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American Express® Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Considering a travel Credit Card? Find out more about how you can enjoy the benefits, convenience and security of a Credit Card, with exciting travel rewards – like air miles and rewards points – along the way.

What is a Travel Rewards Credit Card?

Travel rewards cards allow you to earn points as you spend, which can be used for travel treats – from flights and hotel stays, to luxury car hire. This type of card is ideal for those who love to see the world. And they’re accepted globally, too.

With American Express® Credit Cards for travel, you’ll collect Membership Rewards® points  or Avios as you spend, to use for future flights, hotel stays and transport. The card also unlocks other travel benefits, like  airport lounge access , free checked bags, travel insurance and priority boarding for a comfortable and relaxing journey.

Whether you're planning a business trip, a weekend away or a long-haul holiday of a lifetime, travel rewards can help you get there.

How do our Travel Rewards Cards work?

American Express® Travel Rewards Cards work much like a normal Credit Card, with added benefits:

  • Use your Card for everyday purchases – Whether you’re at the supermarket or booking a hotel, use your Travel Credit Card as you would a standard credit card.
  • Earn rewards points – Get points every time you spend. What you earn will depend on your Card type. If your Card earns Membership Rewards points, you can transfer these to one of our partner loyalty programmes and spend them there.
  • Redeem travel treats – From booking hotels and car hire for an epic road trip, to other exciting experiences.

Why choose an American Express® Travel Card?

Lots of travel rewards cards will earn you points. But why choose American Express? As well as earning you Membership Rewards® points and Avios , here’s how our Card perks could upgrade your travel experience:

Airline and Hotel choice

With up to 12 airline transfer partners and three hotel partners to choose from, you can transfer your Membership Rewards® Points  directly to your preferred airline or hotel, opening up a whole world of travel.

Travelling with your Points is a breeze

With 100 years of travel expertise, our travel network – American Express® Travel Online – provides exceptional service and support from the moment you book.

Airport Lounge Access

The  American Express® Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card  lets you escape the airport crowds with four complimentary lounge visits per year.

After something more comprehensive?  The Platinum Card®  offers unlimited complimentary access to over 1,400 lounges worldwide, for you and a guest, including Priority Pass™ lounges.

Find out more

Travel Protection

Some of our Travel Rewards Cards offer Travel Accident and Travel Inconvenience insurance, keeping you covered for international or domestic travel when you book and pay for your trip with the eligible Card.  Subject to enrolment, find out more here .

Dining Experiences

Curated by a team of global dining experts, Taste from  American Express® Experiences is a list of recommended local favourites. It also offers Cardmembers something special on the house – like discounts, a complimentary bottle of wine, or an appetiser.

Global Support

No matter where you are in the world, we'll be here when you need us, 24/7, via the American Express® app .

Compare our Travel Reward Credit Cards

The platinum card ®.

  • Refined travel — unique access to airport lounges, handpicked hotels and complimentary offers
  • Worldwide travel insurance for you and your immediate family
  • Platinum Concierge can take care of travel and lifestyle plans

Terms and Conditions

American Express ® Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card

  • Get Membership Rewards points for every pound you spend and redeem with a range of shopping, travel and lifestyle partners.
  • Unlike other loyalty programmes, Membership Rewards points never expire. Get shopping, travel and entertainment rewards or even offset any purchase made on your Card.

British Airways American Express ® Premium Plus Card

  • Get a Companion Voucher when you spend £10,000 each membership year on the Card, which you can use to either take a companion with you in the same flight and cabin or, if travelling solo, a 50% discount on the Avios price you pay for your flight. Vouchers are redeemable when you book a British Airways, Iberia or Aer Lingus Reward Flight in any cabin. British Airways American Express Premium Plus Cardmembers will have access to additional Reward flight seats within Club World (business) when booking with a Companion Voucher, subject to availability. Taxes, fees and carrier charges apply per person 2 .
  • Automatic enrolment to the British Airways Executive Club
  • Travel and shopping protection 3

British Airways American Express ® Credit Card

  • Get a Companion Voucher when you spend £12,000 each membership year on the Card, which you can use to either take a companion with you on the same flight and cabin or, if travelling solo, a 50% discount on the Avios price you pay for your flight. Vouchers are redeemable when you book a British Airways, Iberia or Aer Lingus Reward Flight in Euro Traveller, World Traveller and economy class cabins only. Reward flights and Companion Voucher bookings are subject to availability and taxes, fees and carrier charges apply per person 9 .
  • Automatic Enrolment to the British Airways Executive Club

Marriott Bonvoy ® American Express ® Card

  • Travel and shopping protection
  • Automatic upgrade to Gold Elite Status when you spend £15,000 in purchases on your Card each year
  • Receive a Free Night Award, for each year you spend £25,000 on the Card

Frequently Asked Questions

No, not all. Some don’t have an annual fee, like the British Airways American Express® Credit Card . Some have a free first year, like the American Express® Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card . Others have a higher annual fee to allow for bigger benefits.

10,000 Avios – Enough for a one-way economy flight from London to over 25 destinations, plus 50p per person*.

30,000 Avios – Enough for a Club Europe (business class) off-peak return flight from London to destinations including Amsterdam, Geneva and Milan, plus £1 per person*.

*Terms, taxes, fees and carrier charges will apply.

Yes, you can. Find out more here .

Life With AMEX

Get up-to-date information about managing your personal finances and money-saving tips to navigate through the big moments in life.

Explore Cards by Category

Frequent Flyer Cards

Enjoy points for flights.

Choose between a variety of Cards that offer you Avios points  or Membership Rewards points for purchases made on your Card.

SOME OF OUR FREQUENT FLYER CARDS

Premium Cards

Receive a variety of premium benefits such as airport lounge access or 2-4-1 travel vouchers on top of earning points for your everyday spend. 

SOME OF OUR PREMIUM CARDS

Travel Rewards Cards

Enjoy all the benefits, convenience and security of an American Express Card when travelling, with the added bonus of earning points when you make purchases at home and abroad.

SOME OF OUR TRAVEL REWARDS CARDS

Cashback Cards

Earn cashback everyday.

American Express Cashback Credit Cards give you all the benefits and convenience of an American Express Credit Card, whist earning you cashback on your purchases.

SOME OF OUR CASHBACK CARDS

Platinum Cashback Credit Card

Platinum cashback everyday credit card.

Rewards Cards

Get the most out of life.

Enjoy all the benefits, convenience and security of an American Express Card – with the added bonus of accumulating Rewards points which offer you the flexibility to redeem for flights, hotels, gift cards and more.

SOME OF OUR REWARDS CARDS

The American Express ® Rewards Credit Card

No Annual Fee Cards

Get the most out of your Card with no annual fee.

Enjoy all the benefits, convenience and security of an American Express Card - with the added bonus of accumulating rewards.

SOME OF OUR NO ANNUAL FEE CARDS

Eligibility

To save time, use the following checklist to see if you meet our standard eligibility criteria:

I am aged 18 or over 

I have no history of bad debt

I have a permanent UK home address 

I have a current UK bank or building society account

Some Cards may have additional specific eligibility criteria, and you will be asked to provide employment, income and bank account information in order to submit your application.

Once you have found the Card that best suits you, read the important information, then click the 'Apply now' button on the page to begin the application process. At this point, you can choose optional additional benefits and also decide how you'd like your name to appear on your Card.

Find out if you're eligible with our Eligibility Checker

Only takes a couple of minutes to complete

Will not impact your credit rating

Allows you to apply with confidence

Charge & Credit Cards Explained

Has talk of interest, annual fees, rates and percentages left you feeling confused?  

Our simple Credit and Charge Card Guides are a great place to start.

Find a type of Card to suit your needs

Explore our range of Cards—you’re bound to find something that suits your needs and lifestyle.

1. New Cardmember Offer: This new Cardmember offer is only available if you have not held a personal British Airways American Express Card within the previous 24 months. If you have held a personal British Airways American Express Card within the previous 24 months, you will be entitled to all other Card benefits, excluding the welcome offer.

25,000 bonus Avios: The 25,000 bonus Avios will be awarded onto your  once you have been approved and you have spent and charged a minimum of £3,000 on goods and services to the Account within the first three months of Cardmembership. Cardmembership begins from Card approval. Please note, it can take up to one month for the bonus Avios to be awarded to your Account once you have met the required spend.

For the Premium Plus Card, you will be awarded 1.5 Avios for every £1 spent and charged per transaction, and 3 Avios for virtually every £1 you spend direct on British Airways flights and holidays. Avios are not earned on Balance Transfers, Cash Withdrawals, American Express Travellers Cheques purchases, Foreign Exchange, interest, any spending in excess of your credit limit, charges for returned payments, late payment or referral charges and American Express Credit Card finance charges. Written details available on request.

2. Terms and conditions apply to Avios redemptions. Reward Flights and Companion Voucher bookings are subject to availability and taxes, fees and carrier charges apply per person. Companion Vouchers can only be used when redeeming Avios for a British Airways, Iberia or Aer Lingus Reward Flight seat in any cabin. Detailed information on Companion Vouchers can be found at ba.com/amex-companion or by calling 0844 493 0750 (calls cost 7ppm plus your telephone company access charge). Companion Vouchers earned from 1 September 2021 can be used on bookings departing from outside of the UK, as well as allowing the Companion Voucher holder to benefit from a 50% reduction in Avios when making a Reward Flight booking with their Companion Voucher as a solo traveller. Access to Reward Flight seats within Club World (business class) is available for British Airways Premium Plus Companion Vouchers earned from 1 September 2021. Only vouchers earned after 1 September 2021 can be used on Iberia and Aer Lingus. For full Companion Voucher Terms and Conditions visit: ba.com/amex-companion

3. Subject to enrolment, for more information click  here . Terms and Conditions apply. Please see the Insurance Terms and Conditions for full details. Please read this to understand the limits and exclusions that may apply.

  • 4. Earn Gold Elite status after making £15,000 in eligible purchase on your Card in a calendar year. This includes 25% Bonus Points on Stays, Gold Welcome Gift of Points (250/500 Points, Varies by Brand), 2p.m. Late Checkout (Based on Availability), Enhanced Room Upgrade (Based on Availability), Complimentary Enhanced In-Room Internet Access, Dedicated Elite Reservation Line.

5. Terms and Conditions apply to points redemptions and are subject to availability. Detailed information can be found here . All applicable Terms and Conditions will be provided to you as you receive your Card when approved.

6. New Cardmember offer: This new Cardmember offer is only available if you have not held a personal American Express® Card within the previous 24 months. If you have held a personal American Express Card within the previous 24 months, you will be entitled to all other Card benefits, excluding the welcome offer. 20,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy® points:  You will receive 20,000 bonus points when you spend and charge £3,000 within the first three months of Cardmembership. Please note that it can take up to two months for bonus points to be awarded to your Account. Please see complete information on complimentary nights by visiting https://www.marriott.com/default.mi. 

7. New Cardmember offer:​ This new Cardmember offer is only available if you have not held a personal Membership Rewards enrolled American Express Card within the previous 24 months. If you have held a personal Membership Rewards enrolled American Express Card within the previous 24 months, you will be entitled to all other Card benefits, excluding the welcome offer. Alternatively, if you currently hold an American Express® Preferred Rewards Gold Card, you may be eligible to trade in and upgrade to The Platinum Card® and earn a separate Membership Rewards® bonus. Click  here  to learn more.​ ​40,000 Membership Rewards® bonus points:​ The 40,000 Membership Rewards® bonus points will be awarded onto your Account once you have been approved and you have spent and charged £6,000 within the first three months of Cardmembership. Cardmembership begins from Card approval. Please note that it can take up to one month for bonus points to be awarded to your Account. 

8. 5,000 bonus Avios will be awarded onto your Account if you are a new Cardmember and once you have been approved and you have spent and charged a minimum of £1,000 on goods and services to the Account within the first three months of Cardmembership. Cardmembership begins from Card approval. Please note, it can take up to one month for the bonus Avios to be awarded to your Account once you have met the required spend. Introductory offers are not available if you currently hold or have held any personal American Express Cards in the past 24 months.

