American Express Credit Cards: The Best Pick for You (2023)

American Express Credit Cards: The Best Pick for You (1)

This article only compares American Express credit cards. We may get compensation if you visit partner links on our site. We may not cover every available offer. Our relationship with advertisers may impact how an offer is presented on our website. However,our selection of productsis made independently of our relationship to advertisers.

Now is a great time to cash in on some hot sign-on bonus offers if you have a good to excellent credit score. But shopping around for a rewards credit card can quickly get overwhelming. So, here are just three cards from American Express at the color tiers of green, gold and platinum. All three cards are offering sign-on deals on bonus Membership Rewards® Points starting at a $600 value when booked for travel.

These credit cards are designed for travelers, commuters and diners, earning up to three and five points per dollar spent. Cardholders earn more points per dollar depending on the tier (green, gold or platinum) and in turn, will pay a higher annual fee for cards at higher tiers.

To redeem points, you can use them on travel, trips, gift cards, or shop via the platform. But to get the best value, you should stick to travel or transit purchases and keep track of the best redemption rates by category. If you redeem points at Amazon or other online retailers, for example, you will only get 0.7 cents per point, but buying a trip from a New York taxicab will get you the full one cent per point.

You may also transfer points to partner airlines or hotel chain rewards programs, typically for about one cent per point. The transfer partner airlines skew toward international carriers like AirFrance, but three domestic carriers participate, including Delta, JetBlue and Hawaiian Airlines.

  • Intro bonus: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn 20% back on eligible travel and transit purchases made during your first 6 months of Card Membership, up to $200 back in the form of a statement credit.
  • Interest rate: 20.99%to28.99% variable APR
  • Annual fee: $150
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Rewards: Earn three Membership Rewards® points for every dollar spent on travel and transit (airfare, hotels, cruises, tours, car rental, campgrounds, vacation rentals, trains, taxis, rideshares, ferries, tolls, parking, buses and subways). Also earn three points for every dollar spent on eligible dining, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • Airport Security Clearance: Receive up to $189 per calendar year in statement credits when you pay for your CLEAR Plus membership (subject to auto-renewal) with the American Express® Green Card.Oth
  • Other Travel Benefits: Trip delay insurance up to $300 for certain expenses on a round-trip ticket paid for exclusive with your card - see terms for limitations; plus get a $100 annual statement credit toward LoungeBuddy, and app that helps you gain access to travel lounges
  • Redemption: There is no option for cash back; the greatest value comes from booking travel with points, and from the many discounts and other perks
  • Terms apply
  • Intro bonus:Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points if you spend $4,000 in the first six months
  • Interest rate:20.99%to28.99% variable for purchases and pay-over-time purchases
  • Annual fee:$250
  • Foreign transaction fee:None
  • Rewards:Earn four Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at restaurants or on take-out and delivery in the U.S.; earn four points at per dollar at U.S. supermarkets up to a maximum of $25,000 spent in a calendar year, then supermarkets purchases earn one point per dollar; earn three points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex Travel; two points per dollar on other eligible Amex Travel purchases; and one point per dollar on other spending
  • Experience credit:American Express Experiencesinclude access to music, theater, sports, dining and fashion events, some of which are exclusive or early access for cardholders; now you can get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel; experience credit varies by property.
  • Additional rewards:get up to $10 in monthly statement credits for purchases with certain restaurants and delivery services, including The Cheesecake Factory, Grubhub, Goldbelly and select Shake Shack locations, plus $10 in monthly Uber Cash that you can put toward Uber Eats purchases or Uber rides
  • Redemption:Points are redeemable at a rate of 1 cent each for flights booked through Amex and certain gift cards (points are worth less for most other redemption options)
  • Terms apply
  • Intro Bonus:Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership
  • Interest rate: 20.99%to28.99% variable
  • Annual fee:$695, plus $175 for up to three authorized users and $175 per card for each user beyond three
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Rewards: Earn five Membership Rewards® Points per dollar for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn five Membership Rewards® Points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel. Earn one point per dollar on other spending.
  • Annual Hotel Credit:Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®
  • Cruise benefits: Cardholders can receive exclusive benefits through theCruise Privileges Program, available on cruise bookings of 5 nights or more with participating cruise partners; qualified cardholders can also get two rewards points per dollar when booking through the American Express travel portal
  • Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The Wall Street Journal; enrollment required
  • Airport Security Clearance: Getup to $189 in yearly credits to reimburse the membership fee for the CLEAR® Plus airport security program (subject to auto-renewal); or receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 years for a TSA PreCheck® (through a TSA official enrollment provider) application fee, when charged to your Platinum Card®; card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost
  • Other benefits: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Card; free access to many airport lounges; discounts on many subscriptions and other services, such as Walmart+, Uber, Equinox, SoulCycle-at-home, Saks; enrollment required for select benefits
  • Redemption: There is no option for cash back; the greatest value comes from booking travel with points, and from the many discounts and other perks
  • Terms apply

Where are American Express credit cards accepted?

You may have heard that many merchants refuse to accept American Express cards. While this used to be true, the company's U.S. acceptance rate is now on par with Visa and Mastercard, and its international acceptance rate has almost caught up. One retail exception worth noting — Costco does not accept American Express cards for in-store or online shopping.

Rewards cards dos and don'ts

As with anyrewards credit card, be sure to weigh these benefits against annual fees. Take some time to understand how to use your credit card effectively.

In addition, while reward credit cards are great if you use them wisely, always pay them off in full each month to avoid interest, which can dwarf anything you might gain from rewards. And don't increase your spending to hit a required minimum that triggers a bonus; otherwise, these cards can be a false economy as you’d be overspending.

As an independent publication dedicated to helping you make the most of your money, the article above is our view and is not the opinion of any entity mentioned such as a card issuer, hotel, airline, etc. Similarly, the content has not been reviewed or endorsed by any of those entities.


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