Best American Express Credit Cards of September 2019

These are the best credit cards from American Express today. Check below to see which is right for you.

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Our Bottom Line

The high annual fee is justifiable for frequent travelers who can take full advantage of a deep bench of valuable perks, including the big welcome bonus and lucrative annual travel credits.

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What we Like:
  • 60,000 points welcome offer
  • 5x points per $1 on qualifying travel
  • $200 airline fee credit
Key Scores:
4.0 5 Perks
4.0 5 Fees
4.0 5 APR
Perks 4.0/5
Fees 4.0/5
APR 4.0/5
  • Annual Fee: $550
  • Regular APR: N/A
  • Intro APR: Purchases: N/A Balance Transfers: N/A
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
Highlights
  • 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.
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Rates & Fees
Apply Now
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On American Express' Secure Website.

Our Bottom Line

This is the highest spending gas and supermarkets card we've come across. If you have a sizable budget on both, the small annual fee is justifiable, especially given the other perks that include a big welcome bonus and a competitive 0% intro APR offer.

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What we Like:
  • $250 welcome bonus
  • 0% intro APR offer
  • Earn up to 6% cash back
Key Scores:
5.0 5 Perks
1.5 5 Fees
4.0 5 APR
Perks 5.0/5
Fees 1.5/5
APR 4.0/5
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Regular APR: 14.99%-25.99% Variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: 0.00%, 12 months Balance Transfers: 0.00%, 12 months
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
Highlights
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • NEW 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • NEW 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • You spoke, we listened. Over 1.6 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2018.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.99% to 25.99%
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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Rates & Fees
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Our Bottom Line

This card is unavailable on site and card details may be out of date -- One of the highest rewards-earning gas and supermarkets cards we've come across with no annual fee. The big welcome bonus and 0% intro APR offer round out a diverse feature set that makes the card worth considering for a one-card wallet.

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What we Like:
  • 0% intro APR
  • $150 welcome bonus
  • No annual fee
Key Scores:
4.0 5 Perks
4.0 5 Fees
4.0 5 APR
Perks 4.0/5
Fees 4.0/5
APR 4.0/5
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 15.24%-26.24% Variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: 0.00%, 15 months Balance Transfers: 0.00%, 15 months
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
Highlights
  • Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • 2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 15.24% to 26.24%.
  • You spoke, we listened. Over 1.6 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2018.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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Rates & Fees
American Express Cash Magnet® Card
Our Bottom Line

This card is unavailable on site and card details may be out of date -- Brings one-card wallet versatility with a big welcome bonus, long 0% intro APR offer, and unlimited cash back

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What we Like:
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back
  • 0% intro APR offer
  • Welcome bonus
Key Scores:
3.5 5 Perks
5.0 5 Fees
4.0 5 APR
Perks 3.5/5
Fees 5.0/5
APR 4.0/5
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 15.24%-26.24% Variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: 0.00%, 15 months Balance Transfers: 0.00%, 15 months
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.
Highlights
  • Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on your purchases.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 15.24% to 26.24%.
  • $0 plan fees for plans set up during your first 15 months of Card Membership with Plan It®, a feature that lets you split up big purchases into monthly payments with a fixed fee.
  • You spoke, we listened. Over 1.6 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2018.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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Rates & Fees
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
Our Bottom Line

This card is unavailable on site and card details may be out of date -- One of the few remaining balance-transfer cards that include an intro $0 balance transfer fee. Add in the premium rewards and welcome bonus, and it's hard to ignore.

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What we Like:
  • Intro balance transfer fee
  • Earn up to 2x points at U.S. supermarkets
  • Earn up to 20% bonus points
Key Scores:
5.0 5 Perks
5.0 5 Fees
4.0 5 APR
Perks 5.0/5
Fees 5.0/5
APR 4.0/5
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 14.74%-25.74% Variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 15 months Balance Transfers: 0%, 15 months
Highlights
  • Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.74% to 25.74%.
  • $0 balance transfer fee. Balance transfers must be requested within 60 days from account opening.
  • 2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x); 1x points on other purchases.
  • Use your Card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period and earn 20% more points on those purchases less returns and credits.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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Rates & Fees
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card
Our Bottom Line

This card is unavailable on site and card details may be out of date -- A great pick that rewards cardholders who swipe frequently with an impressive rewards boost. What's more, the 0% intro APR offer and big welcome bonus make it a versatile pick.