9. Terms and conditions apply to Avios redemptions. Reward Flights and Companion Voucher bookings are subject to availability and taxes, fees and carrier charges apply per person. Companion Vouchers can only be used when redeeming Avios for a British Airways, Iberia or Aer Lingus Reward Flight seat in economy only. Detailed information on Companion Vouchers can be found at ba.com/amex-companion or by calling 0844 493 0750 (calls cost 7ppm plus your telephone company access charge). Companion Vouchers earned from 1 September 2021 can be used on bookings departing from outside of the UK as well as allowing the Companion Voucher holder to benefit from a 50% reduction in Avios when making a Reward Flight booking with their Companion Voucher as a solo traveller. Only vouchers earned after 1 September 2021 can be used on Iberia and Aer Lingus. For full Companion Voucher Terms and Conditions visit: ba.com/amex-companion

10. New Cardmember offer:​ This new Cardmember offer is only available if you have not held a personal American Express Card within the previous 24 months. If you have held a personal American Express Card within the previous 24 months, you will be entitled to all other Card benefits, excluding the welcome offer.​ ​20,000 Membership Rewards bonus points:​ The 20,000 Membership Rewards bonus points will be awarded onto your Account once you have been approved and you have spent and charged £3,000 within the first three months of Cardmembership. Cardmembership begins from Card approval. Please note that it can take up to one month for bonus points to be awarded to your Account.

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Compare travel credit cards for 2024

The right travel credit card can give your trip an extra lift. choose from cards with no foreign transaction fees, or perks like lounge access..

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In this guide

Compare travel credit cards

Priority pass discounts, how to choose your travel credit card, what sort of card do you need, avoid non-sterling transaction conversion fees, spread the cost of your getaway, get yourself some hotel perks, travel in comfort with airport lounge access, collect air miles with a frequent flyer card, enjoy peace of mind with complimentary travel insurance, track real-time spending in an app, how to use a credit card in....

We compare the following card issuers

Airport lounge guides

Airport lounge schemes

Using your card abroad

Santander All in One Credit Card logo

How we chose these cards

What makes a credit card a good travel companion? There are many ways credit cards can improve your trip abroad, from saving a few pounds on fees to making you feel like a VIP with airport lounge access.

The best travel credit card option for you is going to depend on what you need the card to do. Let's break it down.

We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.

Learn how we maintain accuracy on our site.

Approval for any credit card depends on your status. The representative APRs shown represent the interest rate offered to most successful applicants. Depending on your personal circumstances, the APR you're offered may be higher, or you may not be offered credit at all. Fees and rates are subject to change without notice. It's always wise to check the terms of any deal before you borrow.

Priority Pass

Lounge access with Priority Pass

Even if you go on holiday only once a year, it's a good idea to have a separate credit card for when you travel. That's because your needs will be different when you're on the road or enjoying the sun on a tropical beach from when the longest distance you travel is that between your house and the office. But how do you go about picking a good travel credit card?

The main decision you have to make is which features you want to prioritise. Here's a basic list of things you may want to consider when comparing travel credit cards:

When travelling abroad, avoiding foreign exchange fees can be a tough task, but it's not impossible. When using your credit card overseas, there are three main kinds of fees you should expect and learn how to dodge:

  • Foreign transaction fees charged by your credit card provider. They're charged every time you pay in a foreign currency and can amount up to 3% of the transaction. The only way of avoiding them when paying on plastic is getting a credit card that allows fee-free spending abroad.
  • Fees charged by local merchants. When paying with your card, you may be offered the option of paying in pounds instead of the local currency. If you've taken out a credit card designed for use abroad (one that offers fee-free non-sterling transactions) you should opt to pay in the local currency, since you know that your own bank is giving you a favourable currency conversion deal. Outside the EU merchants sometimes also apply a surcharge if you want to pay by card and not in cash. If you're concerned that this may be the case, it's worth asking about it before picking a payment method.
  • Cash advance fees. Almost all credit cards charge you extra for withdrawing cash, both in the UK and abroad. Out of the country, it's even more expensive because the cash advance fee will add up to the foreign currency transaction fee, so you should only get cash with your credit card in case of emergency.

Compare 0% foreign fees credit cards

Planning a great holiday but not sure you can afford to pay for it in one go? With a 0% purchase credit card, you'll be able to spread the cost over a few months without having to pay any interest on it.

0% purchase credit cards can be great for breaking down the cost of a trip into more affordable instalments, but you really need to have paid the sum back by the time the introductory deal expires. Otherwise, your balance will start accruing interest at the card's standard rate (which is usually not very competitive). It's essential to work out a repayment plan (divide your expenditure by the number of months in the 0% deal to work out what you should repay each month) and stick to it to make sure you pay the whole sum back on time.

Compare 0% purchase credit cards

Finder's pick

Santander World Elite Mastercard

Santander World Elite Mastercard logo

0% interest on balance transfers

Balance transfer fee

0% interest on purchases

Representative APR

  • Pros & cons
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Earn cashback on purchases
  • 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers
  • No balance transfer fee within introductory period
  • Mastercard Concierge.
  • Free LoungeKey airport lounge membership, with complimentary access for additional cardholders.
  • No extra fees for up to three additional cardholders.
  • £15 monthly account fee
  • Must be a Santander Select or Private banking customer.
  • High annual income requirement to open Select or Private bank accounts.

A small number of credit cards offer special hotel benefits like room upgrades, priority check-in, later check-out times or the opportunity to earn points that can be redeemed for free stays.

These cards are often offered by the hotel companies themselves and are more suitable to people that travel quite often and stay at the same kind of hotel. If that sounds like you, you'll be able to make the most of the perks while also earning points quite quickly.

The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card

The Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card logo

Yearly account fee

Max. intro bonus

per £1 spent

  • Earn points on day-to-day spending
  • Free Travel Inconvenience Insurance
  • Earn 20,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy ® points
  • £95 annual account fee
  • A relatively high interest rate on purchases
  • Applicants with low credit scores are unlikely to be eligible

Airports – not much fun are they? But if you can relax in an airport lounge, you'll cut out much of the stress and feel pretty smug at the same time. You'll need to be comfortable with the idea of paying an annual or monthly account fee in return for complimentary lounge access (if that's a deal-breaker, consider a one-off membership to a scheme like Priority Pass ). But on the plus side, lounge access won't be the only benefit these cards offer.

Compare cards with airport lounge access

HSBC Premier World Elite Credit Card

HSBC Premier World Elite Credit Card logo

Interest-free each billing period

  • Rewards points for every £1 you spend.
  • Welcome points offer when you first open account.
  • Anniversary points boost.
  • Access to HSBC Premier Privileges (discounts and experiences).
  • Free LoungeKey airport lounge membership.
  • Must be an existing HSBC Premier Bank customer.
  • Minimum income of £75,000 and have a HSBC mortgage, investment, life insurance or protection product; or have at least £50,000 in savings or investments with HSBC.
  • High annual fee.
  • No 0% interest introductory offers on purchases or balance transfers.
  • Foreign transaction fees.
  • Fees for additional cardholders.

Just like credit cards that offer hotel perks, frequent flyer credit cards are meant for people who fly, well, frequently. If you get on a plane once a year, you won't be able to make the most of them; if it's more like once a month, they can really be worth it.

They work just like rewards credit cards, but let you earn air miles on all your spending instead of points or cashback. Usually, you'll earn even more miles when you use the card to purchase tickets with the card's partner airlines. You can get both basic options without annual fees and premium options that do charge an annual fee in return for a higher earn rate.

Compare frequent flyer credit cards

British Airways American Express® Credit Card

British Airways American Express® Credit Card logo

Account fee

  • Earn Avios as you spend
  • Free supplementary cards
  • Companion flight voucher each year you spend £12,000
  • Generous welcome offer
  • No annual fee
  • Use Amex’s referral programme to boost your points earnings. For every friend who is approved, you receive 4,000 Avios (up to 9,000 Avios). Check out our guide to Amex's referral programme
  • Travel accident insurance up to £75,000 (subject to enrolment), plus access to Global Assist® 24/7 emergency assistance
  • Refund Protection (90 days to return, receive max £200 per item, £750 per year)
  • Big spenders who clear their balance in full each month may get more from the Premium Plus card
  • If you carry an outstanding balance month-to-month, the relatively high interest rate will cancel out any benefits
  • Welcome bonus limited to new Cardmembers or those who have not held a personal American Express card in the past 24 months.
  • This card carries a 2.99% foreign usage charge

There are a few premium cards out there that come with travel insurance included and save you the hassle of having to purchase it separately. Expect fairly pricey annual fees in return for a whole lot of benefits, such as airport lounge access.

It's not easy to calculate when it's better to get a card that offers it and when it's more convenient to purchase it separately, but as we said, the travel insurance will usually be combined with other perks, so it's a good idea to check whether those are appealing to you or not.

We know how it goes: you're on holiday, buy a souvenir here and an extra ice cream there, and when you come back and check your card statement you realise you've spectacularly exceeded your budget for the trip.

A practical way of keeping an eye on the money you spend while travelling is downloading your credit card's app on your smartphone. The best mobile banking apps will notify you whenever you use the card and allow you to check all your recent transactions in real time. For example, the American Express app does just that, while also allowing you to set up a spend tracking alert that will notify you when you overspend.

Compare banking apps

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We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use . When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

best amex for travel uk

Chris Lilly

Chris Lilly is Head of publishing at finder.com. He's a specialist in personal finance, from day-to-day banking to investing to borrowing, and is passionate about helping UK consumers make informed decisions about their money. In his spare time Chris likes forcing his kids to exercise more.

Read more on this topic

Avoid fees and hassle when using your credit card in this diverse and increasingly popular destination.

Consider a card with fee-free spending abroad and decline decline dynamic currency conversion to avoid card charges in Taiwan.

Here’s everything you need to know about using a credit card in Turkey. How much it may cost you and holiday spending tricks.

Here’s what you need to know about using a credit card in South Africa. We help you do your homework before you travel.

Planning to use your UK credit card in Sweden? Read our guide to find out which cards are best, plus payment and card advice before and while you travel.

If you're planning a trip to Switzerland and want to use your UK credit card, read our guide to ensure you don't face any challenges with spending on your travels.

Learn everything you need to know about using your credit card in Thailand before you travel.

All the most important things that you need to know about using a credit card in UAE. Read our helpful guide before setting off on your holiday in the United Arab Emirates.

Everything you need to know about using your credit card in the USA. We do the homework for you before you head across the pond.

Here’s what you need to know about using a credit card in Spain. We help you do your homework before you travel.

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American Express Credit Cards featured image

Updated on: May 24, 2023

Written by: Jason Mills

This article has been fact checked by a member of the wallet savvy editorial team and complies with our editorial standards..

If you possess a credit card, you’re not alone. I’ve got a couple in my wallet, which isn’t unusual. According to data from the Financial Conduct Authority, around 7 in 10 UK adults have at least one credit card. And, boy, do we spend on them.

In February 2023 (the latest data available), we collectively spent more than £17 billion on our credit cards. The average transaction size was around £50.

Used wisely, a credit card can help with budgeting. If you’re buying goods online, they give you more protection than a debit card. And while the interest rate charged for spending on a credit card is higher than most other credit arrangements, you get a grace period before making payment. Clear your balance every month, and you won’t pay interest.

If you’re considering using a credit card to help with your financial management, you might be considering applying for a card from American Express (AMEX) – one of the giants in the industry – and some of the best American Express credit cards carry with them some excellent rewards.

The question is, which AMEX card should you apply for?

Debunking the AMEX myth

AMEX cards offer some tremendous benefits. Which is best for you depends on many factors. 

3 Amex cards

Before I look at each AMEX card in detail, let’s tackle the elephant in the room: the myth that AMEX cards aren’t widely accepted. This is just not true. Sure, AMEX isn’t as widely accepted as Visa and Mastercard, but you can use AMEX at more than 35,000 retailers across the UK. These include:

  • All the major supermarkets
  • Wetherspoons and most other major pub operators
  • Petrol stations
  • Food delivery companies including Uber Eats, Just Eat, and Deliveroo
  • Most major High Street retailers
  • Some utility companies
  • Subscription services like Netflix and Spotify

You can use an AMEX card to pay for flights, hotels, holiday bookings, public transport, and more. There aren’t many places that won’t accept AMEX. Most that don’t are small, independent outlets.

An AMEX card for all occasions

Through the 1980s and 1990s, American Express cards were considered to be something of a status symbol. If you’re of a certain age, you’ll probably remember the “That will do nicely” adverts . Since then, AMEX has worked hard to broaden its appeal. There’s now a card for everyone.

Each card comes with different benefits. Some require you to pay an annual fee, while others are free-to-own. 

Which one will do nicely for you? Let’s take a look at the best American Express credit cards…

Premium Amex Credit Cards 

The platinum card.

