Best American Express Cards of 2020

From benefits for frequent Delta flyers and luxury travel perks, to cashback rewards at supermarkets, American Express credit cards offer some of the best rewards.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This offer and/or promotion may have since changed, expired, or is no longer available.

American Express® has some of our favorite credit cards around, offering some of the best travel and cashback cards today. Whether you want to earn cashback rewards at U.S. supermarkets or you want to enjoy luxury travel perks, including one of the most elite airport lounge networks in the world, American Express offers top-of-line credit card benefits in a large number of categories.

We surveyed American Express cards on ValuePenguin as well as on the American Express website to identify the best choices for consumers and business owners. Here are our picks for the best American Express credit cards of 2020.

Best American Express credit cards

Continue reading for a detailed look at the benefits and features of each recommended credit card. You can also jump ahead to our comparison tool at the bottom of the page to see how each card performs for your budget.

Compare Amex credit cards | Amex credit card benefits | Which card is right for you? | How to apply | How to maximize points | FAQs

Best American Express credit card for luxury travel

The Platinum Card® from American Express

$550

N/A

Good/Excellent

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • 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® program at over 1,000 properties. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 in statement credits 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®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.

Our thoughts

The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the most sought-after travel rewards credit cards because of its outstanding features and protections. The card's welcome offer is worth an estimated $1,200. This is because Membership Rewards can be transferred to Amex’s list of partners, including Delta SkyMiles, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy.

The card comes with a steep $550 annual fee, but, with all its credits — including the $200 airline credit, $200 Uber credit and $100 Saks credit — you can nearly earn back the entire annual fee. If you travel frequently enough to take advantage of these benefits, the card is worth considering.

COVID-19 crisis update: The card is currently offering up to $320 in statement credits on select streaming and wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers (up to $20 per month) through December 2020. This should help offset the card's annual fee for the remainder of the year in case you can't take advantage of its other credits.

Rewards

Cardholders earn a substantial bonus on airline and hotel purchases:

  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5X Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • 1 points per $1 spent on other purchases.

Benefits

The Amex Platinum card comes with leading luxury benefits, including travel credits and lounge access:

  • Up to $320 in statement credits on select streaming and wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers (through Dec. 31, 2020).
  • Up to $200 airline fee credit.
  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Fee credit.
  • Up to $200 in Uber credits each year ($15/month, and a $20 bonus in December).
  • Up to $100 credit for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue or saks.com.
  • Complimentary benefits through the Fine Hotels & Resorts and The Hotel Collection.
  • Access to the American Express Concierge service.
  • Access to the Global Lounge Collection, including Centurion Lounges and Priority Pass lounges.
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold status.
  • Travel insurance including trip cancellation and trip delay coverage.
  • Terms apply.
  • For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

Best American Express credit card for foodies

American Express® Gold Card

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Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.

Our thoughts

If you enjoy delicious fare, either at a restaurant or at home, the American Express® Gold Card can earn hefty rewards. Because of its massive earning potential at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets, foodies and travelers alike rave about this card. And if you are able to fully utilize the airline fee credit and annual dining credit, your effective annual fee is $250.

Rewards

When you spend on the American Express® Gold Card you will earn generous rewards at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets:

  • 4X per dollar at restaurants worldwide (this category has unlimited earning potential).
  • 4X per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year.
  • 3X per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com.
  • 1X per dollar on all other purchases

Benefits

The American Express® Gold Card comes with other useful benefits for frequent travelers and diners, including several valuable credits:

  • $120 dining credit ($10/month) to the following retailers: Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed and participating Shake Shack locations.
  • $100 airline fee credit for incidentals.
  • $100 hotel credit when you book with The Hotel Collection for two consecutive nights, with potential for room upgrade.
  • Access to the American Express Global Assist Hotline.
  • Baggage insurance for any baggage that is lost, stolen or damaged during your travels.
  • Rental car insurance.
  • Terms apply
  • For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

Best American Express credit card for cash back

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

$95

13.99%-23.99% Variable

Good/Excellent

  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 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 and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more). 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, currently 13.99% to 23.99%.
  • Plan It® gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee and no interest.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • $95 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.

Our thoughts

Sorting through travel partners and keeping track of rewards can become time consuming for some. If you prefer simpler rewards, a cashback card like the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express can save you money on daily expenses.

With the card's robust cashback categories, you can earn heaps of cash back, including an industry-leading 6% cash back on your first $6,000 in U.S. supermarket purchases each year.

The card comes with a $95 annual fee, which is well worth it if you spend sufficiently on groceries. However, if your spending habits will not outearn the annual fee, consider applying for the no annual fee Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.

