Choosing the best American Express credit card for you

Oct 4, 2020

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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information. For more information about limited-time benefits due to the pandemic, read our guide to temporary perks and bonuses

Choosing the best credit card for your needs is a tricky proposition, especially with so many great options from multiple issuers. Some of the best cards on the market are offered by American Express and its partners.

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Amex has a card available for pretty much anyone, from credit card beginners to casual travelers to road warriors. With so many great cards to choose from offering a range of earning categories and benefits, how do you chose the right Amex card for you? We’ve pulled together the top 16 offerings from American Express — let’s see how they stack up against each other.

Without further ado, here are our top Amex credit card picks:

The best American Express credit cards for 2020

In This Post

Comparison of the best American Express consumer cards

Credit Card Best for Bonus Annual Fee
Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express Maximizing Cash Back Earn a $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. Offer Expires 12/10/2020Terms apply. $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95. Offer Expires 12/10/2020 (see rates & fees)
The Platinum Card from American Express High-end Benefits 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. Terms apply. $550 (see rates & fees)
American Express® Green Card Beginner Travelers 30,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. Terms apply. $150 (see rates & fees)
American Express Gold Card Dining/Supermarkets Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.  Terms apply. $250 (see rates & fees)
The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express Everyday Spending 15,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. Terms apply. $95
The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express Students 10,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. Terms apply. $0
Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express High-end Hilton Perks 150,000 Hilton Honors points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. Terms apply. $450 (see rates & fees)
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card Occasional Hilton Stays 130,000 bonus points after you use your card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms apply. $95 (see rates & fees)
Hilton Honors American Express Card No-annual-fee Hotel Credit Card (see rates & fees) 80,000 Hilton Honors points after you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. Terms apply. None (see rates & fees)
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card High-end Marriott Perks Earn up to 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn an additional 25,000 bonus points after your first anniversary of Card Membership. Offer Expires 1/13/2021. $450 (see rates & fees)
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card Regular Delta Flyers 60,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. (Offer Expires 10/28/2020) Terms apply. $250 (see rates & fees)
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card Occasional Delta Flyers Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. (Offer Expires 10/28/2020) Terms Apply.

$99 (waived first year) (see rates & fees)

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express Cash Back Beginners $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. None (see rates & fees)

The information for the Amex EveryDay, Amex EveryDay Preferred, 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.

All of these cards should be eligible for bonuses and discounts through Amex Offers, though the exact merchants and offers you’ll get will vary between cards. Depending on how many Amex Offers you’re able to use each year, you may be able to entirely recoup your card’s annual fee through just this program before even taking into account other benefits and perks.

Note that you can only earn a welcome bonus on all of these cards once in your lifetime since American Express has tightened up its welcome offer policies.

Above is a general overview of our favorite American Express credit cards, but now let’s dive into the details of even more of the excellent cards Amex has to offer, broken down by type of credit card.

Amex credit cards that earn cash back

Even though they don’t offer opportunities to maximize your rewards with airline and hotel transfer partners, cash back cards do offer a consistent return and simple earning and redemption structures. During the current pandemic, these cards are even more valuable for those who want to save money on monthly expenses while they aren’t traveling. Here’s an overview of two American Express cards that fit into this category:

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: Best for maximizing cash back

The Blue Cash Preferred is a solid cash-back card for groceries and streaming services. (Photo by The Points Guy)

Welcome offer: Earn a $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first 6 months. Offer Expires 12/10/2020

Earning rate(s): 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per calendar year, then 1% thereafter); 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services; 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations; 3% cash back on transit; 1% back everywhere else. Terms apply.

Annual fee: $95, waived the first year (see rates and fees)

Why we chose it: This card may be a good option if you just want to put some cash back into your wallet, as we do value it as one of the best cash back credit cards. A 6% bonus category is among the highest you’ll find with cash-back cards, though I wish the bonus extended to merchants other than U.S. supermarkets and select U.S. streaming services. Nevertheless, if you’re a big grocery shopper, getting a 6% return is solid. Just make sure that you’ll spend enough each year to offset the card’s $95 annual fee (see rates and fees).

Read our full Blue Cash Preferred Card review. 

APPLY HERE: Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express ($300 cash-back bonus offer)

Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express: Best for cash-back beginners

Welcome offer: Earn $200 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months.

