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The Best American Express Credit Cards in October 2023

Christine Krzyszton's image
Christine Krzyszton

Christine Krzyszton

Senior Finance Contributor

Countries Visited: 98U.S. States Visited: 45

Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, deta...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury

Keri Stooksbury


Countries Visited: 39U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...
& Kellie Jez

Kellie Jez

Director of Operations & Compliance

Countries Visited: 10U.S. States Visited: 20

Kellie’s professional experience has led her to a deep passion for compliance, data reporting, and process improvement. Kellie’s learned the ins and outs of the points and miles world and leads UP’s c...

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When you look closely at each of the credit cards in your wallet you’ll find the name of the financial institution that issued your card. Additionally, you’ll notice the distinct logo of the payment processing network responsible for facilitating every transaction you make with the card.

That network may be Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or even Discover.

These processing networks serve as links between the financial institution that issued your card and the merchant from which you’re making a purchase.

Visa and Mastercard have a singular purpose of operating as card networks and do not actually issue credit cards. American Express, however, plays a more expanded role, serving as both a card issuer and a payment processing network.

American Express excels when it comes to issuing a diverse collection of card options, adding benefits that relate to each card’s target audience, and making it easy for nearly every consumer to find a card that fits.

With those attributes as a foundation, we’d like to offer our take on the collection of American Express cards that are potentially the best in each category.

The Best Amex Cards — Overview

CardWelcome OfferAnnual FeeBest For
(rates and fees)Best for Travel & Lounges
(rates and fees)Best for Earning Points
(rates and fees)Best Mid-tier Card for Travel
(rates and fees)Best for Cash-back
(rates and fees)Best No-Annual-Fee Cash-back Card
(rates and fees)Best Business Card for Travel & Lounges
(rates and fees)Best Business Card for Earning Points
(rates and fees)Best Business Card for Amazon
(rates and fees)Best Premium Delta Card
Best Premium Hilton Card
(rates and fees)Best Premium Marriott Card

Earning Rewards With American Express Cards

There are several options for earning rewards with American Express cards. Membership Rewards provide value and flexibility, cash-back rewards offer liquidity, and co-branded airline and hotel cards earn miles or points that add to your loyalty program rewards balances.

Let’s look at the types of reward-earning possibilities with Amex cards.

Membership Rewards

Membership Rewards points are 1 of the most valuable types of rewards points you can earn due to their flexibility at redemption time. Redeem Membership Rewards for the best value on flights via Amex Travel or American Express transfer partners.

The Platinum Card® from American Express and the American Express® Gold Card are examples of premium credit cards that earn Membership Rewards points.

Cash-back Rewards

Cash-back is one of the most flexible types of rewards as it can directly affect your bottom line. Cash-back earning structures and redemption processes are also generally easy to understand and execute.

You’ll find cards that automatically apply cash-back each billing period as a statement credit and cards that allow cash-back earnings to accumulate over time.

Examples of cash back credit cards include the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and the American Express Cash Magnet® card.

Co-branded Card Rewards

American Express issues cards that are branded with both airline and hotel affiliations earn rewards in the form of miles or points in the affiliated loyalty rewards program of that brand. For example, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card will earn Delta Air Lines SkyMiles.

Bottom Line: The collection of American Express-issued cards offers several reward-earnings options including valuable Membership Rewards, cash-back, or miles and points on co-branded airline and hotel cards. 

The 3 Best American Express Cards for Travel

Travel rewards cards have specific earning and redemption options that focus on travel. Additionally, the right travel rewards card for you will save you money, make your travels more comfortable and provide travel-related protections and benefits.

American Express understands the traveler and steps up to deliver card options for every traveler from the domestic road-tripper to the seasoned world traveler.

1. Amex Platinum Card (Best for Travel and Lounge Access)

Known as the premier travel rewards card, the Amex Platinum card offers one of the best collections of benefits available, plus earning and redemption options that deliver strong travel-related value.

In addition to worldwide lounge access, elevated earnings on select category purchases, and the statement credits listed above, the Amex Platinum card offers these additional benefits:

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of earning Membership Rewards points is the ability to redeem points by transferring to airline and hotel travel partners to enjoy premium travel experiences.

