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The best American Express cards of January 2021 — from the Amex Platinum to options for cash back

This article is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. It has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the issuers listed. Some of the offers you see on the page are from our partners like Citi and American Express, but our coverage is always independent. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page.

The best American Express cards

American Express is most famous for its travel cards like the Platinum Card and premium "experiential" offerings like concierge service, but it also offers cards with non-travel perks and lower annual fees. 

Amex cards also offer various benefits like travel insurance and purchase protection. Additionally, all American Express cardholders get access to Amex Offers that can earn you bonus points or get cash back when you shop with certain retailers.

If you're looking for the best Amex card for you, here are the ones you should consider.

We're focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won't be worth it if you're paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it's important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

Best Amex card if you travel a lot: Platinum Card

Annual Fee
$550
Regular APR
See Pay Over Time APR
Credit Score
Excellent
A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star
4.75 out of 5 Stars
Editor's Rating
Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
Annual Fee
$550
Regular APR
See Pay Over Time APR
Credit Score
Excellent
A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star
4.75 out of 5 Stars
Editor's Rating
Featured Reward
75,000 points after you spend at least $5,000 in your first 6 months of account opening
Intro APR
N/A
Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
  • Details
  • Pros & Cons
    • Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
    • Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That's an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
    • Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
    • Earn 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.
    • 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
    • Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
    • Receive complimentary benefits through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties. Learn More.
    • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
    • $550 annual fee.
    • Terms Apply.
    Pros
    • Long list of travel benefits, including airport lounge access and complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott
    • Annual statement credits with Saks and Uber
    Cons
    • Bonus categories leave something to be desired
    • One of the highest annual fees among premium travel cards
    Read Our Review Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

    At $550 (See Rates), the Platinum Card has one of the highest annual fees of any mainstream card. However, as long as you're willing to float it up front, you can get way more value back from the card — for instance, it's possible to get more than $2,000 in value from it during your first year.

    The Platinum Card offers 5 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with the airline, as well as flights and pre-paid hotels booked through Amex Travel (starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year). It earns 1x point on everything else (Note: New Platinum Card® cardmembers can earn 10x points on eligible purchases at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during the first 6 months of card membership).

    The card comes with a long list of perks, including access to more than 1,200 airport lounges within the Priority Pass network, as well as Delta Sky Clubs (when you're flying Delta) and proprietary American Express Centurion Lounges. It also offers complimentary Gold elite status with Marriott and Hilton hotels, as well as up to $100 per year in shopping credits at Saks Fifth Avenue, up to $200 in Uber credits each cardmember year, and access to special events.

    Best for dining rewards: Amex Gold Card

    Annual Fee
    $250
    Regular APR
    See Pay Over Time APR
    Credit Score
    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star
    4.6 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating
    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
    Annual Fee
    $250
    Regular APR
    See Pay Over Time APR
    Credit Score
    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star
    4.6 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating
    Featured Reward
    60,000 points after you spend at least $4,000 in your first 6 months of account opening
    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
  • Details
  • Pros & Cons
    • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
    • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
    • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
    • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
    • $120 Dining Credit: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
    • Annual Fee is $250.
    • Terms Apply.
    Pros
    • Great rewards for dining and for shopping at US supermarkets
    • Monthly statement credit for eligible dining purchases recoups some of the annual fee
    Cons
    • Underwhelming welcome bonus
    Read Our Review Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

     

    The Amex Gold Card is one of best cards available for dining, unless you're only interested in cash back, rather than potentially more valuable rewards points.

    The Amex Gold Card earns 4x points at restaurants worldwide and on up to $25,000 per calendar year at U.S. supermarkets (and 1x point after that), 3x points on flights booked directly with the airline, and 1x point on everything else. Based on the fact that you can easily redeem Membership Rewards points for more than 1 cent of value each, that makes this the highest-earning card for everything food-related.

    The Amex Gold Card adds up to $120 of dining credits — split into $10 each month — at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Steak House, or participating Shake Shack locations.

    Best for cash back: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

    Annual Fee
    $95
    Regular APR
    13.99% to 23.99% variable APR
    Credit Score
    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star
    4.3 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating
    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
    Annual Fee
    $95
    Regular APR
    13.99% to 23.99% variable APR
    Credit Score
    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star
    4.3 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating
    Featured Reward
    $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months
    Intro APR
    0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from account opening
    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
  • Details
  • Pros & Cons
    • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
    • 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 at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
    • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
    • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.99% to 23.99%.
    • Plan It® gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee.
    • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
    • $95 Annual Fee.
    • Terms Apply.
    Pros
    • Generous bonus rewards, especially at US supermarkets
    • One of a small handful of credit cards that offer bonus rewards on select streaming services
    • Intro APR offer
    Cons
    • Unlike many other cash-back cards, it charges an annual fee
    • If you spend more than $6,000 at US supermarkets each year, you'll want to use another card once you reach that cap
    Read Our Review Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

    If you're less excited about earning Membership Rewards points — which can be valuable, but also require some effort to redeem for maximum value — and want to stick with cash back, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is the best option, despite its $95 annual fee (See rates).

