American Express is consistently one of the highest rated credit card issuers. This could be because the customers are demographically different than average Visa and MasterCard customers. American Express customers are generally individuals and businesses with higher credit ratings, and they are more likely to make better financial decisions. Additionally, many American Express cards are charge cards. Charge cards don’t have associated interest rates, so every bill is due in full. As a result, American Express customers generally don’t buy what they can’t afford to pay back within 30 days.
In the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 credit card satisfaction survey this is the sixth consecutive year that American Express has taken the highest honors. American Express also won the highest accolades from personal finance bloggers, taking home the Best Credit Card in the First Annual Plutus Awards two years ago, with the Blue from American Express card.
Here’s an overview of the major credit and charge cards from American Express and reviews for each.
The American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card currently offers a welcome bonus offer for new cardholders 25,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 in the first three months of Card membership. On purchases, cardholders earn points quickly, with three points per dollar for flights booked with airlines, two points per dollar on gasoline at US gas stations, two points per dollar at US supermarkets, and one point per dollar on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply. These points can be used for gift cards for dining, entertainment, and to shop at over 300 brands. You can also use Pay with Points to book your next trip by using the American Express Travel site for your travel related expenses such as airfare, car rentals, accommodations and more. Members receive exclusive access to buy tickets for popular events.
There is an introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $175. The annual fee is much less than the Platinum Card, but the benefits are not as extensive.
The American Express® Gold Card offers some great features. Some of the benefits include, access to Membership Rewards Program where points can be redeemed for gift cards for entertainment, dining and to shop at over 300 merchants, in addition you have access to exclusive benefits such as Extended Warranty, Return Protection and Baggage Insurance Plan and all three are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Use you card to get discounts and low rates at hotels and resorts plus when you book through Gold Hotel Collection you can get a $75 hotel credit. Note that terms and restrictions apply.
The charge card has an introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year. Thereafter the American Express Gold Card comes with an annual fee of $125.
For travelers that fly on Delta Airlines frequently, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express is one of the best ways to earn relevant and valuable rewards. With the welcome bonus offer you may be rewarded with 30,000 bonus miles after your first $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within three months of Cardmembership and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. You can continue to earn miles at the rate of two miles per eligible dollar spent on qualifying Delta purchases and one mile per dollar for all other eligible purchases. With the Gold Delta SkyMiles card you can check the first bag free on every Delta flights which can add up to a savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four.
While the annual fee for this credit card is $95, there is a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.
The Blue Sky from American Express® and the Blue Sky Preferred from American Express are credit cards, not charge cards, focused on travel rewards. Spenders can earn one point for virtually every dollar spent on the card, but those points are about 33% more valuable than typical rewards programs. According to the American Express website, “Each 7,500-point increment is equal to a statement credit of up to the amount of the eligible travel purchase capped at $100.” So you’ll want to maximize this by using it on purchases of $100 or more so as not to lose out on any reward benefit.
With the Blue Sky card, there is a welcome bonus: earn 7,500 points after you use your card to make $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of Cardmembership – redeemable for a $100 statement credit. The Blue Sky Preferred card has the additional feature of earning two points for every dollar spent at U.S. restaurants, hotel rooms and car rentals, as well as offering an annual $100 airline allowance to cover airline fees such as airline meals and baggage fees. Points are earned only on eligible purchases.
The Blue Sky has no annual fee, and The Blue Sky Preferred Card comes with a $75 annual fee.
The TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express is another favorite among Consumerism Commentary readers. There is no bonus offer with this credit card, but the cash back arrangement is solid. Approved applicants can immediately begin receiving cash back at the rates of 3% on gasoline purchases at US gas stations and on gasoline at Costco, for purchases up to $4,000 annually (then 1%); 2% on eligible purchases at US restaurants; 2% on eligible travel purchases, including at Costco and 1% on other purchases, including purchases at Costco. Terms and limitations apply. Cash back is issued in the form of an annual reward coupon.
For Costco members in good standing, this credit card has no annual fee.
The above American Express cards, both credit cards and charge cards, offer access to security features, extended warranty benefits, and purchase protection. Welcome bonus offers are not available to applicants who have had the product within the last 12 months or any other similar American Express products within 90 days of application. Cash back and points are earned only on eligible purchases. Terms and Restrictions Apply.
This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.
Important Note! The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.
Updated November 19, 2013 and originally published August 29, 2011. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @flexo on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.