Rewards

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers generous rewards in everyday spending categories, including U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets:

  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%).
  • 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services.
  • 3% cash back on transit (i.e. taxis, ride-sharing services, parking, tolls, etc.)

Benefits

The card comes with a few other benefits, including an intro 0% APR offer for purchases and balance transfers:

  • Intro APR of 0% on purchases for 12 months and N/A, then an APR of N/A applies.
  • Rental car insurance.
  • Access to the American Express Global Assist Hotline.
  • Access to Shoprunner.
  • Terms apply
  • For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

Best Delta American Express credit card

Delta SkyMiles® Gold Card

$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.

15.74%-24.74% Variable

Good/Excellent

  • Earn 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free and Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights.
  • NEW! Get ready for your next trip - spend $10,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year and receive a $100 Delta Flight Credit to get you there sooner.
  • Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.
  • Terms Apply.
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35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months

Our thoughts

If you are based near a Delta Air Lines hub airport, or simply enjoy flying with Delta occasionally, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold Card is a great card to earn Delta SkyMiles.

The card's welcome bonus is enough to earn a round-trip flight from Los Angeles, CA (LAX) to New York City (JFK) in economy, with some miles left over.

Trip Summary

The card is simple, but extremely valuable for saving money when flying with Delta. You will receive your first checked bag fee on every Delta flight. This is a great money saver as Delta baggage fees reach $60 for one bag round trip. You will also receive 20% back on in-flight purchases like food and beverages. The card offers other benefits for Delta flyers, including automatic priority boarding in Main Cabin 1 when you fly on Delta.

Lastly, the card comes with purchase protection and extended warranty to cover any purchases made with the card.

Rewards

Besides Delta purchases, the card allows you to earn bonus miles on restaurant and U.S. supermarket purchases:

  • 2X per dollar at restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and Delta purchases.
  • 1X per dollar on all other purchases.

Benefits

The card's other benefits are valuable for cardholders who fly on Delta Air Lines often:

  • First checked bag free when flying on Delta.
  • $100 Delta flight credit when you spend $10,000 on your card in a calendar year.
  • 20% back as a statement credit on purchases made in-flight on Delta flights.
  • Priority boarding (Main Cabin 1) when flying with Delta.
  • Rental car insurance.
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty on qualifying purchases made with the card.
  • Terms apply.

Best American Express credit card for business travel

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.

Our thoughts

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express is an excellent card for frequent business travelers. Traveling for work can be a stressful and exhausting experience, so comfort and luxury along the way can make a large difference. The Business Platinum Card® from American Express gives you access to similar benefits as The Platinum Card® from American Express, like airport lounge access, travel insurance and complimentary hotel loyalty program status.

In addition, you will earn Dell statement credits, bonus points for purchases over $5,000 and a 35% rebate when paying for first or business class flights using your American Express Membership Rewards.

The annual fee is slightly more than The Platinum Card® from American Express at $595. But as a small business owner, this annual fee can be written off your taxes as a business expense.

COVID-19 crisis update: The card is currently offering up to $320 in statement credits on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. purchases for shipping (up to $20 per month on each) through December 2020. It's also offering up to $200 in statement credits toward Dell purchases: $100 in additional statement credits from May 1 through June 30, 2020, and up to $100 in additional statement credits between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2020.

Rewards

Like the consumer version of the card, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express offers bonus points on travel purchases. In addition, it offers a bonus to cardholders who spend heavily on the card:

  • 5X per $1 spent on booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X per $1 spent on prepaid hotels on Amextravel.com.
  • 1.5X per $1 spent on purchases more than $5,000.
  • 1X per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Benefits

The card comes with the same valuable travel credits as the consumer version of the card. In addition, it offers a $200 Dell statement credit, helping you make up the annual fee:

  • Up to $200 Dell Statement credit (through Dec. 31, 2020).
  • Up to $320 statement credit on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. purchases for shipping (through Dec. 31, 2020).
  • Up to $200 airline fee credit.
  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Fee credit.
  • Up to $200 in Uber credits each year ($15/month, and a $20 bonus in December).
  • 35% points rebate when you use American Express Membership Rewards to purchase first/business-class tickets.
  • Complimentary benefits through the Fine Hotels & Resorts and The Hotel Collection.
  • Access to the American Express Concierge service.
  • Access to the Global Lounge Collection, including Centurion Lounges and Priority Pass lounges.
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold status.
  • Travel insurance including trip cancellation and trip delay coverage.
  • Extended warranty and purchase protection.
  • Terms Apply.
  • For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

Best American Express credit card for earning points

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

No annual fee

13.24% - 19.24% Variable

Good/Excellent

  • Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
  • Enjoy the flexibility to put more purchases on the Card and earn rewards when you buy above your credit limit*.
  • You’ve got the power to use your Card beyond its credit limit* with Expanded Buying Power.
  • More buying power for your business means more opportunities to earn points. That’s everyday business with the Blue Business Plus Card.
  • *The amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us, and other factors.
  • 0.0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.24% - 19.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors at account opening.
  • No Annual Fee
  • Terms Apply
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Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.

