The 10 Best American Express Credit Cards of 2019

It's about time you get some perks for your spending

We are committed to researching and recommending the best financial solutions and products for our readers. The Balance has partnered with CardRatings and may receive commissions from links within our content, but these have no bearing on our reviews or recommendations. The below content has not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any card issuers prior to publishing.

American Express, one of the country’s oldest credit card issuers, offers a range of credit cards and charge cards with a variety of perks. There’s an Amex for every type of credit card user. Whether you’re looking for a credit card with rewards, travel perks, or a great balance transfer deal, you’ll find great options on our list of the best American Express Credit Cards. Our list features:

Best Flat-Rate Rewards: American Express Magnet
Best for Groceries: Blue Cash Preferred
Best for Balance Transfers: Blue Cash Everyday
Best Charge Card: American Express Gold Card
Best for Premium Rewards: The Platinum Card from American Express
Best for Airline Rewards: Gold Delta Skymiles
Best Welcome Offer: The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card
Best for Dining: Wells Fargo Propel American Express
Best for Hotel Rewards: Bonvoy Brilliant American Express
Best for Everyday Purchases: Amex Everyday

American Express consistently ranks among the top of credit card issuers on J.D. Power’s U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. You’ll typically need good to excellent credit to qualify for an American Express credit card. As you're comparing credit cards, pay attention to the rewards and perks, pricing including the annual fee, and whether the card comes with the option to pay over time. Read on for our list of the best American Express credit cards and decide which one is best for you.

01
Best Flat-Rate Rewards: American Express Cash Magnet®

American Express Magnet
Courtesy of American Express 

What we like: The American Express Cash Magnet® pays unlimited 1.5% cash back rewards on all purchases. Cash rewards are paid in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credit, gift card, or merchandise. The Plan It feature lets you pay off large purchases with a fixed monthly fee and no interest charges. Plus the card comes with other Amex benefits including extended warranty, return protection, and purchase protection.

What we don't like: You may not be eligible for the Welcome Offer depending on the number of Amex cards you have open. 

  • Minimum Credit Required: Good
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Intro APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
  • Ongoing APR: 14.99% to 25.99% variable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the transfer amount
  • Cash Advance Fee: $5 or 3% of the cash advance
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: 2.7% of the amount after conversion to U.S. dollars
  • Welcome Offer: $150 back when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months

02
Best for Groceries: Blue Cash Preferred®

 Courtesy of American Express

What we like: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers the ability to earn 6% cash rewards at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases each year. That's $360 in cash rewards if you max out the spending. You'll also earn $3% cash rewards on purchases at U.S. gas stations and 1% on everything else, including groceries past the $6,000 threshold. Additionally, you'll receive 3% back on ground transportation, including traveling by bus, train, ferry, and so on. If you prefer to stream your movies and music, you'll receive 6% back on select US Streaming services including Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, ShowTime, Pandora, Apple music, and Amazon music or video.

What we don't like: The $95 annual fee isn't waived in the first year as it is with many other rewards credit cards.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Excellent/Good
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Intro APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months
  • Ongoing APR: 14.99% to 25.99% variable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the transfer amount
  • Cash Advance Fee: $10 or 5% of the cash advance
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: 2.7% of the amount after conversion to U.S. dollars
  • Welcome Offer: $250 back when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months

View details about this credit card

03
Best for Balance Transfers: Blue Cash Everyday®

Blue Cash Everyday
Courtesy of American Express

What we like: The Blue Cash Everyday® lets you earn 3% cash back on up to $6,000 in purchases made at U.S. supermarkets. While it's half the rate you'll earn compared to the Blue Cash Preferred, the Everyday version of the card doesn't charge an annual fee. You'll also earn 2% back on purchases at U.S. gas stations and select department stores; and 1% on all other purchases.

What we don't like:

  • Minimum Credit Required: Good
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Intro APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
  • Ongoing APR: 14.99% to 25.99% variable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the transfer amount
  • Cash Advance Fee: $5 or 3% of the cash advance
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: 2.7% of the amount after conversion to U.S. dollars
  • Welcome Offer: $150 back when you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months

04
Best Charge Card: American Express® Gold Card

What we like: You’ll earn four points for every dollar you spend at U.S. supermarkets; four points per dollar on the first $25,000 spent at  restaurants, then one point per dollar; three points for every dollar you spend on flights booked directly with airlines; and one point for every dollar you spend on all other purchases.

Get a $10 per month in monthly statement credits when you pay at participating locations and food delivery services. You'll also get $100 airline fee credit to use for incidentals like upgrades and baggage fees. Plus, you won't pay an additional fee if you use the card for purchases in other countries.

What we don't like: There's no promotional rate for transferring balances to your card. You'll pay a high interest rate if you choose to pay your balance over time vs. paying in full each month.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Good
  • Annual Fee: $250
  • Intro APR: Not offered
  • Ongoing APR: 20.24% variable for Pay Over Time
  • Balance Transfer Fee: N/A
  • Cash Advance Fee: $10 or 5% of the cash advance amount
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: None
  • Welcome Offer: 35,000 Membership Rewards Points when you spend $2,000 in the first three months

View details about this credit card

05
Best for Premium Rewards: The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card from American Express
Courtesy of American Express

What we like: The Platinum Card® from American Express has a generous sign up bonus and excellent rewards. Ongoing, you’ll earn five points for every dollar you spend on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel; five points for every dollar spent on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com; and one point for every dollar spent on everything else.

On top of the rewards you earn, enjoy up to $200 in Uber savings each year. The Platinum Card from American Express gives you access to the Centurion Lounge, a $200 airline fee credit, fee credit for TSA Precheck or Global Entry, travel accident insurance, and several other premium perks.

