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Are you trying to figure out if it’s worth owning an American Express (Amex) credit card? These cards are no longer only for the rich and famous. More importantly, more merchants accept Amex. Plus, in recent years, the American Express credit card lineup has rolled out more benefits to offer some of the best rewards credit cards. So, if you’ve ever asked, “why get an American Express credit card”, hopefully, this post will answer that.
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americnexpress.com to learn more.
Why Get An American Express Credit Card?
You may be hesitant to apply for an American Express card. However, these cards let you access perks your current Visa and Mastercard don’t offer. Also, depending on what you want out of a card and where you travel, one of the Amex cards may go further than another card.
Premium Travel Benefits
Most Amex credit cards are ideal for travel rewards. American Express, Chase, and Citi both offer a premium travel credit card offering perks like travel fee credits, airport lounge access, and flexible point redemption options.
The Platinum Card® from American Express (Read our in-depth Platinum Card from American Express review for more details) offers the most benefits for the various premium credit cards. These are some of the most valuable benefits, at least to some extent.
To qualify for the Platinum Card, you will need to have a minimum 740 credit score and past experience with managing credit responsibly. You don’t need to wait for an invitation.
Airport Lounge Access
The Amex Platinum gives you complimentary access to over 1,200 airport lounge worldwide. Partner networks in the Global Lounge Collection include:
- International American Express
- Priority Pass
- Delta Sky Club
- Plaza Premium
- Air Space
Some of these networks require you to be flying the respective airline to gain access. You must have an active Delta Air Lines itinerary to enter Delta Sky Club, for example.
Membership Rewards Point Transfers
Most American Express credit cards earn Membership Rewards points on all purchases. These points are most valuable when redeemed for award travel or gift cards. Each card is worth 1 cent when booking award flights on AmexTravel.com. A better option can be transferring them to an airline or hotel partner and booking your next trip directly from the travel brand.
Many of these partners let you transfer Membership Rewards at a 1:1 ratio to your linked loyalty account:
- Aer Lingus
- Air France KLM
- Asia Miles
- Avianca LifeMiles
- British Airways
- Delta Air Lines
- El Al Israel Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Choice Privileges
- Hilton Honors
- Marriott Bonvoy
American Express offers more transfer partners than Chase, Citi, or Capital One. You can get the best redemption value by redeeming your Membership Rewards points for award flights.
One more premium benefit that is worth mentioning, especially if you’re into aesthetics is that some of the best metal credit cards you can have in your wallet are also Amex cards.
Co-Brand Airline and Hotel Credit Cards
If you’re loyal to certain airline and hotel brands, you will need to own an Amex credit card. Right now, American Express is the exclusive issuer for Delta Air Lines credit cards and Hilton Honors credit cards.
American Express also manages the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card and the personal premium Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. Chase manages the other Marriott Bonvoy credit card products.
These cards give you enhanced loyalty program status and other loyalty perks. For instance, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card lets you and up to 8 travel companions check one bag for free on Delta flights.
Some of the American Express cash rewards credit cards have some of the highest cash back rates.
One of the best is the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. You earn:
- 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%)
- 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%)
- Plus, 3% cash back on U.S. online retail purchases (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%)
- 1% cash back on general purchases
Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits. There is no annual fee (See Rates & Fees).
American Express Blue Business Cash Card
On the business credit card side, the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card earns 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1% cash back earned is automatically credited to your statement. It also comes with Expanded Buying Power which gives cardholders the ability to spend beyond their credit limit.
Just remember, 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.
New American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card cardholders can earn a $250 statement credit after making $3,000 in purchases on their Card in the first 3 months.
This card has no annual fee (See Rates & Fees).
Limited-Time Welcome Bonuses
The information for the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by Johnny Jet. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
American Express is more likely to offer limited-time bonus offers on their various travel credit cards.
The co-brand credit cards for Delta Air Lines, Hilton Honors, and Marriott Bonvoy are the most likely to offer enhanced welcome offers. However, you should always look for revamped cards like the American Express® Green Card that might have other flexible perks. With the American Express Green Card, you could earn 3x points on eligible travel and 3x points on dining worldwide along with other perks like CLEAR membership and lounge access.
Current American Express rules only let you earn a credit card’s welcome offer once. Even if you cancel your card and wait at least 24 months, you won’t qualify to earn a repeat bonus. Timing your application to earn a limited-time offer is a great idea as you will never earn that card’s bonus offer again.
Flexible Application Rules
The American Express credit card application rules are less restrictive than other banks. For example, Chase will decline your application if 5 or more credit card accounts have been added to your credit report in the last 24 months.
The two “best practices” you should be aware of. First, only apply for two Amex credit card every 90 days. Also, wait at least 5 days if you apply for two cards within a week.
Like several other banks, Amex only lets you own up to five American Express credit cards at one time.
Once again, the biggest restriction can be their welcome offer restriction. Because you can only earn a card’s welcome bonus once, it can be worth waiting until Amex offers a larger-than-usual offer.
Another shopping benefit of an American Express credit card is their Amex Offers program. You will receive curated offers for stores, restaurants, and travel to earn cash bonuses. Chase has a similar rewards program for the branded and Ultimate Rewards credit cards.
These offers plus access to unique experiences and ticket pre-sales for Amex-sponsored events are some fringe benefits of your American Express credit card.
Many people are hesitant to get an American Express credit card because they might think you must wait to get an invitation to apply. Or, they don’t realize that the Amex portfolio is so diverse. In reality, American Express has some of the credit cards with the best rewards.
What credit score do you need to get an American Express credit card?
Most American Express credit cards only need a credit score above 670 to qualify.
What are the benefits of an American Express credit card?
The main benefit of owning an American Express credit card is the ability to earn Membership Rewards points. Most Amex credit cards earn these rewards points. They are most valuable when redeemed for award flights on AmexTravel or transferring to airline partners like Delta, Emirates, British Airways, or Singapore Airlines.
Some cards have special travel benefits. These include the Platinum Card from American Express which gives you free airport lounge access, upgraded hotel and rental car loyalty status, and travel purchase credits.
Also, the co-brand Delta SkyMiles, Hilton Honors, and Marriott Bonvoy credit cards offers special loyalty programs benefits.
Is American Express better than Visa?
A growing number of U.S. and international merchants accept American Express. However, Visa and Mastercard are still more widely accepted worldwide.
Besides merchant acceptance, American Express credit cards have similar benefits to Visa. You will need to decide which credit card offers the best rewards and additional benefits that match your spending and travel habits.
What is the best American Express credit card for travel rewards?
The best Amex credit card for travel rewards is the Platinum Card from American Express. It has many benefits including:
- Complimentary airport lounge access
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
- Accelerated hotel and rental car loyalty status
- Savings at Fine Hotels and Resorts (terms apply)
- Up to $100 annual statement credits for Saks Fifth Avenue
- Terms apply and enrollment may be required in the benefits above
There is a $550 annual fee, easily offset by the card benefits (See Rates & Fees).
What is the best American Express credit card for cash rewards?
The best American Express credit card for cash rewards is the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express. It has no annual fee and you get up to 3% back on purchases:
- 3% back at U.S. supermarkets (on the first $6,000 in annual purchases then 1% back)
- 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores
- 1% back on everything else
And For rates and fees of the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Card from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, click here.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
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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.