I’ll admit it, I’m a pretty big American Express fan. My first credit card was a Starwood Preferred Guest credit card by American Express, and I now proudly hold a American Express Platinum card in my wallet. So, yes, I’m happy with the company and their suite of credit cards. But, which ones are the best for travel rewards? Let’s dig in with this post and see which cards are available, shall we?
Platinum Card from American Express
The ‘granddaddy’ of travel rewards credit cards, the Platinum Card from American Express has seen some competition as of late. However, the benefits of this card are massive (and should be that way, with the $450 annual fee). For one, you have access to the Membership Rewards partners, one of the most diverse group of transfer partners in the travel market. And, most are available to transfer to at a 1:1 ratio.
Many of those same partners offer ‘transfer bonuses,’ sometimes up to 50% for a limited time. You’ll receive two points per dollar spent on travel purchases on their booking engine, and one point per dollar on every other purchase. Furthermore, you’ll receive $200 in statement credits for airline fees annually, and free Boingo internet for as long as you have the card. A 40,000 point sign-up bonus for spending $3,000 in the first three months of card membership isn’t half bad, either!
Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card
I’m in love with SPG. For one, their hotels, from the hip W Hotels, to luxurious St. Regis properties, to the ubiquitous Westins, are some of the best properties in their respective cities. I love the SPG Card from American Express especially because of the value of SPG points: the program allows for the most transfers to airline partners in the business.
And, when you transfer more than 20,000 at a time, you’ll earn a 5,000 mile bonus. If you like sign-up bonuses, I would apply now: you’ll receive 30,000 bonus Starpoints for spending $5,000 in the first six months of cardmembership (20,000 for the spend, 10,000 on first purchase). The annual fee is a reasonable $65 a year.
American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card
The little brother of the Platinum card, the Premier Rewards Gold Card is worth a mention because of its bonus categories. You’ll earn three points per dollar on flights booked directly with the airline, and two points per dollar on gas and grocery stores. This can really add up for those making purchases regularly in these areas.
There are many American Express cards out there, but I believe these three to be the strongest out there. The combination of transfer partners, either with SPG or Membership Rewards, combined with the backing of American Express makes these all winners in my book. I love American Express’ purchase protection, and have had great experiences working with their customer service department. So, what do you think? Did I recommend your favorite cards, or do you have your own favorites? Let us know in the comments.