This flexibility inspired us to search for and write about some of the best ways to maximize the points for luxury travel.

Hot Tip: Find out if you meet the required credit score needed for the Amex Platinum card by reading our guide.

2. Amex Gold Card (Best for Earning Points)

While the Amex Gold card functions powerfully as an everyday spending card, it also carries enough travel benefits to make it a contender for a place in your wallet if you’re a traveler.

Enjoy earning well at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants, and qualifying flight purchases, but also know that your card is earning valuable Membership Rewards points that can be redeemed for great travel value.

Here are some of the additional benefits you can expect with the card:

  • Up to $120 in dining credits each year
  • Up to $120 in Uber credits each year
  • $100 hotel credit for 2-night or more stays at American Express Hotel Collection properties
  • Redeem Membership Rewards points for flights via Amex Travel, gift cards, and more
  • Transfer points to travel partners for greater potential value
  • Amex Offers

We like that the Amex Gold card has a dual life earning well on everyday purchases, yet comes through with good value when purchasing flights or redeeming points for travel experiences.

3. Amex Green Card (Best Mid-tier Card for Travel)

Perhaps you’re not a seasoned world traveler but want to get started with a travel rewards card that doesn’t charge a high annual fee, yet offers a nice rounded collection of travel-related benefits.

With the Amex Green card, you’ll receive bonus earnings at restaurants worldwide and on travel purchases. All other purchases receive 1x earnings.

Here are some additional benefits you’ll find on the card:

  • Up to $189 statement credit each year toward CLEAR Plus membership
  • Up to $100 statement credit each year for LoungeBuddy purchases
  • Earns valuable Membership Rewards points
  • Redeem points for flights/travel via Amex Travel or transfer to travel partners for greater potential value
  • No foreign transaction fees (rates and fees)

Bottom Line: If you travel, even occasionally, you’ll want to have at least 1 travel rewards card offering related earning and redemption options, plus a collection of associated travel benefits. American Express offers nearly a dozen travel rewards card options from which to select. 

The 2 Best American Express Cards for Cash-back

American Express shines when it comes to rewarding everyday spending with cash-back rewards. Cash-back is earned on every purchase in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.

Here are 2 of the most popular cash-back earning American Express cards.

1. Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card (Best for Cash-back)

Cash-back rewards add up quickly when you qualify for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card‘s initial welcome bonus, plus receive bonus-level earnings in the form of Reward Dollars on qualifying purchases you make on a daily basis.

We like these additional benefits offered on the card as well:

2. Amex Blue Cash Everyday Card (Best No-Annual-Fee Cash-back Card)

Making everyday purchases without earning cash-back is simply missing out. Especially when the no-annual-fee Amex Blue Cash Everyday card could make the process seamless.

In addition to everyday earning power, you’ll receive these added benefits:

  • Pay It Plan It repayment plan
  • Monthly statement credits for eligible Disney Bundle subscriptions and Home Chef (enrollment required)

Bottom Line: Cash-back is one of the most flexible types of rewards you can earn. American Express-issued cash-back cards allow your Reward Dollars to accumulate so you can determine when and how you want to redeem your rewards. 

The 3 Best American Express Business Cards

At some point in the midst of growing your business, you realize the value of keeping personal and business expenses separated by utilizing a business credit card. You may have also realized the benefits of organization, balancing cash-flow, and the additional business-related features a business card has to offer.

American Express knows the needs of business owners and reflects that knowledge in its card offerings. Here are some of the best Amex business cards.

1. Amex Business Platinum card (Best Business Card for Travel & Lounge Access)

When your business operation requires a lot of travel, you’ll want a card that can live up to the associated demands. Receiving statement credits for airline incidentals and having worldwide lounge access is certainly a good start, but the Amex Business Platinum card offers much more.

Here are some of the benefits, in addition to those mentioned in the snapshot above, that you can expect with the card:

  • Earn 1.5x points on eligible purchases in key business categories, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else (up to $2 million in purchases per calendar year)
  • Up to $400 statement credit for Dell purchases
  • Statement credit for TSA PreCheck application fee or a statement credit Global Entry application fee
  • 35% rebate when redeeming Membership Rewards points for flights via Amex Travel
  • Transfer points to travel partners for potentially greater value
  • Amex Offers

2. Amex Business Gold Card (Best Business Card for Earning Points)

Unlike bonus earnings on the personal Amex Gold card, the Amex Business Gold card focuses its earnings on common business-related expenses and offers features/benefits that businesses can utilize.

