Credit Building Tips

FAQ: Which American Express Credit Card is The Easiest to Get?

Shaun Connell
December 16, 2022

American Express credit cards aren't easy to get as they all require at least a "good" credit score. With FICO®, that's a credit score of at least 670; with VantageScore®, that's a credit score of at least 661.

What's the big deal about getting an American Express (also known as Amex) credit card? What does it offer that other credit card companies don't?

Solution iconAmex credit cards are attractive because they offer high-end credit cards with "great rewards and luxury perks." They're not easy to get, which creates a sense of exclusivity and prestige for the cardholder.

Nearly all Amex cards offer generous rewards on travel, groceries, dining, and streaming services. And as long as you pay your monthly statement in full and don't incur interest charges, the savings you'll get by using the card will offset its fees.

Most Amex cards offer rental car insurance and extended warranty. Top-tier Amex cards also offer several types of travel insurance, return protection, and purchase protection. Another attractive feature of an Amex card is they offer a low-interest introductory period.

Credit Card Networks and Issuers

When it comes to credit cards, there are two sides to the same coin — networks and issuers. In total, there are four major credit card networks across the U.S. — Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express.

A credit card network processes transactions and determines where their cards can be used. They also provide benefits like travel insurance or purchase protection, monitor transactions and work on fraud prevention, and create rules for how the cards are used.

On the other hand, credit card issuers are typically banks or credit unions — Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Capital One, Chase, and many others. These banking institutions "provide cards to consumers and handle application as well as determining what it takes to qualify for one of their cards and set the card's terms (APR, credit limit, fees, etc.)."

A Credit Card Issuer

American Express is fairly unique because it's both a card network and a card issuer. Visa and Mastercard are only card networks, while Discover, like Amex, also issues their cards. It's also good to know that not every American Express card is issued by the company itself — some are issued through a third party.

What's the difference? It doesn't matter much to the consumer, but behind the scenes, it means that Amex controls how transactions and fees are handled. By acting as the "bank" behind their cards, Amex gets to set their fee structure, keep a bigger cut of the fee revenue and offer better rewards as a result.

American Express Credit Cards

American Express boasts that they are uniquely positioned to:

"Provide safe, reliable, and convenient ways to make payments and process transactions, connecting millions of customers and businesses around the world."

The company was founded in 1850 by consolidating three companies that were "active in the express transport of goods, valuables, and specie between New York City and Buffalo, New York and points in the Midwest."

After the Civil War, it had grown to 900 offices in 10 states and by 1873 was renamed by American Express Company. The Second Industrial Revolution had just started, 12 million people had immigrated to the States, and slavery had been made illegal just eight years previously.

American Express offers generous rewards and benefits, and they set the bar high on getting one of their cards.

An American Express Credit Card

As of this year, American Express offers three main credit card categories:

  • Entertainment, travel, and dining cards
    • American Express® Green Card
    • American Express® Gold Card
    • American Express® Platinum Card
  • Rewards points cards for everyday spending
    • Amex Everyday Credit Card
    • Amex Everyday Preferred Card
  • Cash back cards
    • American Express® Cash Magnet
    • American Express® Blue Cash Everyday
    • American Express® Blue Cash Preferred

Only some U.S. merchants accept American Express cards, and internationally, more merchants accept Visa, Mastercard, and Discover cards than American Express cards.

Easiest to Get American Express Credit Cards

Now that you're clear that American Express cards are intended for those with at least "good" credit scores, which of their credit cards are easiest to get approval for?

Using a Credit Card

These cards require at least a credit score of 650, and while they're not considered the "best" American Express cards, they still offer great benefits and rewards.

American Express® Gold Delta Card

The American Express® Gold Delta Card is best for travel rewards with a free annual fee the first year, which then goes up to $95 each subsequent year. This card's APR (interest rate) is a variate rate at 17.24% to 26.24%.

It lets you:

  • Earn a mile for every dollar spent on purchases.
  • Access through the Amex mobile app.
  • Check your first travel bag on a Delta flight for free.
  • Access Delta Sky Club for a discounted fee.
  • Qualify for priority boarding on Delta flights.
  • Use purchase protection for dropped phones.
  • Take advantage of extended warranties when the manufacturer's warranty runs out.

U.S. News rated the Gold Delta Card card from Amex as its "Best in Rewards Credit Cards 2023,' for rewards credit cards.

American Express Gold Delta Card

They gave this award to the Gold Delta card because, with it, you can:

  • Earn 2 miles for every dollar spent on Delta purchases.
  • Earn 2 miles for every dollar spent at restaurants around the world.
  • Earn 2 miles for every dollar spent at U.S. grocery stores.
  • Earn 2 miles for every dollar spent on "all other eligible purchases.
  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles once you've spent $2,000 with your new card in the first six months.
  • Get a $100 Delta flight credit once you've spent $10,000 on your card in a calendar year.
  • Get 20% back as a statement credit on in-flight purchases.

American Express® Green Card

The American Express® Green Card is best for reward points with a free annual fee the first year, which then goes up to $95 each subsequent year. The Green Card has no interest rate but rather requires the cardholder to pay back dues each month.

It offers:

  • Double membership reward points.
  • 1x points for each dollar spent.
  • Membership rewards: Pay with Points.
  • Double reward benefits.
  • A roadside assistance hotline.
  • Baggage insurance plan.
  • Phone Global Assist Hotline.
  • Access car rental loss and damage insurance.
  • Purchase protection for dropped phones.
  • Extended warranties when the manufacturer's warranty runs out.

The Amex Green Card works best for first-time credit card holders and those who don't plan to make big purchases with the card, as the monthly statement must be paid in full.