Our thoughts

For small business owners looking for a business credit card to separate their personal and business expenses and earn valuable travel rewards, The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is a great option.

The card earns 2X points per dollar on up to $50,000 purchases per year and it has No annual fee. It's also a good choice for financing a major business purchase, since it offers an intro APR of 0% on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening (after that, an APR of N/A applies).

The largest downside of this card is the lack of a welcome bonus. To maximize your point earnings, it is best to use this card in combination with another card that earns Amex points.

Rewards

The card's 2X earning rate makes it ideal for pairing with other Amex Membership Rewards cards:

  • 2X per $1 spent on all purchases, up to $50,000 per year.
  • 1X per $1 spent on purchases after $50,000 threshold is met.

Benefits

The card comes with a few other benefits, including a 0% introductory offer for purchases:

  • Intro APR of 0% on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. (N/A thereafter).
  • Access to the American Express Global Assist Hotline.
  • Rental car insurance.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms apply.
  • For rates and fees of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, please click here.

Compare American Express credit cards

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Amex credit card benefits

American Express is well known for its long list of credit card benefits. While each American Express credit card comes with its own unique set of benefits, here is a list of the varying benefits you may see listed with your Amex card.

Amex credit card travel insurance

Credit card travel insurance comes in many forms, so be sure to check what is included in your coverage. Within your Amex credit card agreement, you may find one or more of these policies:

  • Trip cancellation/trip interruption
  • Trip delay
  • Lost/stolen luggage
  • Rental car coverage
  • Emergency medical insurance
  • Emergency medical evacuation
  • Accidental death and dismemberment

Before your next vacation or adventure, be sure to read into your travel insurance policy. It’s important to know what coverage you have and what to do if you need to file a claim.

Amex rental car insurance

Several Amex credit cards offer complimentary rental car insurance. This is referred to by American Express as “car rental loss and damage insurance”. This policy becomes active as long as you pay for the rental car using your card.

Nearly all Amex cards offer secondary car insurance, meaning that your personal car insurance will be liable to pay for any damages first. The only Amex credit card that offers primary car insurance is the Centurion® Card from American Express. If you want primary coverage, American Express offers Premium Rental Car Insurance at very affordable rates.

Pay It Plan It

American Express recognizes that cardholders need flexible payment plans for large purchases. Interest rates on credit cards can be extremely high and cause consumers to rack up debt.

To combat this, Amex introduced “Pay It Plan It”. This feature gives you two different payments options, based on price:

  • Pay It: This allows for you to immediately pay for individual purchases. The Pay It feature applies to qualifying purchases under $100.
  • Plan It: This allows you to break up payments for qualifying purchases, for a fixed monthly fee. This applies to qualifying purchases over $100.

These features are great for cardholders, but it is best to avoid utilizing the Plan It feature. There isn’t any accruing interest, but the fixed monthly fee creates unnecessary expenses and puts you in more debt. So if possible, avoid making purchases you cannot pay in full.

Purchase protection

Purchase protection, available on select Amex credit cards, insures purchases for theft and damage. American Express covers qualifying items, up to 90 days after the original date of purchase. You can claim up to $10,000 per occurrence, and $50,000 per calendar year.

Return protection

If you try to return a product within 90 days of purchase, and the merchant refuses it, American Express will cover up to $300 per item, less shipping and handling. The purchase must be made in the United States, and your American Express card must be used to purchase the product in full.

Shoprunner

Shoprunner is a membership-based experience that connects large retailers with consumers to offer two-day shipping, free returns, exclusive deals and more. This service typically costs $79/year, but is free with select American Express cards.

A few participating retailers include: Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Kiehl’s, Under Armour, Cole Haan, MLB Shop and NHL Shop.

No foreign transaction fees

If you make purchases outside of the United States, many credit cards charge foreign transaction fees. A typical foreign transaction fee is 3%, which may seem small, but can add up quickly over a vacation.

Many American Express cards don't charge for foreign transactions, making it easier to make purchases in any currency. Amex will do the currency conversions for you, and the purchases will appear in U.S. dollars on your statement. Be sure to research prior to departure if the country you are traveling to accepts American Express.

