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Although applying for new cards can be exciting, it’s a two way street in which the bank needs to choose you, too. Chase remains my favorite overall bank for its generous intro bonuses and strong earnings potential, but American Express cards are a close second. Amex offers dozens of lucrative travel credit cards — more than any other issuer.
I want to reiterate that there’s no precise science to guaranteeing whether you might be approved for any given rewards credit card. But by looking at historical approval rates and considering typical application behavior, we can have a rough guideline of what cards might be a good fit for you based on your credit score and income qualifications.
I’ll share what we’ve found for the minimum credit score needed for Amex personal credit cards. Remember, Amex doesn’t publish firm rules or scores required, so these are based on reports from the team and readers and you experience can vary widely. There are also slightly different standards for Amex business cards, but qualifying for a business card doesn’t require you to have a full-time business. You can be eligible for small business credit cards as a part-time freelancer or independent contractor (like driving for Lyft or Uber).
Credit score needed for the Hilton Honors American Express Card
The first of three Hilton credit cards from Amex, the Hilton Honors American Express Card comes with no annual fee (see rates & fees) and is a solid hotel credit card. This card is the easiest to get approved for and is a great introduction to earning Hilton Honors points and possibly upgrading to a “higher” level card in the future. The Hilton Honors card comes with a welcome bonus of 75,000 Hilton points after you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
Although this card carries no annual fee, folks report needing a credit score of at least 680 to get approved. But some others were approved with scores of as low as 650, so you might have a good shot even with less of a credit history.
Credit score needed for the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
The next step up from the “regular” Hilton Honors Amex is the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, which carries a $95 annual fee (see rates & fees) and offers 125,000 Hilton points after spending $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. The Hilton Surpass is a great mid-tier card that comes with good earnings potential and Gold Hilton status benefits without the significant annual fee.
Folks report needing similar credit scores to be approved for this card, typically in the 680+ range. I love this card and kept it open since I was first approved in 2015 with a score of around 700.
Credit score needed for The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card might be my very favorite credit card because of its insane perks, top tier automatic Hilton Diamond status, and massive welcome bonus. You can earn 150,000 Hilton points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of card opening. The card has a $450 annual fee (see rates & fees).
I was approved for the Hilton Aspire card last year with a 775 credit score, and team member Jasmin was approved with a score over 800. However, some folks report being approved with scores as low as 700. Because this is the most “premium” of the Amex Hilton cards, you’ll need the highest score overall.
The Amex Platinum card might be the most famous credit card around because of its prestige, perks and exclusivity. Read our Amex Platinum card review to learn more about what makes this card so special.
The card has a $550 annual fee (see rates & fees), but you can get so much value that most people (myself included) see the card as being worth it year over year. You’ll earn 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account.
Do you need good credit to be approved for the Amex Platinum
To be approved for the Amex Platinum, you need to have a good or excellent credit score. This means you need a credit score of at least 700. If you’re hovering around the 700 mark, it may be best to wait to apply when your score increases as the average applicant has a score of 715. Although, some applicants have been approved with a credit score as low as 643.
Sure, some have been approved with a fair score, but those data points are few and far between. The Amex Platnum is considered a premium card and therefor creditworthiness is important.
Luckily, there are a number of ways to boost your credit score, including paying down debt and not applying for any new lines of credit. You’ll have the best chance of getting approved if you have a low debt-to-income ratio and very few recent credit applications on your file. These behaviors show that while you might have a lower credit score, you can responsibly manage your existing debt. That, in turn, could improve the likelihood of approval.
Credit score needed for the American Express® Green Card
The Amex Green card has perks including up to $100 per calendar year in statement credits for purchases with CLEAR and LoungeBuddy and 3x bonus Amex points on travel purchases. So it’s not hard to justify the card’s $150 annual fee (see rates and fees). Right now the Amex Green card has a an offer of 30,000 Amex points after spending $2,000 on the card in the first three months. There are so many great ways to use Amex points that you can’t go wrong earning them. Terms Apply.
To get approved for this card you’ll want a credit score of at least 670 to get approved, but some people have reported having a score as low as 630 and being able to get the card.
