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NerdWallet’s Best American Express Credit Cards of 2018

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American Express offers a card for every lifestyle. While AmEx has a reputation for great customer service and perks across the board, each of its cards offers a suite of benefits and perks tailored to the needs of different types of customers. For example, if you need to carry a balance, AmEx has credit cards in addition to its signature charge cards. If you want to travel in luxury, there’s a card for that. Let the Nerds help you choose the best American Express card for you.

NerdWallet’s best American Express cards

Best for … Card
Families Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Small business SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express
Premium perks The Platinum Card® from American Express
NerdWallet now offers American Express pre-qualification. See whether you’re eligible for even better offers from AmEx.

Best card for families: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6,000 in purchases per year (then 1%). 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1% cash back on all other purchases. $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply. 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.99% - 25.99% Variable APR. $95 annual fee.

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: 14.99% - 25.99% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: 29.99%, Variable
    • Cash Advance APR: 27.24%, 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.


Benefits of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express:

  • You can earn 6% cash back on anything you purchase at U.S. supermarkets, including gift cards to your favorite restaurant, coffee shop, movie theater or whatever else is available — just keep in mind the $6,000 annual limit on spending eligible for the 6% rewards rate. You’ll earn only 1% after that.
  • Its welcome offer has a relatively low spending requirement.

Drawbacks of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express:

  • It has an annual fee. Its sister card, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, has a $0 annual fee and offers 3% cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases up to $6,000 spent per year (then 1%) and 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores. However, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a better choice if you spend more than $61 a week at the supermarket.
  • It’s not very useful if your grocery bill is low and you don’t drive a lot.

Bottom line:

Large families will appreciate the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express’s high rewards rates at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations. But if you can’t get past the annual fee or you don’t spend a lot in those categories, it might not be worth it.

Best card for your small business: SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

5% cash back at U.S. office supply stores and on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers; 3% cash back on the category of your choice from a list of select categories and 1% cash back on other purchases. The 5% and 3% cash back apply to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, then 1% applies thereafter. Introductory APR of 0% on Purchases for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.24% - 21.24% Variable APR; The annual fee is $0.

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: 14.24% - 21.24% 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 14.24% - 21.24%
    • 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


Benefits of the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express:

  • The card offers big-time cash back on regular business expenses, including the flexibility to choose your own 3% category. Categories you can choose from include airfare purchased directly from airlines, hotel rooms purchased directly from hotels, car rentals from select companies, U.S. gas stations, U.S. restaurants, U.S. purchases for advertising in select media and U.S. purchases for shipping. Keep in mind that the 5% and 3% apply to purchases up to $50,000 per rebate year then 1% thereafter.
  • It comes with a $0 annual fee.

Drawbacks of the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express:

The card has a cap on its bonus categories, which some businesses may reach fairly quickly.

Bottom line:

The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express offers small-business owners a chance to rack up serious rewards and get help building their business without adding unnecessary expenses. But if your business spends more than $50,000 on its bonus categories every year, there are annual-fee business credit cards that offer better ongoing rewards.

Best premium card: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Earn 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel; 5 points per dollar spent on eligible hotels booked with AmEx; 2 points per dollar spent on other travel booked through AmEx; and 1 point per dollar on everything else; 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.; Receive up to $200 per calendar year in statement credits for airline incidental fees; up to $200 in credits per year for using Uber; $100 credit toward Global Entry application; Complimentary access to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide; $550 annual fee.

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.


Benefits of The Platinum Card® from American Express:

  • The card offers elite travel perks that are worth far more than the annual fee, including access to posh airport lounges, statement credits for airline incidental fees and taking Uber, a credit toward a Global Entry or TSA Pre✓™ application fee, Starwood Preferred Guest Gold status, concierge service and more.
  • It has a killer welcome offer and generates Membership Rewards points, which you can redeem for travel, gift cards and shopping, or transfer to one of the program’s eight airline and hotel partners: Aeroplan, British Airways, Alitalia, Asia Miles, Delta Skymiles, Etihad Airways, Hilton HHonors and Starwood Preferred Guest.
  • It charges no foreign transaction fees, a big plus for when you travel abroad.

Drawbacks of The Platinum Card® from American Express:

  • The annual fee is steep, making the card useful only if you plan to take advantage of all its luxury features.
  • It doesn’t offer a bonus rewards rate like most travel cards, and its ongoing rewards rate is unexceptional.
  • American Express isn’t widely accepted internationally.

Hear it from Nerds who carry the card
NerdWallet team members who carry The Platinum Card® from American Express say using the exclusive perks is the key to getting your money’s worth:

Bottom line:

If you can afford the annual fee and you travel often, The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the best ways to ensure you’ll travel in luxury. But if you’re more interested in earning rewards, check out some of the Nerds’ top travel card picks.

Last updated Jan. 3, 2018.