Founded in 1850 as a freight forwarding business, American Express has grown into one of the nation's premier financial services firms. It's a Fortune 100 company that has 114 million credit cards in force and assets of $189 billion.
However, it's much more than simply a big business. American Express is well-respected and has been named one of the best companies for which to work. A survey by Fortune found it was also the 16th most admired company in the world. What's more, it ranks number one in U.S. for customer satisfaction among credit card companies, according to J.D. Power.
American Express is based in New York City and offers a collection of personal and business credit cards. Although originally known for its charge cards which required customers to pay off their balance each month, the company now has a range of credit cards which can be used to carry a balance. The company also maintains a robust travel and rewards program which allows members to books trips, access airport lounges and obtain travel insurance among other perks.
American Express credit card offers have long been known for quality, trustworthiness and solid customer-friendly features. American Express offers cards with flexible payment options as well as those that require payment in full at each statement. There are American Express credit and charge cards for individuals, small businesses and corporations, and there are plenty of options for people seeking a card for everyday purchases as well as those designed to reward your loyalty to a specific hotel or airline brand.
The name American Express is synonymous with luxury, and the company is particularly well-known for The Platinum Card® from American Express (This card is not currently available on CardRatings)and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (This card is not currently available on CardRatings). Both come with hefty annual fees but also a valuable slate of perks and features for travelers, including airport lounge access and more.
Still, there are cards available from American Express for almost every budget. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (This card is not currently available on CardRatings), for instance, has a reasonable annual fee and is considered by many to be the best cash back credit card for groceries. It offers 6% cash back on up to $6,000 spent each year at U.S. supermarkets. (American Express is a CardRatings advertiser)
American Express cards compare well against the following cards from other banks:
This no-annual-fee Citi card offers 2X ThankYou® points at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X points on all other purchases. On the other hand, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, awards 6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions and on up to $6,000 spent annually at U.S. supermarkets, 3% back on transit purchases and at U.S. gas stations, and 1% back on everything else.
All that said, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has a $95 annual fee which can add up from year to year. It does offer a slightly more valuable bonus of a $250 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 in the first three months of account membership. With the Citi Rewards+℠ Card, you can earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening worth $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com.
Both the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the The Platinum Card® from American Express cards are considered premium cards for users who spend frequently and don't mind paying a large annual fee. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® has a $550 annual fee. New cardholders can earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening an account. You can earn 3X points for each dollar you spend on travel (after earning the $300 annual travel reimbursement) and dining purchases and 1X point per dollar on all other purchases. It also comes with benefits such as a $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSAPre✓™ every four years, a $300 annual travel reimbursement statement credit and access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after a one-time enrollment in Priority Pass Select.
The Platinum Card® from American Express also has a $550 annual fee. You can earn a bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first three months. It also awards 5X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel, and on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com, and 1X point per dollar on all other purchases.
The biggest differences between the two cards are in the rewards you earn for your spending and some of the card and travel benefits you get with each card. For the most part, you'll just need to run the numbers to determine if you can get enough use out of either card to more than offset the annual fees.