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As one of the leading credit card issuers, it’s hardly surprising that many American Express cards rank amongst the top travel cards as well as the best everyday spending credit cards, providing the best of both worlds.

However, there are alternatives for those who’d rather not incur an annual fee or prefer earning cashback. Here, we present some of the best American Express credit cards that could be a perfect fit for your wallet.

Best Amex Offer: New American Express® Gold Card cardholders can earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months.

Flowers at Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni. Credit: Johnny Jet

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

What is Amex’s Best Credit Card?

The best Amex cards are the Amex Platinum, Amex Gold, and Amex Blue Cash. Those cards cover high-end travel perks, valuable rewards, and benefits on everyday spending.

While American Express offers some of the best luxury credit cards to help elevate your travels, there are also some perfect options for having for everyday use. For instance, American Express offers some of the best cards for groceries.

There are also good options for casual travelers who want a low or no annual fee option.

While several co-brand airline and hotel cards are available, these options fit both casual and frequent travelers’ needs. 

Speaking of travel, if you want flexibility, focus on getting cards that earn Membership Rewards® points. Any card that earns these points lets you transfer them to over a dozen airline partners at a 1:1 ratio. However, be aware of how long it takes to transfer American Express points to travel partners.

Hopefully, this review can help you find the best option that works for you.

What Is The Top-Of-The-Line American Express?

The Platinum Card from American Express is the best top-of-the-line Amex card. It’s more accessible than the Amex Centurion and offers an insane array of benefits.

The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the highest-level cards you can get. It’s best for frequent flyers and people who stay at hotels because of these benefits:

  • Transfer points on a 1:1 basis to airlines and hotel partners
  • Airport lounge access (Centurion, Priority Pass (enrollment required), Delta Sky Club, and others)
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit

Earn 5x Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year, and earn 5x Membership Rewards® points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

You can earn 5x points on plane ticket purchases, double the amount most cards earn. Your points are most valuable when transferring to 1:1 airline transfer partners, including Delta, Emirates, and British Airways. It’s also one of the best metal cards.

This card also provides Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status (enrollment required).

Additional Amex Platinum Perks

Cardholders can get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when they pay with the Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.

Also, select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Card.

American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now, there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.

The Platinum Card from American Express Benefits

There’s also a digital entertainment credit, making this card one of the best for streaming services. Cardholders can get up to $20 in statement credits each month when they pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.

In addition to enjoying TSA PreCheck or Global Entry access, cardholders can also enjoy CLEAR perks. Breeze through security with CLEAR Plus at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card®.

Another exciting benefit is the ability for cardholders to get up to $300 back each year in the form of statement credits on an Equinox+ subscription or any Equinox club membership when they pay with their Platinum Card. Enrollment required.

Plus, get up to a $155 Walmart+ credit, which covers the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. The cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax.

Get the full details and learn more in our in-depth The Platinum Card from American Express review.

Platinum Card Welcome Bonus Offer

New The Platinum Card® from American Express cardmembers can earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $8,000 on purchases on their new Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership.

The annual fee is $695 (See Rates & Fees) but can be offset with the perks valued at over $1,400.

Is Platinum or Gold Amex Better?

The Amex Gold has a lower annual fee than the Amex Platinum and still rewards holders with a nice welcome bonus and travel perks.

The American Express® Gold Card can be great for earning on everyday purchases, and the Amex Gold isn’t hard to get. It earns 4x Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S. It also earns 4x Membership Rewards® Points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x).

Plus, earn 3x Membership Rewards® Points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

This is the next-best Amex alternative to The Platinum Card® from American Express if you prefer lifestyle rewards to only travel rewards. For instance, you have the ability to earn up to $10 in statement credits on a monthly basis when you use your Gold Card to pay at the following dining establishments (enrollment is required):

  • Grubhub
  • The Cheesecake Factory
  • Goldbelly
  • Wine.com
  • Milk Bar
  • Shake Shack (only at participating locations)

This perk can save you up to $120 annually.

