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If you like to travel, you can’t ignore the best American Express credit cards. American Express offers some of the best luxury credit cards. But they also have good options for casual travelers who want a low or no annual fee. Let’s take a look at a couple of options that are some of the best American Express Credit Cards for travel.
You may focus on getting cards that earn Membership Rewards points. Any card that earns these points lets you transfer them to over a dozen airline partners at a 1:1 ratio. However, be aware of how long it takes to transfer American Express points to travel partners.
Amex also offers several co-brand credit cards for airline and hotel partners.
Platinum Card from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the best premium credit cards you can get. It’s best for frequent flyers and people who stay at hotels because of these benefits:
- Earn 5x Membership Rewards on flights booked directly from the airline or AmexTravel.com
- Earn 5x points on hotels booked on AmexTravel.com
- Transfer points on 1:1 basis to airlines and hotel partners
- $200 airline fee credit
- Up to $200 in Uber credits
- Free airport lounge access (Centurion, Priority Pass, Delta Sky Club, and others)
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit
You can earn 5x points on plane ticket purchases, which is double the amount most credit cards earn. Your points are most valuable when transferring to 1:1 airline transfer partners including Delta, Emirates, and British Airways. It’s also one of the best metal credit cards.
This card also provides automatic Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status. And you can get a $100 credit at The Hotel Collection and up to $550 on-site benefits at Fine Hotels and Resorts.
However, the Platinum Card has a $550 annual fee (See Rates & Fees) that can be offset with the rewards. You can also use CardMatch to see if you qualify for this card’s highest-ever bonus offer of 100,000 Membership Rewards points worth $1,000 in award travel.
Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards
American Express Gold Card
Earn up to 4x Membership Rewards on dining and groceries with the American Express® Gold Card. Cardholders earn 4x points on any dining purchase worldwide, including takeout and deliveries, and also on the first $25,000 spent each year at U.S. supermarkets, then 1x per $1. Flights booked directly from the airline or on AmexTravel.com earn unlimited 3 points per $1. All non-bonus spend earns 1 point per $1.
This is the next-best Amex alternative to the Platinum Card if you prefer lifestyle rewards to only travel rewards. For instance, you get a $100 airline fee credit for incidental fees at one qualifying airline and a $10 monthly dining credit for select merchants ($120 total, enrollment required). The annual fee is a more reasonable $250 (See Rates & Fees).
Your points are most valuable when booking award flights on AmexTravel.com or transferring to the 1:1 Membership Rewards airlines and hotel transfer partners.
New American Express® Gold Card cardholders can earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months.
Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards
Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card
American Express is the exclusive issuer of Delta Air Lines credit cards. While there are four different personal Delta credit cards, the best fit for many flyers is the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, one of the best Delta credit cards.
However, this card’s most valuable benefit is the first free checked bag for you and up to 8 companions. That’s a $60 round-trip savings per person. You also earn 2x SkyMiles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery), and at U.S. supermarkets. You also 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. All non-bonus eligible purchases earn 1 mile per $1 spent.
If you spend $10,000 in purchases in a calendar year, you will receive a $100 Delta Flight Credit to inspire your next travel for whenever you are ready to travel again.
The introductory annual fee is $0 for the first 12 months then $99 (See Rates & Fees).
New cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months, Offer Expires 10/28/2020.
Learn more: Airline Credit Cards
Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card
Delta loyalists might benefit more from the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card. The reason why is that you get an annual Domestic Main Cabin companion certificate upon card renewal. You only have to pay fees and taxes, which won’t exceed $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage fees and other restrictions do apply though.
However, your first checked bag flies free on Delta flights. There’s also a credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. Plus, with this card, you can enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
This is also a better option than the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card if you plan on spending at least $25,000 a year. With Status Boost, you earn 10,000 bonus Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) when you spend $25,000 on your card in a calendar year, up to two times annually.
Plus, you earn the standard 3x SkyMiles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2x SkyMiles at restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery) and at U.S. supermarkets, and 1x SkyMiles on everything else.
The annual fee is $250 and there are no foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees) but the annual companion certificate can easily be worth more.
The welcome bonus is the ability to earn 60,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months. This offer expires on 10/28/2020.
Learn more: Airline Credit Cards
Hilton Honors Surpass American Express Card
The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card gives you a free weekend night certificate with at least $15,000 in annual card purchases. You also get automatic Hilton Honors Gold status which lets you enjoy complimentary breakfast and space-available room upgrades. It’s also one of the best Hilton Honors credit cards.
Earn 12x points per dollar spent on eligible purchases charged directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio. You also earn 6x points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations. Non-bonus purchases earn 3x points (if eligible).
Another perk you may enjoy is 10 one-time Priority Pass lounge visits per year. The annual fee is $95 and there is no foreign transaction fee (See Rates & Fees).
