The Best American Express Credit Cards of 2019

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American Express, known for its customer service, has enticing credit and charge cards of all sorts, including cash-back, general travel, and airline cards. Ready to add an American Express card to your wallet? Review the offers below first. These are the Amex credit cards we’ve deemed the best.

Editors' Picks

Best Overall

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Our Rating Among American Express Cards
4.8
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.74% - 25.74% variable
Annual Fee No Annual Fee
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3% back at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 2% back at U.S. gas stations & select U.S. department stores, and 1% back on other purchases.
Intro Purchase APR 0%
Intro Purchase APR Length (number of months) 15
Foreign transaction fee 2.7%

Why We Chose This Card

It’s the best American Express card for several good reasons. If you want a card that rewards everyday purchases, it’s a great option. The card awards extra cash back on several common spending categories, like groceries and gas, plus there’s no annual fee. Or, if you need a card well-suited for a big purchase, this is also a solid pick. New cardholders also get 0% APR on purchases for 15 months, which is an excellent offer for a cash-back card.

Best for Airline Loyalty

Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Our Rating Among American Express Cards
4.6
Blue Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 17.49% - 26.49% variable
Annual Fee No Annual Fee
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2 miles per dollar at US restaurants and on eligible Delta purchases, and earn 1 mile per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
Foreign transaction fee 2.7%

Why We Chose This Card

This card is a good fit for Delta fans who occasionally travel, want to earn airline miles, but don’t want to pay an annual fee. You’ll get 2 miles per $1 spent on Delta purchases and dining, which makes this card a bit easier to earn rewards with if you aren’t constantly traveling. You only need to spend $500 to get some extra miles through a small welcome offer, too.

Best for Businesses

American Express® Blue Business Cash Card

Our Rating Among American Express Cards
4.3
American Express® Blue Business Cash Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.99% - 20.99% variable
Annual Fee No Annual Fee
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%
Intro Purchase APR 0%
Intro Purchase APR Length (number of months) 12
Cash Advance APR (%) 26.99%
Cash Advance Fee This product does not offer cash advances.

Why We Chose This Card

It’s a solid, low-maintenance business that offers automatic cash back for no annual fee. You’ll get 2% back on all purchases for the first $50,000 spent each year, and then 1% back after that, which makes it a solid offer for small business owners with minimal monthly expenses. If you do need to finance a large purchase, the yearlong 0% intro APR offer can help make that happen, too.

Best Welcome Offer

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Our Rating Among American Express Cards
4.2
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.99% - 27.99% variable
Annual Fee No Annual Fee
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3X points for eating out and ordering in, gas stations, rideshares, transit, and for travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals. Earn 1X points on other purchases.
Intro Purchase APR 0%
Intro Purchase APR Length (number of months) 12

Why We Chose This Card

The $300-value bonus is an outstanding deal for a no annual fee credit card. (You earn 30,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months.) It’s a top offer even when compared to non-Wells Fargo rewards cards. In addition to the competitive one-time offer, this Amex card awards 3 points per $1 spent on several popular purchase categories, such as gas, takeout food, and streaming services. There’s unlimited earning potential, and points don’t expire.

Best for Luxury Travelers

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Our Rating Among American Express Cards
4.1
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Annual Fee $550
Rewards Earning Rate 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.
Foreign transaction fee 0%

Why We Chose This Card

Sure, it comes with a $550 annual fee, but if you’re a traveler seeking all sorts of extra benefits, this charge card is well worth it. The welcome bonus alone is $636, based on our calculations, and you’ll also get airport lounge access, premium travel insurance benefits, travel-fee reimbursement, and elite hotel membership status, just to name a few more perks. And, like with all good travel cards, there’s no fee for foreign transactions.

What Is American Express? 

American Express has been around for a long time. Back in the late 1800s, it gained popularity by issuing its first financial product: traveler’s checks. Charge cards came a few decades later. 

Today, American Express is a credit card issuer and a card network, and one of the biggest. American Express credit card spending accounted for nearly a quarter of U.S. credit card spending in 2018.

