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Credit Cards

Here are the best American Express cards, no matter what kind of consumer you are

Select analyzed American Express cards using an average American's annual spending budget and digging into perks and drawbacks of each to find the best based on your consumer habits.

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Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

American Express cards are known for lucrative rewards, countless perks and unique card designs. In fact, Amex released the first "black card," the Centurion® Card from American Express, in 1999 and created a lot of buzz nearly 20 years later when it offered the American Express® Gold Card in a limited-edition rose gold metal in 2018.

Beyond creative card designs, Amex cards offer a wide range of benefits for a variety of consumers, whether you're looking to earn rewards, get out of debt, travel or streamline business expenses.

While many Amex cards have annual fees that can reach nearly $600, you can find low and no annual fee cards with many of the same standard Amex perks offered on annual fee cards, such as shopping discounts through Amex Offers and free two-day shipping with ShopRunner.

Below, Select breaks down the best Amex cards in six categories, so you can find the card that fits your needs.

Best American Express cards

Best cash-back card

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 the first 12 months on purchases, N/A for balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    13.99% to 23.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    2.7%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

Pros

  • High 6% cash back at U.S. supermarket spending (up to $6,000 a year, then 1%)
  • Unlimited 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • Unlimited 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: Enjoy $0 intro plan fees when you use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 plan fees on plans created during the first 12 months after account opening. Plans created after that will have a monthly plan fee up to 1.33% of each purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors.

Cons

  • 2.7% fee on purchases made abroad
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $679
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,397

Rewards totals incorporate the cash back earned from the welcome bonus

Who's this for? If you're whipping up a new recipe, refueling your car or streaming your favorite TV show, it's a good idea to consider a card that rewards those purchases. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a great choice for anyone who regularly stocks up on groceries, drives or pays for streaming subscriptions since the cash-back program is tailored to those purchases.

Cardholders earn an industry-leading 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%) and 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. Plus you earn 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit and 1% cash back on other purchases.

The list of eligible streaming subscriptions is longer than most cards and includes Netflix, Spotify, Disney+ and more. Learn more about how Amex classifies bonus category purchases.

In addition to rewards, you can take advantage of no interest on purchases for the first 12 months your account is open (after 13.99% to 23.99% variable APR) (see rates and fees).

This card has a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 (see rates and fees), but it can be offset by the cash back you earn and discounts you can get through the Amex Offers. There's also a no-annual-fee version, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, which is the best no-annual-fee Amex card (more below). (See rates and fees.)

Best no-annual-fee card

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%), 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, 1% cash back on other purchases. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits.

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 6 months.

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 15 months on purchases, N/A for balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    13.99% to 23.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    2.7%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees and our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 a year, then 1%)
  • Unlimited 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores
  • Amex Offers, which provide statement credits or opportunity to earn more rewards at select merchants
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: Enjoy $0 intro plan fees when you use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 plan fees on plans created during the first 15 months after account opening. Plans created after that will have a monthly plan fee up to 1.33% of each purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors.

Cons

  • 2.7% fee on purchases made abroad
  • Not great for people who don’t regularly go grocery shopping
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $547
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $1,935

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

Who's this for? If you're looking for a similar rewards program to the Blue Cash Preferred card, consider the no annual fee cash-back alternative, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. (See rates and fees.)

This is a competitive no annual fee cash-back card for grocery shoppers with 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).

You can also earn unlimited 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores. This is a decent rewards rate since all other purchases earn a standard 1% cash back.

The Blue Cash Everyday card also provides a special financing offer for new purchases with a 0% APR for the first 15 months from account opening. Once the intro period ends, a 13.99% to 23.99% variable APR applies (See rates and fees.).

Best travel card

American Express® Gold Card

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    4X Membership Rewards® points on restaurants (including takeout and delivery, plus, Uber Eats purchases) 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 from account opening

  • 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 and our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Up to $120 dining credit annually ($10 a month) for purchases made with Grubhub, Seamless and eligible restaurants (after a one-time enrollment)
  • Up to $120 Uber Cash annually ($10 a month) for U.S. Uber Eats orders and U.S. Uber rides (card must be added to Uber app to receive the Uber Cash benefit)
  • Strong rewards program with 4X points earned at restaurants and 3X points earned on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com
  • Baggage insurance plan covers up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage that is damaged, lost or stolen
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • No introductory APR period
  • $250 annual fee
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $1,074
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,969

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

Who's this for? Consumers that enjoy traveling and dining out can benefit from the rewards and added perks provided by the American Express® Gold Card. You can earn 4X Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants and 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.

And when you book rooms through The Hotel Collection with American Express Travel, you can receive a $100 hotel credit to spend on qualifying dining, spa and resort activities. In addition, when you book a stay of at least two consecutive nights you can receive a room upgrade, upon approval.

Even if travel isn't top of mind now, you can benefit from earning rewards on U.S. supermarket purchases and receiving a credit on eligible take-out. Cardholders earn 4X points on purchases at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X), plus 1X points on all other purchases.