    You'll earn 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services and 3% back on all transit. That's in addition to 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases per calendar year (and 1% after that), 3% back at U.S. gas stations, and 1% cash back on everything else.

    The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers a 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months, before switching to a 13.99% to 23.99% variable APR (See rates)

    The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express comes with a handful of travel and purchase protections as well. Cash back comes in the form of a statement credit, so effectively you can use it to "erase" purchases.

    If you travel but don't want to pay for the Amex Platinum: Amex Green Card

    Annual Fee
    $150
    Regular APR
    See Rates & Fees
    Credit Score
    N/A
    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star
    4.3 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating
    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
    Annual Fee
    $150
    Regular APR
    See Rates & Fees
    Credit Score
    N/A
    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star
    4.3 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating
    Featured Reward
    30,000 points after you spend at least $2,000 in your first 3 months of account opening
    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
  • Details
  • Pros & Cons
    • The information related to the American Express® Green Card has been collected by Business Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.
    • Earn 30,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
    • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on all eligible travel, from subway swipes and window seats to hotel stays and city tours.
    • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points at restaurants worldwide.
    • Receive up to $100 per year in statement credits when you use the American Express® Green Card to pay for your CLEAR® membership at select airports and stadiums across the U.S. and Permissible Biometric Scanning Technology terms: eye scanning, irises scanning and fingerprints scanning.
    • Use the American Express® Green Card to purchase lounge access through LoungeBuddy to any of the lounges in the LoungeBuddy network – no memberships, elite statuses, or first class tickets required. Earn up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year on your LoungeBuddy purchases.
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
    • $150 Annual Fee.
    • Terms Apply.
    Pros
    • 3x bonus categories of travel and restaurants that rival the more-expensive Chase Sapphire Reserve
    • Reasonable annual fee compared to many other travel rewards cards
    Cons
    • Annual statement credits with CLEAR and LoungeBuddy won't be useful to everyone
    • Underwhelming welcome bonus
    Read Our Review Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

     

    The Amex Green Card has become a top option for earning Membership Rewards points on travel and dining. 

    You'll earn 3 points per dollar on all eligible travel, which includes everything from subway fare to hotels to flights. You'll also earn 3 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide. In terms of points-earning, this puts the Amex Green Card on par with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which also offers 3x points in these spending categories.

    Other benefits include up to $100 in statement credits toward CLEAR membership each year, and up to $100 in statement credits per year toward LoungeBuddy purchases (for airport lounge access).

    The Amex Green card has a $150 annual fee, but that's relatively moderate, especially if you can take advantage of those two annual statement credits.

    Best business card for travelers: Amex Business Platinum Card

    Annual Fee
    $595
    Regular APR
    N/A
    Credit Score
    Good to Excellent
    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star
    4.8 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating
    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
    Annual Fee
    $595
    Regular APR
    N/A
    Credit Score
    Good to Excellent
    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star
    4.8 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating
    Featured Reward
    85,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases within your first 3 months of account opening
    Intro APR
    N/A
    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
  • Details
  • Pros & Cons
    • The information related to The Business Platinum Card® from American Express has been collected by Business Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.
    • Earn 85,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card plus earn 5x points on eligible purchases in 5 select business categories, up to 80,000 bonus points per category, all within the first 3 months of Card Membership.† Terms Apply.
    • Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's an extra half point per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
    • 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year when you book on amextravel.com.
    • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
    • Enroll to get up to $200 in statement credits annually by getting up to $100 semi-annually for U.S. purchases with Dell. Terms apply.
    • Pay Over Time Option: A flexible payment option to help manage cash flow on purchases of $100 or more.
    • Terms Apply.
    Pros
    • More travel benefits than you'll find on any other business credit card
    • Generous airport lounge access options, from American Express Centurion Lounges to Priority Pass
    • Complimentary hotel elite status
    • Access to Amex concierge services
    Cons
    • Very high annual fee
    • Limited opportunities to earn bonus points
    • Annual statement credits won't be useful for everyone
    Read Our Review Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

    The Amex Business Platinum Card is Amex's top-of-the-line business credit card, and it has many of the same perks you'll find on the personal Platinum Card, including up to a $200 airline fee credit each year, access to airport lounges including Centurion Lounges and Priority Pass lounges, and up to a $100 credit to cover the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

    It also offers several benefits that cater to business owners, such as a 50% points bonus on purchases of $5,000 or more (up to 1 million additional points each year) and up to $200 in annual statement credits for Dell purchases ($100 each half of the year).

    If you use Amex points to book travel, you'll appreciate the 35% Pay With Points rebate, which applies to business- and first-class flights or flights in any class with a selected qualifying airline booked through amextravel.com.  You can get up to 500,000 points back in a calendar year.

    The personal Platinum Card has the advantage when it comes to bonus categories — it earns 5x points on flights booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel, while the Business Platinum only earns 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels booked with Amex Travel. For more info on the differences between the Business Platinum and the personal Amex Platinum, read our in-depth comparison.

