Best American Express Credit Cards for 2021

The best American Express credit cards provide exclusive rewards, convenience and plenty of travel benefits. From travel credit cards to business credit cards, American Express has one for every spending habit. See the best credit cards offers from American Express below.

American Express is a leader in providing credit cards to consumers, small businesses, mid-sized companies and large corporations. The company offers some of the most exclusive credit cards on the market, with travel benefits and exciting rewards to boast.

In 2018, American Express added 12 million new cardholders and grew worldwide spending on its credit cards by 9%, with particularly among small and mid-sized businesses and across international regions.

American Express continues to grow merchant acceptance of its cards around the world, adding more than a million new merchant locations in the United States in 2018, according to a 2018 annual filing. If you’re looking to add a rewarding credit card to your wallet, it might be worth getting an American Express credit card. Check out the best American Express credit card offers below.

In this article

    Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

    Who should get it
    Anyone who spends a lot on everyday purchases — such as groceries and gas — will benefit from the perks of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.

    How to use it
    With the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, you’ll earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) and 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

    Consider this

    Why you’ll love it
    This card’s high rewards rate for grocery shopping gas makes up for its annual fee, making it a top quality choice for frequent shoppers or families. Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.

    Pro Tip: If you spend at least $80 a week at U.S. supermarkets, the 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets alone could cover the cost of the card’s annual fee.

    The Platinum Card® from American Express

    Who should get it

    The Platinum Card® from American Express is for travelers who don’t mind paying a high annual fee ( See Rates & Fees here ) to unlock access to luxury travel perks. With glamorous perks like airport lounge access, elite status at hotel accommodations and $200 airline fee credit (up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline) travel credits, this card offers benefits as shiny and alluring as its physical exterior.

    How to use it
    The luxury travel perks of The Platinum Card® from American Express include access to more than 1,200 airport lounges, free room upgrades and breakfast. You’ll earn 75,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in your first 6 months, as well as 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.

    Consider this

    • $550 annual fee ( See Rates & Fees here )
    • Can’t earn welcome bonus if you’ve ever earned one in the past
    • American Express is not as widely accepted as cards in the Visa or Mastercard network

    Why you’ll love it
    The Platinum Card® from American Express is a travel rewards card aimed at those who take multiple trips each year, use Uber for transportation while traveling and prefer airport lounges over hanging out with the general population while waiting for their flight.

    Pro Tip: If you can hit the welcome bonus spending target, you can easily neutralize the hefty $550 annual fee ( See Rates & Fees here )

    American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card

    Who should get it
    The American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card could be a great choice for small business owners who want a 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year (then 1%) with no annual fee ( See rates & fees here ) and a simple rewards structure.

    How to use it
    With no annual fee, you can quickly rack up cash back for your business with the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card. You’ll earn 2% cash back on all purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year and then 1% cash back once you pass the spending limit.

    Consider this

    • 2% cash back on eligible purchases is capped at $50,000 per year, then 1%
    • Potentially high APR after intro period

    Why you’ll love it
    On top of having no annual fee, the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card offers lots of perks. For starters, you won’t have to pay interest on anything you buy for 0% on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening (then ongoing 13.24% - 19.24% Variable APR). If you need to go over your credit limit to provide immediate cash flow to your business, this card lets you do so without penalty. You’ll just have to pay the amount you spend over your credit limit in full at the end of your billing cycle.

    Pro Tip: With the expanded buying power feature, the amount you can spend above your credit limit adjusts with your use of the card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources and other factors.

    American Express® Gold Card

    Who should get it
    The American Express® Gold Card is the perfect companion for anyone who loves to dine and shop. It’s a card for those with good to excellent credit that rewards you for common experiences, such as eating out, grocery shopping and traveling.

    How to use it
    The American Express® Gold Card earns 4X points at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery, and 4X points at U.S. supermarkets up to $25,000 in purchases per year before converting to 1x. Furthermore, it earns 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com, making it a lucrative rewards card.