Earning rate(s): 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1% thereafter); 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores; 1% back everywhere else. Terms apply.

Annual fee: None (see rates and fees)

Why we chose it: This card carries no annual fee (see rates and fees) but offers lower bonus categories (3% and 2% instead of 6% and 3%) than the Blue Cash Preferred. If you’re debating between the Blue Cash Everyday and the Blue Cash Preferred, you’d need to spend $3,166.67 each year at U.S. supermarkets or $9,500 at U.S. gas stations/U.S. department stores to justify the Preferred’s annual fee, ignoring the welcome bonus.

APPLY HERE: Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express

Amex credit cards that earn transferable points

Every traveler should have a card that earns transferable points to shield yourself from devaluations and give you flexibility when it comes time to redeem. Many American Express cards earn Membership Rewards points, which can be transfered to 19 different airlines including British Airways, Delta and Singapore Airlines.

You also have the option to transfer your points to three hotel chains: Hilton, Marriott and Choice. You can use your points to book flights or hotels directly through Amex Travel, but transferring them to a partner and then redeeming them typically results in the best redemption value.

There are a few popular credit and charge cards that allow you to earn Membership Rewards points:

The Platinum Card® from American Express: Best for high-end benefits

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)
The Platinum Card carries a ton of perks to make your travel more rewarding and less stressful. (Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months of opening your account. Even better, select applicants may be targeted for an incredible 125,000-point offer by checking the CardMatch Tool (offers are subject to change at any time).

Earning rate(s): Earn 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year as of Jan. 1, 2021); 1 point per dollar everywhere else.

Limited-time COVID-19 benefits: Up to $20 in monthly statement credits each for select streaming services and wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers between May and December 2020 (up to $320 total).

Annual fee: $550 (see rates and fees)

Why we chose it: The Amex Platinum was the original premium travel rewards card, though this landscape is now quite competitive. Nevertheless, the card does offer solid value that even a semi-frequent traveler can appreciate. The annual credits for incidental fees on airlines and Uber trips effectively reduce the annual fee to $150, and the earning rate on tickets booked directly with an airline makes it an attractive card for airfare purchases, especially given that TPG values Amex points at a solid 2 cents apiece.

The card includes trip cancellation/interruption and trip delay insurance, making it even more competitive against other luxury credit cards. The Amex Platinum card also offers the most comprehensive airport lounge access of any card on the market, including a Priority Pass Select membership, access to Amex Centurion lounges and access to Delta SkyClubs when flying Delta.

When it comes to hotel stays, Platinum cardholders also get Gold elite status with two hotel loyalty programs: Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy. These perks are compelling by themselves, so if you’re then targeted for a 100,000-point bonus through the CardMatch tool, I’d say applying is a no-brainer.

Of course, many might be wondering if the Amex Platinum is still worth it during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Though the card’s perks center around travel, there are still perks on this card you can use while you’re home (such as the Uber credit on Uber Eats delivery). And, this will be a great card to have long-term once travel is back on the table. I’d argue that now is still a good time to consider applying for the card if you are a frequent traveler under normal circumstances.

Read our full The Platinum Card From American Express review.

APPLY HERE: The Platinum Card from American Express (60,000-point bonus offer)

American Express® Green Card: Best for beginner travelers

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Welcome offer: 30,000 Membership Rewards points after you use your new card to make $2,000 in purchases in your first three months.

Earning rate(s): 3 points per dollar spent on worldwide travel, transit and restaurants.

Limited time COVID benefits: Up to $10 in monthly statement credits for wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers between May and December 2020 (up to $80 total).

Annual fee: $150 (see rates and fees)

Why we chose it: The revamped Green from Amex is a great mid-tier card for beginner travelers. Amex expanded the bonus categories to include a wide range of travel purchases, including transit and homeshare rentals on top of traditional airfare and hotel purchases — something other Amex cards have yet to do. The card also got some upgraded features, such as an up to $100 Clear membership credit and an up to $100 LoungeBuddy credit. Although the annual fee did increase to $150, this card has jumped to the top of some TPGer’s wish lists.

Similar to the Amex Platinum, there is still an argument to be made for applying for this card now, even if you won’t use some of the benefits or redeem points until later in 2020 and into 2021.

Read our full Amex Green credit card review.