Your points are most valuable when booking award flights on AmexTravel.com or transferring to the 1:1 Membership Rewards airlines and hotel transfer partners.

American Express Gold Card Welcome Bonus Offer

New American Express® Gold Card cardholders can earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months.

The annual fee is a more reasonable $250, and there are no foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees).

We think the American Express Gold Card is worth the annual fee.

The Centurion Lounge. Credit: Johnny Jet

Best Airline Amex Credit Card: Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card

American Express is the exclusive issuer of Delta Air Lines cards. While there are four different personal Delta cards, the best fit for many flyers is the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, one of the best Delta cards.

However, this card’s most valuable benefit is the first free checked bag for you and up to 8 companions on Delta flights.

You also get priority boarding on Delta flights.

Plus, Gold card members will receive a $200 Delta Flight Credit to use for future travel after spending $10,000 in purchases on their card in a calendar year. Additionally, enjoy up to $100 back annually on eligible prepaid Delta Stays bookings on delta.com.

Purchase Rewards

The Delta SkyMiles Gold Credit Card earns 2x Miles on Delta purchases at restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and at U.S. supermarkets (1x Mile for everything else that is eligible). It also has 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.

Additionally, you can Pay with Miles: take up to $50 off the cost of your flight for every 5,000 miles you redeem with Pay with Miles when you book on delta.com.

You also receive a 20% savings (in the form of a statement credit) after you use your card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases. All non-bonus eligible purchases earn 1 mile per $1 spent.

Cardholders can also get 15% off when using miles to book Award Travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app. Discount not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.

With Send & Split®, you can send money and split purchases with any other Venmo or PayPal user directly from the Amex App. Enroll today.

Welcome Bonus Offer

New Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card cardholders can earn 40,000 Bonus Miles after spending $2,000 in purchases on their new Card in their first 6 months of Card Membership.

The introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $150 (See Rates & Fees).

Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card

Delta loyalists might benefit more from the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card. The reason is that you get an annual Companion Certificate on Main Cabin domestic, Caribbean, or Central American roundtrip flights to select destinations upon card renewal. You only have to pay fees and taxes, which won’t exceed $80 for roundtrip domestic flights and no more than $250 for roundtrip international flights (both for itineraries with up to four flight segments). Baggage fees and other restrictions do apply, though. See terms and conditions for more details.

Your first checked bag flies free on Delta flights. Enjoy Priority Boarding as well. There’s also a credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.

Earn up to $150 back annually on eligible prepaid Delta Stays bookings on delta.com. Additionally, get up to $50 off the cost of your flight for every 5,000 miles you redeem with Pay with Miles when you book on delta.com.

Plus, get up to $120 Resy credit annually (up to $10 per month in statement credits) on eligible Resy purchases with your enrolled Platinum Card). Also, enjoy up to $10 back (in statement credits each month) on U.S. rideshare purchases with select providers after you pay with your enrolled Card.

The Delta Platinum also gets you Hertz Five Star® Status (enrollment in the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards program required). 

Purchase Rewards

You also earn 3x miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2x Miles at restaurants worldwide, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S. and at U.S. supermarkets. Earn 1x Miles on all other eligible purchases.

Additionally, receive $2,500 Medallion® Qualification Dollars each Medallion Qualification Year. And if you’re not a Medallion Member, no problem! Card Members with an eligible ticket will be added to the Complimentary Upgrade list, after Delta SkyMiles Medallion Members and Reserve Card Members. Ticket must be purchased on or after February 1, 2024, to be eligible to receive a complimentary upgrade.

Related: The Best Credit Cards for Domestic Travel

Welcome Bonus Offer

New Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card cardholders can earn 50,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on their new Card in their first 6 months of Card Membership.

The annual fee is $350, and there are no foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees). Note that the annual companion certificate can easily be worth more, effectively canceling out the annual fee.

