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Best American Express credit cards for 2020

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Best American Express credit cards for 2020

Jason StaufferBest American Express credit cards for 2020Million Mile Secrets Team

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American Express has cards that offer huge welcome bonuses, elite status with hotels, valuable Amex Offers and more. Each rewards card, however, comes with its own mix of benefits and perks, which can make it hard to choose the best one for you.

If you regularly pay cash for flights, for example, earning 5x Membership Rewards points per $1 spent with The Platinum Card® from American Express is a great option (just note, you’ll only earn 5x on flights booked directly with the airline or American Express Travel). Or, if you are looking to pad the bank account, earning 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%) with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express could be a lucrative way to go.

We’ve ranked our favorite American Express cards by category so you can pick the best travel credit card for your financial goals.

The best American Express credit cards for 2020

Here’s a breakdown of each card’s bonus, annual fee and a link to the review:

Card nameAnnual feeWelcome bonus & minimum spending requirements
The Platinum Card® from American Express$550 annual fee (see rates & fees)60,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Terms Apply.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express$95 annual fee (see rates & fees) Earn a $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Terms Apply.
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express$595 annual fee (see rates & fees) Up to 75,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements. 50,000 bonus points after spending $10,000 on qualifying purchases in the first three months. Plus, an extra 25,000 bonus points after spending an additional $10,000 on qualifying purchases in the same time frame. Terms Apply.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American ExpressNo annual fee (see rates & fees)None
American Express®️ Green Card$150 annual fee (see rates & fees) Earn 30,000 Amex Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in your first three months of account opening. Terms apply.
American Express® Gold Card$250 annual fee (see rates & fees) 35,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $4,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening. Terms Apply
American Express® Business Gold Card$295 annual fee (see rates & fees) 35,000 Amex Membership Rewards® points after spending $5,000 in purchases in the first three months of account opening. Terms Apply
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card$450 annual fee (see rates and fees)150,000 Hilton points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. Terms apply.
Want to visit the British Virgin Islands? Several of our favorite American Express cards can help get you there. (Photo by cdwheatley/iStock.)

Comparing the best American Express credit cards

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Bonus

With The Platinum Card® from American Express, you can earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.

Ongoing earnings

  • 5x Membership Rewards on airfare (booked either directly with the airline or through Amex Travel)
  • 5x Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel
  • One point per dollar on everything else
  • Terms apply

The 5x Membership Rewards points you’ll earn on flights booked directly with the airlines and on prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel is the highest earning rate for flights of any credit card.

Benefits

With the Amex Platinum, you’ll also get perks like:

  • Up to $200 in Uber credits annually
  • Up to $200 annual airline-fee credit
  • $100 Global Entry credit
  • Airport lounge access
  • Elite car rental status with Avis, Executive status with National Car Rental and Gold Plus Rewards with Hertz
  • Free Hilton Honors and Marriott Gold elite status (free breakfast and upgrades when available)
  • Terms apply

For information on lounges at your home airport or favorite airport, check out this post on how to find Amex Platinum airport lounges. This card also now has new travel coverages, including trip delay insurance and trip cancellation/interruption coverage.

Annual fee

The card has a $550 annual fee, which is not waived (see rates & fees). If you use the perks and credits, you’ll easily come out ahead and find the annual fee worth it.

Amex Platinum bottom line

The Amex Platinum is useful for anyone looking to earn a nice stash of Amex Membership Rewards points through travel spending, especially if you can make the most of the card’s perks. You’ll find our full review of the Amex Platinum card here.

Apply here for The Platinum Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Bonus

The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express comes with a $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account.

Ongoing earnings

With the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, you’ll earn:

  • 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%)
  • 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and transit
  • 1% cash back on everything else
  • Terms apply

Benefits

In addition to the $250 welcome bonus, the Amex Blue Cash Preferred comes with benefits and perks like:

  • Free two-day shipping from over 140 online stores with a complimentary ShopRunner membership
  • Extended warranty protection (one additional year) on purchases with a manufacturer’s warranty of five years or less
  • 90-day return protection on purchases made in the U.S. or U.S. territories (up to $300 per item and $1,000 per calendar year)

Annual fee

The $95 annual fee is not waived the first year (see rates & fees).

