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When many people imagine a credit card or charge card, they probably think of one of the traditional charge cards from American Express that have been around for decades, including the Green, Gold and Platinum cards.
American Express has added more credit cards to its product line over the years, but it still continues to update its traditional products and offer them to new applicants.
Why Choose Amex?
When people who use American Express were asked why they use this company, the feedback was about the same. While American Express is a prestigious and very common household name, they continue to use Amex because of the many reward opportunities they are presented with and the value and high customer service they receive as cardmembers.
Some have even said that American Express offers one of the best account management websites they have ever seen, and another reported that they are the only credit card company they have found to put their customers first, especially if there is a dispute with a merchant regarding any purchases made on the account.
Thinking about getting an American Express card? Here is what you can expect from its current crop of Green, Gold and Platinum cards.
American Express Green Card
The American Express Green Card is one of the entry level charge cards in the American Express lineup that offers cardholders points in the Membership Rewards program. One point is earned for each dollar spent, with double points for reservations purchased through American Express travel.
Points can be redeemed for merchandise, gift cards, travel reservations, airfare or hotel stays. Travel benefits include a baggage insurance plan, a Roadside Assistance Hotline, and a Global Assist Hotline. Also included are travel accident insurance and a car rental loss and damage policy.
The car rental loss and damage insurance applies to any eligible vehicle rental and will even cover the cost if the vehicle is damaged or stolen. However, keep in mind, not all vehicle types are actually covered under this service, and it only provides secondary coverage which does not include any liability coverage.
Roadside assistance covers services such as towing, changing a flat tire, or boosting a battery. Again, be sure to read any exclusions.
Global Assist is convenient when you are traveling more than one hundred miles from home. It allows you access to medical, legal, financial, or other emergency coordination and assistance such as needed if you were to lose your passport or misplace any of your luggage.
When shopping, your American Express credit card purchases are covered by an extended warranty, purchase protection, and return protection policies. Theft and accidental damage can be covered by the Purchase Protection for up to ninety days and $1000 for each occurrence with a total cap of $50,000 per year.
Shoprunner provides free two-day shipping on any eligible items, and you can also enroll in the complimentary membership. Remember, minimum credit card purchases may be required to use this feature.
There is a $95 annual fee for this charge card, but it is waived the first year, and a 2.7% foreign transaction fee is imposed on all charges processed outside of the U.S.
You will not find any interest charges on this credit card if you pay your balance in full each and every month.
American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
The American Express Premier Rewards Gold card (see full review here) is the next step up in this lineup.
The Premier Rewards Gold card offers everything that the Green card does plus several other benefits. For example, 3x points are earned for flights booked directly with the airlines, and 2x points at U.S. gas stations, U.S. restaurants, and U.S. supermarkets. Cardholders can also receive exclusive benefits from booking stays at properties in The Hotel Collection program including a $75 hotel credit to spend on qualifying dining, spa, and resort activities when you book a stay of at least two consecutive nights at participating properties.
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express
- Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
- 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and at US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $100 Airline Fee Credit. Up to $100 per calendar year for baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get a $75 hotel credit on qualifying charges, plus a room upgrade upon arrival, when available with The Hotel Collection at americanexpress.com/hc.
- Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
- $0 Intro Annual Fee for the 1st year, then $195.
- Terms Apply.
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You also have access to a personalized travel service that can assist with making reservations and the Preferred Seating program that helps you secure premium seats for cultural and sporting events, based on availability.
The Premier Rewards Gold card further expands its benefits by offering a $100 annual airline fee credit that can be used toward baggage fees, change fees, and other airline incidentals. And instead of a Roadside Assistance Hotline, you receive Premium Roadside Assistance, which includes the cost of some services such as towing, changing a flat, and jumpstarting a car.
There is a $195 annual fee for this card that’s waived the first year and no foreign transaction fees.
