off your debt, other credit cards can offer better rewards rates for your everyday spending.

» MORE: Read our review of The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

For small businesses (cash back): SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

Apply Now on American Express's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No annual fee
    • High rewards rates in certain categories
    • Intro APR period on Purchases

    Cons

    • Complicated rewards program
    • Bonus categories can be changed only once a year
    • Requires good/ excellent credit

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 14.49% - 21.49% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: 29.99%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    N/A

    Intro APR

    • 0% on Purchases for 15 months
  • Additional Information
    • Special offer: save on interest with a 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; after that your APR will be a variable rate, currently 14.49% - 21.49%
    • No annual fee
    • Reinvest in your business with automatic cash back in the form of a monthly statement credit. Plus take control by choosing the 3% category that best fits your business
    • Earn 5% cash back on the first $50,000 spent at wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. office supply stores.
    • Earn 3% cash back on the first $50,000 spent in the category of your choice from a list of eight and 1% cash back on other purchases
    • With Expanded Buying Power you can spend beyond your credit limit* to make bigger purchases for your business plus earn cash back on those purchases too
    • *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
    • Terms apply

Why we like it

It’s not every day that you get to earn a high rewards rate in a category of your choice. The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express  allows you to customize some of your bonus rewards (from a list of eight categories) so that you can optimize spending based on business needs. Other pluses: a 0% intro APR offer and an annual fee of $0.

Pros and cons

Pros: The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express offers 5% cash back on up to $50,000 a year in combined spending on U.S. wireless phone service and U.S. office supply store spending; 3% cash back on up to $50,000 a year in your spending category of choice (see categories here); and 1% cash back on all other spending. Terms apply. Business owners also can get a break on interest payments with an intro APR offer: 0% on Purchases for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.49% - 21.49% Variable APR. That’s a lot of value for a $0-annual-fee card.

Cons: There’s no welcome offer, which could otherwise help a business owner offset some costs. High-spending businesses may find the $50,000 cap on rewards too limiting. You’ll have to keep track of bonus categories and can change them only once a year during a window of time. That means it may not be ideal for businesses with expenses that fluctuate.

» MORE: Read our review of the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

For small businesses (travel): The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

Apply Now on American Express's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • High rewards rate on certain travel purchases
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Bonus offer for new cardholders
    • Lounge access, airline fee credit

    Cons

    • High annual fee
    • Other cards offer a higher rewards rate on non-travel spending
    • Complicated rewards structure
    • Requires good/excellent credit

    Annual Fees

    $595

    APR

    • Purchase: N/A

    Bonus Offers

    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 within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • 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 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

✭ 2019 NERDWALLET AWARD WINNER: Best small-business travel card

Why we like it

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 and cons

Pros: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express is a match for the business owner who spends big and travels in luxury. 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 bonus: 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 within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply. You’ll get airport lounge access if you need to skip the crowds, plus an airline fee credit of up to $200 for incidental fees on one airline, which can help with things like checked bags. The Business Platinum® Card from American Express also offers 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 cancel out the cost with the value of the card’s perks. You’ll get the VIP treatment with this card, but only at places that accept it. Remember, American Express isn’t as widely accepted internationally as Visa and Mastercard.

» MORE: Read our review of The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

For luxury benefits: The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Apply Now on American Express's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • Luxury travel perks (Uber credit, airline fee credit, lounge access, etc.)
    • High rewards rate in certain categories
    • No foreign transaction fees

    Cons

    • High annual fee
    • Airline fee credit is limited
    • Low rewards rate on most spending

    Annual Fees

    $550

    APR

    • Purchase: N/A

    Bonus Offers

    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.

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • 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.

Why we like it

The Platinum Card® from American Express comes with an annual fee that’s 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 and cons

Pros: The Platinum Card® from American Express 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 lounge access and travel credits to automatic elite loyalty status at participating hotels — that it can easily be enough to offset the $550 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 travel credit can help, but it’s limited to airline fees and incidentals only. Bonus rewards are also limited to travel spending, so you can’t rack up points on everyday expenses.

» MORE: Read our review of the The Platinum Card® from American Express

Information about The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express 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 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 The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, please visit this page.

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