American Express offers a diverse set of credit cards, from the no annual fee options like the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express to the ultra-premium invite-only Centurion “Black” Card.
We sorted American Express cards into five different levels:
- Level 1: Beginner Cards
- Level 2: Mid-Tier Cards
- Level 3: Upper-Tier Cards
- Level 4: Premium Cards
- Level 5: Ultra-Premium Card
If you are new to American Express, I suggest you start in the Beginner or Mid-Tier and work your way up.
Amex Level 1: Beginner Cards
Level 1 is American Express’ beginner cards that have no annual fees.
There are some good options at this level, including if you have a small business with The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express.
Hilton Honors American Express Card
- 7X Points at Hilton Hotels and Resorts
- 5X Points at U.S. Restaurants, U.S. Supermarkets, and U.S. Gas Stations
- Complimentary Hilton Honors Silver Status
- No Annual Fee (Rates and Fees)
The Hilton Honors American Express Card (review) is a great no-annual-fee card that earns 7x Hilton Honors points at Hilton properties and 5x points at restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations in the U.S.
This practical card also gets you complimentary Silver status, which comes with standard perks like a fifth night free on award stays and a 15% points bonus on Hilton stays.
Plus, you have the opportunity to reach Gold status by spending $20,000 per year.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
- 3% Cash Back at U.S. Supermarkets, U.S. Online Retail Purchases, & U.S. Gas Stations (each on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 1% thereafter)
- 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months from the date of account opening. After that, a reg_apr,reg_apr_type APR.
- No Annual Fee (rates & fees)
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is a great no-annual fee credit card option that earns 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. online retail purchases, & U.S. gas stations (each on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 1% thereafter).
The Blue Cash also offers $7 back each month after using your Blue Cash Everyday Card to spend $12.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription to The Disney Bundle, including Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. (Enrollment required.)
Plus, a $180 annual credit for Home Chef purchases in the form of a monthly $15 statement credit
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express (review) is one of my favorite cards because it has no annual fee and earns 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 in purchases every year. After that, you will earn 1 point on all other eligible purchases.
You can transfer Membership Rewards to 18 airlines and three hotel points programs, with several great sweet spots to travel in business class to anywhere in the world.
I put all of my everyday business spending on my Blue Business Plus because it is a quick way to rack up points for my next trip.
Amex Card Level 2: Mid-Tier Cards
The second level of American Express is the mid-tier cards. These typically have annual fees of less than $100 and start offering nice benefits like extra rewards and special benefits.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
- 6% Cash Back at U.S. Supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year; 1% thereafter) and on Select U.S. Streaming
- 3% Cash Back on Transit, Ridesharing, Parking, and at U.S. Gas Stations
- $0 Intro Annual Fee for the First Year, then $95 (rates & fees).
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (review) offers an outstanding 6% cash back rewards for purchases at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year; 1% thereafter) and on U.S. streaming services, making it perfect for anyone who wants to maximize earnings from everyday expenses.
Plus, the card offers 3% cash back on transit, rideshare, parking, and at U.S. gas stations.
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
- 2X SkyMiles on Delta Air Lines, U.S. Supermarkets, and Restaurants worldwide (including takeout & delivery in the U.S.)
- Free First Checked Bag
- 20% Statement Credit on Delta In-Flight Purchases
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
- $0 Intro Annual Fee for the First Year, Then $99 Per Year (Rates and Fees)
The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card (review) is a cost-effective card with solid perks for Delta flyers, offering a free first checked bag, a $100 Delta flight credit, and a 20% statement credit on Delta in-flight food and drink purchases.
For a $0 introductory annual fee followed by $99 per year, this card earns 2x SkyMiles at at restaurants (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and U.S. supermarkets and 2x SkyMiles on Delta purchases.
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card
- Earn 170,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 1/17/24.
- 12X Points at Hilton Hotels and Resorts
- 6X Points at U.S. Restaurants, U.S. Supermarkets, and U.S. Gas Stations
- Up to $200 Hilton Credit Each Year
- Hilton Honors Gold Status
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
- $150 Annual Fee (rates & fees)
The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (review) boasts great earning potential at Hilton properties and comes with complimentary Gold elite status, which features perks like space-available upgrades, better earnings, and free hot breakfast on Hilton stays.