It’s duo issuer-network role means American Express is the primary source for all your needs and questions as a cardholder. As an issuer, American Express is the bank that offers credit cards to consumers and maintains the card accounts—just as other issuers such as Chase and Citi do. As a network, it assists with card payment processing for merchants who take Amex payments, just as Mastercard does for merchants who take Mastercard payments.

Who Should Get an American Express Card?

American Express cards aren’t for everyone. To start with, you need good, if not excellent, credit to be approved for most Amex cards. American Express doesn’t have secured or student cards for people with low or no credit. 

Because American Express cards offer cash-back and travel rewards, they are best for consumers who can pay off their balance in full each month. Rewards cards tend to have higher interest rates than non-rewards cards, and when you pay interest, any value earned from credit card rewards is quickly lost. Plus, most American Express rewards cards charge annual fees, which add to your cost burden if you carry debt month-to-month.

In addition, American Express card acceptance still pales outside of the U.S. when compared to Visa and Mastercard acceptance. So, international travelers will want to use a different card when going overseas.

How American Express Membership Rewards Work

Depending on which card you have, you may earn rewards in three different ways:

  • Cash back 
  • Points or miles in a co-branded loyalty program (such as Delta SkyMiles) 
  • Travel rewards in Amex’s own loyalty program, Membership Rewards

Membership Rewards points can be redeemed in many ways, but they’re really meant for travel. Most cards allow you to use your points to book flights, hotels, rental cars, or cruises through American Express Travel. When you do that, your points are worth 1 cent each. 

Note

A good rule of thumb with rewards cards is to aim for a points valuation of 1 cent per point (10,000 points buys you $100 worth of whatever you’re redeeming for). That’s what you get from most cash-back cards. If you’re redeeming for items that yield less than that, you might be better off using a cash-back card and paying for the item outright.

Most Membership Rewards cards also permit you to transfer points to airline and hotel partners’ loyalty programs. Research by The Balance found that when you transfer Membership Rewards points to the JetBlue frequent flyer program, you’ll get about 1.32 cents per point. That’s about the best value you can get from this program.

These American Express cards currently offer Membership Rewards: 

  • Platinum Card from American Express
  • American Express Gold Card
  • American Express Green Card
  • Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card
  • Amex EveryDay Credit Card
  • Blue from American Express
  • Business Platinum Card
  • Business Gold Card
  • Business Green Rewards Card
  • Blue Business Plus Card

Plus, three corporate American Express cards offer Membership Rewards.

Tip

You’ll lose any Membership Rewards points in your account when close your card, so be sure to transfer or use them before you do that.

Common American Express Card Benefits

Just like other payment networks, American Express offers travel and purchase perks on its cards. The exact array of benefits you’ll get will vary depending on the card, but overall, the perks may include: 

  • Extended warranties
  • Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
  • Refund when merchant won’t accept returned item
  • Insurance coverage for lost or delayed luggage
  • Rental car collision insurance
  • Travel and emergency hotline 
  • Roadside assistance hotline
  • Travel accident insurance

Important

Benefit terms and coverage limits also vary between cards, so refer to your benefits guide or contact American Express to learn specifics.

American Express Customer Service

American Express is known for quality customer service. In 2019, J.D. Power ranked Amex No. 2 for customer satisfaction among major credit card issuers, behind only Discover. Cardholders are big fans of the online and mobile app service options American Express offers, too. The card company ranked second in the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Credit Card Online and Mobile App Satisfaction studies. 

American Express has a 24/7 customer service phone line you can call with questions. Or, send Amex a message through a secured, online chat via your online account. 

However, if Amex is the network and not the issuer (e.g., the Wells Fargo Propel American Express), Amex isn't going to handle your customer service questions.

Methodology

At The Balance, we're committed to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.

Our reviews are always impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive.

About This List

The Balance compiled this list following the same process used for our best overall card rankings, but focused on American Express cards. The cards selected for this list came from a pool of 40 Amex cards. We re-evaluate this list on a monthly basis, or when Amex makes a significant change to its credit card offerings.

What We Score

We consider low APRs, big sign-up offers, valuable rewards, and minimal fees some of the best card qualities, and our scoring model reflects this. Our full methodology includes further detail about how we evaluate credit card attributes.