Amex Blue Cash Preferred bottom line

For folks who regularly spend at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations and on transit, this card could provide some serious cash back. You can read more about the card in our Amex Blue Cash Preferred review.

Apply here for the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

Redeem cash back for any purchase, like cruises, with the Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card. (Photo by

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

Bonus 

You’ll earn the Amex Business Platinum card’s full bonus after meeting these tiered spending requirements:

  • Earn 50,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after you spend $10,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Terms apply.
  • Earn another 25,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after you spend an additional $10,000 on qualifying purchases within the same timeframe. Terms apply.

That brings the total bonus to 75,000 Amex Membership Rewards points.

Ongoing earnings

With the Amex Business Platinum card you’ll earn:

  • 1.5x Amex Membership Rewards points on single purchases of $5,000+ (up to 1 million additional points per calendar year)
  • 5x Amex Membership Rewards points when you book airfare or prepaid hotels through the Amex travel portal
  • 1x Amex Membership Rewards points on all other purchases
  • Terms apply

The ability to earn 5x Amex points on airfare or prepaid hotels is the best earning rate for those categories for any small-business credit card. This card also now has trip delay insurance and trip cancellation/interruption coverage.

Benefits

And the card comes with lots of perks, including:

  • 35% of your points back for all first-class or business-class flights booked through the Amex travel portal using Pay With Points
  • 35% of your points back for all flights, including coach tickets, booked with your selected airline through the Amex travel portal using Pay With Points (up to 500,000 points per calendar year)
  • Up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for airline incidentals with your selected airline (luggage fees, inflight food and drink, etc.)
  • Up to $200 annual Dell statement credit ($100 from January to June, $100 from July to December)
  • Ability to book hotel stays through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts
  • Amex Platinum Concierge
  • Amex Premium roadside assistance
  • Access to airport lounges (Delta, Priority Pass, Airspace, Escape and American Express Centurion Lounges)
  • Bonus points or statement credits when taking advantage of an Amex Offer
  • Elite car rental status with Avis, Executive status with National Car Rental and Gold Plus Rewards with Hertz
  • Free Hilton Honors Gold elite status (free breakfast and upgrades when available)
  • Free Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
  • Statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (up to $100)
  • Terms and limitations apply

Annual fee 

The Amex Business Platinum annual fee is $595 and it is not waived for the first year (see rates and fees). This is a hefty fee, but it can certainly make sense for those who are able to make the most of the card’s benefits and perks.

Amex Business Platinum bottom line

This is a “platinum” card that is actually worthy of the name. It is always a strong pick, especially for frequent travelers, because it is easy to offset the annual fee with the welcome bonus, perks and benefits.

If you can take full advantage of the many statement credits and lounge access, it can be easy to justify the annual fee.

Here’s our review of the Amex Business Platinum card.

Apply here for The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card From American Express

Bonus

This card isn’t offering a bonus at the moment. But having a no-annual-fee Amex card (see rates & fees) that earns 2 points per $1 on $50,000 in purchases per year is an excellent deal. Similar no-annual-fee small-business cards have a lower earning rate.

Ongoing earnings

The Amex Blue Business Plus card comes with:

  • 2x  Amex Membership Rewards points per $1 on the first $50,000 in purchases per calendar year (then 1 Membership Rewards point per $1 on all purchases)
  • No annual fee
  • Terms apply

Benefits

Although the Amex Blue Business Plus is a credit card with a set credit limit, Amex offers the ability to spend above your limit. This is helpful for small-business owners with a large upcoming purchase.

Cardholders will also get access to perks like:

  • Amex Offers
  • Free employee cards (see rates & fees)
  • Extended warranty
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Baggage insurance
  • Purchase protection
  • Free Shoprunner membership

Annual fee

The card has no annual fee.

