American Express Preapproval: How To Pre-Qualify for American Express Credit Cards

American Express mobile
American Express/MarioGuti / Getty Images/iStockphoto

American Express, Member FDIC, is one of the most popular credit card issuers in the world. This financial services company offers a vast number of prepaid, charge and credit cards for applicants with good to excellent credit scores —which FICO considers to be 670 or higher.

Because of this exclusivity, the chances of getting rejected for an American Express® credit card are high. However, you can apply for American Express preapproval offers to find out in advance which cards you might qualify for, without risking a hard pull on your credit. Here’s a closer look at what these offers are all about.

How American Express Is Different

When looking to apply for a credit card, many people go to their bank of choice for a card issued by that bank. If they’re approved for a card, they typically receive one from a prominent network like Visa or Mastercard. American Express is both a credit card issuer and network — it doesn’t just create and manage accounts, it also processes all transactions.

Most major card issuers provide options for applicants of a variety of credit levels, but American Express gears its products toward those who already have well-established credit. That’s why cards from this financial institution can be so hard to get.

The Benefits of Having an American Express Card

American Express offers numerous perks for individual card members. These benefits, which vary by card type, include but are not limited to:

  • Purchase and return protection
  • Extended warranty
  • Trip cancellation, interruption and delay insurance
  • Concierge
  • Rental car insurance
  • Emergency card assistance

Additionally, some American Express cards offer access to a Membership Rewards program that gives users redeemable points with every purchase. Select cards also earn referral points, which are granted when a referred friend has their application for a card accepted and they get the card.

Get Credit Card Perks

Can I Get Preapproved for an American Express Card?

Yes, you can get preapproved for an American Express card before you apply. In fact, doing so can protect your credit score.

When applying for any major credit card, including American Express, it’s standard practice for the card issuer to make a hard inquiry on the applicant’s credit report. This can negatively impact the applicant’s credit score. With preapproval, potential applicants are screened for eligibility before a formal application is submitted, so there’s no hard pull on your credit report and no impact on credit until you formally apply.

Once the applicant has made their final decision, they can go ahead and submit a credit card application through the card issuer’s site.

Prequalification Guide

Here’s how to check for American Express preapproval offers:

  1. Point your browser to an American Express personal credit card page.
  2. Find the “Check for Offers” section of the page and then click the button.
  3. Fill in your name and address, the last four digits of your Social Security number and your total and non-taxable annual income.
  4. Submit the form to see a list of cards you might qualify for.

Ultimately, this prequalification involves a soft pull to help you explore your options without dinging your credit score.

Applying for an American Express Card

Once you’ve compared the available offers and selected a card, you can fill out an application.

  1. Click on the “Apply now” button of the desired option.
  2. Provide the requested information in the application form.
  3. Submit the completed application.
  4. Provide any additional documents American Express may request to confirm your identity and legal status.
Get Credit Card Perks

Applying for an American Express card online should take no longer than 10 minutes. Within a few minutes after the application has been submitted successfully, the Express Approval system indicates whether or not it has been approved. If the application can’t be evaluated instantly, you can visit the application status page on the American Express website or call New Accounts at 1-877-239-3491 Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. EST and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. EST, to check the status.

Increasing the Chances of Getting Approved

Credit history is incredibly important for American Express to ensure that applicants will use their cards responsibly. Building a high credit score is the best way to boost your probability of getting approved. Some good practices to increase or maintain a good credit score are:

  • Paying bills and credit card balances on time.
  • Only taking out new credit when absolutely necessary.
  • Keeping credit card balances low.
  • Keeping credit accounts open, even when unused.
  • Becoming an authorized user on accounts of family members with a good history.
  • Disputing incorrect data on all major credit reports.

Good To Know

Prequalification is not the same as approval. Applicants can prequalify for an American Express card and still be denied once their application is reviewed. However, a preapproved offer significantly increases the chances of getting a credit card.

Top American Express Cards

When American Express prequalifies an applicant, it typically presents them with a selection of cards they’re likely to qualify for. These options depend on the information the applicant provided during the preapproval process and may include any of the following credit cards.

American Express® Platinum Card Members can earn up to 80,000 rewards points if they spend $8,000 during the first six months. For an annual fee, this card offers access to exclusive lounges and hundreds of dollars in hotel, digital entertainment, Walmart+, airline fee, Uber Cash and Equinox credits.

Get Credit Card Perks

This card earns 5X points on all flights booked directly through airline sites and flights and prepaid hotels booked through AmexTravel.com.