Which Amex credit card is right for you?

Amex credit cards range in features, benefits and annual fees, which can make it tricky to pick the right one for you.

Before you select a card, it is important to think about your current financial situation, and to also “reverse engineer” what you need. Are you in need of cash back to save on your monthly expenses? Do you need to earn travel rewards to save on a future vacation? From here, you can quickly narrow down the cards that will work for you.

If travel rewards are preferred, what are you interested in? Do you want to earn airline miles to save on flight costs? Or do you need to earn hotel rewards? If you can’t select between the two, you can always earn American Express Membership Rewards to diversify your efforts.

Before applying, be sure to read our Amex applications rules guide. Each card issuer has unique rules as to who can qualify for a card. These are important to know as applying for an American Express credit card can hinder your chances of being approved for other issuers cards.

How to maximize Amex points

When you spend on cards like The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, you will earn Amex points. The American Express Membership Rewards program is one of the best credit card rewards programs because of its multiple options to redeem points. When you earn Amex points, you can redeem them for the following:

  • Transfer to Amex travel partners
  • Book/upgrade travel
  • Merchandise
  • Statement credits
  • Gift cards
  • And more

Of these options, transferring to Amex travel partners is the most valuable. When you transfer points from Amex to one of its travel partners, you can book air travel or hotel rooms through their loyalty programs, potentially increasing the value of your points. Here are the current partners and their transfer ratios:

Amex travel partnerTransfer ratio
Aer Lingus1:1
AeroMexico1:1.6
Air Canada1:1
Air France/KLM1:1
Alitalia1:1
ANA (All Nippon Airways)1:1
Asia Miles1:1
Avianca1:1
British Airways1:1
Delta Air Lines1:1
El Al Airlines1000:20
Emirates1:1
Etihad1:1
Hawaiian Airlines1:1
Iberia1:1
JetBlue250:200
Qantas1:1
Singapore Airlines1:1
Virgin Atlantic1:1
Choice Privileges Hotels1:1
Hilton Honors1:2
Marriott Bonvoy1:1

How to apply for an Amex card

Applying for an Amex card is simple. You will need the following information to apply:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Date of birth
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Social Security number
  • Income and income source

While there is no specific credit score detailed by American Express to get approved, it is ideal to have at least a good credit score. And if you don’t have a good or excellent credit score, there are credit cards for fair or average credit.

You can also check to see if you have been prequalified for an Amex credit card. Simply search for “amex check pre qualified offers” and the first link will direct you to any prequalified offers. American Express will have a quick form to fill out to verify your identity.

Frequently asked questions

Below are some of the most common questions our readers have when applying for a new credit card. Check back often, as we're continually adding and updating our FAQs.

Is Amex the best credit card?

Amex is not a credit card, it is a credit card issuer. Several credit cards issued by American Express are great credit cards, but there is no such thing as the best credit card. The best credit card is the one that works best for you.

What is the best Amex credit card?

The best Amex credit card is the one that benefits you the most. To find out which Amex card is best for you, evaluate what your financial needs are first.

What is the difference between an Amex charge card vs. a credit card?

An Amex charge card, like The Platinum Card® from American Express, is a card with no predetermined credit limit. A credit card, such as the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, has a predetermined limit. Another key difference is that credit cards allow you to carry a balance month to month, while charge cards require you to pay the full balance at the end of each month.

Is there an Amex no limit credit card?

There is no such thing as an Amex card with no limits on how much you can charge each month. Amex charge cards do not have a predetermined credit limit, but this does not mean that your charges are unlimited.

What's the easiest Amex card to get approved for?

The Blue from American Express® card is open to applicants with lower credit scores. It earns rewards, but has no welcome offer or additional benefits.

Can you get an Amex card with bad credit?

Unfortunately, no. There are no Amex cards for consumers with bad credit. Your best bet is to become an authorized user on someone else’s American Express card.

Does Amex offer a secured credit card?

Amex does not offer a secured credit card.

How do you make payments for an Amex credit card?

To make payments for an Amex credit card, simply log in to your American Express portal online. You can also mail a check or money order payable to American Express.

What is the Amex credit card payment address?

The Amex credit card payment address is P.O. Box 650448 Dallas, TX 75265-0448. Be sure to include your account number on the front of your payment.

The information related to The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, Centurion® Card from American Express and Blue from American Express® has been collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply.

Brett Holzhauer

Brett Holzhauer is ValuePenguin’s travel rewards expert, focusing on credit card rewards maximization, consumer travel trends, and personal finance news. He has earned and burned over 5 million points and miles throughout his travels, saving him roughly $75,000 in travel expenses.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).