Amex Blue Business Plus bottom line

With the no-annual-fee Amex Blue Business Plus card you’ll earn 2 Amex Membership Rewards points per $1 on the first $50,000 in purchases per year (1 Membership Rewards point per $1 on all purchases after that).

If you spend the maximum, you could earn 100,000 Amex Membership Rewards points per year. That’s a great deal for a card with no annual fee. I plan to keep mine forever to have a card that delivers bonus points without thinking about bonus categories. For more detailed information, check out our full Amex Blue Business Plus review.

Apply here for The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

American Express® Green Card

Bonus

You can earn 30,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new American Express® Green Card in your first three months.

Ongoing earnings

  • 3x Membership Rewards points on travel
  • 3x Membership Rewards points on worldwide restaurant purchases
  • 1x Membership Rewards point on everything else
  • Terms apply

Benefits

Along with the good earnings rate on travel purchases, cardholders will get perks like up to $100 in yearly statement credits when you use your Amex Green card to pay for a CLEAR membership. Plus, up to $100 in LoungeBuddy statement credits per year. For frequent travelers, benefits like these can certainly make your flying experience a better one.

The Amex Green card is a great choice for travel purchases like hotels and subways. (Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Annual fee

$150 (see rates & fees)

Amex Green card bottom line

The new Amex Green Card has some unique benefits that can save you time and money on your travels. The card does carry an annual fee of $150, but if you’re able to take advantage of the card’s benefits throughout the year, you can easily come out ahead. You can read our full review of the Amex Green card here.

Apply here for the American Express® Green Card

American Express® Gold Card

Bonus

The American Express® Gold Card has a welcome bonus of 35,000 Amex Membership Rewards points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Ongoing earnings

With this card, you’ll get:

  • 4 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar at restaurants worldwide
  • 4 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases (then 1x)
  • 3 Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com
  • Terms apply

Benefits

You’ll also get benefits and perks like:

  • Up to $120 dining credit ($10 monthly) each year at participating restaurants (enrollment required)
  • Up to $100 airline incidental fee credit each calendar year on your selected airline
  • No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees)
  • Terms apply

Annual fee

There’s a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees), but the credits you’ll earn will offset most of that cost.

Amex Gold bottom line

With the Amex Gold’s earnings rates and perks, this card has essentially become one of the best cards for foodies. Plus, the $250 annual fee is quickly covered when you eat out and shop for groceries at U.S. supermarkets and account for the value of the statement credits you can earn. You’ll find our detailed review here.

Apply here for the American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Business Gold Card

Bonus

With the American Express® Business Gold Card, you can earn 35,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership.

Ongoing earnings

With the Amex Business Gold you’ll earn 4x Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar on two categories where you spend the most each month (capped at the first $150,000 in combined purchases each calendar year, then 1 point per dollar):

  • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
  • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media (online, TV, radio)
  • U.S. purchases made directly from select technology providers of computer hardware, software and cloud solutions
  • U.S. purchases at gas stations
  • U.S. purchases at restaurants
  • U.S. purchases for shipping

Even better, you’ll automatically earn those 4x Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar on two categories you spend the most on each month. You never have to take the step of choosing categories. You’ll earn 1x Amex Membership Rewards point per dollar for everything else.

Benefits

You’ll also get benefits and perks like baggage insurance, purchase protection, roadside assistance and access to Amex Offers. One of my favorite perks of the card is a 25% points rebate if you use your Amex points for flights booked with Amex Travel (up to 250,000 points back each calendar year). The rebate will kick in for first- and business-class tickets, as well as coach tickets on your selected airline.

Annual fee

There’s a $295 annual fee (see rates and fees), but the credits you’ll earn will help offset most of that cost.

Amex Business Gold bottom line

With the Amex Business Gold’s earning structure, this card is suited best for those who spend a lot in categories like airfare, advertising and shipping. And by transferring the Amex Express Membership Rewards points you earn to any of Amex’s direct airline and hotel partners for award travel, you can turn your business expenses into free travel.

Here’s our review of the Amex Business Gold card.