Learn more: Hotel Rewards Credit Cards
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
It has a $450 annual fee (See Rates & Fees) and comes with these key benefits:
- $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit
- 1 free night award each card anniversary (redeemable at 50,000 points or less)
- Instant Marriott Bovoy Gold Elite status
- Priority Pass Select membership
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
Cardholders earn 6x Bonvoy points on eligible Marriott purchases. They also earn 3x points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with the airlines. All other eligible purchases earn 2x points.
There is also a limited-time welcome bonus available with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. New cardholders can earn up to 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months. Plus, earn an additional 25,000 bonus points after your first anniversary of card membership. This offer expires on 01/13/2021. New cardholders can also enjoy complimentary Platinum Elite status for the 2021 status year. This offer also expires on 01/13/2021.
Learn more: Hotel Rewards Credit Cards
Business Platinum Card from American Express
Upscale business travelers get the most travel perks from The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.
It has many of the same travel benefits as the personal Platinum Card including airport lounge access and the $200 airline fee credit. Unique benefits including getting 35% of your points back when booking award flights on AmexTravel.com, up to 500,000 points annually. You can also transfer your Membership Rewards points to airline and hotel partners.
Flights and prepaid hotels booked on AmexTravel.com earn 5x points. Purchases larger than $5,000 earn 1.5x points. All remaining purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent.
Also, the welcome offer is 75,000 Membership Rewards points. To earn the 75k, you’ll have to spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within the first 3 months of card membership. Additionally, cardholders can enroll to get up to $200 in annual Dell statement credits (cardholders get up to $100 semi-annually for U.S. Dell purchases – terms apply). The annual fee is $595 (See Rates & Fees).
Learn more in the Amex Business Platinum card review.
Blue Business Plus Credit Card
If you’re in the market for a no annual fee business credit card, check out the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (See Rates & Fees).
You earn 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent annually on everyday business purchases (then 1% back). Also, you can transfer your points to the 1:1 Membership Rewards transfer partners.
Plus, new cardholders can earn up to $300 back to boost your business. You can earn up to $100 in the form of statement credits at each of the following merchants: Dell Technologies, DocuSign, or FedEx after you make an eligible purchase on your new card within the first 3 months of account opening.
Blue Business Plus is also a free way to earn 2x points on purchases your other credit cards only earn 1x points on.
Further Reading: Check out our Blue Business credit cards review to learn more about the Blue Business card family.
American Express Business Gold Card
The American Express® Business Gold Card earns 4x points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month (the 4x points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases annually, all other purchases earn 1x per $1 spent). Your bonus category options include:
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- Gas stations (U.S. purchases)
- Shipping purchases (U.S. purchases)
- Restaurants (U.S. purchases)
- TV, radio, and online advertising (U.S. purchases)
- Computer hardware, software, and cloud solutions technology provider (U.S. purchases)
This can be one of the best credit cards to maximize gas purchases. If you happen to advertise your product on local media or mail some of your finished goods to individual consumers, you can earn bonus points on the shipping charges and advertising purchases.
Your rewards points are most valuable when redeemed for award flights. Each point is worth 1 cent each when booking award flights on AmexTravel. You can get up 25% of your points back (up to 250,000 points per year) on one airline of choice. Another option is transferring your points to an airline partner at a 1:1 ratio to loyalty programs including Delta SkyMiles and British Airways.
Cardholders also have access to a Pay Over Time Option, which is a flexible payment option, with interest, to help manage cash flow on purchases of $100 or more (terms apply). The annual fee is $295 (See Rates & Fees).
Membership Rewards Transfer Partners
The American Express credit cards that earn Membership Rewards points are most valuable when booking award flights. Each point is worth one cent each when booking award travel on AmexTravel.com. Note that you can almost always find more value when transferring to your frequent flyer account at these airlines:
- Aer Lingus
- Air France KLM
- El Al Israel
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
Summary of Best American Express Credit Cards for Travel
In summary, the best American Express credit cards for travel are those that earn Membership Rewards points in many cases. However, their co-brand Delta Airlines, Hilton Honors, and Marriott Bonvoy are a good value if you frequent these travel brands.
- How Hard Is It To Get The American Express Platinum Card? (Review)
- Why You Want To Get an American Express Credit Card
- Best Credit Card Reviews 2020: Miles, Points, Cash Back, and More
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of The American Express® Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
- 1 Platinum Card from American Express
- 2 American Express Gold Card
- 3 Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card
- 4 Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card
- 5 Hilton Honors Surpass American Express Card
- 6 Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
- 7 Business Platinum Card from American Express
- 8 Blue Business Plus Credit Card
- 9 American Express Business Gold Card
- 10 Membership Rewards Transfer Partners
- 11 Summary of Best American Express Credit Cards for Travel