The best American Express cards of February 2021 — from the Amex Platinum to options for cash back


This article is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. It has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the issuers listed. Some of the offers you see on the page are from our partners like Citi and American Express, but our coverage is always independent. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page.

This article is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. It has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the issuers listed. Some of the offers you see on the page are from our partners like Citi and American Express, but our coverage is always independent. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page.

American Express is most famous for its travel cards like the Platinum Card and premium "experiential" offerings like concierge service, but it also offers cards with non-travel perks and lower annual fees. 

Amex cards also offer various benefits like travel insurance and purchase protection. Additionally, all American Express cardholders get access to Amex Offers that can earn you bonus points or get cash back when you shop with certain retailers.

If you're looking for the best Amex card for you, here are the ones you should consider.

We're focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won't be worth it if you're paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it's important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

At $550 (See Rates), the Platinum Card has one of the highest annual fees of any mainstream card. However, as long as you're willing to float it up front, you can get way more value back from the card — for instance, it's possible to get more than $2,000 in value from it during your first year.

The Platinum Card offers 5 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with the airline, as well as flights and pre-paid hotels booked through Amex Travel (starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year). It earns 1x point on everything else (Note: New Platinum Card® cardmembers can earn 10x points on eligible purchases at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during the first 6 months of card membership).

The card comes with a long list of perks, including access to more than 1,200 airport lounges within the Priority Pass network, as well as Delta Sky Clubs (when you're flying Delta) and proprietary American Express Centurion Lounges. It also offers complimentary Gold elite status with Marriott and Hilton hotels, as well as up to $100 per year in shopping credits at Saks Fifth Avenue, up to $200 in Uber credits each cardmember year, and access to special events.

The Amex Gold Card is one of best cards available for dining, unless you're only interested in cash back, rather than potentially more valuable rewards points.

The Amex Gold Card earns 4x points at restaurants worldwide and on up to $25,000 per calendar year at U.S. supermarkets (and 1x point after that), 3x points on flights booked directly with the airline, and 1x point on everything else. Based on the fact that you can easily redeem Membership Rewards points for more than 1 cent of value each, that makes this the highest-earning card for everything food-related.

The Amex Gold Card adds up to $120 of dining credits — split into $10 each month — at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Steak House, or participating Shake Shack locations.

If you're less excited about earning Membership Rewards points — which can be valuable, but also require some effort to redeem for maximum value — and want to stick with cash back, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is the best option, despite its $95 annual fee (See rates).

You'll earn 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services and 3% back on all transit. That's in addition to 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases per calendar year (and 1% after that), 3% back at U.S. gas stations, and 1% cash back on everything else.

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers a 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months, before switching to a 13.99% to 23.99% variable APR (See rates)

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express comes with a handful of travel and purchase protections as well. Cash back comes in the form of a statement credit, so effectively you can use it to "erase" purchases.

The Amex Green Card has become a top option for earning Membership Rewards points on travel and dining. 

You'll earn 3 points per dollar on all eligible travel, which includes everything from subway fare to hotels to flights. You'll also earn 3 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide. In terms of points-earning, this puts the Amex Green Card on par with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which also offers 3x points in these spending categories.

Other benefits include up to $100 in statement credits toward CLEAR membership each year, and up to $100 in statement credits per year toward LoungeBuddy purchases (for airport lounge access).

The Amex Green card has a $150 annual fee, but that's relatively moderate, especially if you can take advantage of those two annual statement credits.

The Amex Business Platinum Card is Amex's top-of-the-line business credit card, and it has many of the same perks you'll find on the personal Platinum Card, including up to a $200 airline fee credit each year, access to airport lounges including Centurion Lounges and Priority Pass lounges, and up to a $100 credit to cover the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

It also offers several benefits that cater to business owners, such as a 50% points bonus on purchases of $5,000 or more (up to 1 million additional points each year) and up to $200 in annual statement credits for Dell purchases ($100 each half of the year).

If you use Amex points to book travel, you'll appreciate the 35% Pay With Points rebate, which applies to business- and first-class flights or flights in any class with a selected qualifying airline booked through Amex Travel.  You can get up to 500,000 points back in a calendar year.

The personal Platinum Card has the advantage when it comes to bonus categories — it earns 5x points on flights booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel, while the Business Platinum only earns 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels booked with Amex Travel. For more info, read our comparison of the Business Platinum and the personal Amex Platinum.

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express earns 2x Amex points on the first $50,000 you spend each year, then 1x points. Up until that $50,000 threshold, you're effectively earning a 4% return on all your purchases, based on The Points Guy's valuations.

Another bonus is that The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express has no annual fee (See Review). Just remember that it is a business product, so if you don't have a side gig or a small enterprise that would qualify you for a business card, you won't be eligible.

One downside is that there's no welcome bonus, but the return on spending could be reason enough to consider this card.

The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card is a strong option for anyone looking for a Membership Rewards card, but who's not interested in a premium card like the Platinum or the Amex Gold. It also has a strong points-earning scheme and a lower annual fee of $95.

The card earns 3 points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 each calendar year — 1 point per dollar after that), 2x points at U.S. gas stations, and 1x point on everything else. You can also get 2x points on reservations made through Amex Travel.

Best of all, if you make 30 or more purchases in a billing period, you'll earn a 50% bonus. That means that those little $3 and $4 charges for things like coffee or a snack can help you get a ton of points quickly.

The card also offers a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months after account opening, before switching to a  12.99% to 22.99% Variable. If you have a big purchase coming up and want some time to pay it off, but don't want to pay interest fees, this is a great option.

The Amex EveryDay is a no-annual-fee version, which still offers solid rewards. It earns 2x points at U.S. supermarkets (again up to $6,000 of purchases per calendar year, then 1x after that) and at AmexTravel.com, and 1x on everything else. It also offers 20% more points when you make 20 or more purchases in a billing period.

Like most Amex cards, it features a few travel and purchase protections, as well as access to the Amex Offers program.

While most people will be better off with the Preferred, the regular EveryDay is still a strong option — especially since there's no annual fee.

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is similar to the Blue Cash Preferred, with a different earning structure and no annual fee (See Rates).

The card earns a lower 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 each calendar year — and 1% after that — 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% cash back on everything else. While many people spend enough in the bonus categories to make the Blue Cash Preferred the better option, this remains a decent card for anyone who's strictly opposed to paying an annual fee.

If you're looking to make a major purchase and pay it off over time, like an appliance or an engagement ring, you can take advantage of the 0% intro APR on purchases  for the first 15 months after account opening (after that, it reverts to a 13.99% to 23.99% variable APR (See Rates)). You'll earn cash back on the purchase, which you can put right towards paying it off.