MoneyGeek's Take

Best Amex Credit Cards for Travel in 2022

American Express provides many appealing credit cards that serve different travel-related requirements. While some of these cards are co-branded, others are not. All the Amex travel credit cards we've selected offer reward points or miles.

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This article is part of our larger series on Best Travel Credit Cards

Travelers have multiple credit card options to choose from when they turn to American Express. If you favor using a particular airline or group of hotels over others, you might benefit by getting a co-branded Amex travel card. Irrespective of the card you choose from our selection, you stand to earn rewards in some form.

While some of the best Amex credit cards for travel come with annual fees, a few do away with them completely. This largely depends on the rewards and perks on offer. For example, while the benefit-laden Amex Hilton Honors Surpass Card charges an annual fee, the simpler Hilton Honors Card does not. However, it earns fewer points on bonus category purchases and includes fewer benefits. It is common for Amex travel cards to come with no foreign transaction fees.

This article is part of our larger series on
Best Travel Credit Cards

MoneyGeek's Take: Top 5 Amex Credit Cards for Travel

Quick Summary

The best Amex credit cards for travel offer a variety of travel-related perks and high points/miles earn rates on category-based spending, although these tend to come at a cost. We’ve selected the top five cards from this category based on factors such as annual fees, APRs, welcome offers and value of points/miles.


  • American Express Delta SkyMiles Blue Card

    A great miles rewards card with no annual fees


    • ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 2 Miles per $1*Rewards Rate
    • 2xRewards Rate on Air Travel
    • 2xRewards Rate on Dining

    Terms, rates and fees apply

  • American Express Hilton Honors Surpass Card

    An excellent credit card for earning Hilton Honors points


    • Good-ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $95Annual Fee
    • 3–12 Points per $1*Rewards Rate
    • 12xRewards Rate at Hotels
    • 6xRewards Rate on Groceries

    Terms, rates and fees apply

  • American Express Hilton Honors Card

    A good travel rewards card for people who are casual guests at Hilton hotels and resorts


    • Good-ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 3–7 Points per $1*Rewards Rate
    • 7xRewards Rate at Hotels
    • 5xRewards Rate on Dining

    Terms, rates and fees apply

  • American Express Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card

    An excellent card for earning Delta SkyMiles


    • Good-ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $250Annual Fee
    • 1–3 Miles per $1Rewards Rate
    • 3xRewards Rate on Air Travel
    • 3xRewards Rate at Hotels

    Terms, rates and fees apply

  • American Express Delta SkyMiles Gold Card

    A great credit card for individuals looking for basic travel perks and more opportunities to earn miles


    • Good-ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $99Annual Fee
    • 1–2 Miles per $1Rewards Rate
    • 2xRewards Rate on Air Travel
    • 2xRewards Rate on Dining

    Terms, rates and fees apply

Summary of the Best Amex Cards for Travel

Check this brief Amex travel card comparison table that’s based on aspects such as APRs, annual fees and welcome offers.

  • Credit Card
    Best For
    Avg. Reward Rate
    Annual Fee
    Credit Needed
  • American Express Delta SkyMiles Blue Card
    A great miles rewards card with no annual fees
    2 Miles per $1*
    $0
    Excellent
  • American Express Hilton Honors Surpass Card
    An excellent credit card for earning Hilton Honors points
    3–12 Points per $1*
    $95
    Good-Excellent
  • American Express Hilton Honors Card
    A good travel rewards card for people who are casual guests at Hilton hotels and resorts
    3–7 Points per $1*
    $0
    Good-Excellent
  • American Express Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card
    An excellent card for earning Delta SkyMiles
    1–3 Miles per $1
    $250
    Good-Excellent
  • American Express Delta SkyMiles Gold Card
    A great credit card for individuals looking for basic travel perks and more opportunities to earn miles
    1–2 Miles per $1
    $99
    Good-Excellent
  • American Express Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card
    A good travel card with a great rewards program for frequent Delta flyers.
    1–3 Miles per $1*
    $550
    Good-Excellent
  • American Express Gold Card
    Best rewards card for frequent fliers and diners
    1–4 Points per $1
    $250
    Good-Excellent
  • American Express Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card
    A great card for frequent travelers who are Marriott Bonvoy members
    2–6 Points per $1*
    $450
    Good-Excellent
  • American Express The Platinum Card
    A great rewards card for air travel with premium benefits
    1–5 Points per $1*
    $695
    Good-Excellent
tip icon
MONEYGEEK EXPERT TIP

