Best Amex credit card

5 Best American Express Credit Cards of 2018

American Express (Amex) is a multinational financial services corporation. It has $1 trillion in billed business worldwide and 110 million cards in force, so they must be doing something right.

When shopping for a personal Amex card, you can choose from 18 cards. There are 12 options for business customers.

You may be wondering, “Which Amex card should I get?” If you’re not sure which one is best for your situation, don’t worry. Here are the best American Express credit cards of 2018.

2018 Best American Express card reviews

There are many types of Amex cards, so here we will give you our picks for this year’s best cards in a number of categories.

1. Best American Express card with no annual fee: Blue Cash Everyday® Credit Card

The Blue Cash Everyday® card offers a decent bonus of $200 with a low spending requirement of $1,000 within three months of opening the account. It has a long introductory period in which you won’t be charged any interest on purchases and balance transfers. Further, the cash-back rewards are competitive when comparing cards with no annual fee.

Highlights:

  • $200 when you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening the card
  • 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Cash-back rewards program
  • Earn 3% for the first $6,000 you spend at U.S. grocery stores
  • Get 2% on purchases at gas stations and qualifying department stores in the U.S.
  • Get 1% on any other eligible purchases
  • Travel benefits
  • Shopping and entertainment benefits
  • Fraud protection
  • No annual fee

Drawbacks:

  • 7% foreign transaction fee
  • $5 or 3% balance transfer fee
  • $5 or 3% cash advance fee
  • Late and returned payment fee up to $38
  • Cap on grocery cashback rewards

The main runner-up to this card is the Amex Everyday® Credit card which offers a point-based reward system. You can earn a 25,000-point bonus for spending $2,000 in the first three months, two points for every dollar spent at supermarkets, two points for shopping at amextravel.com, and one point for every dollar spent elsewhere.

Additionally, you can earn 20% more points in a month if you have at least 20 transactions. If you prefer the point-based system, complete over 20 transactions per month, and use amextravel.com, this could be a better choice.

Lastly, if you are a big fan of Hilton or Delta and want to reap the rewards from either company, you will likely want to choose the no-annual-fee card dedicated to those companies (the Hilton Honors Card or Blue Delta SkyMiles® Card).

Compare the Blue Cash Everyday card to the five best credit cards of 2018

2. Best Amex card for gas and groceries: Blue Cash Preferred® Credit Card

While this card does have a $95 annual fee, the benefits end up covering the fee and earning you more if you spend more than $61 per week on groceries throughout the year. Further, the introductory bonus has an extra $50 over the non-preferred card, and you get an extra 1% back on gas purchases.

Highlights:

  • Get $250 cash back when you spend over $1,000 on purchases within your first three months of having the card
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Cash back rewards program
  • Earn 6% on purchases at U.S. grocery stores
  • Earn 3% on purchases at U.S. gas stations and select department stores
  • Earn 1% on other eligible purchases
  • Cash back is received as reward dollars which can be redeemed for a statement credit
  • Travel benefits
  • Shopping and entertainment benefits
  • Additional services like fraud protection and point tracking

Drawbacks:

  • $95 annual fee
  • 7% foreign transaction fee
  • $5 or 3% balance transfer fee
  • $5 or 3% cash advance fee
  • Late and returned payment fee up to $38
  • Cap on grocery cashback rewards ($6,000 in purchases per year then it drops to 1%)

While the 0% APR introductory period is three months shorter than the non-preferred card, the preferred card will still be a better deal for most spenders who want to earn on everyday expenses.

Compare this to other top cash-back credit cards

3. Best Amex card for travel: Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card

If you are traveling domestically, this card can offer high returns in the form of hotel stays and airfare. Hotel redemptions, in particular, give you a great bang for your buck.

Highlights:

  • No annual fee for the first year
  • $25,000 bonus points if you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months
  • Earn five Starpoints® per dollar spent on eligible purchases at Starwood hotels
  • Earn two Starpoints® per dollar spent on eligible purchases at eligible Marriot Rewards hotels
  • Earn 1 Starpoint® on all other eligible purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Free in-room internet at SPG hotels
  • Redeem Starpoints for free hotel stays
  • Redeem Starpoints for free flights on over 150 airlines with no blackout dates
  • Get 5,000-point bonus when you transfer 20,000 Starpoints to a frequent flyer program
  • Travel benefits
  • Shopping and entertainment benefits
  • Fraud protection
  • High point redemption flexibility in program

Drawbacks:

  • $95 annual fee after the first year
  • Limited to Starwood hotels (Sheraton, The Westin, Stregis, The Luxury Collection, The W Hotels, Le Meriden, Design Hotels, Tribute Portfolio, Element, Loft, Four Points)

If you prefer to stay at other hotels, or are going to travel internationally, you may want to consider the American Express Premier Rewards Gold charge card. It offers three points on flights, two points at restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations, and one point on all other eligible purchases. Further, if you are a regular at the Hilton or on Delta airlines, you should consider their dedicated cards.