Key information and benefits and drawbacks:  

  • Representative APR 462.4% variable 
  • 29.4% variable interest for purchases 
  • You are rewarded with points for every pound spent with the platinum card which can be redeemed with shopping, travel and lifestyle partners. 
  • Complimentary airport lounge access to 1,400 airport lounges in 140 countries 
  • Worldwide comprehensive travel insurance for yourself and your family 
  • Up to £150 statement credits per year to spend in 1,400 UK restaurants, and also £150 to spend abroad. 
  • Up to £100 statement credits per year to spend in Harvey Nicholls. This is broken down as up to £50 every 6 months. 
  • Complimentary hotel benefits such as room upgrades and late checkouts at hotels across the world. 
  • Points Bonus if you meet the spending criteria within 6 months of opening the card 
  • Rewards for referring friends 
  • Interest-free period of 56 days on purchases (if you pay the full balance each month). 
  • Annual fee of £575
  • No interest-free periods on balance transfers, money transfers or cash advances

The AMEX platinum credit card offers a good chance to build up points and claim free rewards with a range of affiliated partners. It also offers other great benefits such as comprehensive travel insurance, hotel and airport lounge upgrades and cashback offers for UK and overseas restaurants.

The annual fee of £575 might put some people off, but it could be perfect for business use, especially if doing a lot of travelling. 

British Airways American Express® Premium Plus Card

  • Representative APR 110.1% variable 
  • You are rewarded with Avios points for every £1 spent. The amount you earn differs where you spend; 3x on purchases with British Airways or BA holidays, 1x on purchases and earn at least 9,000 for every friend you refer, up to 93,000 a year. 10,000 Avios points would redeem an economy flight from London to over 25 destinations
  • A Companion voucher is awarded when at least £10,000 is spent during each membership year. This allows a companion with you on a flight or a 50% discount on a solo flight. 
  • Bonus Avios points if you meet the spending criteria within 3 months of opening the card 
  • Avios points can be redeemed against flights or flight upgrades. 
  • Travel inconvenience and accident insurance 
  • Annual fee of £250

As the name suggests, this card will suit those who fly frequently and you will be able to rack up some serious Avios points and use those to claim free or discounted flights. If you are a frequent traveller there is also the big draw of complimentary travel insurance covering inconvenience and accidents which is a big plus point to this card. 

American Express® Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card

Key information and benefits and drawbacks: 

  • Representative APR 73.3% variable 
  • Annual fee of £160 (£0 in the first year)
  • You are rewarded with membership points for every £1 spent. The amount you earn differs where you spend; 3x on spend with American Express Travel, 2x points on purchases made directly with airlines, and 1x on any other purchases 
  • Up to 12,500 bonus points per year
  • Points can be used to offset purchases on the card, or with a range of shopping, travel and lifestyle partners
  • 4 complimentary Priority Pass airport lounge visits a year  
  • Access to unique events 
  • £5 cashback on eligible Deliveroo purchases 
  • Transfer points to travel programmes 
  • Points bonus if you meet the spending criteria within 3 months of opening the card 
  • Annual fee of £160 (£0 in the first year) 
  • No interest-free periods on balance transfers, money transfers or cash advances 

With a £0 annual fee for the first year, I feel it’s certainly worth testing this card out to see how you get on. It offers a great range of bonuses and incentives and if used wisely you could enjoy some excellent freebies as a result of using this card. 

Amex Travel Credit Cards 

The three ‘platinum’ credit cards are also excellent choices for travel credit cards because of the features listed above. However, American Express does offer another travel-related credit card, which I have provided details for below, and the best part about it is that it has no annual fee.

British Airways American Express® Credit Card

  • Representative APR 29.4% variable 
  • No annual fee
  • 1x Avios points on purchases made using the card
  • 4,000 Avios points for every referred friend who is a successful applicant 
  • Companion voucher when at least £12,000 is spent during each membership year. This allows a companion with you on a flight or a 50% discount on a solo flight. 
  • Collect up to 91,000 bonus Avios points for inviting friends 
  • Global Assist and Travel Accident Insurance 

As a free-to-own card, this is an excellent way of using an American Express credit card to build up Avios points, although they’ll come at a slower rate than if you were using one of the platinum cards. Nevertheless, with a lower APR rate this card could be a really useful addition, especially if you want a card without an annual fee. 

Amex Rewards Credit Cards 

American Express categorises the American Express® Preferred Rewards Gold Credit Card and the British Airways American Express® Credit Card under their ‘rewards’ cards, however, I have already covered these in earlier sections. There is, however, another reward card which could be useful.

Marriott Bonvoy® American Express® Card

  • Representative APR 47.4% variable 
  • 29.4% variable for purchases
  • You are rewarded with points for every £1 spent. The amount you earn differs where you spend; 6x on spend at eligible Marriot properties and 2x points on purchases. 
  • 9,000-point bonus points for every referred friend who is a successful applicant
  • Upgrade your automatic silver status to gold if you spend £15,000 a year on the card
  • 15 elite credits upon sign-up and 15 each calendar year towards attaining elite status for the Marriot Bonvoy programme. 
  • A chance to win a free night at a participating Marriot hotel after you spend £25,000 in an anniversary year 
  • $100 credit for qualifying charges if a stay in either The Ritz-Carlton ®  or St. Regis ®  is booked.
  • Travel Inconvenience and accident insurance
  • Global Assist 
  • Annual fee of £75

This card is great if you frequent Marriot hotels regularly, either for work or pleasure. There is a great opportunity to build up points quickly by using the card at eligible Marriot properties and it also comes with a minor annual fee which could easily be clawed back in hotel savings. 

Amex Business credit cards

American Express offers the following credit card which falls out of the remit of personal use because it is more tailored to business use. Nevertheless, I have included it in my comprehensive round-up as it is available for the UK market. 

American Express Business Gold Card 

  • No annual fee for the first 12 months, but £175 after
  • No representative APR
  • Interest-free period of 54 days on purchases
  • You are rewarded with points against spend. The amount you earn is as follows: 1x points for almost every £1 spent, 10,000 extra membership reward points when you spend £20,000 per quarter on purchases, and 2x points for every £1 spent on American Express travel. 
  • Partner discounts at various retailers, including Amazon, British Airways, Sainsbury’s and Lidl. 
  • For business use only

As I stated in the introduction, this card is aimed at businesses that could meet the spend criteria to earn rewards and not have to worry about the annual fee. Partner discounts at a variety of retailers are also an excellent bonus for businesses who use these. 

Amex Cashback credit cards 

American Express offers two cashback credit cards which allow users of the cards to generate cashback against purchases. There is certain criteria to follow to ensure that you can generate the cashback, which I have outlined below.

Platinum Cashback Credit Card

  • Representative APR 35.0% variable
  • The Platinum Cashback credit card offers great cashback options when making purchases using the card. For purchases up to £125, you can get 5% cashback, however, this is only for the first three months of owning the card, 0.75% on purchases up to £10,000, and 1.25% on purchases over £10,000. It is also a good idea to check if the purchase is being made with an eligible retailer.
  • Cashback is paid as account credit at the end of the membership year 
  • Access to American Express travel benefits and American Express experiences.
  • Travel accident insurance and global assist are also provided when you have this credit card
  • Annual fee of £25
  • No interest free periods on balance transfers, money transfers or cash advances 

This credit card is one for people who are purchasing goods on a frequent basis and using a credit card to do so. The small annual fee will be easily clawed back in cashback savings and there is a great opportunity to amass a decent amount of statement credit at the end of your membership year just for buying the things you were already buying anyway. 

Platinum Cashback Everyday Credit Card

  • No annual fee 
  • The Platinum Cashback credit card offers great cashback options when making purchases using the card. For purchases up to £100, you can get 5% cashback, however, this is only for the first three months of owning the card, 0.5% on purchases up to £10,000, and 1% on purchases over £10,000. It is also a good idea to check if the purchase is being made with an eligible retailer.
  • Rewards for inviting friends (subject to approval)
  • Access to American Express travel benefits and American Express experiences
  • Travel accident insurance and global assist are also provided when you have this credit card 

This card is very similar to the Platinum Cashback credit card and the stand-out advantages are the £0 annual fee and better representative APR. However, the cashback amounts are also lower.

This would be a good card to have if you’re  more of an infrequent purchaser using credit cards but want to benefit from getting some cashback across the year. 

No annual fee Amex cards 

I have already advised that American Express offers two credit cards that don’t require you to pay an annual fee to use them, which are the Platinum Cashback Everyday Credit Card and the British Airways American Express® Credit Card – both these cards come with a range of benefits which you can read about above. 

The other card that American Express offers that doesn’t require you to pay an annual fee is called the basic card which isn’t a credit card, but what is known as a charge card. This means there’s no set spending limit, but you are required to clear your balance every month. As with the other AMEX cards in this article, I have outlined all you need to know.

Amex Basic Card 

  • 24/7 customer service 
  • No pre-set spending limit 
  • No interest charges if the full balance is paid off each month
  • No bonuses or reward schemes are associated with this card

Summary: Whilst this isn’t technically a credit card (because no balance is approved upon a successful application) it is still a card you can use to pay for things in advance, subject to approval.

It also acts in the same way as a credit card due to the fact that interest will be charged on purchases if the balance isn’t cleared each month. With no annual fee, it could be a great addition to your existing cards, however, care must be taken that you can afford to repay the balance each month. 

Hotel & retail credit cards 

Earlier in this article I shared details of the Marriott Bonvoy® American Express® Card, which gives its users a range of benefits and rewards mostly associated (as the name suggests) with Marriot properties. If you haven’t read that section already and like the sound of that card, please check out the rewards credit cards section.

Another card that is offered by American Express is called the Nectar credit card.

Nectar Credit Card  

  • Representative APR 35.0% variable 
  • Annual fee of £25, however £0 in the first year
  • You are rewarded with points for every £1 spent. The amount you earn differs where you spend; 3x on spend at Nectar partners and 2x points on purchases. 
  • 5,000-point bonus points for every referred friend who is a successful applicant up to 90,000 a year. 
  • Access to Global Assist 
  • Standard AMEX service such as purchase and refund protection, American Express offers and experiences. 

This card is an excellent choice for those choosing to shop regularly at Nectar partner shops which will help to redeem points quickly. Considering this card has a £0 annual fee for the first year, it is a good option to choose to see if you can take advantage of the rewards scheme on offer. 

The Bottom Line

If you use a credit card wisely, it can be an incredibly strong addition to your personal financial armoury. It means you have funds available for an emergency. Provided you clear the balance every month, you’ll never pay a penny in interest.

If you do have a credit card in your wallet – AMEX or other – the trick is to use it to your advantage. I use my credit cards to pay for regular expenses, racking up points or getting cash back. But I make certain I don’t spend what I cannot pay off. And as those points and cash back is rolling in, I am saving money on my future spending.

On top of this, I get extra peace-of-mind on my online spending, and a range of hidden benefits, too – like travel insurance.

I’ll ask you one last time: which AMEX card will do nicely for you?

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9 Best American Express Credit Cards of February 2024

Nick Ewen

The best American Express credit cards have earned high marks thanks to their stellar rewards and perks. Amex offers a card for almost every type of spender, including credit cards for beginners, casual travelers, road warriors and always-on-the-go business travelers. Whether you’re looking for global airport lounge access, generous cash back in specific categories or premium access to events, Amex has a card to fit your needs.

TPG’s experts have compiled an in-depth list of the best Amex credit cards, including several that don’t have an annual fee, based on our personal experiences. Check out the picks below to see how they stack up against each other and choose which is right for you.

  • American Express® Gold Card : Best for U.S. supermarkets and restaurants
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express : Best for high-end benefits
  • Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express : Best for maximizing cash back
  • Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card : Best for occasional Delta flyers
  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express : Best for cash-back beginners
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card : Best for SkyClub access
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express : Best for frequent business travelers
  • American Express® Business Gold Card : Best for flexible earning on business expenses
  • The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express : Best for small businesses that spend under $50,000 each year

Browse by card categories

  • No Annual Fee

American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

This isn’t just a card that’s nice to look at. It packs a real punch, offering 4 points per dollar at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1 point per dollar). There’s also an up to $120 annual dining credit at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar, and participating Shake Shack locations, plus it added an up to $120 annually ($10 per month) in Uber Cash, which can be used on Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S. The card must be added to your Uber account to receive this benefit. All this make it a very strong contender for all food purchases, which has become a popular spending category. Enrollment required for select benefits. Read our full review of the American Express Gold Card .

  • 4 points per dollar on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1 point per dollar)
  • 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $6,000 in the first six months of card membership.
  • Weak on travel and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as effective for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits; few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Amex Platinum is unmatched when it comes to travel perks and benefits. If lounge access, hotel elite status and annual statement credits are important to you, this card is well worth the high annual fee. Read our full review of the Platinum Card from American Express .