Read Full Review
What we Like:
  • 15,000 points welcome bonus
  • 0% intro APR offer
  • Bonus U.S. supermarket points
Key Scores:
3.5 5 Perks
3.5 5 Fees
3.5 5 APR
Perks 3.5/5
Fees 3.5/5
APR 3.5/5
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Regular APR: 15.24% - 25.24%, variable
  • Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 12 months Balance Transfers: 0%, 12 months
Highlights
  • Earn 15,000 Membership Reward® points after you use your new card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Use your Card 30 or more times on purchases in a billing period and earn 50% more points on those purchases less returns and credits. Terms and limitations apply.
  • 3 points per dollar at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1 point per dollar after); 2 points per dollar at US gas stations; 1 point per dollar on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • You can use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points to pay for all or part of your flight, hotel booked and paid in advance, vacation or cruise booking through amextravel.com.
  • 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, then a variable rate, currently 15.24% to 25.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Terms and Conditions apply.
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Rates & Fees
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Get our latest tips and uncover more of our top picks to help you conquer your money goals

The Best American Express Credit Cards of September 2019

American Express offers some of our favorite credit cards, and it’s no surprise that the issuer is one of the most valuable brands in the world. Whether you’re looking to score some serious cash back rewards, pay off debt with a balance transfer, or travel the world on points and miles, American Express cards have you covered. But before you hit “apply,” here’s everything you need to know about the issuer and its top credit cards.

How we picked the winners

We choose cards that offer bonuses and perks that help you make your money work for you while minimizing your costs. No credit card has it all, but when selecting the best American Express credit cards, we look at the following central factors:

  • Is there a bonus? We look for a big bonus that will get you started with a stockpile of rewards.
  • Are the ongoing rewards good? We want to see useful bonus categories and a high rewards rate on regular spending.
  • Does the card offer extra perks? Annual statement credits and travel benefits are always good to have in your wallet.
  • Are the fees low? We like cards with no annual fee and no balance transfer fee, but sometimes a minimal fee can be outweighed by generous benefits.
  • Does the card come with a 0% introductory APR? Having a 0% promotional APR on new purchases or balance transfers can help you save money on interest fees.
  • Is the ongoing APR low? While it’s smart to never carry a balance, sometimes it’s unavoidable, so we do consider the ongoing APR.

Why you can trust us

As credit card enthusiasts, we’ve personally used credit cards like these to pile up points, miles, and cash back rewards. We launched The Ascent to help you take your finances to the next level, whether that’s through credit cards or savings accounts. After poring over more than 300 credit card offers and thousands of data points, our team developed a credit card ranking philosophy to come up with the top picks for your wallet.

How do American Express credit cards work?

One big source of confusion with American Express cards is whether they have to be paid in full each month. This depends on the card you select, because American Express offers charge cards, which do have to be paid in full each month, and credit cards, which can carry over a balance each month.

Of the best American Express credit cards listed here, only The Platinum Card® from American Express is a charge card, while many others are regular credit cards. This is why you won’t find a regular APR listed for The Platinum Card® from American Express. Your balance must be paid in full each month. The card also comes without a preset spending limit, unlike credit cards.

Charge cards are helpful because they provide the rewards of a credit card without the temptation to overspend, fall into debt, and waste money on hefty interest fees. On the other hand, they offer less financial flexibility. If you’re unable to pay your bill in full one month, you’ll get hit with late fees, a penalty APR higher than a regular credit card’s, and a decreasing credit score, so keep that in mind.

How to compare American Express credit cards

When faced with so many options, it can be difficult to select the right credit card. Ask yourself the following questions when comparing the benefits and downsides of different American Express credit cards.

Are you paying off debt?

If you’re currently paying off high-interest debt, such as credit card debt, that should be your first priority. Rather than worrying about rewards, you’ll want to look for a good balance transfer credit card that can help you get your debt paid down faster and avoid interest fees. The two main features to look at are the balance transfer fee and the length of the 0% promotional APR period. You’ll also want to consider your chances of approval and the credit limit that most cardholders receive, as you won’t be able to transfer an amount larger than your available credit line.

Are you more interested in cash or travel rewards?

Rewards credit cards fall into two categories: cash back and travel. If you travel often or want to travel more often, travel rewards credit cards can be highly valuable. However, redeeming your points with these credit cards can be more complicated, and if you don’t do your research, you could end up with rewards you can’t use. On the other hand, cash back cards often provide a slightly lower rewards rate, but cash rewards are simple and universal.

