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 and delay insurance
- 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.
How To Get Preapproved for an American Express Card
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 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.
Here’s how to check for American Express preapproval offers:
- Point your browser to an American Express credit card page.
- Find the “Check Your Eligibility for Pre-Qualified Offers” section of the page and then click the “Check for Offers” button.
- Fill in your name and address, the last four digits of your Social Security number and your total and non-taxable annual income.
- Submit the form to see a list of cards you might qualify for.
Applying for an American Express Card
Once you’ve compared the available offers and selected a card, you can fill out an application.
Applying for an American Express card online should take no longer than 10 minutes. Once the application has been submitted successfully, American Express will send a confirmation email. You’ll hear from American Express within 15 days if your application is approved, or within 90 days if your application is declined.
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 of boosting 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
American Express® Platinum Card Members can earn up to if they spend $6,000 during the first six months. For a annual fee, this card offers access to exclusive lounges and hundreds of dollars in hotel, digital entertainment, Walmart+, airline fee, Uber Eats and Equinox credits.
This card earns 5X points on all flights booked directly through airline sites and hotels booked through AmexTravel.com.
American Express Gold Card
The has a annual fee and lets users earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 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.
American Express Blue Cash Preferred and Blue Cash Everyday Cards
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 and offer 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 up to $250 in welcome bonuses — card members can earn 20% back as a statement credit on purchases when checking out with PayPal and $100 back as a statement credit after spending $2,000 in purchases in the first six months.
You’ll earn 3X 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 .
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 three months: the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express, Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express and Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express.
They also offer airline perks such as Delta Sky Club Access, baggage fee waivers and Delta flight credits.
American Express Cash Magnet Card
The American Express® Cash Magnet Card has a low intro APR of 0% for the first 15 months, after which the APR is , 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, Hilton Honors American Express Surpass and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire — give users up to 14X points on hotels and resort stays at a minimum of 3X points on other purchases.
You’ll also get a welcome bonus of 80,000 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 card to $450 for the Aspire card.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
With a annual fee, this card offers up to 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points if a new cardholder spends $3,000 during the first three months of membership. Additionally, each card renewal year, you can get up to $300 in statement credits for purchases on the card at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy™.
Effective Sept. 22, the $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit benefit will be replaced with a new benefit of up to $300 in statement credits per calendar year, up to $25 per month, for eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide.
American Express Green Card
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 $150 annual fee and offers 3X points for travel, transit and dining purchases.
American Express EveryDay and EveryDay Preferred Credit Cards
These cards let account members earn 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.
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.
Daria Uhlig contributed to the reporting for this article.
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.