  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.
  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, and at least $1,400 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more. (Enrollment required)
  • The current welcome offer on this card is quite lucrative. TPG values it at $1,600
  • The $695 annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning bonus rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards.
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal) with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card®. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Up Benefits are excluded.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $300 back in statement credits per calendar year on an Equinox membership, or an Equinox club membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required. Visit https://platinum.equinox.com/ to enroll.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR Plus at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card®. Learn more.
  • $100 Global Entry Credit: Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 years for a TSA PreCheck® (through a TSA official enrollment provider) application fee, when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $300 SoulCycle At-Home Bike Credit: Get a $300 statement credit for the purchase of a SoulCycle at-home bike with your Platinum Card®. An Equinox+ subscription is required to purchase a SoulCycle at-home bike and access SoulCycle content. Must charge full price of bike in one transaction. Shipping available in the contiguous U.S. only. Enrollment Required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card® to your Resy profile.
  • $695 annual fee.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Preferred Card is one of the best cash-back credit cards on the market. You’ll get a great return across a wide range of bonus categories, a solid welcome bonus and a low annual fee. Read our full review of the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express .

  • This card has one of the best earning structures out for among cash-back credit cards.
  • The card comes with access to Amex Offers (activation required), which can save you even more money on specific purchases.
  • There is a $6,000 spending cap on the U.S. supermarket bonus category, which may not work for those with large grocery budgets.
  • You’ll have to pay a foreign transaction fee on international purchases, so it’s not a great choice when you’re traveling abroad.
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: Enjoy $0 intro plan fees when you use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 intro plan fees on plans created during the first 12 months from the date of account opening. Plans created after that will have a monthly plan fee up to 1.33% of each eligible purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors.
  • Low Intro APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from the date of account opening. After that, your APR will be a variable APR of 19.24% - 29.99%. Variable APRs will not exceed 29.99%.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations.
  • 3% Cash Back on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit or at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get up to $120 in statement credits annually when you pay for an auto-renewing subscription to Equinox+ at equinoxplus.com with your Blue Cash Preferred® Card. That’s $10 in statement credits each month. Enrollment required.
  • Thinking about getting the Disney Bundle which can include Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+? Your decision made easy with $7/month back in the form of a statement credit after you spend $9.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription (subject to auto renewal) with your Blue Cash Preferred® Card. Enrollment required.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

The Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex provides valuable elite-like benefits for causal Delta flyers including a first checked bag free and priority boarding. It can easily justify getting and keeping this card. Read our full review of the Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card .

  • 20% back in the form of a statement credit on in-flight purchases (not including Wi-Fi)
  • First checked bag free for you and up to eight companions
  • Main Cabin 1 priority boarding
  • There are better Delta cards if you want lounge access or a boost to earn elite status
  • Doesn't make sense if you don't fly Delta
  • Earn 70,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $150.
  • Card Members get 15% off when using miles to book Award Travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app. Discount not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
  • Enhanced! $200 Delta Flight Credit: After you spend $10,000 in purchases in a year, you can receive a $200 Delta Flight Credit to use toward future travel.
  • Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at U.S. Supermarkets and at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Receive Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights; board early, stow your carry-on bag and settle in sooner.
  • New! $100 Delta Stays Credit: Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card Members can earn up to $100 back annually on eligible prepaid Delta Stays bookings on delta.com.
  • Want even more flexibility? Take up to $50 off the cost of your flight for every 5,000 miles you redeem with Pay with Miles when you book on delta.com.
  • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit on eligible Delta in-flight purchases after using your Card.
  • With Send & Split®, you can send money and split your Card purchases with any other Venmo or PayPal user, directly from the Amex App. Enroll today.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Everyday card is a good option for people who want a simple cash back structure with no annual fee. You’ll earn bonus cash back rewards on popular bonus categories, including U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations. Read our full review of the  Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express .

  • No annual fee
  • 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and U.S. online retail purchases
  • Amex Offers, which earn you statement credits or extra points on purchases with a wide variety of merchants. (Enrollment required)
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets
  • There is a $6,000 spending cap on the U.S. supermarkets bonus category, which may not work for those with larger annual grocery spend.
  • You’ll have to pay a foreign transaction fee on purchases abroad, so it’s not a great choice to take with you when traveling outside of the U.S.
  • Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Balance Transfer is back! Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months from the date of account opening. After that, 19.24% to 29.99% variable APR.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%.
  • 3% Cash Back on U.S. online retail purchases, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.
  • Thinking about getting the Disney Bundle which can include Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+? Your decision made easy with $7/month back in the form of a statement credit after you spend $9.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription (subject to auto renewal) with your Blue Cash Everyday® Card. Enrollment required.
  • Enjoy up to $15 back per month when you purchase a Home Chef meal kit subscription (subject to auto renewal) with your enrolled Blue Cash Everyday® Card.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

The Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card is the premier choice for Delta loyalists who value an accelerated path to elite status, Delta SkyClubs lounge access, an annual companion certificate and strong earning rates on Delta purchases. Read our review of the  Delta SkyMiles Reserve card .  Effective 2/1/25, Reserve Card Members will receive 15 Visits per year to the Delta Sky Club; to earn an unlimited number of Visits each year starting on 2/1/25, the total eligible purchases on the Card must equal $75,000 or more between 1/1/24 and 12/31/24, and each calendar year thereafter.

  • Statement credit for TSA PreCheck (Up to $85 every 4.5 years) or Global Entry fee (up to $100 every 4 years)
  • Delta SkyClub access when flying Delta. Effective 2/1/25, Reserve Card Members will receive 15 Visits per year to the Delta Sky Club; to earn an unlimited number of Visits each year starting on 2/1/25, the total eligible purchases on the Card must equal $75,000 or more between 1/1/24 and 12/31/24, and each calendar year thereafter.
  • High annual fee of $650
  • Lower fee Delta cobranded cards offer superior earning categories
  • Earn 100,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $6,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club® when traveling on a same-day Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight. You will receive four Delta Sky Club One-Time Guest Passes each year. After that, you may bring up to two guests at a per-visit rate of $50 per person, per location. Effective 2/1/25, Reserve Card Members will receive 15 Visits per year to the Delta Sky Club; to earn an unlimited number of Visits each year starting on 2/1/25, the total eligible purchases on the Card must equal $75,000 or more between 1/1/24 and 12/31/24, and each calendar year thereafter.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge when you book a Delta flight with your Reserve Card.
  • New! Receive $2,500 Medallion® Qualification Dollars each Medallion Qualification Year and get closer to Status with MQD Headstart.
  • New! Earn $1 Medallion® Qualification Dollar for each $10 of purchases made on your Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card in a calendar year and get a boost toward achieving elevated Medallion Status for next Medallion Year.
  • Enhanced! Receive a Companion Certificate on First Class, Delta Comfort+®, or Main Cabin domestic, Caribbean, or Central American roundtrip flights to select destinations each year after renewal of your Card. The Companion Ticket requires payment of the government-imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights and no more than $250 for roundtrip international flights (both for itineraries with up to four flight segments). Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • New! $240 Resy Credit: With the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card Resy Credit, earn up to $20 per month in statement credits on eligible Resy purchases using your enrolled Card.
  • New! $120 Rideshare Credit: You can earn up to $10 back in statement credits each month on U.S. rideshare purchases with select providers after you pay with your Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. Enrollment Required.
  • Eligible Card Members get 15% off when using miles to book Award Travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app. Discount not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
  • With your Card receive upgrade priority over other Medallion Members within the same Medallion level and fare class.
  • New! Not a Medallion Member? Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card Members with an eligible ticket will be added to the Complimentary Upgrade list, after Delta SkyMiles Medallion Members and Reserve Card Members. Ticket must be purchased on or after February 1, 2024 to be eligible to receive a complimentary upgrade.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®: Receive $100 back for Global Entry or $85 back for TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Official Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • New! $200 Delta Stays Statement Credit: Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card Members can earn up to $200 back in the form of a statement credit annually on eligible prepaid Delta Stays bookings on delta.com.
  • New! Transform your car rental experience with Hertz President’s Circle Status, compliments of your Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. Enrollment in the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards program is required. To receive the benefit, you must add your Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Account number to your SkyMiles Account associated with your Eligible Card, register at delta.com/mypromos/eligible, and “Enroll in Promotion” at delta.com/hertz.
  • $650 Annual Fee.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

The Business Platinum Card from American Express is a great card for frequent travelers looking to add a touch of luxury to their business trips. While the card does come with a high annual fee, you’re also getting a ton of valuable benefits in return. They include generous annual travel credits, unparalleled lounge access that includes Amex Centurion Lounges and more. Read our full review on The Business Platinum Card from American Express .

  • Up to $100 credit for Global Entry every 4 years or up to $85 TSA PreCheck application fee every 4 1/2 years (enrollment required)
  • Up to $400 annual credit for U.S. Dell purchases; Gold status in the Marriott and Hilton loyalty programs. (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • International Airline Program; and Cruise Privileges Program
  • Steep annual fee
  • Can be difficult to meet the $15,000 minimum spend for smaller businesses
  • Limited high bonus categories outside of travel
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on AmexTravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that's an extra half point per dollar) on each eligible purchase at US construction material, hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers, and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees charged by your one selected, qualifying airline to your Card.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Use your card and get up to $189 in statement credits per calendar year on your CLEAR® Plus Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Business Platinum Card®.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more airport lounge options than any other credit card issuer on the market as of 03/2023.
  • $695 Annual Fee.

American Express® Business Gold Card

American Express® Business Gold Card

The Amex Business Gold card is a solid choice for high-spending small businesses with the flexibility to earn 4 points per dollar in the two categories where you spend the most. The card is ideal for businesses who value simplicity above all. Read our full review of the American Express Business Gold Card .

  • You'll earn 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar in the top 2 spending categories each month (on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each calendar year; then 1 point per dollar).
  • Hefty $375 annual fee.
  • There may be better options for small businesses who don't spend a lot.
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.*
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 categories where your business spends the most each billing cycle from 6 eligible categories. While your top 2 categories may change, you will earn 4X points on the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these categories each calendar year (then 1X thereafter). Only the top 2 categories each billing cycle will count towards the $150,000 cap.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com using your Business Gold Card.
  • Earn up to $20 in statement credits monthly after you use the Business Gold Card for eligible U.S. purchases at FedEx, Grubhub, and Office Supply Stores. This can be an annual savings of up to $240. Enrollment required.
  • Get $12.95 back in statement credits each month when you pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal) with your Business Gold Card. $12.95 plus applicable taxes.
  • Your Card – Your Choice. Choose from Gold or Rose Gold.
  • *Terms Apply

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

This  credit card  is good for two groups of consumers. First,  small business owners  who have under $50,000 in purchases and wants to minimize any extra costs will find tremendous value from this card’s straightforward point-earning approach. Or, if you already own other  Amex cards  that earn Membership Rewards points and want a card with an  everyday rewards rate , the 2x is helpful for all purchases (given that you spend less than $50,000 per calendar year). Read our full review of the  Blue Business Plus card .

  • Earn Membership Rewards points
  • Transfer points to 22 airline and hotel partners
  • 2x points capped at $50,000 per calendar year; then 1x
  • No higher bonus categories for business-related spending
  • Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • 0.0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 18.49% - 26.49%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors at account opening. APR will not exceed 29.99%
  • Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners. 2X applies to the first $50,000 in purchases per year, 1 point per dollar thereafter.
  • You’ve got the power to use your Card beyond its credit limit* with Expanded Buying Power.
  • *The amount you can spend above your credit limit is not unlimited. It adjusts with your use of the Card, your payment history, credit record, financial resources known to us, and other factors.
  • Terms Apply

Comparing the best American Express credit cards

More details on the best credit cards.

The Amex Gold awards 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in spending each year, then 1 point) and 4 points per dollar at worldwide restaurants, making it one of the more rewarding cards for everyday purchases.

Anyone who’s looking to maximize their grocery and dining purchases can get a ton of value from the Amex Gold.

“There's no better card for groceries and dining than the Amex Gold. I earn 4 points per dollar in both of these categories, and with additional perks like monthly statement credits and the ability to transfer my Membership Rewards points to valuable airline partners, the card is a mainstay in my wallet.” — Nick Ewen , director of content

For a much lower annual cost, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card , which offers 5 points per dollar on purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3 points per dollar on dining, select streaming services and online grocery delivery; and 2 points per dollar on all other travel purchases.

The perks on the Amex Platinum are almost too numerous to list out — but they include extensive airport lounge access and a variety of statement credits to make your travel (and select everyday purchases) more rewarding and less costly.

The Amex Platinum is ideal for someone looking for additional luxury on their travels, but the numerous lifestyle perks could make it a terrific choice for an even broader audience.

“Whilst this card has a high $695 annual fee (see rates and fees ), it more than justifies itself for frequent travelers like me. The lounge access options that come with the Platinum are unrivaled by competitors. I put all of my flights — whether bought with cash or points — on this card to earn 5 points per dollar spent (on up to $500,000 in these purchases per year) and to enjoy various travel protections. I also make sure to take full advantage of the array of statement credits. And, honestly, pulling a Platinum card out of your wallet to pay for something does feel pretty fancy.” — Matt Moffitt , senior editor

For luxury perks at a much lower price point, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card could be a great option.