Are you willing to pay an annual fee?

Many credit cards with annual fees offer generous rewards that can greatly outweigh the fee. However, these cards are only worth it if you’re actively taking advantage of the perks and benefits they offer. If you’re not sure if you’ll be able to make sufficient use of a rewards credit card, opt for a card with no annual fee to start.

Are you going to be approved for the card of your choice?

It’s impossible to know whether or not you’ll receive approval for any given credit card until you apply. However, you can do some research and estimate your chances of approval based on your credit score. You can read our review of the credit card you’re interested in, which will contain a section detailing the credit score you should have in order to avoid being denied.

What are American Express Membership Rewards® points worth?

When redeemed through Membership Rewards® programs, such as booking travel through the travel portal, purchasing with shopping partners like Amazon, redeeming for statement credits or gift cards, using points for Uber rides, or purchasing event tickets through the Membership Experiences portal, Membership Rewards® points yield a value of $0.005 to $0.01 each.

However, Membership Rewards points are also transferable. When you transfer your points to one of the issuer’s airline or hotel partners, you can easily get more than $0.01 out of each point. Some transfer options consistently yield a value of more than $0.02 per point.

When calculating a point value across all redemption options, we estimate that Membership Rewards® points are worth $0.012 on average.

How do Membership Rewards® points work?

Membership Rewards® points offer highly flexible redemption options. They can be redeemed through various American Express portals and partners for a flat-rate value, or they can be transferred to a number of different partners.

If you want to redeem your Membership Rewards® points with American Express, you’ll find the value you get per point for each option below.

  • Gift cards: Up to $0.01
  • Shopping portal: $0.05
  • Shopping partners (Amazon, Best Buy, Grubhub, Rite Aid, Staples, and more): $0.07
  • Airfare: $0.01
  • Travel (hotels, vacation packages, cruises): $0.007
  • Event tickets (Ticketmaster®, AXS): $0.005
  • Charitable donations: $0.01 up to 500,000 points
  • Transportation (NYC Taxi): $0.01

These redemption options are easy and useful to just about everyone. However, the redemption rates aren’t great. If you’re looking to maximize the value of your Membership Rewards® points, you also have the option to transfer them to the loyalty programs of nearly 20 different airline and hotel partners listed below.

  • Airline transfer partners: AeroMexico, Air Canada, Air France KLM, Alitalia, ANA (All Nippon Airways), Asia Miles, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, El Al Israel Airlines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, Iberia Plus, Jetblue Airways, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic Airways
  • Hotel transfer partners: Choice Privileges and Hilton Honors, Starwood Preferred Guest coming soon

How to earn Membership Rewards® points faster

Apart from getting an American Express credit card, there are a number of things you can do to earn rewards at a faster rate. Here are a few tips to help you pile on the Membership Rewards® points.

Aim for a good welcome bonus

While you shouldn’t apply for a credit card you won’t use just to get the welcome bonus, it is something you want to consider when choosing an American Express credit card. Often, credit cards with the biggest bonuses can provide you with more points than a year or two of use.

Pair two American Express cards

In order to maximize the rewards you get from your everyday spending, it often makes sense to pair up two, or sometimes even combine three, different credit cards that offer different spending bonuses. For example, if you got the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express, you could use the former on purchases at supermarkets for 3 points per $1 and the latter on travel for 5 points per $1 in order to maximize your rewards.

Refer friends

Refer a Friend is American Express’s credit card referral program. You’ll find your personalized referral link on your account page, which you can give out to friends and family. Each time someone applies for the card and is approved through your link, you’ll receive bonus points, miles, or cash back. While your rewards are capped, the maximum is often very high. For example, The Platinum Card® from American Express cardholders get 15,000 Membership Rewards® points for each successful referral, up to 55,000 points per year.

Buy gift cards

Many of the American Express credit cards on this list offer bonus points for purchases at U.S. supermarkets. In order to take advantage of this bonus category, consider buying gift cards at your local supermarket for purchases you know you’ll make elsewhere. For example, if you spend a lot of money dining out -- which only gets you 1 point per $1 on most of these cards -- purchasing gift cards for your favorite restaurants ahead of time at the grocery store will get you 2 to 3 points per $1.