Plus you receive a $120 annual dining credit ($10 per month) to cover food from Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed and participating Shake Shack locations.

While the Amex Gold card comes with a *$250 annual fee, taking advantage of the $120 dining credit can reduce the cost to effectively $130. *(See rates and fees.)

Best luxury card

The Platinum Card® from American Express

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    10X points on eligible purchases on the card at restaurants worldwide and when you shop small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during the first six months of Card Membership, 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (starting January 1, 2021, this applies on up to $500,000 per calendar year), 5X points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    100,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $6,000 within six months of account opening

  • Annual fee

    $695

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    See Pay Over Time APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit Needed

    Excellent/Good

Pros

  • Up to $200 in annual airline fee credits
  • Up to $200 in annual Uber savings
  • Complimentary Global Lounge Collection access with more than 1,200 airport lounges across 130+ countries
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM and The New York Times (enrollment required)
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card (cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax)

Cons

  • $695 annual fee
  • No special financing offers on new purchases

Who's this for? If you're looking to travel in luxury and benefit from high rewards on eligible airfare and hotel expenses, consider The Platinum Card® from American Express. This card offers a competitive 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (starting January 1, 2021, this applies on up to $500,000 per calendar year), 5X points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel and 1X points on all other purchases.

In addition to rewards, cardholders can benefit from up to $200 in annual airline fee credits to cover incidentals, such as baggage fees, seat upgrades and in-flight purchases. If you fly often, there's another money-saving perk that can allow you to speed through security — an application fee credit for Global Entry ($100) every 4 years or TSA PreCheck ($85) every 4.5 years.

You can take advantage of Global Lounge Collection access with more than 1,200 airport lounges across 130+ countries and special benefits at Fine Hotels & Resorts properties, such as up to a $100 hotel credit, complimentary room upgrades when available and free Wi-Fi.

You'll also receive up to $200 in annual Uber cash for Uber rides.

This card does come with a pretty steep price tag of $695*, but if you consider all the added perks, you can offset the annual fee. Just deducting the $200 airline fee credit and $200 Uber credit lowers the annual fee to an effective $150. Then if you factor in eligible hotel stays, you can lower it even further by $100 for each stay. (See rates and fees.)

Best business card

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases up to $50,000 per year, then 1X point per dollar

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership.

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 12 months on purchases

  • Regular APR

    13.24% to 19.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    2.7%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Free employee cards
  • Straightforward rewards program

Cons

  • 2.7% foreign transaction fee

Who's this for? Small business cards, like the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, are a great asset for business owners that want to streamline business expenses while earning rewards.

This card provides an introductory interest-free period that lasts 12 months from account opening and applies to new purchases (after 13.24% to 19.24% variable APR) (See rates and fees). This is a helpful tool for paying off expensive business equipment.

Business owners won't have to pay an annual fee for this card or any employee cards. (See rates and fees.) And all spending — whether it's by you or your employees — earns rewards at a rate of 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases up to $50,000 per year, then 1X point per dollar. Eligible business purchases include most common expenses, such as office chairs, but exclude gift cards and prepaid cards.

You'll also receive various account management tools that allow you to simplify expenses and get helpful answers to any business needs. Cardholders receive Relationship Care® Service, which offers 24/7 support from representatives who are trained to understand business needs.

Update May 1: Amex adds new benefits to most of its premium cards in streaming, wireless, grocery and dining categories

Compare the best Amex cards

Category Best cash-back card Best no annual fee card Best travel card Best luxury card Best small business card
Credit card
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
American Express® Gold Card
The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
See below for our methodologyLearn MoreOn the American Express secure siteLearn MoreOn the American Express secure siteLearn MoreOn the American Express secure siteLearn MoreOn the American Express secure siteLearn MoreOn the American Express secure site

Our methodology

To determine which credit cards offer the best value for various categories, Select analyzed Amex credit cards available in the U.S. We compared each card on a range of features, including rewards, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR, balance transfer fee and foreign transaction fees, as well as factors such as required credit and customer reviews when available. We also considered additional perks, the application process and how easy it is for the consumer to redeem points.

Select teamed up with location intelligence firm Esri. The company's data development team provided the most up-to-date and comprehensive consumer spending data based on the 2019 Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can read more about their methodology here.

Esri's data team created a sample annual budget of approximately $22,126 in retail spending. The budget includes six main categories: groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953). General purchases include items such as housekeeping supplies, clothing, personal care products, prescription drugs and vitamins, and other vehicle expenses.

Select used this budget to estimate how much the average consumer would save over the course of a year, two years and five years, assuming they would attempt to maximize their rewards potential by earning all welcome bonuses offered and using the card for all applicable purchases. All rewards total estimations are net the annual fee.

While the five-year estimates we've included are derived from a budget similar to the average American's spending, you may earn a higher or lower return depending on your shopping habits.

Don't miss:

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, click here.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, click here.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.

For rates and fees of the The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

For rates and fees of the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, 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.