No pre-selection is required as cardmembers receive 4x bonus earnings automatically. Each statement period your highest 2 expenses from these qualifying purchase categories with receive 4x earnings, up to $150,000 per year:

  • Tickets purchased directly from the airline
  • Radio, online, and TV advertising from U.S. providers
  • Qualifying U.S. provider technology purchases including computer hardware, software, and cloud solutions
  • U.S. gas station purchases
  • U.S. restaurant purchases
  • Shipping purchases from U.S. providers

While bonus category earnings focus on business-related expenses, so do these card benefits:

  • No-additional-cost employee cards (rates and fees)
  • QuickBooks compatibility
  • Utilize the American Express Business App to load receipts and notes
  • Year-end statements help organize your expenses at tax time
  • Mobile account management and alerts

3. Amazon Business Prime Amex Card (Best Business Card for Amazon)

If your business involves high-volume purchasing on Amazon, the Amazon Business Prime Amex card could add some serious cash to your bottom line. And with no annual fee, the Amazon Business Prime Amex card could also serve as the perfect companion card to a primary business card.

Bottom Line: While we’ve only listed a few of Amex’s business card options here, American Express offers more than a dozen business cards. Each card has earnings and redemption options focused on business owners, regardless of the size of your operation. We’ve dug deep into the collection and offer our recommendations in this article on some of the best American Express business credit cards.

The Best American Express Airline Card

1. Delta Reserve Card (Best Premium Delta Card)

If Delta is your airline of choice, the Delta Reserve card will enhance that relationship with Delta-specific perks, earnings, and redemption options.

  • Priority boarding and free checked bag
  • Complimentary Delta Sky Club access
  • 2 1-time use Delta Sky Club guest passes each year
  • Complimentary Amex Centurion Lounge access when flying Delta
  • Delta SkyMiles companion flight certificate on each card anniversary
  • Statement credit for TSA PreCheck application fee or a statement credit Global Entry application fee
  • Upgrade priority over same-level elite status travelers
  • Discounted CLEAR membership
  • Access to Pay with Miles redemption option
  • A faster path to Delta SkyMiles Medallion elite status

While the Delta Reserve card is top of the line when it comes to Delta-branded cards, American Express issues additional cards that may offer better value for the Delta loyalist:

To review all the Delta-branded cards available, including business cards, visit our article on the best cards for Delta loyalists.

The 2 Best American Express Hotel Cards

If you frequent a particular hotel brand, you may be familiar with how loyalty program status can enhance your experience with that brand. A hotel-branded card steps up that experience even further.

Here are our choices for some of the best hotel-branded American Express cards.

1. Hilton Aspire Card (Best Premium Hilton Card)

In addition to the exceptional earnings mentioned in the card snapshot above, the Hilton Aspire card offers these premier benefits any Hilton Honors loyalist would enjoy:

  • Complimentary top Diamond Elite status
  • Priority Pass Select membership with access to over 1,300 lounge properties worldwide
  • 3x earnings on all other purchases
  • Additional free hotel night certificate after spending $60,000 in a calendar year on the card
  • $250 Hilton Resort statement credit
  • $250 airline incidental fees statement credit
  • $100 property credit for 2-night or more stays at Conrad and Waldorf Astoria properties

For an in-depth look at all of the best cards for Hilton loyalists, we’ve created an informative overview.

2. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card (Best Premium Marriott Card)

Designed for the ultimate Marriott Bonvoy loyalist, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card delivers elite status, top earnings at Marriott, free hotel nights, and travel and shopping benefits.

There are several Marriott Bonvoy-branded cards available. Some of these cards are issued by American Express and others issued by Chase. You can find the best of both in our article on the best credit cards for Marriott Bonvoy loyalists.

Bottom Line: Hotel-branded cards serve to enhance the benefits of hotel loyalty programs by providing elevated earnings, expanded redemption options, free hotel nights, and on-site property benefits. For more information on the best hotel-branded cards, our article will provide an excellent overview. 