For an affordable $150 fee, this rewards card earns:
- 12 points per dollar at Hilton Hotels and resorts;
- 6 points per dollar at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations;
- 4x points on U.S. online retail purchases; and
- 3 points per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
You also receive a free weekend night reward after spending $15,000 per year.
Amex Level 3: Upper Tier Cards
Level 3 of American Express is the Upper-Tier cards. These have annual fees of around $250 to $295, but you can offset the cost with special credits or benefits.
American Express® Gold Card
- 4x Membership Rewards® points at restaurants, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.,
- 4x Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x).
- 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
Plus, card members get nice credits when you enroll your Gold Card to offset the annual fee:
- $120 Uber Cash: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account, and each month automatically get up to $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S.
- $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations.
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Card
For a $250 annual fee, getting this card unlocks valuable flying benefits, including a first checked bag free that saves you up to $60 per person on a round-trip Delta flight, a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit, and 20% savings on in-flight food and beverages.
Plus, you can waive the MQD requirement toward Silver, Gold, or Platinum Medallion Status and earn 10,000 MQMs after making $25,000 in purchases to reach status faster.
The Delta SkyMiles Platinum card earns 3X SkyMiles on Delta purchases and hotel stays.
American Express® Business Gold Card
- 4x Points on Purchases in Your Top 2 Business Categories Each Billing Cycle (up to $150,000 in Combined Purchases Per Calendar Year; then 1x)
- Up to $395 in Statement Credits Each Year.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
- $295 Annual Fee ($375 if application received on or after 2/1/24) (Rates and Fees)
For a $295 annual fee, this card earns 4x points on up to $150,000 in combined purchases per year in your top two spending categories, with options including U.S. electronic goods retailers & software/cloud system providers, U.S. monthly wireless telephone service, transit, U.S. media providers, U.S. gas stations, and U.S. restaurants (including takeout and delivery).
Plus, you can earn up to $20 in statement credits each month for purchases at FedEx, Grubhub, and office supply stores (enrollment required), and get $12.95 back in statement credits each month when you pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal).
Amex Level 4: Premium Credit Cards
Level 4 is American Express’ Premium cards and the highest level for most people.
These cards have annual fees above $450, but they offer a lot of perks and credits to justify the annual fee.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express (review) is a great premium travel rewards card for travelers who want airport lounge access, including Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs (when flying Delta), Escape Lounges, Priority Pass lounges.
The American Express Platinum has a $695 annual fee, but you receive many annual statement credits when you enroll your card to offset the fee, including:
- $200 Airline Fee Credit: 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.
- $200 Hotel Credit: 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 you pay with your Platinum Card®.
- $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
- $200 Uber Cash Credit: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Benefit renews annually.
- $155 Walmart+ Credit: Use your Platinum Card® to pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal) and receive a statement credit that covers the full cost each month.
- $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR® Plus at 45+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per year on your membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card®.
You also earn 5x Membership Rewards points when booking flights directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 in purchases per calendar year) and 5x Membership Rewards points when booking prepaid hotels with American Express Travel.
On top of that, you automatically earn Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite and Hilton Honors Gold statuses, which offer points bonuses, room upgrades, late check-out, and other premier benefits.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
- 6X Points at Marriott Hotels & Resorts
- Up to a $300 Statement Credit for Eligible Purchases at Restaurants Worldwide Each Year ($25 Per Month)
- Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite Status
- 25 Elite Night Credits Each Year
- Free Anniversary Night Award (Up to 85,000 Points)
- Priority Pass Airport Lounge Access
- $650 Annual Fee and No Foreign Transaction Fees (Rates and Fees)
The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card (review) is a premium hotel card that gets you Platinum Elite status, a free annual hotel night up to 85,000 points, 6x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels, and Priority Pass airport lounge access.
The Bonvoy Brillant comes with several great statement credits to help offset the annual fee, including:
- Up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide.