What we don't like: You can't transfer a balance to this credit card. The high annual fee means you'll have to make great use if this credit card to breakeven on the cost.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Good
  • Annual Fee: $550
  • Intro APR: Not offered
  • Ongoing APR: N/A
  • Balance Transfer Fee: N/A
  • Cash Advance Fee: $10 or 5% of the cash advance
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: None
  • Welcome Offer: 60,000 Membership Rewards after you make $5,000 in purchases in the first three months

View details about this credit card

06
Best for Airline Rewards: Gold Delta SkyMiles®

Gold Delta Skymiles
Courtesy of American Express

What we like: Gold Delta SkyMiles offers a generous welcome bonus and ongoing rewards that are perfect for Delta frequent fliers. You’ll earn two miles for every dollar you spend on purchases made directly with Delta and one mile for every dollar you spend on other credit card purchases. Also, earn 30,000 miles after making $1,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months, and receive $50 cash back in the form of statement credit after you make a purchase directly with Delta within the first 3 months. Plus you'll get your first checked bag free for you an up to 9 travelers on your reservation and save 20% on eligible in-flight purchases. You can redeem a round trip domestic flight for as little as 20,000 miles or you can use your rewards for upgrades.

What we don't like: Your purchases won't earn Medallion Qualification Miles which you'll need to get Delta Medallion status. There's no introductory interest rate for purchases or balance transfers.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Good
  • Annual Fee: $95, waived in the first year
  • Intro APR: Not offered
  • Ongoing APR: 17.74% to 26.74% variable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the transfer amount
  • Cash Advance Fee: $5 or 3% of the cash advance
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: None
  • Welcome Offer: 30,000 Miles after making $1,000 in spend on your new card within three months, and receive $50 cash back in the form of statement credit after making a purchase directly with Delta within the first 3 months. 

View details about this credit card

07
Best Welcome Offer: The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Ascend
Courtesy of American Express

What we like: The Hilton Honors has the best welcome offer of any credit card on our list, plus a generous rewards program for Hilton property lovers. You’ll earn 12 Hilton Honors Bonus Points for every dollar you spend with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio; six points for each dollar you spend at U.S. restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations; and three points for every dollar spent on all other purchases.

You'll get complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status with your card and you'll earn a weekend night reward after you spend $15,000 on your card in a calendar year.

What we don't like: Many other hotel rewards credit cards offer a free award night on the cardmember's anniversary. The Surpass lacks that benefit.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Good
  • Annual Fee: $95
  • Intro APR: None offered
  • Ongoing APR: 17.74% to 26.74% variable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $10 or 5% of the transfer amount
  • Cash Advance Fee: $5 or 3% of the cash advance
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: None
  • Welcome Offer: 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points and a free weekend night reward after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 4 months of Card membership

View details about this credit card

08
Best Bank: Wells Fargo Propel American Express

Courtesy of Getty Images

What we like: The Wells Fargo Propel lets you earn three points for every dollar you spend on dining, gas, rideshares, flights, hotels, homestays, and car rentals, and popular streaming services. All other purchases will earn one point per dollar. There’s no limit to the rewards you can earn and your points don’t expire as long as the account is open.

What we don't like: There's a higher spend amount to earn the signup bonus.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Excellent
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Intro APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months
  • Ongoing APR: 15.99%-27.99% variable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the transfer amount for 120 days from account opening; $5 or 5% after that
  • Cash Advance Fee: $10 or 5% of the cash advance
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: None
  • Welcome Offer: 30,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months

View details about this credit card.

09
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card

Mariott Bonvoy Briliiant
Courtesy of American Express 

What we like: Earn 6x Marriott Bonvoy points on eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels; 4x points on restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines; and 2x points on all other purchases.

The card comes with several other hotel benefits. First, you'll get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status with your card. Get a $300 in statement credits each year for eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels. Plus, you'll receive 1 Free Night Award each year after your anniversary.

What we don't like: The Welcome Offer may not be available to you depending on the other credit cards you have or have had, including the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card or a Marriott Rewards or Bonvoy card from Chase.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Good
  • Annual Fee: $125
  • Intro APR: None offered
  • Ongoing APR: 17.74% to 26.74% variable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% of the transfer amount
  • Cash Advance Fee: $5 or 3% of the cash advance
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: None
  • Welcome Offer: 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months​

View details about this credit card.

10
Amex EveryDay®

Amex Everyday
Courtesy of American Express 

What we like: You'll earn 2x points on up to $6,000 in purchases at U.S. supermarkets each year and 1x points on all other purchases. Using your card more lets you earn more. Get 20% more points when you use your card 20 or more cards in a billing cycle.

There's no balance transfer fee on transfers requested in the first 60 days plus a long introductory rate which is great if you have a large balance you need to pay off.

What we don't like: Instead of earning cash, which is more versatile, you'll earn points that you can transfer to Amex travel partners. Purchases at superstores and warehouses aren't considered grocery stores and won't earn the higher rewards bonus.

  • Minimum Credit Required: Good
  • Annual Fee: None
  • Intro APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
  • Ongoing APR: 14.99 to 25.99% variable
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $0
  • Cash Advance Fee: $5 or 3% of the cash advance
  • Foreign Purchase Transaction Fee: 2.7% of the amount after conversion to U.S. dollars
  • Welcome Offer: 10,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $1,000 in qualifying purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.

View details about this credit card.

 

Our Process

Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular American Express credit cards on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 22 different credit cards overall. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust. We are committed to researching and recommending the best financial solutions and products for our readers. The Balance has partnered with CardRatings and may receive commissions from links within our content, but these have no bearing on our reviews or recommendations. The above content has not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any card issuers prior to publishing.