The Best Amex Hotel Credit Cards

Hilton Honors Surpass American Express Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card gives you a Free Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your Card in a calendar year. You also get Hilton Honors Gold status, which lets you enjoy complimentary breakfast and space-available room upgrades (enrollment required). It’s also one of the best Hilton Honors cards.

Cardholders earn:

  • Up to 12x Hilton points for each dollar you spend on eligible Hilton purchases made directly with a hotel or resort in the Hilton portfolio
  • 6x points on eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, U.S. gas stations, and U.S. supermarkets
  • 4x points on U.S. online retail purchases
  • 3x points for all remaining eligible purchases

New Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card cardholders can earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points plus a Free Night Reward after spending $3,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. This offer ends on 07/31/2024.

The annual fee is $150 (See Rates & Fees).

Cardholders also get up to $200 back each year on eligible Hilton purchases after using their Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card. An additional new benefit includes complimentary National Car Rental® Emerald Club Executive® status (enrollment in the complimentary Emerald Club® program is required; terms apply).

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

There’s also the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card. It’s also one of the best Marriot cards.

Each card renewal year, get up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide. 

Other featured benefits include 1 Free Night Award (redemption level at or under 85,000 points) annually after your card renewal month at participating Marriott Bonvoy properties (some hotels have resort fees), up to $100 property credit for qualifying charges at The Ritz-Carlton® or St. Regis® when you book direct using a special rate for a two-night minimum stay using your Card, and complimentary Priority Pass Select airport lounge access.

Additionally, cardholders can enjoy a fee credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, up to $800 in cellphone protection, and 25 Elite Night Credits toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy Elite status (terms apply).

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card cardholders earn:

  • 6x points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 3x points at restaurants worldwide 
  • 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite members earn 50% more points on eligible purchases at participating hotels for each U.S. dollar (or the currency equivalent) that is incurred and paid for by the member.

Welcome Bonus

New Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card cardholders earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after spending $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Each calendar year, after spending $60,000 on eligible purchases, Card Members are eligible to select an Earned Choice Award benefit. You can only earn one Earned Choice Award per calendar year. See https://www.choice-benefit.marriott.com/brilliant for Award options.

Although this card has a $650 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees (See Rates & Fees), it has plenty of benefits that are worth a lot more.

Room at the Courtyard Hamburg City
Room at the Courtyard Hamburg City. Credit: Johnny Jet

The Best Amex Business Credit Cards

The Business Platinum Card from American Express

Upscale business travelers get the most travel perks from The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.

Additionally, unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on the curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.

Plus, get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees charged by your one selected, qualifying airline to your Card.

Cardholders can get up to $189 in statement credits per calendar year on your CLEAR® Plus Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when they use their Business Platinum Card®.

Unique benefits include getting 35% of your points back when booking award flights on AmexTravel.com, up to 500,000 points annually. You can also transfer your Membership Rewards points to airline and hotel partners.

Purchase Rewards

Flights and prepaid hotels booked on AmexTravel.com earn 5x Membership Rewards® points. Earn 1x points for each dollar spent on eligible purchases.

Cardholders earn 1.5x points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material, hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers, and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.

With complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, with The American Express Global Lounge Collection®. You have more airport lounge options than any other credit card issuer on the market as of 03/2023. Enrollment is required for some lounges.

Learn more in the Amex Business Platinum card review.

Welcome Bonus Offer

New The Business Platinum Card® from American Express cardholders can earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $20,000 in eligible purchases on their Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

The annual fee is $695 (See Rates & Fees).

The Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express

If you’re in the market for a $0 annual fee business card, check out The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (See Rates & Fees).

You earn 2x Membership Rewards® points on the first $50,000 spent annually on everyday business purchases (then 1x point thereafter). Also, you can transfer your points to the 1:1 Membership Rewards transfer partners.

Expanded Buying Power gives businesses more ways to earn points and maximize their card. Cardholders can also enjoy more flexibility to use their card for more purchases and rewards when buying above their credit limit. 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 American Express, and other factors.