- Priority Pass airport lounge access
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit
- Cell phone insurance
- 25 Marriott Elite night credits to help you reach higher status
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (review) is an outstanding choice for business owners who want airport lounge access including the American Express Global Lounge Collection, Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs, Escape Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, and more.
The Business Platinum card also offers several statement credits to offset the $695 annual fee:
- $200 Airline Fee: Annual airline fee credit of up to $200 on charges by the airline you select per calendar year.
- $400 Dell: Annual statement credit on all U.S. Dell purchases, up to $200 semiannually.
- $120 Wireless Phone Services: Annual statement credits for purchases made directly with any U.S. wireless telephone provider, up to $10 per month.
- $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR® Plus at 45+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per year on your membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Business Platinum Card.
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck: Statement credits for Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85) every four years (4.5 years for PreCheck).
You can also earn 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1.5x points on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
The American Express Business Platinum comes with automatic Hilton Honors Gold and Marriott Bonvoy Gold so that you can enjoy perks like room upgrades, late check-out, and a points bonus.
Additionally, the points you earn can be transferred to several Amex transfer partners such as Air Canada Aeroplan, Delta SkyMiles, and Marriott Bonvoy. This potentially increases the value of your points depending on how you redeem them.
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
- 3X SkyMiles on Delta Air Lines Purchases
- First Checked Bag Free
- Airport Lounge Access
- Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Credit
- 20% Statement Credit on Delta In-Flight Purchases
- $550 Annual Fee and No Foreign Transaction Fees (Rates & Fees)
The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (review) earns 3x SkyMiles on Delta purchases and comes with complimentary Delta Sky Club* and The Centurion Lounge access, making it a stellar choice for frequent Delta flyers.
For a $550 annual fee, this premium card offers excellent Delta-specific perks, letting you earn 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles after spending $30,000 in a calendar year to get closer to Medallion Status.
Plus, it comes with an annual companion certificate that gets you a Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+, or Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate upon renewing your card every year.
Other outstanding travel perks include a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit, a 20% savings on Delta in-flight food and drinks, a free first checked bag, complimentary upgrades, and extensive travel protections.
* Effective 2/1/25, Reserve Card Members will receive 15 Visits per year to the Delta Sky Club; to earn an unlimited number of Visits each year starting on 2/1/25, the total eligible purchases on the Card must equal $75,000 or more between 1/1/24 and 12/31/24, and each calendar year thereafter.
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (review) is a premier card packed with top-notch hotel benefits and earns 14x Hilton Honors points at Hilton hotels and resorts, and 7x points at U.S. restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines.
This premium hotel rewards card has a $450 annual fee, but it comes with an automatic Hilton Honors Diamond status, which gets you a 100% points bonus, milestone bonuses, suite upgrades, free breakfast, and other top-tier hotel perks.
Plus, you receive up to $250 Hilton resort statement credits, $250 airline fee credits, and $100 Hilton on-property credit, which easily offset the card’s yearly fee.
Cardholders also enjoy unlimited Priority Pass lounge access with two guests and one free weekend night award at any Hilton hotel.
Level 5: Ultra-Premium
Level 5 is the Ultra-Premium Centurion or Centurion Business “Black” American Express.
This tier is invite-only and you need to spend at least $400,000+ on your American Express cards to get access.
Centurion Card from American Express
- Invitation Only to Apply for Card
- Initiation Fee of $10,000 + $5,000 Annual Fee
- Elite Status: Marriott Gold, Hilton Diamond, IHG Platinum, & Delta Platinum Medallion
- Airport Lounge Access (Delta, Priority Pass, Centurion, Escape Lounges, and Plaza Premium)
The Centurion “Black” card from American Express is an invitation-only card with a $10,000 initiation fee and $5,000 annual fee.
To get invited, you typically need to spend at least $400,000 per year on your American Express account.
The Black Card offers many special benefits, including the Centurion Concierge, hotel elite status (Marriott Gold, IHG Platinum, Hilton Diamond), Delta Medallion Platinum status, airport lounge access, and rental car elite status (Hertz Platinum and Avis President’s Club)