The American Express® Gold Card has an annual fee and lets users earn 40,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000 within the first six months.

Additionally, it gives 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 in purchases per year. You earn 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or AmexTravel.com.

Blue Cash Preferred® and Blue Cash Everyday® Cards from American Express

These options have a low intro APR during the first 12 months of Blue Cash Preferred membership or the first 15 months of Blue Cash Everyday card membership. Blue Cash Preferred offers reduced plan fees when paying in installments.

New Blue Cash Preferred Card Members are eligible for a $250 cash back welcome offer if they spend $3,000 on purchases during their first six months of membership. New Blue Cash Everyday Card Members are eligible for a $200 statement credit welcome offer if they spend $2,000 on purchases during their first six months.

You’ll earn 1X to 6X cash back with the Blue Cash Preferred card and 1X to 3X for the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express. Blue Cash Everyday has no annual fee — the fee for the Preferred version is $95 annually, with a $0 introductory fee for the first year.

Both cards offer a variety of travel, entertainment and shopping perks.

Delta SkyMiles Cards

As part of its partnership with Delta Airlines, American Express offers several travel cards that allow users to earn bonus miles for eligible purchases within the first six months: the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express, Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express and Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express.

Get Credit Card Perks

They also offer airline perks such as Delta Sky Club access, baggage fee waivers and Delta flight credits.

The American Express® Cash Magnet Card has a low intro APR of 0% for the first 15 months, after which the APR is a , and reduced fees on buy-now, pay-later installment plans for purchases.

It has a $0 annual fee and includes a $200 statement credit when a new cardholder spends $2,000 during the first six months of membership. The Cash Magnet card also offers unlimited 1.5% cash back.

Hilton Honors Cards

These Hilton-powered cards — the Hilton Honors American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Surpass and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire — give users up to 14X points on hotels and resort stays and a minimum of 3X points on other purchases.

You’ll also get a welcome offer of 70,000 to 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus points, depending on the card, when you make enough qualifying purchases — $1,000 to $4,000 — in the first three months. Annual fees range from $0 for the Hilton Honors American Express Card to $450 for the Aspire card.

With a $650 annual fee, this card offers up to 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points if a new cardholder spends $6,000 during the first six months of membership. Each card renewal year, you can get up to $300 in dining statement credits for dining purchases worldwide, and $100 in Marriott Bonvoy property credits for qualifying charges at the Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis when you book direct for a stay of two nights or more.

This classic American Express charge card lets account holders earn up to 40,000 points for spending $2,000 in the first six months. It has a annual fee and offers 3X points for travel, transit and dining purchases.

Get Credit Card Perks

Amex EveryDay® and EveryDay Preferred® Credit Cards

These cards let account members earn 15,000 reward points after spending at least $2,000 on qualifying purchases in the first six months. This comes out to 10,000 points with the American Express® EveryDay card and 15,000 points with the American Express® EveryDay Preferred card.

Final Take

Applicants who have a good or excellent credit score can benefit from American Express’ competitive rewards program, welcome offers and travel benefits.

Those who are still building their credit — or have poor credit — should steer clear until their situation improves. Preapproval is an excellent way to learn if applying for an American Express credit card is worth the hard inquiry on your credit report.

American Express offers some great cards with valuable benefits, but some of its products aren’t cheap. Before you apply, consider whether you’ll earn enough rewards to justify paying annual fees and interest on balances you don’t pay in full each month.

FAQ

It's a good idea to learn all you can about a credit card before you apply. Here's some additional information about American Express credit cards.
  • What is the minimum credit score for American Express?
    • American Express cards are for applicants with good to excellent credit. A good score is 670, so you'll likely need at least a 670 to be approved.
  • What is the easiest American Express card to get approved for?
    • American Express doesn't disclose which cards are easier to get, but the easiest is likely the American Express EveryDay Credit Card. It has few perks compared to other American Express cards, and there's no welcome offer. Chances are, it's easier to qualify for than premium cards with higher rewards and, in many cases, annual fees.
Get Credit Card Perks

Sarah Sharkey and Daria Uhlig contributed to the reporting for this article.

Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Jan. 17, 2023. 

All information about American Express card offers has been collected independently by GOBankingRates and has not been reviewed or approved by American Express. These offers are not available through GOBankingRates.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. American Express credit card products are not available through GOBankingRates.com.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

BEFORE YOU GO

See Today's Best
Banking Offers