Definitive Guide To American Express Credit Cards

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Table of Contents

This will be a dedicated guide to American Express credit cards that I hope will be one of the only stops you have to make in getting all the information you need in order to get your very first or additional Amex cards.

American Express credit cards are considered the pinnacle of cards to get and its a huge deal to get your foot in the door with your first one, so we will cover everything we know at this point with what bureau Amex pulls from, the credit scores they like to see, how to get additional cards and of course CLIs!

Be sure to bookmark this page as we will constantly be updating it as information changes!

American Express Data Points

Hard Pull (hard hit) on your Experian & 650+ credit score

During normal times (non-corona) American Express likes to see a 650+ credit score, I have personally gotten approved for the Blue card and Delta Gold co-branded cards at a 660 credit score, not to mention helped half a dozen others get personal/business Blue cards/co-branded. This was pretty universal pre-corona.

American Express does NOT like to see an derogatories on your report, no late payments, no BKs (bankruptcies) or any negative remarks. This isn’t a 100% deal breaker but its close and everything else on the credit profile would have to be air tight (history/length, DTI, usage, etc)

Right now during corona Amex is looking for min of 750 credit score (generally). Keep in mind that they will be looking much closer at your report right now as well.

Getting CLIs (credit limit increases)

You can request a CLI at 61 days of brand new account or 6 months after your last CLI. This naturally is called the 61/6 rule.

If you jumped the gun before the 60 days/6 months rule, the reason for denial is considered ineligibility. If that is the case you can reapply after the original and correct 60day/6month timeline. You do not have to wait an additional 90 days, so the clock doesn’t get reset. If you were eligible and got denied due to other factors, then you are ineligible to reapply for another 90 days since the denial date.

If you get the message after requesting CLI, that a decision will be mailed within 7-10 days, it most likely means that the CLI has been denied. There is an outside chance that the letter that comes from Amex may ask for a signed 4506T in order to give further consideration to the CLI request but in 99% of the cases it is a letter outlining the reasons for denial.

It also provides the true FICO score from the bureau that was used in the decision making process. Most of the time it is Experian FICO, but Amex is known to use EQ and or TU in rare circumstances (personally have never seen this or met anyone who got EQ or TU pulled). Sometimes the reason(s) for denial is also sent via email immediately after the CLI request in addition to the letter in the mail.

Getting Additional Amex Credit Cards

When it comes to getting additional American Express cards, there is actually a pretty accurate and free way to check your odds of getting another card. First off check Credit Karma and Experian to see if there are offers for American Express cards showing in your account. Keep in mind that there is a big difference between co-branded cards like delta cards and Amex cards but check there first.

Next follow these steps…

  1. Login to your account
  2. Go to Menu (should be top left)
  3. Click on Cards option, then “Check for pre-qual credit cards” page
  4. Click on the apply button to any of the cards
  5. You will get one of two messages: “You are pre-approved”, this means you are ready to go and can apply, if you get “applying to expand your membership is easy with us” you should wait. You will see this at the very top

Getting Co-branded Amex Credit Cards

Conversely when it comes to co-branded Amex cards if you are pre-approved for one of them then chances are high you are approved for all co-branded cards from silver up to gold. It would seem that there is a different underwriter or process used for all co-branded cards, which makes total sense, as with all of this-no guarantees this will always be true or even true after corona. I personally experienced this end of 2019 and I used the above process, checked Credit Karma, Wallethub and Experian credit card suggestion engines.

Also this means if you applied for multiple co-branded cards within the same hour (use multiple tabs and submit both at same time) that there is a good chance you will only get one hard hit on your report and could get approved for both cards.

Amex Personal Credit Cards

I will not be listing out every single personal credit card American Express offers, just the cards I have data on. They currently offer 18 personal credit cards, you can get more info here, as well as most up to date SUB info.

The SUBs (signup bonus) always change, we will do our best to keep this updated.

  • American Express Gold Card-personal
    • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first 3 months.
    • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at restaurants worldwide.
    • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
    • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
    • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per year for incidental fees at one selected airline.
    • Annual Fee: $250

DPs: 720 Experian/ $2k Limit (no baddies)

  • Blue Cash Everyday-personal
    • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months from the date of account opening, then a variable APR, 13.99% to 23.99%
    • 3% cash-back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
    • Earn 2% cash-back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores. Earn 1% back on all other purchases.
    • Earn 20% back on Amazon.com purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership, up to $200 back Plus, earn $100 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits.
    • Annual fee: $0

DPs: 722 Experian/ $2k Limit (no baddies, thin file), 716/ $1k Limit (2013 BK)

