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99% of merchants in the U.S. who accept credit cards now take American Express

The most recent Nilson Report found that 10.6 million U.S. merchant locations accepted American Express at the end of 2019.

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It may seem like a minor issue, but it can be rather annoying when you pull out an American Express card to pay for your dry cleaning only to have the store owner tell you they only accept Visa or Mastercard. But this issue is becoming much less common in recent years: The most recent Nilson Report, a leading credit card industry resource, found that 99% of credit card-accepting merchants in the U.S. can now accept Amex.

This is a significant change from just five years ago: Amex has increased merchant acceptance from 3.7 million in 2014 to 10.6 million U.S. merchant locations at the end of 2019, which is the same as Discover. In comparison, Visa and Mastercard were accepted at 10.7 million U.S. locations in 2019. Last year, almost a million new U.S. locations began accepting Amex.

"American Express cards, whether personal, co-brand, small business or corporate, now have even greater utility because our cardmembers can use them with more confidence in more places," Anré Williams, group president of global merchant and network services at American Express, said in the press release.

If you're looking to open a new Amex credit card, there are plenty of choices that offer robust rewards programs in common spending categories, such as gas, groceries, dining and travel. Check out some of the top offers below.

Best American Express credit cards

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations, 3% cash back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more and 1% cash back on other purchases. Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.

  • Annual fee

    $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95

  • Intro APR

    0% for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening; N/A for balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    14.74% - 24.74% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    2.7%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees, terms apply.

 

American Express® Green Card

Information about the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
  • Rewards

    3X Membership Rewards® points on eligible travel, transit and at restaurants worldwide and 1X Membership Rewards® points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    30,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of card membership

  • Annual fee

    $150

  • Intro APR

    Not applicable

  • Regular APR

    See Pay Over Time APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees, terms apply.

American Express® Gold Card

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    4X Membership Rewards® points at Restaurants (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months of card membership

  • Annual fee

    $250

  • Intro APR

    Not applicable

  • Regular APR

    See Pay Over Time APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees, terms apply.

 

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 3X miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels; 2X miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets; 1X miles on all other eligible purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first 3 months.

  • Annual fee

    $250

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    16.49% - 25.49% variable on purchases

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fees

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees, terms apply.

For rates and fees for Blue Cash Preferred Card, click here

For rates and fees for American Express Green Card, click here

For rates and fees for American Express Gold Card, click here

For rates and fees for Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card, click here

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.