2017’s Best American Express Card – WalletHub Editors
This content is not provided or commissioned by any issuer. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of an issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by an issuer.
American Express (a WalletHub partner) is a venerable brand, known for customer service and as a status symbol. So it’s understandable that you’d be interested in the company’s cards. But thinking you want an Amex is a far cry from knowing you’ve found the best card for your needs. Please note, American Express is a WalletHub partner.
To help you nab the right deal, our editors compared Amex offers to find the best American Express credit cards for seven of the most common consumer needs. You can find the winners listed in the table below, followed by in-depth explanations and non-Amex alternatives to consider along with each selection. You may notice that credit cards for (re)building credit, student rewards and balance transfers aren’t included. That’s because all American Express credit cards require at least “good” credit for approval, and the few offers that even allow balance transfers charge a 3% transfer fee.
With that in mind, we recommend checking your credit score for free on WalletHub to see whether you can qualify for a credit card from American Express. You can also check out our editors’ picks for the best student credit cards and the best balance-transfer credit cards, if you’re in the market for such offers.
|Best For...||Best Amex||Min. Credit Required||Learn More|
|Cash Back||Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||Good||Editors’ Notes|
|Points/Miles||Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express||Good||Editors’ Notes|
|Hotel Rewards||Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express||Good||Editors’ Notes|
|Business||SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express||Good||Editors’ Notes|
Best Amex Card: Cash Back
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is one of the market’s best cash back credit cards, according to our editors. It provides generous rewards in some of the biggest everyday spending categories, offering 6% cash back on the first $6,000 you spend at U.S. supermarkets each year as well as 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and purchases at certain U.S. department stores. Plus, its $200 bonus for spending $1,000 in the first three months can help defray the cost of its $95 annual fee.
All things considered, the average person can expect to earn roughly $1,250 in net rewards over the first two years with Blue Cash Preferred, according to our calculations. But whether or not it’s the card for you really comes down to how much you spend at gas stations and department stores. If they aren’t among your biggest expense categories, or you don’t make credit card purchases often enough to justify paying an annual fee, our choice for the best non-Amex alternative might be more your speed.
Compared to the Competition: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express vs. Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
Best Amex Card: Points/Miles
The Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express is a decent offer that has the misfortune of competing against a historically valuable crop of travel rewards credit cards. It’s fine the first year, when no annual fee is in effect, giving you 25,000 bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first three months, in addition to regular rewards headlined by 3 points per $1 spent directly at airlines.
But those ongoing rewards and the $100 airfare credit you get each account anniversary aren’t enough to compensate for the $195 annual fee that kicks in year two. That’s especially true for anyone who likes to book airfare through travel-comparison sites such as Kayak and Expedia, as those purchases would not be eligible for the 3-point earning tier. There’s simply more value and more flexibility to be found elsewhere.
Compared to the Competition: Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express vs. Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
Best Amex Card: Hotel Rewards
The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express didn’t make our editors’ list of the year’s best hotel credit cards, but it still has an awful lot to offer. That includes 25,000 bonus points (worth roughly $662 in free nights) for spending $3,000 within the first three months and no annual fee the first year ($95 thereafter). So it’s a great choice for Starwood loyalists, but travelers who are open to other accommodations may have superior options to choose from.
Best Amex Card: Business
How much do you spend on wireless services and office supplies? That’s the deciding factor here. If they’re among your biggest expenses, SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express is the way to go, giving you 5% cash back in both categories. You also get to pick a 3% cash back category from a list that includes airfare, hotels, certain forms of advertising and even cloud computing services. But not all small business owners spend their money that way, so some might prefer a simpler, more flexible option.
Compared to the Competition: SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express vs. CCapital One® Spark® Cash for Business
Remember, your personal credit standing is what dictates your ability to get a business credit card. You can check your latest credit score for free on WalletHub to gauge your odds of approval. WalletHub is the only site that offers free credit scores that are updated on a daily basis, so you won’t get a better sense of your standing anywhere else.
Finally, it’s important to note that American Express isn’t as widely accepted internationally as Visa and Mastercard. So if you’re headed abroad anytime soon, make sure to confirm what types of plastic the merchants in your destination take. Or you could erase all doubt by getting one of the best international credit cards.
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