The Blue Cash Preferred offers solid cash-back rewards across a variety of categories, but you can also enjoy a lucrative welcome offer and additional statement credits for select purchases during the year.

Someone who doesn’t want to worry about maximizing travel rewards is a great fit for the Blue Cash Preferred.

“The Blue Cash Preferred Card is the card I recommended to my parents when they were looking for a new cash-back rewards card for their groceries. My parents prefer the simplicity of cash-back rewards and I knew they'd benefit from earning 6% cash back on up to $6,000 per year in purchases at U.S. supermarkets, then 1% after. Compared to the 1.5% cash back they were earning on these purchases, the elevated earnings easily justified adding the Blue Cash Preferred to their wallet.” — Katie Genter , senior writer

For similar perks at a lower cost, consider the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express , which has comparable cash-back rates for no annual fee (see rates and fees ).

There’s a lot to love about the Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex, thanks to perks like no foreign transaction fees, a free checked bag, priority boarding and a $200 Delta flight credit after you spend $10,000 or more on your card in a calendar year. It has an annual fee of just $150, $0 intro annual fee for your first year.

You’ll enjoy great airline-specific perks and travel benefits with a low annual fee, making the Delta Gold Amex a great option for casual Delta flyers and new travelers.

“As someone who likes flying Delta but doesn’t fly often enough to earn elite status, my Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex still gives me elitelike perks to help upgrade my travel experience.” — Madison Blancaflor , senior content operations editor

Those seeking Delta Medallion elite status may prefer the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card . This card can help you requalify for Medallion status based on your spending each year and also includes additional perks for frequent Delta travelers.

For no annual fee, you’ll enjoy up to 3% cash back on a variety of purchases.

Those looking for lucrative cash-back rates without an annual fee are great candidates for the Blue Cash Everyday.

“I added this card to my wallet shortly after my first travel card as a way to earn better rewards on U.S. gas and U.S. supermarket purchases. Three percent back on both categories (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then one percent after) was a great way for me to earn higher cash back on many of my everyday purchases without any added annual fee.” — Jack Markham, senior director

The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express offers notably higher cash-back rates at select merchants, so depending on your spending habits, you could come out ahead — even once the card’s $95 annual fee kicks in, $0 intro annual fee for the first year (see rates and fees ).

The Delta SkyMiles Reserve provides cardholders with complimentary Sky Club access whenever they fly with Delta Airlines in addition to complimentary Centurion Lounge access as well. Effective 2/1/25, Reserve Card Members will receive 15 Visits per year to the Delta Sky Club; to earn an unlimited number of Visits each year starting on 2/1/25, the total eligible purchases on the Card must equal $75,000 or more between 1/1/24 and 12/31/24, and each calendar year thereafter.

Frequent Delta flyers who book travel and make purchases directly with the airline should carry this card in their wallets since it earns 3 miles per dollar spent in this category. Plus, with the SkyMiles Reserve card, your first checked bag is free on Delta flights.

If you enjoy complimentary upgrades, the Delta SkyMiles Reserve card can help you access them. Even if you haven’t achieved Medallion status yet, this credit card adds you to the complimentary upgrade list (after Medallion-status members). You’ll also get a 20% statement credit on eligible inflight purchases when you use your SkyMiles Reserve card.

The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card features a lower annual fee of $350 (see rates and fees ) and still offers cardholders plenty of perks, including a Global Entry statement credit every four years and 15% savings when using miles to book award travel on Delta flights booked through the airline.

The Amex Business Platinum has a list of perks almost too lengthy to mention — including annual statement credits for various business-related expenses. But the most appealing aspects of the card involve the travel benefits, including automatic hotel elite status and access to the Fine Hotels + Resorts program. 

Small-business owners who want to add a bit of luxury to their travels while saving money on some essential purchases would be a great fit for the card.

“I find that the annual perks and credits provide a ton of value. By using the benefits with Priority Pass and Amex lounges, the airline incidental credits, plus the statement credits for Clear Plus, our cellphone plan and restocking my home printer with ink and paper from Dell, I get more value out of the card than it costs to keep it (enrollment is required for select benefits). Plus, it earns my favorite points — American Express Membership Rewards points — earning 5 points per dollar on flights and hotels booked with Amex Travel (on up to $500,000 in purchases each year).” — Ryan Smith , former credit cards writer

If you’re more focused on earning rewards rather than using benefits, consider the American Express® Business Gold Card , which offers 4 points per dollar on your top two spending categories each billing cycle (on up to $150,000 in combined purchases each year, then 1 point per dollar).

Membership Rewards points are incredibly valuable, and the Amex Business Gold card lets small businesses earn a ton of them. You’ll earn 4 points per dollar on the two categories where you spend the most each billing cycle (on up to $150,000 in combined purchases each year, then 1 point per dollar). These points can go a long way toward your next luxury flight redemption.

Any small-business owner with significant spending in the eligible bonus categories — which include U.S. gas stations, U.S. restaurants, select technology providers and certain advertising purchases — can get great value from the Amex Business Gold card.

“No other card provides the earning potential and adaptability this card has. Sure, its $375 annual fee isn’t cheap (see rates and fees ), but I love the fact I don’t need to think about what purchases I put on this card. It will automatically adapt and provide 4 points per dollar in my top two spending categories monthly.” — Ryan Smith , former credit cards writer

For a fixed earning rate and no annual fee (see rates and fees ), go for the The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express . You’ll earn 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on all purchases (on up to $50,000 in spending each calendar year, then 1 point per dollar).

It’s rare that a card with no annual fee (see rates and fees ) awards fully transferable points, but that’s exactly what you’ll get with the Blue Business Plus. These points can be redeemed for travel directly with American Express, but for more value, you can transfer them to an eligible hotel or airline loyalty program.

Small-business owners who don’t want to worry about maximizing bonus categories can earn a ton of Amex points with the Blue Business Plus.

“There are very few no-annual-fee cards that award fully transferable points, but the Amex Blue Business Plus is one of them. Not only that, you'll earn 2 Membership Rewards points for every dollar you spend (on up to $50,000 each year, then 1 point). That's a fantastic return of 4% back based on TPG's valuations , making this a great option for your small-business needs.” — Nick Ewen , director of content

If you don’t want to worry about travel rewards and instead want to plow your earnings back into your small business, go for the American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card — which also incurs no annual fee (see rates and fees ) and gives 2% cash back on every purchase (on up to $50,000 in spending each calendar year, then 1% cash back). These rewards are automatically applied to your card balance as a statement credit.

Maximizing American Express rewards

Leverage membership rewards points.

Membership Rewards points are the points currency of American Express and are considered some of the most valuable points in the world of points and miles . The best way to maximize the value of your hard-earned Membership Rewards points is through transferring them to any of Amex’s 17 airlines and three hotel transfer partners . Certain redemption options are a better value than others, but transferring to a reward partner is still the best way to maximize your points. Keep an eye out for periodic transfer bonuses to specific partners to get even more out of your points. 

Utilize Amex Offers

Redeeming points and miles is not the only way to take advantage of credit cards. One of the best ways to maximize American Express rewards is by taking advantage of Amex Offers . All American Express cards come with access to Amex Offers, and these offers are a variety of savings from various merchants, travel providers and more. Common forms of Amex offers include: 

  • Spend $X, get Y number of bonus points
  • Spend $X, get $Y back
  • Get additional points for each dollar you spend at a select merchant
  • Get X% back by using the link provided

These offers are targeted for cardholders, which means you should see many great ways to save for your spending. 

Combine cards to maximize your rewards

Many American Express cards offer terrific value. However, when you combine two (or more) of them, your rewards can really take off. Maybe you start with the Amex Platinum to utilize its array of travel perks and statement credits. Then, you can add in the Amex Gold for bonus rewards on dining and grocery purchases. You could even look at layering in a business card to make the most of any business-related spending. By carrying more than one Amex card, you ensure you are getting the most Membership Rewards points out of your spending. 

How we rate

What is american express.

American Express is a card issuer that offers a number of products and services for customers. It has partnerships with some of the largest travel brands out there — including Delta, Marriott and Hilton — but it also issues cards under its proprietary Membership Rewards umbrella.

Many Amex cards come with fixed credit lines, but others have no preset spending limits — though you must repay the balances in full and on time every month.

Types of American Express credit cards

There are many different kinds of American Express cards, so be sure to carefully consider which one(s) would be the best for you.

Travel cards

Many Amex cards are specifically designed to enhance your travel experience. This includes cobranded cards with Delta SkyMiles, Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors. Beyond earning points or miles with the specific loyalty program, you’ll enjoy an array of benefits when you do business with the program. Depending on the specific card, this can include waived checked bag fees, priority check-in, shortcuts to (or outright) elite status, or annual certificates that can be redeemed for a free night or a companion’s airfare.

Rewards points cards

American Express issues many cards that earn Membership Rewards points. This is Amex’s own currency, and you can use these points in a variety of ways. This includes booking travel directly with American Express Travel and redeeming them for statement credits, but you also have the ability to transfer your points to partner programs. This is where you often get the best value for your rewards.

Cash-back cards

For those not interested in travel perks or rewards cards, American Express offers a number of cash-back cards. These typically offer a certain percentage of each transaction back in rewards, so if you want added flexibility (rather than being forced into using your points for travel), one of these cards can be a great fit.

Business cards

In each of the above categories, you can generally choose between personal and business card products. Many top travel, rewards and cash-back cards from American Express are tailored to small businesses — and in most cases, you can pool your rewards from business cards and personal cards, putting your next redemption even closer.

American Express benefits

American Express cards have long held a reputation for lucrative benefits, though the extent of these perks depends on the card you have.

American Express Membership Rewards

The American Express Membership Rewards ecosystem is incredibly valuable, and many Amex cards offer bonus points on select purchases. Again, be sure to match up how you spend your money each month with a card that will maximize your earnings on those purchases.

Travel and entertainment perks

Many of the top American Express cards feature travel benefits like automatic elite status, airline fee credits and access to concierge services. Some of these are easy to put a dollar amount on, but others can be challenging. Evaluate your own situation to determine whether these perks will cover most (or all) of a card’s annual fee.

Amex Offers

Every American Express personal and business card is eligible for targeted Amex Offers. These must be activated in your online account ahead of time, but they’ll typically offer things like bonus points or a discount when making a purchase at a select retailer.

We always recommend checking these offers on a regular basis, as you never know when one might appear that applies to you.

Security benefits

Using your American Express card is typically a secure transaction, and the issuer offers $0 fraud liability (as long as you report fraudulent activity in a timely fashion). However, many Amex cards also include an array of shopping protections and travel protections that can cover you if (or when) things go wrong.

Once you select a specific card (or cards), carefully review your benefits guide to ensure you understand exactly what you have.

How to maximize American Express Membership Rewards

American Express Membership Rewards points are among TPG’s favorite credit card currencies. You can use your points directly for flights and hotels with American Express Travel, but if you want to maximize these rewards, consider exploring Amex’s transfer partners.

In the majority of cases, your Membership Rewards points transfer to programs at a 1:1 ratio. And from there, as long as there’s award availability, you can book some amazing trips.

Here’s a sampling of some rewards the TPG team has snagged by transferring Amex points:

  • 88,000 points for a round-trip, business-class flight from the U.S. to Europe
  • 95,000 points for a round-trip, business class flight from the U.S. to the Philippines
  • 15,000 points for a round-trip, economy-class flight from the U.S. to the Caribbean
  • 26,000 points for a round-trip, economy-class flight from the West Coast to Hawaii

For more suggestions, check out our guide to redeeming Amex points for maximum value .

How to choose the best Amex credit card

  • 1 Sign-up bonus Go with an Amex that features a decent sign-up bonus — you can use the reward for future travel plans or to pay down a balance if you opt for a cash-back card. Select an option that has an achievable spend threshold and that you’ll earn the currency most valuable to you — whether it’s points, miles or cash back.
  • 2 Annual fee While some of the Amex cards on our list feature high annual fees, they also offer stellar travel and shopping protections in addition to other benefits like credits in certain categories. We also included no annual fee cards for those who don’t want to worry about paying for a card each year.
  • 3 Bonus categories The best Amex cards on this list feature several bonus categories, ensuring there’s a good fit for every type of consumer. If you want to earn rewards on grocery store purchases or flights booked through the Amex travel portal, it’s likely that one of our top-rated picks is well-suited to your specific needs.

Ask our experts

What's your favorite amex card — and why.