How to get the maximum value for your Membership Rewards® points

There are dozens of ways to redeem your Membership Rewards® points, but with so many options, it’s easy to slip up and redeem your points for less than they’re worth. Here are the best ways to redeem your Membership Rewards® points.

Transfer your Membership Rewards® points to an airline or hotel

This is easily the best way to maximize the value of your Membership Rewards® points, as it’s the only redemption option offered by the cards above that gets you over $0.01 per point. You’ll still have to redeem your airline miles or hotel points wisely. Popular transfer partners for high-value redemptions are British Airways, Singapore Airlines, AeroMexico, Delta Air Lines, Iberia, ANA, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, Jetblue Airways, and Air Canada.

Don’t use points for shopping or gift cards

Alternatively, some of the lowest value redemptions are the gift card and shopping portal options, which will only get you $0.005 to $0.007 per point. The same is true of redemptions done through the American Express travel portal.

Avoid redeeming points for a statement credit

While redemptions for statement credits are convenient, you only get $0.006 per point. I’d avoid this option unless you can’t find any other redemption options that work for you.

How to transfer Membership Rewards® points to airlines and hotels

In order to transfer your points to any of the partners listed above, you’ll want to follow these three steps:

  1. Link your accounts. You’ll need to link your loyalty account with the transfer partner of your choice to your Membership Rewards® account. If you don’t have a loyalty account with that partner yet, you’ll need to sign up for one.
  2. Specify how many points you’d like to transfer. Transfers are final, so make sure that you check availability and how many points you need for the flight or hotel stay that you want before completing a transfer.
  3. Redeem your points with the partner of your choice. Confirm that your points are now in your loyalty account and reserve your travel through that account.

The American Express Membership Rewards® program currently gives you the option to transfer your points to 16 different airline loyalty programs and 2 different hotel loyalty programs.

Below you’ll find the transfer rate for each Membership Rewards® partner:

Loyalty program Transfer rate
AeroMexico 1,000:1,600
Air Canada 1,000:1,000
Air France/Flying Blue 1,000:1,000
Alitalia 1,000:1,000
ANA 1,000:1,000
Asia Miles 1,000:1,000
British Airways 1,000:1,000
Delta Air Lines 1,000:1,000
El Al Israel Airlines 1,000:20
Emirates 1,000:1,000
Etihad Airways 1,000:1,000
Hawaiian Airlines 1,000:1,000
Iberia Plus 1,000:1,000
Jetblue Airways 250:200
Singapore Airlines 1,000:1,000
Virgin Atlantic Airways 1,000:1,000
Choice Privileges 1,000:1,000
Hilton Honors 1,000:2,000

Which American Express credit card is right for you?

Most consumers have credit cards in their wallet that aren’t making the most of their spending habits and credit score. You should take your time and do your research when choosing a credit card to apply for, making sure that you maximize the rewards available to you.

Choosing a credit card is a personal decision. It’s important to pick a credit card with both your spending habits and your specific goals in mind. The table below will help guide you in choosing the best American Express credit card for you.

You want to... You spend a lot of money on... You should get...
Pay off debt using a balance transfer while avoiding fees and earning rewards Groceries Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
Get cash back on bonus categories and a welcome bonus with no annual fee Groceries and gas stations Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Earn valuable travel rewards and premium perks worth a high annual fee Travel The Platinum Card® from American Express
Use one card for all purchases and earn unlimited cash back with no annual fee Anything American Express Cash Magnet®
Earn travel rewards and a big welcome bonus Groceries and gas Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card
Pay an annual fee for the highest cash back rate possible and earn a statement credit Groceries and gas Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Build credit and minimize the risk of being denied while earning rewards Anything Blue from American Express®

To recap, here are the best American Express credit cards

Our picks for best American Express credit cards of auto_date_month_year:
Card Rating Great For…
The Platinum Card® from American Express Graphic of The Platinum Card® from American Express
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

Premium travel and welcome bonus

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Graphic of Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

U.S. supermarkets and gas

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express Graphic of Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

No-annual-fee and U.S. supermarkets

American Express Cash Magnet® Card Graphic of American Express Cash Magnet® Card
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
4.0 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

One-card wallet

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express Graphic of The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

Intro $0 balance transfer fee

Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card Graphic of Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card
Rating image, 3.5 out of 5 stars.
3.5 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Great For:

An impressive welcome bonus