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What credit scores do you need for Amex credit cards?

April 23, 2022
8 min read
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest credit card information.


American Express has long had a reputation for being “exclusive,” but Amex credit cards are more accessible than you might think. Sure, the issuer offers luxury cards such as The Platinum Card® from American Express, but you’ll also find beginner-friendly offerings such as the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express in its extensive lineup.

Related: The 5 credit cards this recent grad keeps in her wallet

Today we’ll walk through the credit score you will probably need when applying for an Amex credit card. The issuer offers business credit cards, along with cobranded hotel and airline credit cards. But for the purpose of this guide, I’m going to focus on Amex’s branded consumer credit cards.

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What score do you need for Amex cards?

American Express has a varied lineup of credit cards, offering everything from entry-level cash-back cards to luxury travel ones. Therefore, there isn’t a single credit score needed for every Amex credit card. Generally speaking, you’ll want to have some level of credit established before applying for any of the top Amex credit cards, but that doesn’t mean you need to have an 800+ score to be approved.

Related: What is a good credit score?

Of course, the more premium the card, the higher the score you’ll generally need to have. For cards such as The Platinum Card® from American Express and American Express® Gold Card, for example, you’ll need to have good to excellent credit—usually a score of 680 at a minimum. There is anecdotal evidence of applicants with scores as low as the mid-600s being approved, but that’s rare. Even for the American Express® Green Card, a more beginner-focused travel card, a score of 670 or higher is probably necessary.

The information for the Amex Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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Related: Battle of the premium travel rewards cards: Which is the best?

For American Express entry-level and cash-back cards, you can sometimes get away with a shorter credit history and lower score, though you’ll still want to have a decent credit score. Cards such as the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express and Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express usually recommend a 670+ score. However, there is anecdotal evidence of scores in the lower 600s being approved. If you are a beginner with little to no credit, you are more likely to be approved for a no-annual-fee credit card, such as the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (see rates and fees).

Related: What credit score do you need for the Blue Cash Preferred?

The information for the Amex EveryDay Preferred card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

How to improve your credit score

(Photo by Song_about_summer/Shutterstock)

The five main factors in calculating your credit score are payment history, credit-to-debt ratio, length of credit history, new accounts and account mix. The biggest of these is payment history, which can take time to build up as a beginner.

If your current score is less-than-stellar, here are steps you can take to improve it:

  • Check your credit report — Sometimes your credit report has inaccuracies that negatively affect your score. By regularly monitoring your credit report, you can ensure that you take care of any mistakes. That alone can improve your score relatively quickly. You can check your report for free once a year through each of the major bureaus.
  • Pay your bill on time and in full every month — Whenever possible, it’s important to only spend what you can confidently pay off at the end of every month. Building a reputation with issuers that you are a trustworthy borrower is the best way to ensure a healthy credit score in the long term. Plus, paying off your balance in full means no interest charges and a low debt-to-credit ratio.
  • Pay down existing debt — If you currently have credit card debt, knocking that down can play a significant role in increasing your score. There are many different strategies for how to pay down debt. Choose the one that works best for you and make it a priority. Once your debt-to-credit ratio decreases, your score should improve.

Building excellent credit takes time and patience. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and even if you follow all of these tips, it could still take time for your score to reflect the work you’re putting in. Just keep practicing good credit habits, and you will see it pay off eventually.

Related: From debt to over 20 credit cards — the story of my personal finance journey

What factors go into credit card approval?

Contrary to popular belief, your credit score isn’t the only factor issuers look at when deciding whether to approve you for a new credit card. It’s a large factor, but a bank will also look at your credit history, the number of accounts open, the status of those accounts and more.

Related: TPG reader credit card question: How many credit cards should I have?

And just because you were approved for a card five years ago with a certain score doesn’t automatically mean that you will be approved again with that same score. Issuers regularly update the factors they use for credit card approvals.

At the same time, don’t be discouraged from applying. If there’s a card that you have your eye on, but your score is in the mid-600s, you could potentially be approved. And if you are denied, the long-term effects on your credit score aren’t dire — in fact, many TPGers have been denied for at least one credit card over the years.

However, this does mean that you can’t bank on a specific credit score guaranteeing you approval. Cardholders with excellent credit scores of 780+ are much more likely to be approved for a credit card, but there’s never a 100% guarantee until you get a decision from the issuer.

Remember too that American Express has its own set of application restrictions — including a policy of awarding just one bonus for a card in a customer's lifetime. Again, even those with extraordinary scores may not be approved for a card if Amex's proprietary formula determines that you aren't eligible

Related: How bad is it to get denied for a credit card?

Bottom line

There is no cut-and-dried answer to the question of what credit score you need when applying for an American Express card, but hopefully this gives you some clarity on what you probably should have when you apply. Amex doesn’t publish specific score requirements, so having a particular score won’t guarantee you approval, nor will it preclude you from getting the card you want.

If you are a beginner but have your eye on a more premium card like the Amex Platinum, you can try applying for a beginner credit card first, or you could become an authorized user on a family member’s account. Once you’ve shown issuers that you are a responsible credit card user, it will be easier win approval for future credit cards.

Related: Which is the best American Express credit card for you?

Additional reporting by Benét J. Wilson

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday, click here.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023