Brian Kelly

Pros + cons of American Express cards

  • Using American Express cards responsibly can help you build your credit score.
  • American Express cards can earn points, miles or cash back on every dollar you spend.
  • Many American Express cards offer valuable shopping and travel protections.
  • Select American Express cards provide perks like statement credits, elite status and more.
  • Credit cards can encourage overspending.
  • Carrying a balance and using your Amex card irresponsibly can damage your credit score.
  • The cost of borrowing on Amex cards is higher than traditional loans.
  • Having too many card applications can negatively affect your credit score.
  • American Express may not be accepted at all merchants.
  • American Express typically allows you to only earn a welcome bonus on a card once in your lifetime.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, American Express is a reliable issuer that offers a variety of lucrative cards. This includes a number of great cash-back options as well as many that award Membership Rewards points, which are some of the most valuable transferable points out there.

To start an American Express application, you can click on any of the links in this guide and follow the onscreen prompts. Be prepared with your Social Security number along with all of your contact information.

No, but the issuer has made strides in recent years. In fact, according to the February 2023 Nilson report, Amex is now accepted at 99% of U.S. merchants that take credit cards — putting it nearly even with networks like Visa and Mastercard.

There’s no single threshold to get approved for an American Express card, but most of them require good or excellent credit — which means a score of at least 670. However, even that may not be enough for a premium card like the The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Amex generally limits the number of personal cards you can have to five, though cards without preset spending limits — like The Platinum Card® from American Express and American Express® Gold Card — are typically excluded from this number, as are small-business Amex cards.

However, that’s not a license to apply for new cards with abandon, since American Express will consider your history of opening and closing accounts when deciding on your approval. You can read more information in the Amex section of our guide to credit card application restrictions.

There’s no one “best” American Express card for everyone. If you’re looking for more luxury when traveling, The Platinum Card® from American Express could be a great fit. However, if you just want simple cash-back rewards, you may prefer a product like the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.

Start by identifying the type of rewards you want — Membership Rewards points, airline miles, hotel points or cash back. Next, consider the types of purchases you make on a regular basis along with other benefits you value highly. Then, pick the card that offers your preferred rewards currency along with sufficiently lucrative benefits and earning rates based on your typical spending habits.

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Thrifty Points

Thrifty Points

A world of ideas and opportunities...

Best Amex Card UK – Not all American Express Cards are made equal…

March 2, 2020 By Ben @ Thrifty Points Leave a Comment

What’s the Best American Express Card?

With fierce competition between credit card issuers, American Express have had to up their game to compete with the new entrants to the UK credit card market. So with this in mind, we thought it was about time to look at the various options for the best Amex card available to UK residents.

As regular readers will know, I recently combined the benefits of two of the best American Express credit cards to fly both myself and my other half First Class with British Airways from London to Sao Paulo. Yes, before you ask, it was incredible – you’re welcome to read all about it here .

With the free American Express cards offering market-leading sign-up bonuses, ongoing benefits rewarding customers for spending on their cards and various other incentives, it’s no wonder there are a staggering 112 million cards in everyday use worldwide.  Let’s take a look at some of the best Amex cards in the UK and try to work out which one may be best suited to you!

Best Amex Card UK

Let's break this post down...

Why use an American Express Credit Card?

For those who are new to credit cards, the thought of signing up to a credit card to just earn a ‘couple of measly points’ (not my words!) or 1% cashback may not seem worth it. What if I told you that the benefits to some of these American Express credit cards add up to hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds? You’d be crazy to miss out on an opportunity like this and what’s even better is that the rewards are nearly always tax free!

American Express Cards UK

Ok, so before we jump into a run through of the best UK Amex cards, I thought it may be worth mentioning a couple of key points about an American Express issued credit card.

  • The general rule is that you can hold up to 4 Amex cards at any one time.
  • If you already have an American Express card you may not be eligible for the sign-up bonuses on other Amex cards if they fall within the same card category. I’ve picked these out later in this review. For the avoidance of confusion, if you hold say the American Express Gold Card you can sign up for the British Airways branded American Express and still receive a sign-up bonus.  You can’t however sign up to the American Express Platinum and still receive a sign-up bonus.
  • The minimum amount of time between cancelling a card and signing up again to receive the sign-up bonus is 6 months.
  • Some cards issued by American Express are charge cards, which means they need to be paid off in full each month! If you’re not planning on paying off the card in full each month then the high interest rate American Express cards are unlikely to be the best credit cards for you.

Best Amex Card UK – What are the Options?

With 10 cards issued directly by American Express, you’d be forgiven for not having the faintest idea about which is the best American Express card to sign up to! Don’t worry… we’ll run through each of the cards and analyse why they may offer good or bad value for customers.

Membership Reward Cards

So let’s start by looking at the American Express Membership Rewards cards. There are three of these types of card as summarised below:

Amex Cards UK

The entry level American Express card (in green) is… well quite simply terrible. With an annual fee of £60 and a sign-up bonus of a mere 2,000 points if you use this link  (and scroll down), only the ongoing earnings rate of 1 point for every £1 spent is similar to the alternative Platinum or Gold cards.

Amex Gold (reviewed here) – with the current promotion, the American Express Gold card is free for the first year, saving new customers £140 (although most people tend to cancel the card before the 12-month period is up, which is wise!). You’d ordinarily earn a strong sign-up bonus of 10,000 points for spending £3,000 in the first 3 months – note the 12,000 points mentioned above only applies if you use this link . With a redemption value in the region of 0.5p to 1p per point, this sign-up bonus could be worth as much as £120! This, alongside the 2 free lounges passes and travel-accident cover, make it one of the most popular and best Amex cards on the market.

American Express Platinum Card (reviewed here) – The final card to mention at this point is the Amex Platinum Card which comes with a whopping annual fee of £575 pa. Whilst this sounds like an astronomical amount of money to pay for a card, in some instances and for certain people (me included) the benefits of the card can far outweigh the cost. What do these benefits include? The following, to name a few:

  • 30,000 sign-up bonus when you spend £2,000 in the first 3 months. This can be increased to 35,000 points as seen above by using this link (scroll down to the correct card) and could be worth as much as £350!
  • Priority Pass providing complimentary access to the holder and a guest to over 1,100 airport lounges. Whilst this would cost £369 to purchase through the Priority Pass website (and you’d have to pay extra for a guest), I estimate this to be worth in the region of £200 a year. This will vary depending on how many times and how much you’d be prepared to pay to visit an airport lounge.
  • Free hire-car accident insurance (with no excess!). This saves me about £40 per year.
  • Complimentary lounge access when travelling with Eurostar.
  • Ongoing earnings rate of 1 point for every £1 spent on the card.
  • Gold Hilton HHonours
  • Gold Starwood Preferred Guest
  • Gold Club Carlson
  • Jade Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade
  • Gold Melia Rewards

British Airways Branded Cards

Whilst the entry-level, free British Airways credit card is one of the most publicised methods of collecting BA Avios points it’s also one of the worst. Let’s take a look at the two American Express credit cards offered by British Airways – again the sign-up bonuses mentioned below only apply if you use this link and scrolling down to the correct card.

Best Amex Card

BA Amex (reviewed here) – One to avoid, but why? As you can see, the sign-up bonus of the BA American Express (usually 5,000 points) lags behind the alternative, free American Express (Gold) by some 6,000 points. American Express Rewards points can easily be transferred to Avios at a rate of 1:1 and as such you’ll be missing out on a large number of points and the complimentary lounge access if you choose the BA Amex over the Amex Gold card!

BA Premium Plus Card (reviewed here) – Similar to the Platinum card, the annual fee of £195 deters some people from signing up to this card.  HOWEVER, this card offers one of the most valuable… actually the most value credit card reward in the UK market. If you’re able to spend £10,000 on the card in a 12-month period you’ll receive a 2-4-1 reward flight voucher. With the benefit of being able to fly two people for the same number of reward points as one ticket you can save anywhere up to 200,000 Avios points with this benefit. As I mentioned earlier, I recently combined the 2-4-1 voucher with 100,000 Avios to fly two people First Class with British Airways from London to Sao Paulo. With a value in the region of 100,000 Avios in this instance and the value of an Avios broadly in the region of 1p per point (read how I value an Avios here ), this benefit was worth roughly £1,000 in this instance! You’ll also receive 25,000 Avios points (26,000 using this link and scrolling down to the correct card) when you spend £3,000 on the card in the first 3 months.

Cashback Cards

With two American Express cards offering cashback, which is likely to be the best Amex card for you to earn cashback on your daily spending?

Best UK Amex

The Everyday Platinum Cashback Credit Card is offered free of charge with an introductory bonus of 5% on all spend up to £100 in the first 3 months. You’ll also receive £10 if you use this link and scroll down to the correct card. Holders of the card will then receive 0.5% cashback on all purchases up to £5,000 each year and 1% on everything additional. HOWEVER, if you’re going to spend £5,000 on the card you should definitely go for the alternative ‘premium’ version. Let’s see why…

The Platinum Cashback Credit Card comes with an annual fee of £25 which is offset by the £25 sign-up bonus if you use this link and scroll down to the correct card. You’ll receive 5% cashback up to £125 (rather than £100 with the Everyday card) which will again offset the £25 annual fee. You’ll also receive an ongoing cashback rate of 1% up to £10,000 and 1.25% on anything above!

If you were to spend £5,000 on both cards (with say £1,500 of that in the first 3 months) you’d earn the following amount of cashback after paying the premium for the cards:

  • £1,500 in the first 3 months at 5% is £75
  • £3,500 at 0.5% is £17.50
  • Sign up using this link (scroll down to correct card) – £10
  • Cost of card is free
  • Total cashback £102.50
  • £3,500 at 1% is £35.00
  • Sign up using this link (scroll down to correct card) – £25
  • Cost of card is £25
  • Total cashback £110.00

American Express Business Credit Cards

There are two UK business cards offered by American Express as follows:

Which it the bet American Express Card to get

Similar to the old sign up bonus offered by the Amex Gold Card, the Business version offers a sign-up bonus of 22,000 points if you use this link (scroll down to the correct card) and spend £3,000 in the first 3 months. The annual fee is also waived in the first year, making it attractive to small businesses and start-ups.

The Platinum Business Credit Card comes with an even larger sign-up bonus of 40,000 points (increased to 45,000 points by using this link and scrolling down to the correct card) however the spending threshold is significantly higher at £6,000 in the first 3 months. You’ll also receive all of the many benefits offered by the personal Platinum card which may potentially offset the £575 pa fee!

Other American Express Credit Cards

The final two cards I’d like to touch upon are the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express and the Nectar American Express Credit Card.

Best American Express Card UK

The Nectar Credit Card rarely makes an appearance here at Thrifty Points although that’s not to say it doesn’t provide value for money for customers. The card comes with an annual fee of £25 however this can be offset by the 20,000 Nectar points sign-up bonus when you spend £2,000 in the first 3 months. This can be increased to 21,000 points if you use this link (scroll down to the correct card) which is worth £105 if spent with any Nectar partner (essentially 0.5% cashback). You would however be better off with the cashback card, which provides more flexibility over where the money can be spent!

The final card is the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card which provides a sign-up bonus of 33,000 SPG points ( using this link and scrolling down).  The card does however come with an annual fee of £75 pa.

With a brief overview of each card, let’s take a look at which cards may be most suitable for certain people…

Let’s Wrap Things Up – Best Amex Card UK

  • American Express Gold Card – Best for newbies
  • American Express Platinum Cashback Card – Best for big spenders
  • American Express Platinum or The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Card – Best for regular hotel guests

Best Amex Card UK for Newbies

If you’re new to collecting points and would like a free card, then look no further than the American Express Gold Card (reviewed here) . The 2 complimentary lounge passes and generous sign-up bonus of 10,000 points, which can be increased to 12,000 points using this link, makes it our favourite card for those who are new to credit cards.

Amex Credit Cards UK

Best American Express Credit Card for Big Spenders

Now there are likely to be two options here. The first and simplest option would be the American Express Platinum Cashback Card . You’d receive between 1-1.25% on all spend (with a bonus of 5% up to £125 in the first 3 months) and the annual fee of £25 could be offset by the free £25 offered using this link and scrolling down to the correct card.

The second option would be combining both the American Express Gold Card and the British Airways Premium Card to earn enough points for two First Class transatlantic flights – read my First Class review here which provides a step-by-step guide as to how this can be done for less than the price of an economy ticket!  Recent changes to American Express rules now mean that to qualify for the sign up bonus on certain cards you cannot have held a personal American Express in the last 24 months.  Fortunately you can still sign up and benefit from the bonus of the Premium Plus card if you hold a Gold Card.  The same is not true in reverse.  If you already hold a Premium Plus card you will not qualify for the sign up bonus on the Gold card.   As such always sign up to the Gold Card first and then the Premium Plus card second – learn more about the sign up bonus restrictions and our suggested strategy here .