APPLY HERE American Express Green Card (30,000-point bonus offer)

American Express® Gold Card: Best for dining

Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy
The Amex Gold Card earns 4x at restaurants and supermarkets. (Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.

Earning rate(s): 4 points per dollar spent on dining worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year, then 1x); 3 points per dollar on flights purchased directly with the airline or at amextravel.com; 1 point per dollar everywhere else. Terms apply.

Annual fee: $250 (see rates and fees)

Why we chose it: The Amex Gold Card is a terrific option for foodies — whether you eat out, order delivery or cook at home. The 4x earning rate on dining and U.S. supermarket purchases equals a stellar 8% return on your spending according to TPG valuations. I personally love my Amex Gold and use it all the time, and have come to appreciate it even more during the coronavirus pandemic. I’ve been spending more on groceries and food delivery, and it’s great that I get 4x on my supermarket purchases and any take out I order to support local restaurants. Plus, you can use the dining credit on GrubHub (among other popular chain restaurants). Factoring in the $100 airline fee credit and up to $120 in annual dining credits, this card effectively costs just $30 per year.

 Read our full American Express Gold Card review.

APPLY HERE: American Express Gold Card (60,000-point bonus offer)

The Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card from American Express: Best for everyday spending

(Photo by The Points Guy)
This is a good card for those who spend regularly on supermarkets or gas. (Photo by The Points Guy)

Welcome offer: 15,000 Membership Rewards points after you use your new card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first three months.

Earning rate(s): 3 points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year); 2 points per dollar spent at U.S. gas stations; 1 point per dollar spent everywhere else. If you make 30 or more purchases in a billing period, you’ll earn 50% more points on those purchases.

Annual fee: $95

Why we chose it: This card can get you into the Membership Rewards program without breaking the bank with a high annual fee. It’s also great if you don’t travel that frequently. You don’t get the significant perks of the Amex Platinum or Amex Gold but you can still access some solid category bonuses for everyday spending. If you do use it as your primary card, you should make a point of hitting 30 transactions a month to earn the 50% earning bonus.

Read our full Amex EveryDay Preferred card review. 

The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express: Best for students

The Amex EveryDay Credit Card provides access to the Membership Rewards program with no annual fee. (Photo by The Points Guy)

Welcome offer: 10,000 Membership Rewards points after you use your new card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first three months.

Earning rate(s): 2 points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1 point dollar after that); 1 point per dollar everywhere else. If you make 20 or more purchases in a billing period, you’ll earn 20% more points on those purchases.

Annual fee: $0

Why we chose it: If you’re looking for a card without an annual fee that still allows you to participate in the Membership Rewards program, this flavor of Amex EveryDay is a terrific option. I love that it still gives you a category bonus at supermarkets since many no-annual-fee cards offer a flat earning rate across all merchants. It may take a while to get to a valuable redemption, but it’s a good place to start.

Read our full Amex EveryDay card review.

Amex credit cards that earn hotel and airline points

In addition to cards that earn Membership Rewards points, American Express issues several credit cards that are specific for a particular airline or hotel chain. The big advantage of these cards is that they often carry extra benefits with the cobranded airline or hotel partner. However, you’re locked into earning points or miles in that specific program, leaving you at the mercy of the airline or hotel chain when it comes to devaluations that can wipe significant value from your accounts.

Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express: Best for high-end Hilton perks

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)
The Hilton Aspire’s benefits can be worth far more than the annual fee, even for infrequent Hilton guests. (Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

Welcome offer: 150,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the card within your first three months of card membership.

Earning rate(s): 14 points per dollar spent at eligible Hilton properties; 7 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies, and U.S. restaurants; 3 points per dollar spent everywhere else.

Limited-time COVID-19 benefits: Bonus points earned from eligible purchases from May through Dec. 31, 2020, will be considered base points and count towards Hilton elite status qualification and Hilton lifetime Diamond status. Additionally, unexpired weekend free night certificates (plus any issued through Dec. 31, 2020) can now be used on any night of the week, and those issued between May 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, will be valid for 24 months instead of 12.