Amex Personal Co-Branded Credit Cards

  • American Express Delta Gold (660+)
    • First checked bag free on Delta flights
    • $100 Delta Flight Credit when spend $10,000 in purchases on your Card
    • 2x points in select Restaurants, US Supermarkets and Delta purchases
    • Take up to $50 off the cost of your flight for every 5,000 miles you redeem with Pay with Miles when you book on delta.com
    • No annual fee

DPs: 660/ $5k Limit, 655/$1k Limit

  • American Express Delta Platinum (660+)
    • First checked bag free on Delta flights
    • 3X Miles on Delta flights and Delta Vacations®
    • 2x points in select Restaurants & US Supermarkets
    • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.
    • Receive either a $100 statement credit for Global Entry or a statement credit for up to $85 for TSA Pre✓® through any Authorized Enrollment Provider for a 5-year plan
    • Annual Fee: $250

  • American Express Hilton Aspire (660+)
    • Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
    • 15.74% to 24.74% variable APR on purchases.
    • 14x Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio.
    • 7x Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, and on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies
    • 7x Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants
    • 3x Points on other purchases
    • complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status
    • one weekend night reward with your new Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card and every year after renewal, plus earn an additional night once you spend $60,000 of purchases on card
    • Each year of Card Membership, get up to $250 in statement credits on your Card Account for eligible purchases made directly with participating Hilton Resorts.
    • Annual Fee: $450

DPs: 819/$31k Limit

Amex Business Credit Cards

Again I will not be covering every single American Express business credit card as they offer 14 currently and I only have data on some. Go here to get a full list of business credit cards Amex is offering and to get the most recent SUB info.

There isn’t a pre-qualification page for American Express that currently works, I will link you here to the old pre-qualification page that used to work, it may work again in the future.

The business side of Amex is much more appealing then the personal side if you run a business. The cards, the SUBs and overall brand perks just seem better. For example after you have been a business card holder (any card) for 6 months you may qualify for their Working Capital program and after 12 months of business card/account history you may qualify for their Business Loan program. If you get approved for the Business Gold card or higher however they waive these time limits and you have immediate access to these programs. For a small business, this is incredible.

  • Business Gold Card (690+)
    • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
    • 4X points on 2 select categories where you spend most each month, up to the first $150K in combined spend. 1X points on purchases thereafter
    • Add Employee Cards to earn rewards on eligible employee purchases and stay on top of expenses with spending limits, alerts, and summary reports. The Business Gold Card offers an Employee Card option with no annual fee.
    • Flexibility to pay eligible charges over time with interest, or pay your full balance, whichever is best for your business
    • APR on purchases will be a variable rate, 14.24% – 22.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
    • Annual Fee: $295

DPs: 720/ $25k open ended limit. These cards technically have no limit

  • The Blue Business Plus Card-business (690+)
    • Earn 10,000 Extra Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
    • 2x points on business purchase up to $50,000 annually (than 1x)
    • No annual fee
    • 0.0% introductory APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening. After that your APR will be a variable rate, 13.24% – 19.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening
    • The $50,000 spending cap on double points reduces this card’s value for businesses with high operating expenses. 

DPs: 720s/$3k Limit (brand new business, low personal income) Got 3 of these back to back for brand new LLCs in Dec 2019

  • Business Platinum Card-business (690+)
    • Earn 85,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases on the Business Platinum Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
    • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels booked at amextravel.com
    • 50% more points on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more (that’s an extra half point per dollar). Up to 1 million additional points per calendar year.
    • Flexibility to pay eligible charges over time with interest, or pay your full balance, whichever is best for your business
    • APR on purchases will be a variable rate, 14.24% – 22.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
    • $200 Airline Fee Credit.
    • Annual Fee: $595
    • The $595 annual fee is very steep. Keep in mind, though, that the fee is a deductible business expense.
  • Blue Business Cash Card (690+)
    • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $5,000 in qualifying purchases on your Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn an additional $250 statement credit after you spend an additional $10,000 or more in qualifying purchases on your Card within the first year of Card Membership
    • Earn 2% cash back on all eligible purchases on up to $50,000 per calendar year, then 1%. Cash back earned is automatically credited to your statement.
    • 0.0% introductory APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening. After that your APR will be a variable rate, 13.24% – 19.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening
    • Annual Fee: $0
    • The $50,000 cap on 2% cash back makes this card a poor fit for businesses with high expenses
  • The Plum Card (690+)
    • Earn a $500 statement credit after you spend $15,000 in purchases on the Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.$0 intro offer for 12 months, then $250 per year
    • Paying early pays off: Get a 1.5% discount when you pay early, with no cap on what you can earn back.
    • Keep your cash when you need it with up to 60 days to pay
    • Employee Plum Cards at no additional annual fee.
    • With a hefty annual fee after the first year, this card is designed for businesses that spend big. And while it offers flexible terms, it’s still a charge card, meaning your balance will be due in full — you can’t spread out the cost of a purchase over several months.