What Is The American Express Membership Rewards Program
The American Express Membership Rewards program allows Amex cardholders to redeem their rewards in a number of valuable ways. Through this program, cardmembers can maximize their rewards value and redeem for at least 1 cent per point by transferring their Membership Rewards points to Amex hotel and airline partners.
Most Amex Cards Charge An Annual Fee
Amex currently offers 17 rewards cards, and 11 of them have an annual fee attached.
- The Blue Cash Everyday® Card.
- The Cash Magnet® Card.
- The Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card.
- The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card.
These cards are OK. They compete with other no-fee cards on rewards, but lose ground on perks, merchant acceptance, and required credit.
Amexs no-fee cards, then, are like a salad in a steakhouse theyre perfectly fine, but theyre not why were here.
Instead, were here for the prime chops. Amexs paid cards are highly compelling, but theyre definitely not cheap, with annual fees ranging from $95 to $695.
Regardless of how tasty the steak is, the eye-popping bill is an undeniable drawback.
Should I Cancel A Credit Card With An Annual Fee
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When looking for a new credit card, most people want a card that doesn’t have an annual fee. However, rewards seekers know the best rewards cards often have an annual feeand sometimes it’s worth paying to keep your card open.
When it comes time to decide whether to close or keep a credit card with an annual fee, it may not be an easy call. It can depend on how you use your card, the alternative options available, the benefits the card offers and the annual fee amount.
Here’s what you should know and consider before making your decision.
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The American Express Gold Card
The Gold card comes with an annual fee of $250, and there is no annual fee for adding any additional cards to a Gold account. One of the biggest perks for any cardholder is the membership rewards program, which allows consumers to earn points as they use their credit cards.
The Gold card is geared toward people who are big shoppers, eat out a lot, and do a lot of everyday spending. American Express Gold cardholders can earn four points for every dollar spent at U.S. restaurants and U.S. supermarkets , three points for every dollar spent booking flights with airline companies or through the American Express travel website, and one point for every dollar spent on any other purchase.
As of February 2021, first-time cardholders are also eligible for 60,000 points after you use your card to make $4,000 in purchases for the first six months of account membership.
Unlike traditional credit cards, American Express cards do not have a regular APR or charge interest, as all balances must be paid in full each month. However, the Gold card does offer cardmembers the flexibility to pay for purchases of $100 or more over time at a set interest rate.
Does Amex Have Benefit Tiers
Unlike Visa and Mastercard, Amex doesn’t use a tiered system for its benefits. However, its cards are typically arranged in tiers, with benefits and annual fees increasing as you go up the tiers. For example, the American Express® Green Card, American Express® Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express constitute the three tiers of the Membership Rewards card family.
For more detailed information about American Express Membership Rewards, click here.
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Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card Vs Capital One Ventureone Rewards Credit Card
These two Capital One cards can be confusing by their names alone. The Capital One Venture is the fee-based version, while the Capital One VentureOne does not incur an annual fee. Heres an overview of the benefits of these cards:
|Capital One VentureOne|
The Capital One Venture has a higher sign-up bonus and a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit that you can use every four years. But, if youre not sure which card would be better for you long-term, lets look at the break-even point after your first year.
The following calculations depend on your spending habits and how you plan to redeem your miles.
$95 / 0.75 cents per mile = $12,666.67
On the other hand, if youll transfer your miles to travel partners and agree with TPGs valuation of Capital One miles at 1.4 cents each, then youll earn 1.05 miles more per dollar spent on the Capital One Venture. In this case, the annual break-even point is:
$95 / 1.05 cents per mile = $9,047.62
Both calculations ignore the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit that you can get every four years on the Capital One Venture. So, if your spending is close to the breakeven point and youd use this credit, it will make sense to get the Capital One Venture instead of the Capital One VentureOne.
American Express Green Card
Though this Amex card comes with fewer bells and whistles than the others on this list, it has a lower annual fee of $150.
The American Express® Green Card earns you just one Membership Rewards point per $1 on everyday purchases. But youll earn three points per $1 spent on eligible travel purchases, at restaurants worldwide and on transit .
The card also has a welcome bonus of 45,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 6 months your account is open.
Learn more in our review of the American Express® Green Card.
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How To Avoid Late Payment Fees
Always pay at least the minimum by your statements due date. If you accidentally pay late, call your credit card issuer and explain your mistake. You can ask the rep to waive the fee. If you dont normally make late payments, the issuer may credit the fee back to your account.
To avoid paying late in the future, set up autopay and create calendar reminders to confirm those automatic payments were successful.
Theres another potential downside to late payments. If you make your payment 60 days or more after the due date,the card issuer may also apply a very high penalty APR to your account, depending on your card terms. This is just another reason to make sure your payments are timely.
Is The Amex Green Card Worth The Annual Fee
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Editors note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.
While some issuers choose to launch new credit card products to keep up to date with the ever changing market, American Express has been on a spree the last few years of updating several of its cards, starting with the personal and business versions of the Platinum and Gold cards. The American Express® Green Card received a long-overdue refresh in 2019 and today, were going to take a look at whether this card is worth its $150 annual fee .
The information for the Amex Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
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What Are Amex Membership Rewards
The American Express Membership Rewards program is a benefit that allows customers to accumulate points through purchases that you can then redeem for gift cards, travel rewards, immersive experiences, statement credit or even to cover recent card charges. Of course, youll almost always get the best value when you redeem these points for travel.
You earn points on most everyday purchases , and there are no expiration dates and no limit on how many points you can earn just use your card for purchases, large or small, and watch the points add up.
In the points and miles world, Membership Rewards points are considered one of the most valuable currencies around. They are valued at a respectable 2 cents apiece per TPG valuations.
