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I frequently offer appraisals of the very best cards, and the very best signup bonuses, but in doing so only offer one or two cards per bank. That means I don’t get down further — what card should you get next, or if you aren’t going to get the one I prefer for whatever reason?
And thanks to Chase’s ‘5/24’ limits where they won’t approve most people for new rewards cards if they’ve had 5 or more new cards in the last 24 months, American Express is increasingly where frequent flyers have looked to.
Here are the 5 best American Express rewards cards: And it’s worth noting that I have only two of these, and two of the Amex cards I have for niche or legacy reasons aren’t among the five best.
- American Express® Gold Card is great for earning Membership Rewards points quickly since it offers 4 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide and at US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year) and 3 points per dollar on airline purchases. The card has a $100 annual airline fee credit and the up to $10 a month in statement credits using the card at participating dining partners.
The Fat Duck Restaurant
- Platinum Card® from American Express is unmatched for airport lounge access, offering Delta SkyClub access when flying Delta same day; Plaza Premium, Escape, and Airspace lounges; and American Express Centurion lounge access. It also comes with a Priority Pass for airport lounge and Minute Suites (but not restaurant credits). It offers Hilton Honors and Marriott Gold status and National Car Rental Executive status.
You get up to $200 a year in statement credits for airline incidental fees like checked bags fees, flight change fees, and onboard snack purchases. You can enroll to get up to $300 in statement credits annually by getting up to $50 semi-annually for purchases with Sakes and up to $200 with Uber. And the card comes with a credit for Global Entry or PreCheck.
- The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express earns 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar on your first $50,000 in purchases per year making this the best most rewarding card for otherwise-unbonused spend.
Etihad First Apartment, Airbus A380
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card has an initial bonus of 125,000 Hilton Honors points after $2,000 in eligible purchases with the product in your first 3 months of card membership.
Each year you spend $15,000 on the card you’ll earn a weekend night reward, and $40,000 in a calendar year earns Hilton Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
Ongoing earn is 12 Hilton points per dollar on purchases directly with a participating hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio; 6 per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations; and 3 per dollar for all other eligible purchases.
The real winner here is that it’s just a $95 annual fee card (See Rates & Fees) and still offers Priority Pass airport lounge access, 10 free visits every year.
Escape Lounge, Reno
- The relaunched American Express® Green Card offers great value and is competitive with the best points-earning cards from other bank issuers, and arguably the best points-earning card at the price point.
There’s an initial offer of 30,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
On an ongoing basis you earn 3 Membership Rewards points on eligible travel at restaurants worldwide. You get up to $100 in statement credits per year on your LoungeBuddy purchases for airport lounge access, and up to $100 statement credit per year to pay for CLEAR membership which is a nice unique benefit – especially if you already have Global Entry or PreCheck.
There are no foreign transaction fees and the card has a $150 annual fee (see rates and fees).
Dining at Grand Hyatt Singapore Restaurant Straits Kitchen
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card comes with Diamond status and also a free weekend night each cardmember year. $60,000 in purchases in a calendar year earns another weekend night. The card is providing a lot of value but bear in mind that Diamond status doesn’t promise much beyond what Gold offers (no commitment of suites or late check-out). This is not my referral link to the card, information is neither provided nor reviewed by American Express.
You get a $250 airline incidental fee credit per calendar year (which no longer works with gift cards) and a $250 Hilton resort statement credit per cardmember year, and of course Priority Pass (which no longer includes restaurant credits when it comes via American Express).
The card is actually worth using at Hilton properties where it earns 14 points per dollar which I value as being worth 5.6 cents (or a 5.6% rebate, edging out the 5.4% rebate on hotel spend from Chase’s Sapphire Reserve).
Conrad Koh Samui
- Star Alliance: Aeroplan, ANA, Singapore, Avianca
- oneworld: AsiaMiles, British Airways, Iberia, Qantas
- SkyTeam: Aeromexico, Alitalia, Air France KLM, Delta
- Non-alliance: Etihad, Emirates, El Al, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic
- Hotels: Choice, Hilton, Marriott
I keep saying I should get The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express which is the most rewarding card for unbonused spend. I just haven’t done it. I get my Hilton status from the Platinum Card® from American Express already so haven’t gone in for a Hilton card.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Green Card, click here