    Best business card for earning maximum points: The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

    Annual Fee
    $0
    Regular APR
    13.24% to 19.24% variable APR
    Credit Score
    Good
    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star
    4.6 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating
    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
    Annual Fee
    $0
    Regular APR
    13.24% to 19.24% variable APR
    Credit Score
    Good
    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star
    4.6 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating
    Intro APR
    0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months from account opening
    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
  • Details
  • Pros & Cons
    • The information related to the The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express has been collected by Business Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.
    • Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
    • Enjoy the flexibility to put more purchases on the Card and earn rewards when you buy above your credit limit*.
    • You’ve got the power to use your Card beyond its credit limit* with Expanded Buying Power.
    • More buying power for your business means more opportunities to earn points. That’s everyday business with the Blue Business Plus Card.
    • *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 us, and other factors.
    • 0.0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.24% – 19.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors at account opening.
    • No Annual Fee
    • Terms Apply
    Pros
    • The rate no-annual-fee card to earn Amex Membership Rewards points
    • Solid earning rate on the first $50,000 in purchases each year
    Cons
    • For spending above $50,000 each year, you won't earn bonus points with this card
    • No welcome bonus
    Read Our Review Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

    The Blue Business Plus card earns 2x Amex points on the first $50,000 you spend each year, then 1x points. Up until that $50,000 threshold, you're effectively earning a 4% return on all your purchases, based on The Points Guy's valuations.

    Another bonus is that The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express has no annual fee. Just remember that it is a business product, so if you don't have a side gig or a small enterprise that would qualify you for a business card, you won't be eligible.

    One downside is that there's no welcome bonus, but the return on spending could be reason enough to consider this card.

    Great bonus categories for families: Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card

    The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card is a strong option for anyone looking for a Membership Rewards card, but who's not interested in a premium card like the Platinum or the Amex Gold. It also has a strong points-earning scheme and a lower annual fee of $95.

    The card earns 3 points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 each calendar year — 1 point per dollar after that), 2x points at U.S. gas stations, and 1x point on everything else. You can also get 2x points on reservations made through Amex Travel.

    Best of all, if you make 30 or more purchases in a billing period, you'll earn a 50% bonus. That means that those little $3 and $4 charges for things like coffee or a snack can help you get a ton of points quickly.

    The card also offers a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months after account opening, before switching to a  12.99% to 22.99% Variable. If you have a big purchase coming up and want some time to pay it off, but don't want to pay interest fees, this is a great option.

    Best Amex card with no annual fee: Amex EveryDay Card

    The Amex EveryDay is a no-annual-fee version, which still offers solid rewards. It earns 2x points at U.S. supermarkets (again up to $6,000 of purchases per calendar year, then 1x after that) and at AmexTravel.com, and 1x on everything else. It also offers 20% more points when you make 20 or more purchases in a billing period.

    Like most Amex cards, it features a few travel and purchase protections, as well as access to the Amex Offers program.

    While most people will be better off with the Preferred, the regular EveryDay is still a strong option — especially since there's no annual fee.

    Best Amex card with an intro APR offer: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

    Annual Fee
    $0
    Regular APR
    13.99% to 23.99% variable APR
    Credit Score
    Good to Excellent
    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star
    4.1 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating
    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
    Annual Fee
    $0
    Regular APR
    13.99% to 23.99% variable APR
    Credit Score
    Good to Excellent
    A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star A five pointed star
    4.1 out of 5 Stars
    Editor's Rating
    Featured Reward
    20% back on purchases at Amazon.com on the Card in the first 6 months, up to $200 back (plus, you can earn $100 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months)
    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.
  • Details
  • Pros & Cons
    • Earn 20% back on purchases at Amazon.com on the Card in the first 6 months, up to $200 back.
    • Plus, earn $100 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
    • 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
    • 2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores.
    • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
    • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.99% to 23.99%.
    • Plan It® gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee.
    • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits.
    • No annual fee.
    • Terms Apply.
    Pros
    • Good bonus cash-back rate at US supermarkets
    • No annual fee
    Cons
    • If you spend more than $6,000 at US supermarkets in a year, you should use another card to earn bonus rewards once you hit that cap
    Read Our Review Read Our Review A looong arrow, pointing right

    The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is similar to the Blue Cash Preferred, with a different earning structure and no annual fee (See Rates).

    The card earns a lower 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 each calendar year — and 1% after that — 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% cash back on everything else. While many people spend enough in the bonus categories to make the Blue Cash Preferred the better option, this remains a decent card for anyone who's strictly opposed to paying an annual fee.

    If you're looking to make a major purchase and pay it off over time, like an appliance or an engagement ring, you can take advantage of the 0% intro APR on purchases  for the first 15 months after account opening (after that, it reverts to a 13.99% to 23.99% variable APR (See Rates)). You'll earn cash back on the purchase, which you can put right towards paying it off.

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

    For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

    For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, please click here.

    Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

    Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

    Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

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

    SEE ALSO: All our credit card reviews — from cash-back to travel rewards to business cards — in one place

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