Apply here for the American Express® Business Gold Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

Bonus

The Hilton Aspire card has a bonus of 150,000 Hilton points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership.

Ongoing earnings

With the Amex Hilton Honors Aspire, you’ll earn 14x Hilton points at participating Hilton hotels, 7x points on flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel, on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies and at U.S. restaurants. All other purchases earn 3x points.

Benefits

The Hilton Aspire’s benefits make it one of the top hotel credit cards on the market. For starters, you’ll get top-tier Diamond Hilton status as long as you have the card. That gets you 100% bonus base points on Hilton stays, free breakfast and upgrades up to a suite (when available). You’ll also get a free weekend night award every year and you can earn a second weekend night award if you spend $60,000+ on the card in a calendar year.

This is also one of the few hotel cards that comes with airport lounge access. You can enroll in Priority Pass and get unlimited lounge visits for you and up to two guests. It also has a yearly airline fee credit of up to $250 and up to $250 in Hilton resort credit, which is valid for purchases like room rates and hotel dining. You’ll have to select an airline for the fee credits and the resort credits are valid at Hilton’s participating resorts.

You can also get up to $100 in credits per 2+ night stay at Conrad or Waldorf Astoria locations. You are eligible for this credit once per stay for an unlimited number of stays, but taxes, fees, room rates and gratuities are not eligible for the credit. To qualify, you need to book through this link or call 855-292-5757 and reference the code “ZZAAP1.”

This can also be a good choice for paying for other travel because the card comes with trip interruption/cancellation coverage and trip delay insurance.

Annual fee

There’s a $450 annual fee (see rates and fees).

Hilton Aspire bottom line

The Hilton Aspire’s ongoing perks are borderline absurd. There are very few people who won’t be able to easily recoup much more value than the cost of the annual fee. And even though there isn’t a Hilton award chart, Hilton points can still be extremely useful for booking award stays when you take advantage of the 5th night free feature.

Apply here for the The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

How we choose the best Amex credit cards

Welcome bonus

Earning a big welcome offer is the quickest way to rack up valuable travel rewards and make your dream trip a reality. In fact, many cards will offer lucrative welcome bonuses that are worth several times what they charge in an annual fee. That’s why a card’s intro bonus is so important when it comes to ranking the best cards (of any kind).

Ongoing earnings

We want you to find a card that works the best for your personal spending habits and travel goals. That’s why we consider each card’s ongoing earnings when determining the best offers. A strong earnings rate means you can quickly accumulate points to redeem for something meaningful in a reasonable amount of time. 

Flexibility and ease of redeeming rewards

Having options when it comes to redeeming your rewards means you’ll be more likely to use them. Plus, the more flexibility a card offers, the more likely it is to offer more value too.

Special perks

It’s never easy to put an exact value on all of a card’s benefits as some have no specific monetary value, but some will certainly make your travel experience a lot more enjoyable. That’s why cards that offer perks like airport lounge access and statement credits to TSA PreCheck or Global Entry often make the top of our list.

Summary of the best Amex cards:

The best American Express card for your wallet depends on your travel and financial goals. Lots of Million Mile Secrets readers have more than one of these cards because American Express cards offer lucrative welcome bonuses and terrific everyday spending categories, which can have you on your way to a vacation in no time at all.

For rates and fees of the Amex Green card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum Card, please click here.                                                                                                                                             
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, please click here.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Ooops! The table is cut off on the right, and does not slide on my phone. I just saw another post where the table does slide, so I thought those woes were over! I’ll let you know which post that was in a moment. – beta tester Karey 🙂

Hi Karey – We’re working to get this fixed across all posts – bit of a process! Thanks for letting us know!

Love the Amex Plat card with the SPG gold status

My favorite card is the SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card Amex because of the cash back, it has saved my business a lot of money.

I love the AMEX EveryDay

I do that have any MR-earning AMEX cards yet but I’m keeping my eyes open for a higher bonus on the Platinum cards. I was once targeted for the 100k bonus but had to pass it up since it didn’t align with my travel plans. Better luck next time!

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