Best American Express Card for Regular Hotel Guests

Again there are two options you could choose here. The Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Card would seem like the obvious option but comes with an annual fee of £75. You’d earn a reasonable sign-up bonus of 33,000 points using this link and scrolling down to the correct card. You’ll also receive Gold SPG status.

Alternatively, the Platinum Card offers hotel status with numerous brands and a market-leading sign-up bonus of 35,000 points if you use this link and scrolling down to the correct card however you’ll need to do the maths to determine whether the various perks offset the whopping £575 annual fee of the card.  35,000 points would be equivalent to 52,500 SPG points.

We hope you’ve found this article helpful and that we’ve given you some inspiration as to which may be the best Amex card for you. As always, please do reach out if you have any questions or comments.

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Best travel credit cards for airlines in 2024

Kaeli Conforti

Feb 2, 2024 • 17 min read

best amex for travel uk

Read on for the best ways to fly the world with the helpful boost of points & miles © andresr / Getty

This series of articles about credit cards, points and miles, and budgeting for travel is brought to you in partnership with The Points Guy .

Advertiser Disclosure:  This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. This relationship may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. All information about Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority credit card has been collected independently by Lonely Planet. These cards are not available through Lonely Planet.

Imagine planning the ultimate dream trip to say, New Zealand , and not having to worry about paying for any of your flights, hotels, sightseeing tours or rental car. The good news is, that’s entirely possible if you develop a credit card strategy to make your everyday purchases work in your favor.

When it comes to choosing the perfect airline credit card, there are two ways to go about it. You could sign up for a travel credit card that lets you earn flexible rewards points, which can be then redeemed for free flights with various partner airlines.

Or, you could choose a cobranded credit card that lets you earn and redeem miles with a single airline, a great option if you’re striving for status with a particular carrier or you’re based near a certain airline’s hub.

In our search for the best airline credit cards, we considered several factors: the welcome bonus, travel protections, elite status perks and annual benefits. Additionally, none of the cards listed have foreign transaction fees .

While many of them have high annual fees (ranging from $95–$695), using all the included credits and benefits will help offset them.

Here’s our list of the best travel credit cards for airlines, a mix of flexible travel cards and the cobranded credit cards of four popular US airlines: American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines.

How to get started with travel points and airline miles

Best travel credit cards for airlines for 2023

  • Best travel credit card with a low annual fee: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Best premium travel credit card: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Best credit card for lounge access: The Platinum Card® from American Express *

Best American Airlines credit card: Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

Best united airlines credit card: united club℠ infinite card.

  • Best Delta Air Lines credit card: The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card *

Best Southwest Airlines credit card: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

The best travel credit cards for 2023

The Chase Sapphire Card

Best travel credit card with a low annual fee: Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred  is one of the most popular travel credit cards on the market, thanks to the many opportunities it offers for earning and redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards points. There are 14 airline and hotel transfer partners, and points can be switched over at a 1:1 ratio.

Besides its modest annual fee and lucrative welcome bonus, cardholders receive an annual $50 statement credit toward hotels booked via Chase Ultimate Rewards. Points redeemed via the Chase travel portal are worth 1.25 cents per point, and you’ll score a 10% points bonus each year based on how many points were earned the previous year. 

Cardholders can also access partner benefits, including a complimentary six-month subscription to Instacart+ with up to $15 in statement credits quarterly through July 2024 and a free membership to DoorDash and Caviar.

Welcome bonus: 60,000 points after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening.

Rewards: Earn 5X points on travel reserved via Chase Ultimate Rewards, not counting hotel stays that qualify for the annual $50 hotel credit; 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2025; 5X points on Peloton purchases over $150 (up to 25,000 points) through March 2025; 3X on dining and online grocery shopping (except Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs); 3X points on streaming services; 2X points for travel expenses; and 1X points on all other purchases.

Airline transfer partners: Aer Lingus, Air Canada, British Airways, Emirates, Air France / KLM, Iberia, JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.

Travel benefits: Auto rental collision damage waiver; baggage delay, trip cancellation and interruption insurance; trip delay reimbursement and emergency travel assistance.

Credit score: Good to excellent.

Annual fee: $95. See rates and fees .

  • Generous welcome bonus providing $750 worth of travel when you redeem points through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Many options for redeeming rewards, including 14 airlines and three hotels (Hyatt, IHG and Marriott).
  • Modest annual fee considering all the included travel benefits.
  • Approval is subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule, so you won’t be approved if you’ve opened five credit cards within 24 months.
  • There is no airport lounge access offered as an included perk.

Chase Sapphire review: an in-depth look at the card loved by travelers

Chase Sapphire Reserve

For travelers who expect premium-level service and benefits, the Chase Sapphire Reserve  is a top choice, though it does carry a $550 annual fee (see rates and fees ).

That said, it’ll almost pay for itself if you use all the perks — a $300 annual travel credit; Priority Pass lounge membership; a $100 credit toward Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS enrollment; access to The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection; and exclusive sports, dining and entertainment events via Reserve by Sapphire. 

Redemptions are worth 1.5 cents per point when booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards and you can transfer them to any of Chase’s 14 airline and hotel partners. Cardholders also receive one free year of Instacart+ service with up to $15 in statement credits per quarter through July 2024, plus free membership to DoorDash and Caviar.

Rewards: Earn 10X points on car rentals and hotels, not counting The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection, booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards (after the $300 annual travel credit); 10X points on Lyft rides through March 2025; 10X points on Peloton purchases over $150 (up to 25,000 points) through March 2025; 10X points on Chase Dining purchases; 5X points on flights reserved through the Chase travel portal (after the $300 travel credit); 3X points on dining; and 3X points on all other travel purchases (after the $300 annual travel credit).

Travel benefits: Lost luggage and trip delay reimbursement, baggage delay and travel accident insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, trip interruption and cancellation insurance, emergency travel and roadside assistance, emergency transportation and evacuation services and emergency dental and medical benefits.

Credit score: Excellent.

Annual fee: $550. See see rates and fees .

  • Complimentary access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide thanks to the included Priority Pass membership.
  • The $300 annual travel credit and $100 credit for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or NEXUS registration help to offset the annual fee.
  • A lucrative welcome bonus that’s worth $900 in travel when redeemed via Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • High annual fee.

Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners: How to get the best value in 2023

The Amex Platinum

Best credit card for lounge access: The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card  offers a ton of premium travel benefits, including access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection, a $200 hotel credit on Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection stays booked via American Express Travel, a $200 airline fee credit for incidental charges made with a specific airline and a $189 credit for a CLEAR Plus membership.

Cardholders also receive a $240 digital entertainment credit to cover up to $20 per month spent with certain streaming platforms, a $155 credit for a monthly Walmart+ membership and a $100 statement credit when you shop at Saks Fifth Avenue ($50 per six-month period).

Additional perks include $200 worth of Uber Cash annually — $15 per month, plus an extra $20 in December — and a $300 Equinox credit.

Welcome bonus: 80,000 points after spending $8,000 within the first six months of account opening.

Rewards: Earn 5X points on flights booked directly with the airline or via American Express Travel (up to $500,000 per year); 5X points on hotels reserved via AmexTravel.com, including The Hotel Collection; 1X points on all other purchases.

Transfer partners: Aer Lingus, AeroMexico, Air Canada, Air France / KLM, ANA, Avianca, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, Etihad, Hawaiian Airlines, Iberia, JetBlue, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic.

Travel benefits: Baggage insurance, secondary coverage on standard rental car insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, trip delay reimbursement, access to a global emergency assistance hotline, evacuation and medical transport service in an emergency and medical assistance.

Annual fee: $695. See rates and fees .

  • Many transfer partners, including 17 airlines and three hotels (Marriott, Hilton and Choice Hotels).
  • Generous statement credits are offered for various travel, dining and shopping charges.
  • Lucrative welcome bonus that’s worth $1,600 in travel when points are redeemed through American Express Membership Rewards.
  • Secondary car insurance, whereas the aforementioned Chase cards offer primary car insurance via the auto rental collision damage waiver.

Traveling to Europe using points and miles

The American Airlines Business Class on a flight from Rome to JFK

American Airlines loyalists will love the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®, which includes free entry to the Admirals Club as well as the carrier’s partner lounges. You’ll also get one free checked bag for you and up to eight companions on the same reservation.

Cardholders receive 25% off in-flight food and drinks and priority boarding, screening and check-in when flying on American Airlines. You’ll also earn a $100 statement credit to cover your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck enrollment and statement credits for Avis and Budget car rentals (up to $120 per year), GrubHub (up to $120 per year) and Lyft (a $10 credit each month once you take three eligible rides).

Welcome bonus: 70,000 miles after spending $7,000 within the first three months of account opening.

Rewards: Earn 10X miles on car rentals and hotels booked via American Airlines; 5X points per dollar for the rest of the year once you hit $150,000; 4X miles on American Airlines purchases; 1X miles for all other purchases. You’ll also earn 10,000 bonus points once you reach 50,000 points in a status qualification year, plus another 10,000 points if you reach 90,000 points within that same year.

Travel benefits: Trip delay, interruption and cancellation insurance; lost baggage protection; and car rental coverage.

Annual fee: $595. See rates and fees .

  • Points earned with the card count toward AAdvantage elite status.
  • The included membership to the Admirals Club is worth $850, making that benefit alone well worth the $595 annual fee (see rates and fees ) — if you use it.
  • Day-of travel benefits, like a free checked bag and priority boarding.
  • High annual fee, especially if you don’t visit the Admirals Club lounges.
  • Limited opportunities to earn miles outside American Airlines purchases.

How to get major perks at global events and concerts with your credit card

United Club℠ Infinite Card members receive a free United Club membership, which also provides access to select Star Alliance partner lounges worldwide. Cardholders score special treatment at the airport, with priority services for check in, security, boarding and baggage handling.

Additional perks include up to two free checked bags for you and a companion; a $100 statement credit to put toward Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or NEXUS enrollment; 25% back in statement credits for onboard United purchases; up to 8,000 Premier Qualifying Points, which count toward Premier status, for every $12,000 spent with the card; and a complimentary one-year membership to DoorDash and Caviar. 

Welcome bonus: 80,000 miles after spending $5,000 within the first three months of account opening.

Rewards: Earn 4X miles on United purchases, including flights, Wi-Fi and in-flight food and drinks; 2X miles on travel and dining; 1X miles for all other purchases.

Travel benefits: Automatic Platinum Elite status with IHG One Rewards for hotels and Avis President’s Club for car rentals; access to The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection; baggage delay insurance and lost luggage reimbursement; trip delay, interruption and cancellation insurance; auto rental collision damage waiver; and concierge services through Visa Infinite.

Annual fee: $525. See rates and fees .

  • The complimentary United Club membership is worth $650, already making it worth the annual fee if you visit frequently.
  • Day-of travel benefits like priority boarding and two free checked bags.
  • The ability to earn Premier Qualifying Points, which count toward elite status.
  • Limited opportunities to earn miles outside United Airlines purchases.

The best credit cards with no international fees in 2023

Inside Delta's Airbus A220-300

Best Delta Air Lines credit card: The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

While Delta offers several cobranded cards, The Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card offers the widest variety of benefits for frequent flyers, plus complimentary access to Delta Sky Club lounges.

One of the main draws for this card is the companion certificate you’ll receive each year upon renewal, which you can use to score a free economy, Delta Comfort+ or Domestic First Class ticket for a friend or family member. Cardholders also receive their first checked bag free, 20% back on in-flight purchases, priority boarding and upgrade priority (for Medallion members). The Companion Ticket requires payment of the government-imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights and no more than $250 for roundtrip international flights (both for itineraries with up to four flight segments). Baggage charges and other restrictions apply.

The card offers complimentary Delta Sky Club access to primary cardholders (Note: You must be traveling on a same-day Delta-marketed or Delta-operated flight. You will receive four Delta Sky Club One-Time Guest Passes each year. After that, you may bring up to two guests at a per-visit rate of $50 per person, per location. Reserve Card Members will receive 15 visits per year to the Delta Sky Club; to earn an unlimited number of Visits each year starting on 2/1/25, the total eligible purchases on the Card must equal $75,000 or more between 1/1/24 and 12/31/24, and each calendar year thereafter.)

Welcome bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in purchases on your new card in your first six months.

Rewards: 3X miles on Delta purchases, 1X miles on all other purchases.

Travel benefits: 15% off award flights, a $100 statement credit to cover your Global Entry application (or $85 for TSA PreCheck), one free checked bag for you, priority boarding, access to a global emergency assistance hotline, expert Concierge services.

