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The best American Express cards of August 2021:
American Express is most famous for its travel cards like the Platinum Card and premium “experiential” offerings like concierge service, but it also offers cards with non-travel perks and lower annual fees.
Amex cards also offer various benefits like travel insurance and purchase protection. Additionally, all American Express cardholders get access to Amex Offers that can earn you bonus points or get cash back when you shop with certain retailers.
If you’re looking for the best Amex card for you, here are the ones you should consider.
See Pay Over Time APR
100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 in your first 6 months of card membership, plus 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of card membership
At $695 (See Rates), the Platinum Card has one of the highest annual fees of any mainstream card. However, as long as you’re willing to float it up front, you can get way more value back from the card — for instance, it’s possible to get more than $2,000 in value from it during your first year.
Read more: Amex Platinum card review
The Platinum Card offers 5 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with the airline, as well as flights and pre-paid hotels booked through Amex Travel (starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year).
It earns 1x point on everything else (Note: New Platinum Card® cardmembers can earn 10x points on eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and small businesses, on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during the first 6 months of card membership). American Express Membership Rewards points are worth, on average, 1.8 cents apiece based on Insider’s points and miles valuations.
The card comes with a long list of perks, including access to more than 1,200 airport lounges within the Priority Pass** network, as well as Delta Sky Clubs (when you’re flying Delta) and proprietary American Express Centurion Lounges. It also offers complimentary Gold elite status with Marriott and Hilton hotels**, as well as up to $100 per year in shopping credits at Saks Fifth Avenue**, up to $200 in Uber credits** each cardmember year, and access to special events.
See Pay Over Time APR
60,000 points after you spend at least $4,000 in your first 6 months of account opening
The Amex Gold Card is one of best cards available for dining, unless you’re only interested in cash back, rather than potentially more valuable rewards points.
Read more: Amex Gold Card review
The Amex Gold Card earns 4x points at restaurants and on up to $25,000 per calendar year at U.S. supermarkets (and 1x point after that), 3x points on flights booked directly with the airline, and 1x point on everything else. Based on the fact that you can easily redeem Membership Rewards points for more than 1 cent of value each, that makes this the highest-earning card for everything food-related.
The Amex Gold Card adds up to $120 of dining credits** — split into up to $10 each month — at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Steak House, or participating Shake Shack locations. It also offers up to $120 Uber Cash (up to $10 per month credits) each calendar year (this is only applicable to U.S. Eats orders and Rides, and the Gold Card needs to be added to the Uber app to receive the Uber Cash benefit).
$0 intro for the first year, then $95
13.99% to 23.99% variable APR
20% back on Amazon.com purchases (up to $200 back) in your first 6 months of Card Membership, plus $150 back as a statement credit after you spend $3,000 on the Card within the first 6 months
0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from account opening
If you’re less excited about earning Membership Rewards points — which can be valuable, but also require some effort to redeem for maximum value — and want to stick with cash back, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is the best option, despite its $0 intro for the first year, then $95 annual fee (See rates).
Read more: Amex Blue Cash Preferred card review
You’ll earn 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services and 3% back on all transit. That’s in addition to 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases per calendar year (and 1% after that), 3% back at U.S. gas stations, and 1% cash back on everything else (cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars).
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express comes with a handful of travel and purchase protections as well. Cash back comes in the form of a statement credit, so effectively you can use it to “erase” purchases.
If you travel but don’t want to pay for the Amex Platinum: Amex Green Card
See Rates & Fees
30,000 points after you spend at least $2,000 in your first 3 months of account opening
The Amex Green Card has become a top option for earning Membership Rewards points on travel and dining.
Read more: Amex Green Card review
You’ll earn 3 points per dollar on all eligible travel, which includes everything from subway fare to hotels to flights. You’ll also earn 3 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide. In terms of points-earning, this puts the Amex Green Card on par with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which also offers 3x points in these spending categories.
Other benefits include up to $100 in statement credits toward CLEAR membership each year**, and up to $100 in statement credits per year toward LoungeBuddy purchases** (for airport lounge access).