The American Express Platinum Card
Unlike the Gold card, the American Express Platinum Card (see full review here) offers one point for each dollar spent, with five times the points for reservations purchased through American Express travel. But otherwise, it comes with far more features and benefits than even the Gold card.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Up to $200 for Uber rides annually. Credit and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
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Cardholders enjoy access to several airport lounge programs including the Delta SkyClub, Priority Pass Select network, and American Express Centurion Clubs.
You also receive elite status with Hilton and Starwood hotels, as well as Avis, Hertz, and National car rentals.
Other benefits include a $200 annual airline fee credit and a $100 credit towards the application fee for the Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ programs every four years
There is a $550 annual fee for this card and no foreign transaction fees.
Before you apply for a credit card that is right for you, it’s a good idea to make sure you can qualify for them. You can view your two free credit scores, updated, every 14 days, to find out where your creditworthiness stands.
Once you determine your current credit standing, you can then begin to weigh the advantages of each Amex credit card.
Which American Express Credit Card Should I Choose?
Before choosing any credit, you will first want to determine which ones allow you the chance to earn transferable points, which one allows you to earn points or miles in a program, and which allow you to earn a fixed return. Once you determine these factors, you can then begin to consider the sign-up bonuses being offered, the earning rate, and the benefits you will be able to receive as a valued cardmember with American Express.
If you are a traveler, then having a credit card that allows transferable points is always a bonus. American Express offers transferable points in the form of their Membership Rewards Points. They also partner with approximately seventeen different airlines and a few hotels, so you can get the most out of your points.
Most credit cards offer a generous sign-up bonus, and American Express is no different. The American Express Platinum credit card offers its cardholders 60,000 points after they spend their first $5000 within the first three months that the account is opened.
The Platinum credit card also offers five times the points for flights and hotels and as mentioned previously, allows its cardmembers access to over 1000 different airline lounges and a $200 airline fee credit. By getting the American Express Platinum credit card, you will have the opportunity to take advantage of the sign-up bonus, higher earning rates, and many other beneficial benefits.
The American Express Platinum credit card is a good choice if you are a frequent traveler.
The American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card is another credit card that is commonly utilized by frequent travelers because cardmembers may be able to see a 6% return on their spending and purchases.
The sign-up bonus offered for this Amex credit card is 25,000 membership rewards points once you have spent $2000 within the first three months of opening the credit card account. The earning rate for this Amex credit card has also been improved, and cardholders can earn three membership rewards points for each dollar spent along with a $100 airline fee credit and a $75 hotel credit.
The American Express Gold Card is the ideal credit card for those who are regular travelers and can take advantage of the available reward membership points and credits.
American Express Green Card
The Amex Green card is more suitable for those that have excellent credit. This particular card may also seem a bit more restrictive than other travel cards, but then again, most American Express credit cards can be seen this way. You may not have as much flexibility as other charge cards when it comes to earning rewards.
Also, any reward points that you earn with the Amex Green credit card will come out to be different amounts. These amounts are based on the method you choose to redeem the reward points. You can get 2% cash back or you may find it more valuable and worth it to instead transfer them to a travel program. To transfer the reward points to a travel program, you may be faced with a small fee.
If you are going to be able to spend at least $5000 during the year and you plan on traveling, then you will be able to better offset the higher annual fee after the first year and begin to earn valuable reward points and cash in on the many other benefits that American Express credit cards have to offer.
Finally, you should only choose these American Express credit cards if you will be able to pay off the full balance of the charge card every month. There is also no sign-up bonus that applies to this particular card.
When choosing any American Express credit card, you ultimately want to decide what kind of rewards you would like to earn with a reward program. You can then dissect each individual Amex credit card to see which one allows for the most benefits and works out for your own specific spending needs.
You will also want to weigh the amount of the annual fee to see if it will be worth the rewards and other perks you are receiving.
At publishing time, the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card and the American Express Platinum card are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.
More on Credit Cards:
- Credit.com’s Expert Credit Card Shopping Tips
- How to Get a Credit Card With Bad Credit
- An Expert Guide to Credit Cards With Rewards