New The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express cardholders can earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after they spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within their first 3 months of Card Membership.

Using the Blue Business Plus is a great way to earn 2x points on purchases your other cards only earn 1x points on. Check out our Blue Business cards review to learn more about the Blue Business card family.

American Express Business Gold Card

The American Express® Business Gold Card earns 4x Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month (the 4x points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases annually, all other purchases earn 1x per $1 spent).

Only the top two categories in each billing cycle will count towards the $150,000 cap. Categories include:

  • U.S. purchases at electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers
  • Monthly wireless telephone service charges that are made directly from a wireless telephone service provider in the U.S.
  • Transit purchases including trains, taxicabs, rideshares, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways
  • Purchases at U.S. media providers for advertising in select media (online, TV, and radio)
  • U.S. purchases at gas stations
  • U.S. purchases at restaurants, including takeout and delivery

Additionally, American Express Travel purchases through amextravel.com will now earn 3x points per $1.

All annual spending above $150,000 for the bonus categories and all non-bonus spending earns an unlimited 1x point per $1.

This can be one of the best cards to maximize gas purchases.

American Express Business Gold cardholders also have access to a Pay Over Time Option that lets cardholders decide whether they want to pay for their eligible purchases in full each month or pay over time with interest (terms apply).

Welcome Bonus

New American Express® Business Gold Card cardholders can earn 70,000 points after spending $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

The annual fee is $375 (See Rates & Fees).

Amex Membership Rewards Transfer Partners

The American Express cards that earn Membership Rewards points are most valuable when booking award flights. Each point is worth one cent each when booking award travel on AmexTravel.com. Note that you can almost always find more value when transferring to your frequent flyer account at these airlines:

  • Aer Lingus
  • Aeromexico
  • Air Canada
  • Air France KLM
  • Alitalia
  • ANA
  • Avianca
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Delta Air Lines
  • EL AL Israel
  • Emirates
  • Etihad
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Iberia
  • Jetblue
  • Qantas
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

American Express Hotel Partners

  • Choice Privileges
  • Hilton Honors
  • Marriott Bonvoy

Summary of Best Amex Credit Cards for Travel Rewards

In summary, the best American Express cards for travel are those that earn Membership Rewards points in many cases. However, their co-brands Delta Airlines, Hilton Honors, and Marriott Bonvoy are a good value if you frequent these travel brands.

Related Articles:

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

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

And for rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express 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 Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, please click here.

And for rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, please click here.

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

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

Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

5 Comments On "Best American Express Credit Cards For Travel (100k+ Offers)"
  1. Shree Dhordo Gram Pravas Vikas|

    Thanks For sharing information. Very Helpful this.

  2. Pearle Rufus|

    According to another poster. Sam’s is issuing refunds. I’m calling tomorrow.

  3. Mary Wells|

    How do we get all these credits/perks from AMX? Like equinox? TSA Pre and Clear cost?

    1. Johnny Jet Editorial|

      You can claim them if you hold the Amex Platinum card.

  4. Earl B.|

    If you’re looking for cards that earn Amex MR points, the best card is the Green card. There, I said it. You get 3x on airline travel, and 3x on hotels. And because you don’t have to book through Amex travel, you’ll get your full complement of points from the hotel chain as well. (Hotels booked through Amex and other 3rd-party websites often render a traveler ineligible for their hotel rewards points (Marriott points, Hilton points, etc…).

    PLUS the green card earns 3x MR on all dining both in the U.S. and internationally, AND 3x MR on all other travel expenses, which include: Trains, taxies, ferries, Uber & Lyft, car rentals, road tolls, parking fees, cruises, and more.

    I pair my Green card with my Amex Platinum. I put airline tickets on the Platinum (5x MR), and use it for lounge access (Centurion, Delta, Priority Pass, and more) and other premium benefits (Marriott and Hilton Gold status, National and Hertz rental car status, TSA Pre-check, CLEAR, etc…) but put almost all my other spend on my Green card.

    Best combo for travel, IMHO.

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