Annual fee: $450 (see rates and fees)

Why we chose it: The card carries a host of valuable perks, including an annual $250 airline-fee credit (which works the same as the Amex Platinum’s credit) and an annual credit of up to $250 valid at select Hilton resorts. This card is the only cobranded hotel credit card that grants you automatic top-tier status, Hilton Diamond, with a hotel loyalty program. If you can max out the airline-fee credit, your annual fee essentially drops to $200, and the value of the weekend night certificate should nearly cover the rest. Then you have the terrific earning rates at Hilton properties — a return of 8.4% based on TPG’s most recent valuations — plus Priority Pass membership and the annual resort credit. Even if you’re only a semi-regular guest at Hilton’s various brands, it’s fairly easy to get outsized value from the card.

Read our full Hilton American Express Aspire Credit Card review.

APPLY HERE: Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express (150,000-point bonus offer)

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card: Best for occasional Hilton stays

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Welcome offer: Earn 130,000 bonus points after you use your card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

Earning rate(s): 12 points per dollar of eligible purchases at Hilton properties; 6 points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations; 3 points per dollar spent everywhere else

Limited-time COVID-19 benefits: Bonus points earned from eligible purchases between May 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, will be considered base points and count towards Hilton elite status qualification and Hilton lifetime Diamond status. Additionally, unexpired weekend free night certificates (plus any issued through Dec. 31, 2020) can now be used on any night of the week, and those issued between May 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, will be valid for 24 months instead of 12.

Annual fee: $95 (see rates and fees)

Why we chose it: The Surpass card is a great option for those who visit Hilton properties a few times a year. You’ll enjoy complimentary Hilton Gold status with the card and the ability to upgrade to Diamond status by spending $40,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year. The card also awards a weekend-night certificate when you spend $15,000 on the card in a calendar year, and grants you Priority Pass Select membership (though you’ll only get 10 complimentary visits; each additional visit is $32). For an infrequent traveler, the 10 complimentary visits to Priority Pass lounges may be sufficient. You’re still getting a very solid return of 7.2% on your Hilton stays plus 3.6% back on your dining, grocery and gas purchases in the U.S. You may want to sign-up for the Surpass even if your travel habits could justify the Hilton Amex Aspire with its higher annual fee.

Read our full Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card review.

APPLY HERE: Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card 

Hilton Honors American Express Card: Best no-annual-fee hotel credit card

Welcome offer: 80,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your new card within the first three months of card membership.

Earning rate(s): 7 points per dollar spent at eligible Hilton properties; 5 points per dollar spent at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations; 3 points per dollar spend on all other eligible purchases.

Limited-time COVID-19 benefits: Bonus points earned from eligible purchases between May 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, will be considered base points and count towards Hilton elite status qualification and Hilton lifetime Diamond status.

Annual fee: $0 (see rates and fees)

Why we chose it: Earning a 4.2% return on Hilton stays and 3% return at restaurants, supermarkets and gas stations is impressive for a no-annual-fee card. You’ll also enjoy complimentary Silver elite status with the card and the ability to upgrade to Gold status by spending $20,000 in eligible purchases in a calendar year. Silver status is enough to get you a fifth night free on award stays, meaning you can spend as little as 20,000 points total for a five-night stay. The Hilton Surpass or Hilton Aspire will provide better value for most travelers — but if you’re opposed to paying an annual fee, the Hilton Amex is a solid card.

Read our full Hilton Honors American Express Card review. 

APPLY HERE: Hilton Honors American Express Card (80,000-point bonus offer)

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card: Best for high-end Marriott perks

(Photo by Eden Batki / The Points Guy)
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card can provide solid value for Marriott guests. (Photo by Eden Batki/The Points Guy)

Welcome offer: Earn up to 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn an additional 25,000 bonus points after your first anniversary of Card Membership. Offer Expires 1/13/2021.

Earning rate(s): 6 points per dollar at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels; 3 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines; 2 points per dollar on everything else. Receive complimentary Platinum Elite status with your Card for the 2021 status year. Offer Expires 1/13/2021.

Limited-time COVID-19 benefits: N/A

Annual Fee: $450 (see rates and fees)

Why we chose it: You don’t need to be a hard-core Marriott loyalist to get great value from this card. It offers a statement credit of up to $300 each year of card membership, and this applies to room rates as well as on-property purchases such as meals and spa treatments. Cardholders also get a free night award each year after their cardmember anniversary for properties that cost up to 50,000 points per night, plus complimentary Marriott Gold status (and the opportunity to earn Marriott Platinum status after spending $75,000 on the card in a calendar year) and a Priority Pass Select membership. Based on TPG’s valuation of Marriott points at .8 cents each, the free night certificate is worth $400 though it’s certainly possible to get more value from it. This means you’re looking at $700 or more in value each year from just the free night certificate and the annual credit, before even factoring in the card’s other perks.