Check out the best airline credit cards

4. Best American Express card with a 0% APR promotion: Amex Everyday® Credit Card

This card offers a 15-month 0% APR introductory period, which gives you more than a year to pay down a large purchase or balance transfer without paying any interest. Further, you can earn reward points on your spending and don’t have to pay an annual fee.

Highlights:

  • 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for first 15 months
  • No annual fee
  • 25,000 reward points for spending $2,000 within the first three months of having the card
  • Two points for every dollar spent at grocery stores
  • One point for all other eligible purchases
  • 20% more points per month if you have at least 20 transactions

Drawbacks:

  • 7% foreign transaction fee
  • $5 or 3% balance transfer fee
  • $5 or 3% cash advance fee
  • Late and returned payment fee up to $38
  • Cap on grocery cashback rewards (After $6,000 in purchases it drops to 1%)

If you prefer the cash-back reward system, the Blue Cash Everyday® card also offers the same 15-month 0% APR promotion, so it might be a better fit.

See the credit cards with the best interest-free introductory periods

5. Best American Express card for small businesses: SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit card

This card is good for a small-to-medium-sized business as it is free and offers business-related rewards. You will earn 5% when purchasing office supplies or paying your phone bill. Further, you will earn 3% on purchases in one of the following categories (your choice): gas stations, airfare from airlines, advertising in select media, shipping, or purchases made from select providers of computer hardware, software, and cloud computing services.

Highlights:

  • No annual fee
  • Nine-month 0% APR introductory promotion
  • Can spend over your credit limit without fees
  • 5% cash back at U.S. office supply stores and U.S. cell phone providers
  • 3% cash back on a category of your choice
  • 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases
  • Can earn rewards in the category where you spend the most
  • Travel and transportation perks
  • Expense management tools
  • Card member benefits

Drawbacks:

  • 7% foreign transaction fee
  • No signup bonus
  • 5% and 3% reward rates are reduced to 1% when a combined total of $50,000 in purchases is reached

The drawbacks of this card include the limit on the amount of cash back you can earn at the higher rates of 5% and 3% and the foreign transaction fee.

If your business spends more than $50,000 per year and travels outside the U.S., check out the Business Gold Rewards Charge Card. It has an annual fee after the first year but no foreign transaction fee, and higher tier rewards can be earned on the first $100,000 in purchases.

See the top 5 business cards for 2018

CardAmerican Express FAQ

Now let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions regarding American Express.

Is American Express better than Visa or Mastercard?

Not necessarily better, but different. American Express issues its own cards, processes transfers, and finances payments so it makes most of its money from interest charges and fees. Visa and Mastercard don’t actually issue cards or finance payments; they process transactions between banks and merchants and make money off each transaction.

American Express sets its own rates and fees, while third parties set the terms for the other two companies. Being so, it’s important to shop around and compare offers from a variety of companies to get the best deal.

What does your credit score have to be to get an American Express card?

American Express is known to be more exclusive regarding who it will approve for its cards. That being said, the company does not list a minimum credit score requirement. To find out if you may qualify without negatively impacting your credit report, you can visit the Amex site and fill out the prequalification form.

How do I get a “black” American Express card?

The “black” American Express card, also known as the Centurion Card, is invite-only. You can not apply for it but must be invited to get it. Rumor has it that, to be invited, you must have another American Express card for at least one year, must charge a minimum of somewhere between $100,000 to $450,000 per year, earn at least $1 million per year, and have a high net worth.

What is the most exclusive American Express card?

The Centurion card by American Express is the most exclusive card the company offers as you can only get it if you are invited. The initiation fee is $7,500, and the annual fee is $2,500.

Find the best American Express credit card for you

Did you find an American Express card that sounds like a good fit for your lifestyle and purchase patterns? If so, don’t forget to compare it to other options out there. While Amex does have some industry-leading offers, you should still shop around to ensure it’s the best card you can get. No one wants to sign up and find out they could have been earning a few hundred dollars more per year in rewards.

To compare these cards against many others, head over to SuperMoney’s Personal Credit Card Review page. 

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