Credit score needed for the American Express® Gold Card
The American Express® Gold Card has a permanent spot at the top of my wallet for its amazing earning structure, including 4x points on U.S. supermarket purchases (up to $25,000 per calendar year, then 1x) and on dining worldwide. I love earning and redeeming Amex Membership Rewards points because of all the Amex transfer partners, so this is a card I’ll hold on to long term despite the $250 annual fee (see rates & fees). You’ll earn 35,000 Amex Membership Rewards points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Terms Apply.
I was approved for the American Express Gold Card more than five years ago and have kept it open since then. My credit score at the time of my application was around 750, but some readers report being approved with scores as low as 680 (with an average approval score just over 700).
Credit score needed for the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
The mid-tier Delta credit card offered by Amex is the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card ($250 annual fee, see rates and fees). This airline credit card is great for folks hoping to earn Delta elite status and Delta SkyMiles without paying the large price tag on a “super-premium” card that can sometimes cost up to $600 annually just to keep open.
You can earn 40,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of account opening.
I open the Delta SkyMiles Platinum credit card last year and was approved with a credit score of around 780, but reports online show you would likely be approved with a score as low as just 690 or above. This is a great card to keep long term because of its perks for Delta flyers.
Credit score needed for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card might be the easiest card on this list to be approved for and only has a $99 annual fee (see rates and fees) that’s waived for the first year. One report showed a new card approval with a credit score as low as 625, though the applicant did have steady income of at least $50,000 annually.
This card comes with a bonus of 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of account opening.
Credit score needed for the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
The most premium and the most expensive Delta credit card from Amex is the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, coming in with a $550 annual fee (see rates & fees). This card comes with 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
The Delta SkyMiles Reserve card is the toughest of the Delta credit cards to get approved for, but still only requires a credit score of around 700 or above. That’s fairly reasonable for a great card that some folks will want to keep long term for its perks and benefits.
Credit score needed for the Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card
The Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card offers no annual fee (see rates & fees) and 10,000 miles after spending $500 on the card in the first three months of account opening. This is a great starter card for people with little credit history or who are new to collecting miles and points.
Some people report being approved for the Delta SkyMiles Blue credit card with a small annual income and credits scores as low as 660, making this card a great option for those who are still working on their credit score.
Credit score needed for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
Last but certainly not least is the premium Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. This is also a credit card, meaning you have the ability to carry a balance month over month. The Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant credit card a great option for folks who stay at Marriott hotels or who value Marriott Bonvoy elite status.
You’ll earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. But keep an eye out for the hefty $450 annual fee (see rates & fees). This is another premium credit card where you should plan to have a 700 credit score or above before applying.
Things to remember when applying for Amex credit cards
I’m all for doing due diligence before applying for a new Amex card. But keep in mind that Amex (and any other bank) has the final say, and sometimes credit card denials can come as an unfortunate shock. In these cases, you can always call up Amex personal credit reconsideration at 877-399-3083. Sometimes they’re just looking for a little more information that could help boost your chances of approval.
You also need to make sure you’re adhering to Amex’s application rules, including how frequently you can apply for new credit cards. Remember, Amex only allows you to earn the bonus on a specific card once, per person, per lifetime.
And sometimes you might not be eligible for a given card’s welcome bonus depending on what credit cards you’ve applied for and held in the past. Because of this, I recommend you read our full review of each of the below cards before deciding whether or not to apply.
If you do choose to sign up for any of the above cards, best of luck in your application process and may the approval odds be ever in your favor. We’ve also covered the minimum credit scores you would need to be approved for Chase credit cards.
Amex offers some of the very best credit cards around. Overall, Amex is more generous in its credit card approvals than other banks, but nothing is guaranteed. Make sure that you come in with reasonable expectations and that you understand the typical credit scores with which folks are approved.
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For the rates and fees of the Amex Green card, please click here.
For the rates and fees of The Platinum Card from American Express, please click here.
For the rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, please click here.
For the rates and fees of the Hilton Surpass card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire card, click here.
For the rates and fees of the American Express Gold Card, please click here.
For the rates and fees of the Delta Reserve card, please click here.
For the rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Blue card, please click here.
For the rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Gold card please click here.