Read our full Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Credit Card review.

APPLY HERE: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card (Up to 125,000-point bonus offer)

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card: Best for regular Delta flyers

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. (Offer Expires 10/28/2020)

Earning rate(s): 3 miles per dollar spent on eligible Delta purchases and at hotels and 2 miles at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets; 1 mile per dollar spent everywhere else.

Limited-time COVID-19 benefits: Cardholders are eligible for new Amex Offers, including 5x on Delta purchases and the opportunity to receive 500 Bonus Miles and 500 MQMs after spending $1,000 in purchases on your enrolled card (up to 25K miles and 25K MQMs). (Expires Dec. 31, 2020)

Annual fee: $250 (see rates and fees)

Why we chose it: If you’re chasing elite status on Delta, the Delta SkyMiles Platinum Amex is a solid choice. If you fly once a year with a companion, the card’s annual companion pass can easily save you at least the amount of the annual fee, since it’s good on many round-trip Delta coach fares. You’ll earn 10k MQMs at $25,000 and $50,000 in calendar-year spending, but remember that you no longer earn bonus redeemable miles. The card is offering 3x miles on Delta purchases and at hotels; 2x miles at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets; and a Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee credit (every four years for Global Entry, every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck).

Read our full Delta SkyMiles Platinum Amex Card review.

APPLY HERE: Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card: Best for occasional Delta flyers

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Welcome offer: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. (Offer Expires 10/28/2020)

Earning rate(s): 2 miles for every dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta and at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets; 1 mile per dollar spent everywhere else.

Limited-time COVID-19 benefits: Cardholders are eligible for new Amex Offers, including 5x on Delta purchases and 4x on restaurants. (Expires Dec. 31, 2020)

Annual fee: $99, waived the first year (see rates and fees)

Why we chose it: This card is a terrific option if you occasionally fly Delta. The free-checked-bag benefit will save you up to $60 on a round-trip flight, and priority boarding can help ensure that you snag space in the overhead bin. Plus, cardholders now receive a $100 Delta flight credit after spending $10,000 in a calendar year. However, keep in mind that Sky Club access (previously $29 for cardholders) and the Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQD) waiver on this card is no longer available, and the annual fee has increased. Even though Delta has significantly devalued its program over the last few years, there are still some solid redemptions using SkyMiles.

Read our full Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex Card review.

APPLY HERE: Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Amex credit cards for business owners

There are plenty of benefits to using a small-business card for business purchases. For one, these cards often offer bonus rewards in categories more suited to business expenses, such as internet services or advertising. Plus, you want to be able to keep your business expenses separate from your personal finances and the best business cards come with management tools that make that process easier. Here are a few of Amex’s top business credit cards:

The Business Platinum Card from American Express: Best for frequent business travelers

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy.)

Welcome offer: Earn 75,000 points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within the first three months of account opening.

Earning rate(s): 5 points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels booked at amextravel.com; 1 point per dollar spent everywhere else.

Limited-time COVID-19 benefits: Up to $20 in monthly statement credits each for select streaming services and wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers between May and December 2020 (up to $320 total). Cardholders will also enjoy an additional $100 Dell statement credit between July and December 2020, in addition to a (now expired) $100 bonus credit for the first half of the year.

Annual fee: $595 (see rates and fees)

Why we chose it: Like its consumer-card counterpart, the Amex Business Platinum is best in class when it comes to benefits for frequent travelers. Many benefits are the same across the cards, including lounge access, up to $200 airline-fee credit, automatic elite status and more. The card also comes with a 35% rebate when you book a business or first-class ticket (up to 500,000 points per calendar year) — or any class flight with your selected qualifying airline — through American Express Travel using Membership Rewards points. You’ll also get up to $200 in annual Dell credits for U.S. purchases and access to Amex’s suite of business tools. Even though the card accrues valuable Membership Rewards points that can be used in a variety of ways, it offers very little in the way of spending bonuses, so it’s not the best option for maximizing everyday purchases. Terms apply.

Read our full Business Platinum Card from Amex review. 