The Amex Green card has a $150 annual fee, but that’s relatively moderate, especially if you can take advantage of those two annual statement credits.
14.24 – 22.24 Variable
Good to Excellent
100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases within your first 3 months of card membership
The Amex Business Platinum Card is Amex’s top-of-the-line business card, and it has many of the same perks you’ll find on the personal Platinum Card, including up to a $200 airline fee credit each year**, access to airport lounges including Centurion Lounges and Priority Pass lounges**, and up to a $100 credit to cover the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
Read more: Amex Business Platinum card review
It also offers several benefits that cater to business owners, such as a 50% points bonus on purchases of $5,000 or more (up to 1 million additional points each year) and up to $200 in annual statement credits for Dell purchases** ($100 each half of the year).
If you use Amex points to book travel, you’ll appreciate the 35% Pay With Points rebate, which applies to business- and first-class flights or flights in any class with a selected qualifying airline booked through Amex Travel. You can get up to 500,000 points back in a calendar year.
The personal Platinum Card has the advantage when it comes to bonus categories — it earns 5x points on flights booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel, while the Business Platinum only earns 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels booked with Amex Travel. For more info, read our comparison of the Business Platinum and the personal Amex Platinum.
13.24% to 19.24% variable APR
Good to Excellent
15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership
0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months from account opening
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express earns 2x Amex points on the first $50,000 you spend each year, then 1x points. Up until that $50,000 threshold, you’re effectively earning a 3.6% return on all your purchases, based on Insider’s points and miles valuations.
Read more: Amex Blue Business Plus card review
Another bonus is that The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express has no annual fee (See Rates). Just remember that it is a small-business credit card, so if you don’t have a side gig or a small enterprise that would qualify you for a business card, you won’t be eligible.
Great bonus categories for families: Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card
12.99% to 22.99% Variable
The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card is a strong option for anyone looking for a Membership Rewards card, but who’s not interested in a premium card like the Platinum or the Amex Gold. It also has a strong points-earning scheme and a lower annual fee of $95.
Read more: Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card review
The card earns 3 points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 each calendar year — 1 point per dollar after that), 2x points at U.S. gas stations, and 1x point on everything else. You can also get 2x points on reservations made through Amex Travel.
Best of all, if you make 30 or more purchases in a billing period, you’ll earn a 50% bonus. That means that those little $3 and $4 charges for things like coffee or a snack can help you get a ton of points quickly.
The card also offers a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months after account opening, before switching to a 12.99% to 22.99% Variable APR. If you have a big purchase coming up and want some time to pay it off, but don’t want to pay interest fees, this is a great option.
Best with no annual fee: Amex EveryDay Card
12.99% to 23.99%
Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® Points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months.
0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months from the date of account opening
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express is a no-annual-fee version, which still offers solid rewards. It earns 2x points at U.S. supermarkets (again up to $6,000 of purchases per calendar year, then 1x after that) and at AmexTravel.com, and 1x on everything else. It also offers 20% more points when you make 20 or more purchases in a billing period.
Read more: Amex EveryDay Card review
Like most Amex cards, it features a few travel and purchase protections, as well as access to the Amex Offers program.
While most people will be better off with the Preferred, the regular EveryDay is still a strong option — especially since there’s no annual fee.
13.99% to 23.99% variable APR
Good to Excellent
20% back on Amazon.com purchases (up to $150 back) in your first 6 months of Card Membership, plus $100 back as a statement credit after you spend $2,000 on the Card within the first 6 months
0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months from account opening
Read more: Amex Blue Cash Everyday card review
The card earns a lower 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 each calendar year — and 1% after that — 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% cash back on everything else (cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars). While many people spend enough in the bonus categories to make the Blue Cash Preferred the better option, this remains a decent card for anyone who’s strictly opposed to paying an annual fee.
If you’re looking to make a major purchase and pay it off over time, like an appliance or an engagement ring, you can take advantage of the 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 15 months after account opening (after that, it reverts to a 13.99% to 23.99% variable APR (See Rates)). You’ll earn cash back on the purchase, which you can put right towards paying it off.