American Express Green Card

U.S. News rated the Gold card from Amex as its "Best in Rewards Credit Cards 2023,' for small-to-medium-sized businesses credit cards. They gave this award to the Green card because, with it, you can:

  • Earn two points for every dollar you spend on
  • Earn one point for every dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 15,000 bonus points once you've spent $3,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months.

Ideal for small business owners, the Amex Green card keeps "business owners in full control of card spending." Employers can preset spending limits, freeze or unfreeze individual cards and see scanned receipts on the American Express Business App.

American Express® Blue Cash Preferred

The American Express® Blue Cash Preferred is best for general shopping with a $95 annual fee each year. The APR on this card is 0% for the first year but then jumps between a variable of 14.49% to 25.49%.

You can:

  • Earn rewards faster by adding friends and family cards.
  • Get cash-back benefits for monthly spending.
  • Call for roadside assistance.
  • Get travel accident insurance.
  • Phone Global Assist Hotline.
  • Access car rental loss and damage insurance.
  • Use purchase protection for dropped phones.
  • Take advantage of extended warranties when the manufacturer's warranty runs out.

With guaranteed fraud protection, the Amex Blue Card gives you added security. It also has the lowest APR variable, which is a great way to offset the $95 annual fee and enjoy more rewards.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card

U.S. News also rated the Blue Cash Preferred® card from Amex as its "Best in Rewards Credit Cards 2023,' for rewards credit cards. They gave this award to the Blue Cash Preferred® card because, with it, you can:

  • Earn 6% cash back on shopping at U.S. supermarkets every year up to $6,000. After you've reached the $6,000 threshold, you can continue to earn 1% cash back.
  • Earn 6% cash back on "select U.S. streaming subscriptions."
  • Earn 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations plus transit, which includes "taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more."
  • Earn 1% back on other purchases.
  • After you spend $3,000 with your new card within the first six months, you can earn a $250 statement credit.

Credit One Bank American Express® Credit Card

The Credit One Bank American Express® Credit Card is a third-party crossover credit card issued by the Credit One Bank for those with a fair or average credit score. There's a $39 annual fee and a regular 26.99% variable APR.

Credit One Bank American Express Credit Card

It lets you:

  • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases.
  • Benefit from retail protection (also known as purchase protection.)
  • Benefit from extended warranties.
  • Refunds the cost of a purchase when a merchant won't accept returns.
  • Access travel perks.
  • Get up to 10% off Delta Airlines flights.
  • Get up to 25% off car rentals.
  • Get discounted hotel rates.
  • Cover car rental loss and damage insurance.
  • Cover up to $150,000 in worldwide travel accident insurance.
  • Benefit from exclusive card member access to events and experiences.
  • Qualify for Ticketmaster ticket presales and preferred seating.

Prequalification and Preapproval for American Express Credit Cards

Before approving you for a new credit card, lenders will check your current credit with a "hard inquiry" (also known as a hard pull). They want to learn what kind of loans and credit cards you currently use, how long you've had these accounts, and if you pay your debts and bills on time.

Digging through this information before you are given a new credit card will cause your credit score to drop. The effect may be negligible if you apply for a single credit card. Still, if you apply for a few American Express cards in the hope of qualifying for one, your score may be negatively affected, and this drop in score will stay on your report for about two years.

American Express allows you to request a prequalification through their website. Prequalification can be used interchangeably with preapproval, but they are actually different processes.

Prequalifications let you give Amex information to see if you might qualify for a card. This is information you provide without the credit issuer checking your credit report to verify the information. This involves a "soft credit check," which won't cause your credit score to drop.

Think of prequalifications as a marketing opportunity. American Express looks at the demographics of your profile and will send you a "special offer" they think might be a good match for you.

You can't find a tool for prequalified offers on the American Express website. You'll find these offers in your mailbox, which you can follow up on or put straight into your recycle bin.

If you aren't receiving these types of mailings, you can opt-in to start getting them.

Preapprovals are an in-depth look at whether Amex considers you to be a candidate for one of the cards in their portfolio. They also use a soft credit pull to get the information they need to assess the odds that you'll be approved for a card.

Find out if you're approved for the American Express® Gold Delta Card, the American Express® Green Card, or the American Express® Blue Cash Preferred without any impact on your credit score. If you choose to accept the card, American Express will check with the credit bureaus, which will impact your credit score.

Applying For a Credit Card

The application asks for your:

  • Full name
  • Name as you wish it to be printed on your card
  • Email address
  • Date of birth
  • Mobile phone number
  • Home address
  • Social Security number
  • Total annual income
  • Non-taxable annual income (optional)
  • Income source (choose from a drop-down menu)

You can also check to see if you prequalify for one of these easier-to-get American Express credit cards by going to Bankrate's CardMatch. They've made it simple to see which credit cards from every credit card issuer match your credit profile.

You'll be asked for your full name, home address, and email address. Once you create a password for a free Bankrate account, you'll be able to save your progress, giving you faster access to future offers.

By giving Bankrate your phone number, you're allowing them to text you special offers and information about your matches. They promise to only occasionally text you, and you can always opt-out.

You'll be asked to give your Social Security number. This is required for a soft credit pull and doesn't impact your credit score. Once you agree to the terms and conditions, you'll see a generated list of all Bankrate's partners — not just Amex — that match your credit profile.

The bottom line is while it isn't easy to qualify for an American Express credit card, their robust rewards and perks make them desirable. If you qualify for one of their "entry-level" cards and make regular payments on time, you'll be in a better position to qualify for some of their higher-end cards and get even greater rewards.

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Written By:
Shaun Connell
Shaun Connell is a personal finance and credit expert with a passion for helping individuals eliminate debt and improve their credit. He's enjoyed writing investing and financial content for over 15 years, with expertise in real estate, debt, banking, credit, and wealth building. His work has been seen by millions on the web.

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