    Consider this

    • High annual fee: $250 (See Rates & Fees here)
    • Penalty fees are up to $40 for a late payment
    • High spending requirement to earn welcome bonus

    Why you’ll love it
    While there is a high annual fee, there are also some noteworthy benefits that offset it – a $120 annual dining credit (up to $10 per month) at participating locations. The rewards structure of this card is perfect for foodies, professionals who charge lots of business meals and families who make frequent trips to grocery stores.

    Pro Tip: Your points never expire, which are most valuable when used for travel. Points can be transferred directly to American Express travel partners’ programs.

    Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

    Who should get it
    If you’re already part of the Delta frequent flyer program, you can maximize your miles and optimize your travel with the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card. The welcome bonus alone has the potential to cover the cost of a flight for those looking to reap the rewards from a travel card.

    How to use it
    Use this card to buy Delta airfare and to take advantage of promotional point purchases from partners. Enjoy free bag check, priority boarding, seat upgrades, and other in-flight perks when you have this card.

    Consider this

    • Annual fee of $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99. after the first year
    • Only worth the cost for frequent Delta flyers
    • American Express network isn’t as extensive as Visa or Mastercard

    Why you’ll love it
    With perks like priority boarding and free checked bags on Delta flights, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card is a worthwhile travel card to keep in your wallet. Earn 2x miles per dollar spent with Delta Air Lines and 1x mile on all other purchases.

    The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

    Who should get it

    The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express is ideal for small business owners who want to use a single business credit card to make tracking expenses easier.

    How to use it
    As a business card with no annual fee ( See Rates & Fees here ), you can benefit from business purchases with 2x points on expenditures such as office supplies or client dinners (first $50,000 per year, then it’s 1x point).

    Consider this

    • Potentially high APR after intro period
    • Foreign transaction fee: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.( See Rates & Fees here )

    Why you’ll love it

    The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express offers you more buying power for your business means more opportunities to earn points, within reason.

    Pro Tip: If you need to make any large purchases or transfer a balance, take advantage of the intro APR period and pay 0% on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening interest for (then the ongoing APR of 13.24% – 19.24% Variable APR See Rates & Fees here ).

    Compare the Best American Express Credit Cards of 2020

    CardAnnual FeeRewards RateWelcome Bonus
    Best for everyday spending: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express$95 ( See Rates & Fees here )
    • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%)
    • 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
    • 3% cash back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more
    • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations
    • 1% cash back on other purchases
    • Terms Apply
    Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.
    Best for luxury travel: The Platinum Card® from American Express $550 ( See Rates & Fees here )
    • 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
    • Terms Apply
    Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 6 months. Terms Apply.
    Best for double cash back: American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card No annual fee ( See Rates & Fees here )Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1% cash back. Terms Apply.N/A
    Best for dining and travel: American Express® Gold Card $250 ( See Rates & Fees here )
    • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
    • 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x point)
    • 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel
    • Up to $120 dining savings (at select locations)
    • Terms Apply
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months. Terms Apply.
    Best for Delta frequent flyers: Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99. ( See Rates & Fees here )
    • 2x miles per dollar spent directly with Delta
    • 1x mile per dollar for all purchases
    • First checked bag is free
    • on Delta flights
    • Terms Apply
    Earn 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Terms Apply.
    Best for 0% intro APR period: The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express No annual fee ( See Rates & Fees here )Earn 2x points on everyday business purchases up to $50,000 with no category restrictions, then 1x point. Terms Apply.N/A

    Should I get a credit card?

    Getting a credit card can make you feel like an adult and be financially beneficial if you use it responsibly. It’s a decision that can be an important step towards building a credit history that will eventually open the door to buying big-ticket items and being more financially responsible, but it can also have long-term consequences.

    With a credit card, you’ll get access to a revolving line of credit from the card issuer. Your credit limit is determined on your creditworthiness. You can continue using the card for purchases as long as your outstanding balance stays within your credit limit.