While many travelers gravitate towards cards with no annual fees, you are often better off choosing a card with a fee. The included perks, like a free checked bag or annual free night, often outweigh any annual fee that you pay. -- Lee Huffman, credit card expert at BaldThoughts.com.

About Our Rankings

MoneyGeek experts review our extensive credit card database each month and pick all Amex cards that offer travel-related benefits. Then, they select the best of the lot after comparing them across parameters such as APRs, annual fees, welcome offers and the value of points/miles you earn.

Since American Express is not the only card issuer that provides travel credit cards, you might benefit by taking a look at our overall selection of the best travel cards.

Top Rating Criteria for Amex Cards

signupBonus
Welcome Offer
annualFee
Annual Fees
rewards
Points & Miles Reward Rate

How to Compare Amex Credit Cards & Intro Offers

Features and benefits that you may find in one Amex travel card might be specific to the card in question. This requires that you pay attention to different aspects before arriving at a decision.

1

Co-branded or not

American Express offers co-branded cards in the form of Delta SkyMiles cards, Hilton Honors cards and Marriott Bonvoy cards. These cards might work well for you if you’re a frequent user of any of these brands. Otherwise, you can choose a card that earns Amex Membership Rewards points, which offer numerous redemption options.

2

APR

Travel cards tend to come with higher APRs than cards that don’t offer any rewards/cash back. If you plan to carry balances from one month to the next, consider looking at what the top low-interest credit cards have to offer.

3

Annual fees

The annual fee you might need to pay depends on the features and benefits you’re after. For example, the no-annual-fee Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card comes with up to 2x miles on category-based spending. While the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card charges a $250 annual fee, it offers up to 3x miles on category-based spending. Besides, it comes with a more rewarding welcome offer as well as other perks such as an annual companion certificate, first checked bag free and credit toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fees.

4

Welcome offer

All the top Amex travel credit cards give you the opportunity to earn bonus points or miles through different welcome offers. If you get the Delta SkyMiles Blue American Express Card, you earn a welcome bonus of 10,000 miles by spending $500 on eligible purchases in the first three months. The Hilton Honors Card, on the other hand, offers 100,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months, and an additional 50,000 bonus points if you spend a total of $5,000 in the first six months.

5

Points/miles earn rate

The annual fee that you might or might not need to pay typically has a bearing on this aspect, so you need to weigh your options after accounting for your spending patterns. For instance, the no-annual-fee Hilton Honors Card lets you earn up to 7x points on category-based spending. This increases to 12x points with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card, which charges a $95 annual fee.

6

Value of points/miles

If you get a card that offers American Express Membership Rewards Points, their value may vary from 0.5 cents to 1 cent per point or higher based on how to choose to redeem them. If you get a co-branded card that offers miles or points linked to an airline or a hotel loyalty program, you typically get the best value when you use them to pay for flight or prepaid hotel bookings. In such cases, aspects such as dates, routes and specific properties may also affect the value of your miles/points.

7

Additional features

You may expect various card-specific features and perks from our selection of the best Amex credit cards for travel. These include no foreign transaction fees, no preset spending limits, complimentary travel insurance coverage, status upgrades in loyalty membership programs, weekend night rewards, Priority Pass lounge access, annual companion certificates and additional savings on in-flight purchases.

Further Reading

About the Author


expert-profile

Rajiv Baniwal has been writing about different financial topics for over 15 years. Meticulous in his research, he makes sure he provides accurate and up-to-date information. His areas of expertise include mortgages, personal loans, credit cards, insurance and international money transfers.


*Rates, fees or bonuses may vary or include specific stipulations. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. We recommend visiting the card issuer’s website for the most up-to-date information available.
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses and recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity.
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