Best American Express Credit Cards for Travel

July 16, 2011 1 Comment »

After researching travel and airlines’ credit cards, as well as interviewing a number of credit card enthusiasts, we’ve come to realize that while American Express Credit Cards may not have the most aggressive point gathering structure on the market they still offer a number of substantial perks and are hands-down the most sought after credit cards by consumers.

Below we’ve ranked the top American Express Credit Cards for traveling (including perks on Airfare miles, hotel stays, car rentals, etc.). It is turning out to be one of the most lucrative years for new credit card holders and American Express is topping the charts in many prominent card categories. Some American Express cards are fairly difficult to get and are generally only issued to those with pretty stellar credit, however they do make the process easy to apply and you’ll generally get a response on whether or not you are eligible within a day (sometimes in 60 seconds).

Best Travel Credit Cards from American Express:

(Visit the individual card offer’s website for updated terms and conditions.)

1) Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express - This card ranks number 1 for traveling due to it’s current 20,000 bonus miles after your very first purchase as well as an option to earn 5,000 additional miles when/if you add other people to the account. That’s already enough to redeem for a free flight! You can also check your first bag for free for up to 9 people on your flight reservations and you’ll have the ability to earn double miles on qualifying flights and 1 mile for every other dollar you spend. The annual fee is $95 and is waived for your first year. The standard APR with the card is 14.5%.

2) American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card – This AMEX card is perhaps the easiest one to rack up points with. You’ll earn 3 points for every dollar spent on airfare, 2 points for every dollar spent on gas and groceries, and 1 point on every other purchase. And as a membership rewards bonus, they’ll start you off with a 15,000 point bonus after spending $1,000 on the card in 3 months (which you can also redeem for $150 in gift cards). You’ll have exclusive access to Gold Card Destinations and events – which includes special travel packages and amenities at hotels worldwide, as well as select concerts, shows, major sporting events, and more, nationwide. This is an exclusive AMEX card offer and comes with a $175 annual fee (which is waived your first year). You’ll also get approved in 60 seconds.

3) The Platinum Card from American Express – Here is another widely sought after AMEX card that comes in at our number 3 spot. This card would easily hold the number one spot if it weren’t for it’s high annual fee of $450. This card is certainly not for everyone and in fact is only for a certain segment of “high-roller” consumers. Anyone who regularly travels in first class and stays at upper end hotels could greatly benefit from this card. It also just added a whole new range of benefits for international travelers as well. For starters, you’ll nab 25,000 Membership Rewards points, redeemable for one domestic round-trip Coach-Class airline ticket, when you spend $1,000 during your first three months of card membership. You’ll also get up to $200 in Airline Fee Credits annually to cover incidental charges on your airline of choice, including checked-baggage fees. Complimentary Companion Airfare with purchase of qualifying First- or Business-Class international ticket. It comes with 24/7 Platinum Card(R) Concierge service for assistance with reservations, travel, gifts, and more and adds you as a part of their “FINE HOTELS & RESORTS Programs.” This includes exclusive upgrades and amenities at over 700 boutique, resort, and luxury hotels worldwide.

4) Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express – Another wildly sought after card from American Express, this card comes with 10,000 bonus points after your first purchase and another 15,000 bonus points when you spend $15,000 on the card in 6 months (which equates to up to 6 free nights at a category 1 or 2 hotel). You can redeem your Starpoints with over 350 airlines and more than 1,000 hotels and resorts worldwide and your points have absolutely no expiration dates. There is a $65 annual fee with this card, however it is waived for your first year. You’ll also get approved for the card in 60 seconds.

5) Blue Cash Everyday from American Express – Although this card isn’t specifically designed for travel we thought we would give it recognition simply because of how popular of a card it has been in 2011 and the ease at which you can rack up points. This is one of the few American Express Credit Cards that comes with no annual fee. It also has no spending requirements and no rotating categories – which makes it the most “easy going” AMEX card on the market. As for points, you’ll get 3% cash back at supermarkets, 2% cash back at gas stations and department stores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

If you’ve signed up for an exceptional American Express Travel Credit Card this year that we haven’t mentioned it in this post, please share by leaving a comment!

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  • John

    The Delta Gold card is the best deal so far! 20k miles and you are almost to a free ticket, plus you would almost be Silver status with Delta. Being Silver means that you have a good chance of being upgraded to first class on any flights for the next year. You also get 25% miles bonus on all flights when you are Silver status. When I became Silver with Delta I got 3 first class upgrades, I just need to get to silver again!