Best American Express Credit Cards of November 2019

Top-notch offers, plus how Membership Rewards work

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Among the best American Express cards, you’ll find credit and charge cards of all sorts, including cash-back, general travel, and airline cards. All from a company known for its customer service. 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.

Best American Express Cards

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

Best Overall

,

Best With No Annual Fee

,

Best for Balance Transfers

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Best for Cost-Conscious Travelers

Our Rating Among American Express Cards
4.6
Amex EveryDay® Credit 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 (%) 14.49% - 25.49% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2 points per $1 at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year. Earn 1 point per $1 for other eligible purchases.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 15 Months
Foreign transaction fee (%) 2.7%

Why We Chose This Card

We’ve dubbed this the best American Express card for several reasons. Transfer a balance within 60 days of opening your account and you get 15 months to pay it off with no interest and no balance transfer fee. That makes it our favorite Amex for balance transfers. This card is also great for cost-conscious travelers who don’t want to pay an annual fee, but want a variety of travel redemption options, including 1:1 transfers to many hotel and airline partners.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Best for Cash-Back Rewards

,

Best for Financing Large Purchases

Our Rating Among American Express Cards
4.3
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 (%) 14.49% - 25.49% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3% at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases), 2% at U.S. gas stations & select U.S. department stores, and 1% on other purchases.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 15 Months
Foreign transaction fee (%) 2.7%

Why We Chose This Card

If you want a card that rewards everyday purchases, this is a great option. You’ll earn extra cash back for purchases at grocery stores, gas stations, and select department stores. New cardholders will also get 0% APR on purchases for 15 months, which is an excellent offer for a cash-back card. That promotional offer makes the Blue Cash Everyday the best Amex for financing large purchases, too.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Best for Luxury Travelers

,

Best Sign-Up Bonus

Our Rating Among American Express Cards
4.2
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
Regular APR (%) N/A
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 card is worth it. The 60,000-point Membership Rewards bonus could be worth more than $600 when transferred to one of the program's hotel or airline partners. Plus, you’ll get airport lounge access, premium travel insurance benefits, travel-fee reimbursement, and elite hotel membership status, just to name a few more perks. And, as with all good travel cards, there’s no foreign transaction fee.

American Express® Blue Business Cash Card

Best for Businesses

Our Rating Among American Express Cards
4.1
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 (%) 14.74% - 20.74% variable
Annual Fee $0
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% for 12 Months
Cash Advance Fee This product does not offer cash advances.

Why We Chose This Card

This is a solid, low-maintenance business card 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.

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 a frequent flyer program in the Oneworld Alliance airline network, you’ll get as much as 2.95 cents per point. That’s about the best value you can get from this program.

These American Express cards currently offer Membership Rewards: 

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

We collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances. We do this because it's our mission to give you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews.

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 cards issued by American Express cards. The cards selected for this list came from a pool of 12 Amex cards—this group excludes cards issued by other banks that use the American Express network, as well as co-branded airline and hotel 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.