    If you’re new to credit, you might not have enough of a credit history to qualify for some of the best credit cards available. That’s where secured credit cards come into play. Unlike unsecured credit cards (regular credit cards), secured cards require a down payment. That makes them less risky for lenders and easier to apply for.

    How credit cards work

    A credit credit is similar to a loan, in that it offers you a line of credit that can be used to make purchases, balance transfers or cash advances. After you use it to make purchases, you are required to pay back the amount you spent. A minimum payment is typically required every month by a specific date on the balance, but it is better to pay any balance in full to avoid interest charges.

    Some credit cards might have an annual fee, which the fee amount depends on the card and can vary after an introductory period. There may also be other fees associated with credit cards depending on the activity, such as cash advance fees, balance transfer fees or foreign transaction fees.

    The biggest pro of having a credit card is the ability to build or improve your credit score, as it is important if you ever want to buy a car or get a mortgage loan, among other things. If you can regularly use your credit card responsibly, you can build credit and grow financially.

    How to apply for a credit card

    Applying for a credit card is one thing, but getting approved for one is another. It’s as simple as entering your information into an online application. However, it can require some planning and research beforehand. Knowing what credit card issuers are looking for can be useful when you’re completing your application. Here are steps to apply for a credit card:

    • Check your credit score
    • Determine what type of card you need
    • Choose where to apply
    • See if you’re pre-qualified
    • Prepare for a potential impact to your credit
    • Practice responsible credit card habits

    When should I pay off my credit card bill?

    Always strive to pay your credit card balance in full by your statement due date. There’s no better way to build a solid credit history and healthy credit score. Credit is a powerful tool when seasoned with self control, but without discipline, it can wreak havoc on your financial future. Case in point – the average American household has $16,000 of credit card debt.

    If your card has an 18% interest rate and you’re only making the minimum payment (usually around 3% of the total balance), you’ll rack up over $2,000 in interest charges every month and continue to lose ground.

    Paying your credit card off in full also helps to keep your credit utilization ratio low. Your credit utilization ratio is the percentage of your available credit that you have used. Credit bureaus use this metric to gauge how responsible you are. When it comes to credit utilization ratio, low is best. Credit cards can negatively affect your credit utilization if you continuously run large balances. We recommend keeping your credit utilization for each credit card below 30%.

    Pro tip: You can track your credit utilization on your credit card with some simple math — your balance divided by your credit limit equals your ratio.

    How credit utilization affects your credit score

    There are five factors that influence your credit score: payment history, age, mix of credit, inquiries, and your credit utilization — which can impact up to 30% of your score. Credit utilization (sometimes referred to as your credit utilization ratio) represents the percentage of your available credit that is currently active.

    Imagine you have two credit cards with a total credit limit of $20,000 – one with a $5,000 limit and another with a $15,000 limit. On the first card, you have a $3,200 balance, and on the second you have a zero balance because you just paid it off. Right now, your credit utilization is at a healthy 16%.

    If you cancel the second card, your total credit limit will drop to $5,000 and your credit utilization will rise to a whopping 64%. That’s important to keep in mind because experts say that once your utilization ratio exceeds 30% your credit score may be at risk.

    How many credit cards should you have?

    The number of credit cards someone should have depends on the individual. You should never have more credit cards than you can handle. The short answer is that you should strive to have at least two credit cards – ideally from different issuers and that offers different rewards. The average American has 3.1 credit cards, according to a 2017 Experian survey.

    Whether you have two or 20 cards, what’s important is that you use your cards responsibly and take full advantage of the benefits that come along. Make sure you’re not juggling so many cards that you get overwhelmed and can’t keep track of all the payment due dates. The main point of having more credit cards is earning points or cash back on your everyday spending that you pay off every month.

    For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here
    For rates and fees of the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card, 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 The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, please click here
    For rates and fees of the The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here

    Please Note: Information about the American Express Cards has been collected independently by TheSimpleDollar.com. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

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