Final Thoughts

With American Express functioning as a card issuer, payment processing network, and benefits provider, the resulting collection of cards is diverse.

Nearly every consumer, regardless of spending habits, annual fee preference, or desired benefits, can find an American Express card that’s a potential perfect match.

And while you may currently need a backup Visa or Mastercard when traveling globally, the American Express acceptance network has expanded greatly as evidenced by its domestic acceptance now at over 10 million merchants.

If you’re curious how American Express stacks up to its competitors, check out our post comparing Amex to Chase.

The information regarding the American Express® Green Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the American Express Cash Magnet® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

American Express issues dozens of cards, each one with features and benefits that offer advantages for a specific type of consumer.

The best American Express card for you will be the 1 that aligns and rewards your greatest expenses. In addition, you’ll want the card to offer redemption options, whether cash-back, Membership Rewards points, airline miles, or hotel points that match your objectives.

The card’s benefits should also be useful to you and finally, the annual fee will be one you’re comfortable paying.

Visa is the largest payment processing network and widely accepted globally, more than any other.

American Express, however, is the top issuer of credit cards domestically and now accepted by 99% of U.S. merchants.

If you travel internationally, you’ll want to have a back-up card (Visa or Mastercard) in case your American Express card is not accepted. Domestically (in the U.S.), the chances of it being accepted are quite high.

An Amex third-party card is a card that uses the American Express payment processing network but the card is not issued by American Express.

For example, Wells Fargo bank may issue a credit card and select the American Express network to process transactions between the merchant and Wells Fargo.

The card would be a Wells Fargo card but you will see the Amex logo on the card as well because Amex serves as the processing network. Amex may also provide some of the benefits that come with these third-party cards.

Membership Rewards points are one of the most valuable rewards currencies due to their flexibility at redemption time. If you’re a traveler, having the ability to transfer rewards points to airline and hotel partners to receive potentially greater than 1 cent in value per point makes Membership Rewards better than cash-back.

If however, you want simplicity in your redemption options and prefer using cash-back rewards for statement credits, cash-back may be a better choice.

American Express issues several cash-back cards including the popular Amex Blue Cash Everyday card and the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card. You earn cash-back on each eligible purchase (minimum 1%) and elevated bonus earnings on specific category purchases, such as supermarkets.

Cash-back is earned in the form of Rewar Dollars which are deposited into your rewards account. Rewards are available for redemption once your statement period ends and you have made at least the minimum required payment on your account.

You can redeem Reward Dollars for a statement credit, gift cards, or merchandise. As long as your card is active, rewards do not have an expiration date.

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, detailed content for UP.


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September 25, 2018

I have an SPG AmEx and am a member of SPG. Should I keep the point from the AmEx with AmEx or send them to SPG? Thanks

Alex Miller

September 26, 2018

Hi Dan, those SPG points should have been automatically transferred to your Marriott account, at a 1:3 ratio. E.g. 1 starpoint gets you 3 Marriott points. SPG points no longer exist as they are now Marriott points. I’d suggest logging into your SPG/Marriott account and checking, they are probably there!

Rosalind Ragland-Carlisle

December 08, 2019

I applied for the Chevron/Texaco credit card and was denied with the explanation that my credit score was not good enough, that it was only 362. This is a lie. My credit score was over 600 because 3 days prior to applying for the card I purchased a new car which is what made me think of putting in for it in the first place.
Just another example of a giant business doing, saying, and getting away with whatever they want to and I am extremely angry as well as disappointed.

Kenneth Dimmick

February 15, 2022

I have a friend I’d like to refer for a SkyMiles Gold Amex card. Do I get points for referring her?

Jarrod West

February 15, 2022

Hi Kenneth,

Yes, you would receive points for referring your friend.

Drew Kincaid

August 15, 2022

My Identity has been stolen and the Identity thieves Omar and Ricky aka Alexander bell are the ones draining my bank account with a black card I’ve never applied for. Please contact me.

Christine Krzyszton

August 15, 2022

Hi Drew. Please understand that we are not American Express. We are Upgraded Points, a blog specializing in credit card rewards and travel resources. Please contact American Express directly at 1 (800) 528-4800. I have deleted your personal information for privacy reasons.

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