APPLY HERE: The Business Platinum Card from American Express

American Express® Business Gold Card: Best for flexible earning on business expenses

(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

Welcome offer: Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first three months of card membership.

Earning rate(s): Earn 4 points per dollar on the two categories you spend most on each month (on the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these two categories each calendar year; then 1x). The choices include airfare purchased directly from airlines, U.S. advertising purchases in select media (online, TV, radio), U.S. purchases made from select technology providers of computer hardware, software and cloud solutions, U.S. gas stations, U.S. restaurants and U.S. shipping purchases. Earn 1 point per dollar on all other spending.

Annual fee: $295 (see rates and fees)

Why we chose it: Unlike the Platinum business card, the Business Gold Card offers some valuable spending bonuses on categories that are popular for small businesses, so this is ideal for those of you wanting to boost your Membership Rewards balance. The flexible rewards structure that automatically chooses your top categories also makes it easier to maximize rewards each month.

Read our full Amex Business Gold Card review.

APPLY HERE: American Express Business Gold Card

Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express: Best for everyday business expenses

(Photo by The Points Guy)

Welcome offer: Limited time offer: Earn up to $300 in statement credits when you make eligible purchases with Dell Technologies, DocuSign and FedEx within the first three months of Card Membership (up to $100 in statement credits per merchant). This offer will run through November 4, 2020.

Earning rate(s): Earn 2 points per dollar spent on up to $50,000 annually; then 1 point per dollar.

Annual fee: $0 (see rates and fees)

Why we chose it: Earning 2x on all purchases is the best flat earning rate for business expenses on the market today, especially from a card that doesn’t charge an annual fee. It means you don’t have to juggle bonus categories and it’s perfect for business owners with smaller annual budgets.

Read our full Blue Business Plus Credit Card review.

APPLY HERE: Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card: Best for budget business travelers

Photo by The Points Guy

Bonus: Limited time offer: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in the first three months of account opening. Offer ends 10/28/20.

Earning rate(s): Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on eligible purchases made directly with Delta, and at restaurants, on U.S. shipping and U.S. advertising; then 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

Limited-time COVID-19 benefits: Cardholders are eligible for new Amex Offers, including 5x on Delta purchases and 4x on restaurants. (Expires Dec. 31, 2020)

Annual fee: $99, waived the first year (see rates and fees)

Why we chose it: If you fly Delta for business travel, it’s a good idea to have a cobranded Delta credit card in your wallet. The card also comes with a free checked bag on Delta flights, along with priority boarding and 20% savings on eligible inflight purchases. Keep in mind this card underwent similar changes to the personal Delta SkyMiles Gold card earlier this year. You can now earn a $100 Delta flight credit after spending $10,000 in a calendar year, but the annual fee did increase. Plus, you can no longer receive an MQD waiver or discounted Sky Club access.

Read our full Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business Credit Card review.

APPLY HERE: Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card

How we chose the best Amex Credit cards

After going through details for each specific card, let’s now discuss our overall approach to this analysis and how we chose the best Amex cards. I started by selecting what I believe to be the best American Express credit cards on the market today based on what type of card, the benefits offered, the cost of card membership and more. Then I divided those cards into four categories:

  1. Those that earn cash back
  2. Those that earn transferable points
  3. Those that earn points or miles in a specific program
  4. Those that are suited for small businesses

Then, within each category, I broke down the individual perks of each card using the following criteria:

  • Welcome bonus
  • Earning rate(s)
  • Benefits
  • Annual fee
  • Temporary benefits (when applicable)

Finally, I tried to provide some context for each card and suggest to whom it might appeal based on a variety of factors, including spending habits, travel patterns and desired rewards. As always, you likely have your own criteria for these decisions, but hopefully, this analysis helps you get jumpstarted on your research for choosing the right card for you.

Bottom line

As you can see, American Express offers a wide range of selections including some of the best rewards credit cards and best travel credit cards with benefits along with varied earning and redemption options. If you aren’t sure what card is best, start by figuring out what type of rewards you want to earn and the benefits you want to enjoy. Then you can consider each product to see which one carries the perks and points that’ll work best for you.

Additional reporting by Chris Dong.

Featured image by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Green card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Surpass card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Amex card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Gold card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Gold Business card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday, click here.

American Express® Gold Card

With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Dining Credit: 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.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
See Pay Over Time APR
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.