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It’s highly likely you’re familiar with the American Express brand. Perhaps you have an Amex card or have seen ads for their products. As one of the top card issuers, it’s no surprise that many American Express cards are both some of the best travel credit cards as well as some of the best credit cards for everyday spending—offering the best of both worlds.

Our current favorite American Express card is The Platinum Card® from American Express. It includes top travel perks and exclusive benefits worth over $1,400. Plus, new The Platinum Card® from American Express cardmembers can earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after spending $6,000 on purchases on the Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Additionally, new cardholders can choose one of several Platinum Card designs! Terms apply.

Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards

However, there are other options for those who don’t want to deal with an annual fee or prefer to earn cash back. Here are some of the best American Express cards for your wallet.

Use the best American Express Cards to see the world and earn rewards on everyday expenses. The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

The Best American Express Cards

While American Express offers some of the best luxury credit cards to help elevate your travels, there are also some perfect options for having for everyday use. For instance, American Express offers some of the best cards for groceries.

There are also good options for casual travelers who want a low or no annual fee option.

While several co-brand airline and hotel cards are available, these options fit both casual and frequent travelers’ needs. 

Speaking of travel, if you want flexibility, 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.

Hopefully, this review can help you find the best option that works for you.

The Platinum Card from American Express: Best Premium Travel Card

Let’s start with our favorite card, The Platinum Card® from American Express, one of the best premium cards. It’s best for frequent flyers and people who stay at hotels because of these benefits:

  • Transfer points on a 1:1 basis to airlines and hotel partners
  • Airport lounge access (Centurion, Priority Pass (enrollment required), Delta Sky Club, and others)
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit
  • Terms apply

Earn 5x Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year, and earn 5x Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

You can earn 5x points on plane ticket purchases, double the amount most 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 cards.

This card also provides Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status (enrollment required).

Additional Perks

Cardholders can get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when paying with their Platinum Card®.

Also, get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.

American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.

Terms apply. Enrollment may be required.

The Platinum Card from American Express Benefits

There’s also a digital entertainment credit. Cardholders can get up to $20 in statement credits each month when they pay for eligible purchases with The Platinum Card® from American Express at one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required. This is one of the best cards for streaming services

In addition to enjoying TSA PreCheck or Global Entry access, cardholders can also enjoy CLEAR perks. Cardholders can use their Card and get up to $189 back per year on their CLEAR® membership. Terms apply.

Another exciting new benefit is the ability for cardholders to enjoy up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships when paying with their Platinum Card®. This amounts to up to $300 annually. Enrollment required. 

There is also a $155 Walmart+ credit to enjoy. This covers the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax.

Get the full details and learn more in our in-depth The Platinum Card from American Express review.

The annual fee is $695 (See Rates & Fees) but can be offset with the perks valued at over $1,400. 

Platinum Card Welcome Bonus Offer

New The Platinum Card® from American Express cardmembers can earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after spending $6,000 on purchases on the Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Plus, new cardholders can choose new Platinum Card designs! Select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu. Terms apply.

Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards

American Express Gold Card: Best Card For Restaurant and Dining Perks

The American Express® Gold Card can be great for earning on everyday purchases. It earns 4x Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S. It also earns 4x Membership Rewards® Points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x).

Plus, earn 3x Membership Rewards® Points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

This is the next-best Amex alternative to the Platinum Card if you prefer lifestyle rewards to only travel rewards. For instance, you have the ability to earn up to $10 in statement credits on a monthly basis when you use your Gold Card to pay at the following dining establishments (enrollment is required):

  • Grubhub
  • The Cheesecake Factory
  • Goldbelly
  • Wine.com
  • Milk Bar
  • Shake Shack (only at participating locations)

This perk can save you up to $120 annually.

The annual fee is a more reasonable $250, and there are no foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees).

We think the American Express Gold Card is worth the annual fee.

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.

Related: American Express Gold vs. Citi Premier Card Comparison

American Express Gold Card Welcome Bonus Offer

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. Also, Rose Gold is back! Cardholders can choose between Gold or Rose Gold. 

Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards

American Express® Gold Card. Credit: American Express

Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card

American Express is the exclusive issuer of Delta Air Lines cards. While there are four different personal Delta cards, the best fit for many flyers is the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, one of the best Delta cards.

However, this card’s most valuable benefit is the first free checked bag for you and up to 8 companions on Delta flights. That’s a $60 round-trip savings per person.

You get priority boarding on Delta flights plus Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.

Purchase Rewards

The Delta SkyMiles Gold Credit Card earns 2x Miles on Delta purchases at restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and at U.S. supermarkets (1x Mile for everything else that is eligible). It also has 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.

Additionally, you can Pay with Miles: take up to $50 off the cost of your flight for every 5,000 miles you redeem with Pay with Miles when you book on delta.com.

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.

Plus, Gold card members will receive a $100 Delta Flight Credit after spending $10,000 in purchases on their card in a calendar year. Cardholders can use their credit for future travel.

Welcome Bonus Offer

New Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card cardholders can earn 40,000 bonus miles after they spend $1,000 in purchases on their new Card in their first 3 months. 

The introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $99 (See Rates & Fees).

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. See terms and conditions for more details.

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.

Purchase Rewards

You also earn 3x miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2x Miles at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S. and at U.S. supermarkets. Earn 1x Miles on all other eligible purchases.

Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights plus Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding.

Plus, earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different from miles you earn toward flights.

Related: The Best Credit Cards for Domestic Travel in 2022

Welcome Bonus Offer

New Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after spending $2,000 in purchases on their new Card in their first 3 months.

The annual fee is $250, and there are no foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees). Note that the annual companion certificate can easily be worth more, effectively canceling out the annual fee.

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 Hilton Honors Gold status which lets you enjoy complimentary breakfast and space-available room upgrades (enrollment required). It’s also one of the best Hilton Honors cards.

Earn 12x points for each 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 for each dollar spent on eligible purchases. Non-bonus purchases earn 3x points (if eligible).

Another perk you may enjoy is 10 one-time Priority Pass lounge visits per year.

New The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card cardholders can earn 130,000 Bonus Points after spending a total of $2,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. 

The annual fee is a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then a $95 annual fee (See Rates & Fees).

Learn more: Hotel Rewards Credit Cards

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

There’s also the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. It’s also one of the best Marriot cards.

Each card renewal year, get up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide. 

Other featured benefits include 1 Free Night Award (redemption level at or under 85,000 points) annually after your card renewal month at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties (some hotels have resort fees), up to $100 property credit for qualifying charges at The Ritz-Carlton® or St. Regis® when you book direct using a special rate for a two-night minimum stay using your Card, and complimentary Priority Pass Select airport lounge access.

Additionally, cardholders can enjoy a fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, up to $800 in cellphone protection, and 25 Elite Night Credits toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy Elite status (terms apply).

Cardholders earn:

  • 6x points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 3x points at restaurants worldwide 
  • 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite members earn 50% more points on eligible purchases at participating hotels for each U.S. dollar (or the currency equivalent) that is incurred and paid for by the member.

Additionally, after spending $60,000 on eligible purchases each calendar year, cardholders are eligible to select an Earned Choice Award benefit, which includes 5 Suite Night Awards, an 85k Free Night Award, and a mattress and box spring $750 discount from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques.

Although this card has a $650 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees), it has plenty of benefits that are worth a lot more.

New Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card cardholders can earn 150,000 bonus points after using their new Card to make $5,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months. 

Learn more: Hotel Rewards Credit Cards 

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card. Credit: American Express

The Business Platinum Card from American Express

Upscale business travelers get the most travel perks from The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.

Additionally, unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.

Plus, get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year toward checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.

Unique benefits include 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.

Purchase Rewards

Flights and prepaid hotels booked on AmexTravel.com earn 5x Membership Rewards® points.

Cardholders earn 1.5x points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.

Other airport benefits include a $189 annual CLEAR® credit when you use your Card to enroll in CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.

Also, get access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting with The American Express Global Lounge Collection®. You’ll have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market (as of 9/2021).

Learn more in the Amex Business Platinum card review.

Welcome Bonus Offer

New The Business Platinum Card® from American Express cardholders have the opportunity to earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. 

The annual fee is $695 (See Rates & Fees).

The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

If you’re in the market for a no annual fee business 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 1x point thereafter). Also, you can transfer your points to the 1:1 Membership Rewards transfer partners.

Expanded Buying Power gives businesses more ways to earn points and maximize their card. Cardholders can also enjoy more flexibility to use their card for more purchases and rewards when buying above their credit limit. 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 American Express, and other factors.

Using the Blue Business Plus is a great way to earn 2x points on purchases your other cards only earn 1x points on. Check out our Blue Business cards review to learn more about the Blue Business card family.

New The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express cardholders can earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within their first 3 months of Card Membership.

American Express Business Gold Card

The American Express® Business Gold Card earns 4x Membership Rewards® 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 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.

Redemption Options

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.

American Express Business Gold cardholders also have access to a Pay Over Time Option that lets cardholders decide whether they want to pay for their eligible purchases in full each month or pay over time with interest (terms apply).

Welcome Bonus

New American Express® Business Gold Card cardholders can earn 70,000 points after spending $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.* 

*Terms apply.

The annual fee is $295 (See Rates & Fees).

Membership Rewards Transfer Partners

The American Express 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
  • Aeromexico
  • Air Canada
  • Air France KLM
  • Alitalia
  • ANA
  • Avianca
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Delta Air Lines
  • EL AL Israel
  • Emirates
  • Etihad
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Iberia
  • Jetblue
  • Qantas
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

American Express Hotel Partners

  • Choice Privileges
  • Hilton Honors
  • Marriott Bonvoy

Summary

In summary, the best American Express cards for travel are those that earn Membership Rewards points in many cases. However, their co-brands Delta Airlines, Hilton Honors, and Marriott Bonvoy are a good value if you frequent these travel brands.

Related Articles:

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.

And 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.

And 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.

And for rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

And For rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, please click here.

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4 Comments On "Best American Express Cards For Travel (100k Bonus Offers, Rewards)"
  1. Shree Dhordo Gram Pravas Vikas|

    Thanks For sharing information. Very Helpful this.

  2. Pearle Rufus|

    According to another poster. Sam’s is issuing refunds. I’m calling tomorrow.

  3. Mary Wells|

    How do we get all these credits/perks from AMX? Like equinox? TSA Pre and Clear cost?

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      You can claim them if you hold the Amex Platinum card.

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