Do Credit Cards Have Hidden Fees
Credit cards dont really have hidden fees, per se. Federal law requires issuers to clearly outline associated fees in card terms. But there are credit card fees that arent often discussed, and they may come as a surprise if youre not very familiar with how credit cards work . These can include:
- Foreign transaction fees: Not all credit cards charge a foreign transaction fee, but many do. This is typically charged as a percentage of each transaction that involves a foreign currency.
- Cash advance fees: The ability to withdraw cash with your credit card sounds convenient, but its actually a terrible idea. The money you withdraw is typically charged a fee right off the bat, and the withdrawal will incur interest charges at a high cash advance APR.
- Paper statement fees: Depending on the bank, you may be charged a fee to receive paper statements if youd rather not receive them digitally.
- Account activation fees: Theyre not common, but some credit cards charge an account activation or account opening fee.
- Most issuers dont charge anything to increase your credit limit, but some do.
- Expedited payment fee: If you have to get a payment in more quickly than usual, you might have to pay.
- Card replacement fee: If you lose your credit card, the issuer will typically send you a new one quickly for free. But some issuers charge, and some may charge extra to send it quickly.
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How We Chose The Best Amex Credit Cards
After going through details for each specific card, lets now discuss our overall approach to this analysis and how we chose the best Amex cards. I started by selecting what I believe to be the best American Express credit cards on the market today based on the type of card, the benefits offered, the cost of card membership and more. Then I divided those cards into four categories:
Then, within each category, I broke down the individual perks of each card using the following criteria:
- Welcome offer
- Annual fee
- Temporary benefits
Finally, I tried to provide some context for each card and suggest to whom it might appeal based on a variety of factors, including spending habits, travel patterns and desired rewards. As always, you likely have your own criteria for these decisions, but hopefully, this analysis helps you get a jump start on your research for choosing the right card for you.
Top American Express Credit Cards Of 2022
Pick a card category:
Whether you’re looking for a Delta credit card or just a Membership Rewards-earning card through American Express, American Express offers plenty of options. American Express cards are known for their luxurious benefits, such as Centurion Lounge access or sizable statement credits. However, these perks come at a pretty penny, as most American Express cards come with hefty annual fees.
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Capital One Ventureone Rewards Credit Card
Best no annual fee card for travel expenses
- This card is a good fit for: Occasional or beginner travelers.
- This card is not a great choice for: Frequent travelers who want to maximize their rewards earnings.
- What makes this card unique? You can use your Capital One miles to book hotels, flights and rental cars through Capital Ones website, or you can use your card to book travel through another service or website and redeem your miles as a statement credit to cover the cost. In the travel rewards world, the freedom to book your rewards based on your preferences is huge.
- Is the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card worth it? The rewards rate isnt the most competitive, but it is simple and unlimited. Because it doesnt have an annual fee, you wont have to stress about recouping that cost. The ease of earning and redeeming miles is also a huge perk, especially for people just getting started with travel rewards.
Jump back to offer details.
Why So Many Servicemembers Have This Card
So there I was On a deployment exercise, sitting at a bar on a military base near Gulfport, Louisiana. Behind the bar was a wooden, multi-tiered stand to keep cards of open tabs.
Of the 2 dozen or so cards on there, at least half were Amex Platinum cards. It was comical. You could see them all shining in their metallic glory in this low-rent bar in backwater Louisiana.
But it makes total sense Why would a military member NOT get the Platinum card when it has such a substantial welcome bonus and has annual benefits that have actual monetary value?
The benefits of this card easily justify the annual fee.
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American Express Green Card: Best For Beginner Travelers
Welcome offer: 30,000 Membership Rewards points after you use your new card to make $2,000 in purchases in your first three months.
Earning rate: 3 points per dollar spent on worldwide travel, transit and restaurants.
Annual fee: $150
Why we chose it: The Green from Amex is a great mid-tier card for beginner travelers. Amex expanded the bonus categories to include a wide range of travel purchases, including transit and home-share rentals, on top of traditional airfare and hotel purchases something other Amex cards have yet to do. The card also got some upgraded features, such as an up-to-$100 Clear membership credit and an up-to-$100 LoungeBuddy credit. Although the annual fee did increase to $150, this card has jumped to the top of some TPGers wish lists. Enrollment required for select benefits.
Types Of American Express Credit Cards
American Express is a haven for rewards credit cards, so dividing them up comes down mostly to the types of rewards you earn. Most American Express cards earn rewards points, while a few earn cash back rewards. The rest are co-branded hotel and airline cards that earn loyalty points with their respective brands.
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The American Express Military Credit Card Fee Waiver
American Express has generated headlines among military-themed publications for its policy of waiving the annual fees on its credit cards for active duty military members. This perk gives the applicant access to a variety of AMEX cards including its American Express Platinum for Military with a waived $695-per-year fee, plus the following:
- 100,000 point sign-up bonus after spending $6,000 in purchases
- Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership
- Centurion and Priority Pass lounge access
- Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders
- 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue
- $200 airline fee credit yearly
- $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: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
- New! American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide.
- $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships. Enrollment required.
- $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
What Are Some Of The Best Cards With No Annual Fee
The Wells Fargo Propel card is no longer available for new applicants. The information for this card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
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Best American Express Credit Cards Of January 2022
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American Express is one issuer of choice if you’re looking for some of the best rewards credit cards we’ve seen. But that’s not all they offer. American Express is often ranked at the top of any list of top credit card companies, offering high-rated customer service and a great user experience. Any credit card aficionado is going may want at least one or two American Express cards in their collection.