Annual fee: $650. See rates and fees .

  • Complimentary access to Delta Sky Club lounges, despite some limitations, as well as American Express Centurion lounges.
  • Day-of travel perks like priority boarding and a free checked bag.
  • Cardholders save 15% when booking award flights.
  • Several perks are disappearing or changing in 2025.

Best travel credit cards for hotels

One of Southwest's Boeing 737s

While a number of cobranded credit cards are offered by the carrier, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card has the most benefits for a reasonable annual fee.

For starters, cardholders earn 7,500 points to commemorate each anniversary and all the points you pick up by using this card count toward earning the Southwest Companion Pass, which provides free travel for a friend or family member for a year, for just the cost of taxes and fees.

Welcome bonus: Limited-time offer: Earn a Companion Pass® good through 2/28/25 plus 30,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Rewards: 3X points on Southwest Airlines purchases; 2X points on transit, commuting and rideshare services; 2X points for hotels and car rentals booked via Southwest Rapid Rewards; 2X points for cable, internet, phone and streaming services; 1X points for all other purchases.

Travel benefits: Four upgraded boardings per year; 10,000 Companion Pass qualifying points annually; a $75 Southwest annual travel credit; 25% back on in-flight purchases; and 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points, which count toward A-List elite status each time you spend $10,000.

Annual fee: $149. See rates and fees .

  • Reasonable annual fee with a decent welcome bonus.
  • Ability to earn points toward A-List elite status and the Southwest Companion Pass.
  • Many opportunities to earn points outside of airline-related purchases.
  • Secondary car rental insurance and a lack of the usual travel insurance and delay protections.

Best credit cards for road trips

Who should get an airline credit card?

Anyone who enjoys earning points to redeem for free flights — or, as with airline-specific cobranded cards, special perks like free checked bags, lounge access or the ability to earn status — can benefit from an airline credit card.

The best credit cards for airport lounge access in 2023

How to choose the best airline credit card

If you’re loyal to a particular airline — maybe you’ve always flown with it or you’re based near its airport hub — a cobranded credit card might make more sense. Otherwise, if you’re open to flying any carrier and its airline partners, a flexible travel rewards credit card could be more beneficial.

10 amazing US hotels you can book with points

Flying over the Hamilton Islands, Australia

Are airline credit cards worth it?

It depends on what your end goal is. Are you trying to earn enough points to score a free flight to Hawaii or to transfer points to your favorite airline and fly to Australia for free? If so, a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred ,  Chase Sapphire Reserve  or The Platinum Card  could be a good pick for its flexible rewards points.

If, however, your goal is to always fly with free checked bags or enjoy complimentary upgrades and other perks with a specific airline, a cobranded card with your preferred carrier would definitely come in handy.

Best credit cards for traveling with kids

Why should I consider getting a flexible travel rewards credit card instead?

It all comes down to your personal travel preferences. If you’re a creature of habit who only travels with one carrier, consider that you also have access to its partner airlines, not only through its airline alliance but its credit card loyalty program. 

Chase Sapphire Preferred  or Chase Sapphire Reserve  cardholders, for instance, have access to 14 partners within the Chase Ultimate Rewards network, while those with The Platinum Card can choose from 17 partners through American Express Membership Rewards.

How to travel to New Zealand with points and miles in 2023

Do you need a credit card to book a flight?

While a credit card does make things easier in terms of paying for your purchases online and earning rewards points toward future trips , you can also opt to pay for a plane ticket with a debit card, gift card or through a payment service such as PayPal, if available through the booking site.

Traveling to Hawaii with points and miles for 2023

*Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions, and Limitations Apply. Please visit  americanexpress.com/benefitsguide  for more details. Underwritten by Amex Assurance Company.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit  americanexpress.com  to learn more.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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The Best Ways To Fly to London With Points & Miles [Step-by-Step]

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The Best Ways To Fly to London With Points & Miles [Step-by-Step]

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There are tons of great ways to fly to Europe with miles and points, and any number of redemptions can help you get from the U.S. to London. However, many of these options require you to connect in another country in continental Europe.

There’s nothing wrong with a connection, and they can even be fun when you visit an amazing first class lounge — like the Lufthansa First Class Terminal (FCT) at Frankfurt Airport (FRA) when flying Lufthansa first class .

That being said, sometimes vacation time is limited, and cutting down on transit time to pack in more fun at our destination is the number 1 priority. With that in mind, we’re going to take a look at some of the best ways you can fly directly to London from the U.S.

Let’s dig into some great economy, business, and first class options so you can decide how you want to book your next trip across the Atlantic.

Best Programs To Book Award Flights to London

When looking for ways to book award flights to London, you will want to keep an eye on carrier-imposed surcharges, as well as the miles required by the frequent flyer program you are using.

If you do that, you can get some great value out of your miles and points and visit an amazing city.

American Airlines 787-9 Flagship Business Class seat 4L

The American Airlines AAdvantage program will probably be the easiest option for booking flights operated by American Airlines or its Oneworld partner British Airways . You can search for award space on American Airlines’ website and complete the entire booking process online.

Book Awards With American AAdvantage Miles (Online)

Since American AAdvantage uses dynamic award pricing for its own flights, the miles required to book an award ticket may depend on your city of origin in the U.S. If you’re booking on British Airways, you’ll pay a fixed price regardless of your city of origin.

Award space on both American Airlines and British Airways will show in an award search on American’s website. The search results will indicate which airline operates a given flight, so make sure you confirm you have selected flights on your desired airline.

Additionally, if you are booking a business or first class award, make sure the long-haul segment is in your desired cabin. If you have a connecting flight, American’s search results will often show a domestic first class segment paired with an economy class long-haul segment, which would be a nasty surprise.

To search for award flight space, follow these steps:

  • Visit American Airlines’ website .
  • On the homepage, you’ll see a search box. Check the box that says  Redeem miles .
  • Enter your flight information.
  • Click  Search.
  • Choose the flight results that match your needs.
  • Check out and pay for the ticket using miles and a credit card for any taxes and fees.

Hot Tip: Need help booking? Check out our step-by-step guide to booking American Airlines first class  and business class .

Here are the one-way mileage rates for flights on American Airlines and its partners. The taxes and fees on a one-way award will be determined by whether you are departing from the U.S. or the U.K.

However, if you book an award ticket on British Airways with your American AAdvantage miles, you will incur significant carrier-imposed surcharges. While a round-trip economy class award on a flight operated by American Airlines will include about $184 in taxes and fees, an economy award on British Airways will require about $628 thanks to carrier-imposed surcharges.

This disparity is even worse when you book business or first class tickets. On an American Airlines flight, business class and first class award bookings will include about $301 in taxes and fees for a round-trip ticket. However, on British Airways, you will be responsible for roughly $1,745 when the carrier-imposed surcharges are added to the taxes and fees.

For context, consider the fact that you can find cash fares of around $560 for a nonstop economy ticket from New York (JFK) to London. This is barely more than the taxes, fees, and carrier-imposed surcharges that you would pay for an award ticket on British Airways.

When using American AAdvantage miles , you’ll want to make sure you are only booking flights operated by American Airlines. Business class and first class are where you’ll get the most value for your miles, but economy class bookings can be very useful when cash ticket prices are high.

If you don’t have the necessary American AAdvantage miles in your account, you can put your award ticket on hold for 5 days so you’ll have time to transfer points to your account. This process can also be taken care of online.

Nonstop Routes Bookable With American AAdvantage Miles

Ever since American Airlines AAdvantage moved to a variable award pricing scheme for AA flights, you’ll find terrible premium cabin prices, for the most part. However, there are a few dates where you can actually find cheaper prices than before this change was in effect.

American Airlines operates flights to London from several airports in the U.S.:

  • Charlotte (CLT)
  • Chicago-O’Hare (ORD)
  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Miami (MIA)
  • New York (JFK)
  • Philadelphia (PHL)
  • Phoenix (PHX)
  • Raleigh-Durham (RDU)

AAdvantage also uses a region-based award chart, so you can add a connecting flight from smaller airports to any of these gateway airports without increasing the number of miles required.

Earning American AAdvantage Miles

American Airlines has partnered with both Citi and Barclays to offer co-branded cards that earn American AAdvantage miles directly. These cards often come with a very good sign-up bonus if you meet the minimum spending requirement in the requisite time frame.

Also, American Airlines’ 2 transfer partners are Bilt Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy . Bilt transfers at a 1:1 ratio in around 24 hours. You can transfer from Marriott Bonvoy to American Airlines at a 3:1 ratio. Generally, it’ll take around 2 business days for these transfers to process.

We cover the large number of American Airlines credit cards available in our detailed guide.

Hot Tip: Check out our picks for the best London hotels to book with points for maximum value !

Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350 Upper Class Middle Seats

Moving over to the SkyTeam alliance , we have the Air France-KLM Flying Blue program . With tons of Virgin Atlantic flights from the U.S. to London, this is a fantastic program to book award tickets.

You might think of using Virgin Atlantic’s program initially, but give Flying Blue a look before you decide as it may have better redemption rates to London.

Book Awards With Air France-KLM Flying Blue (Online/Phone Booking)

Air France-KLM Flying Blue has a dynamically-priced award chart. The chart below shows the one-way mileage costs plus the taxes and fees that are required when booking awards with Flying Blue miles.

The taxes and fees required will be different based on your origin. If your origin is London, the taxes and fees will be much higher, as we’ll explain later.

Virgin Atlantic continues to grow its fleet of planes offering its flagship business class product with its new Upper Class product. It’s also a great way to redeem Flying Blue miles.

You will be able to search for award space on either Air France or KLM’s website and book right from there. If you need to transfer points to your Flying Blue account before booking, some friendly phone agents have been known to put award tickets on hold for a couple of days which leaves plenty of time for transfers to process.

Booking with Flying Blue is easy! Just follow these directions to get started:

  • Visit Air France’s U.S. website .
  • In the center search box, click the button that says  Use Your Miles .
  • Click Sign In .
  • Log in using your Flying Blue account and password.
  • You’ll be redirected to the flight search page. Enter your flight information.
  • Select the number of passengers and the class of booking.
  • Click Find a flight .
  • Select the flight that you want to book.
  • Pay using your Flying Blue miles and also a credit card for any miscellaneous taxes and fees.

Nonstop Routes Bookable With Air France-KLM Flying Blue Miles

JFK LHR Flying Blue Virgin Atlantic flight

You can use Flying Blue miles to book nonstop flights on Delta from several airports in the U.S:

  • Atlanta (ATL)
  • Austin (AUS)
  • Boston (BOS)
  • Las Vegas (LAS)
  • Orlando (MCO)
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Tampa (TPA)
  • Washington, D.C. (IAD)

With its region-based award chart, you won’t need any additional miles if you are connecting from another airport.

Hot Tip:  Air France-KLM runs regular award sales for specific routes called Promo Rewards and has some other great award booking options, so make sure you check out the best way to use Flying Blue miles .

Earning Air France-KLM Flying Blue Miles

A major advantage of the Flying Blue program is just how easy it is to earn miles with the program. While there aren’t any American credit cards that earn Flying Blue miles directly, Air France-KLM has partnered with all of the transferable points programs.

Flying Blue is an American Express transfer partner , Bilt Rewards transfer partner, Brex Rewards transfer partner , Capital One transfer partner , Chase transfer partner , Citi transfer partner , and Marriott transfer partner. Amex, Bilt, Brex, Capital One, Chase, and Citi transfer to the Flying Blue program at a solid 1:1 ratio. Marriott Bonvoy transfers at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred.

Amex, Chase, Bilt, Brex, Citi, and Capital One all transfer almost instantly. Marriott Bonvoy transfers take around 1 business day.

Our favorite ways to earn Flying Blue miles are through credit cards that earn Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards since both Chase and American Express provide cards with great bonus categories.

Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred ® Card

A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred ® card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. Its bonus categories include travel, dining, online grocery purchases, and streaming services, which gives you the opportunity to earn lots of bonus points on these purchases.

Additionally, it offers flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and excellent travel insurance coverage including primary car rental insurance . With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why this card is an excellent choice for any traveler.

  • 5x points on all travel booked via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 5x points on select Peloton purchases over $150 (through March 31, 2025)
  • 5x points on Lyft purchases (through March 31, 2025)
  • 3x points on dining purchases, online grocery purchases, and select streaming services
  • 2x points on all other travel worldwide
  • $50 annual credit on hotel stays booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 6 months of complimentary Instacart+ (activate by July 31, 2024), plus up to $15 in statement credits each quarter through July 2024
  • Excellent travel and car rental insurance
  • 10% annual bonus points
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs like United MileagePlus and World of Hyatt
  • $95 annual fee
  • No elite benefits like airport lounge access or hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards ® .
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards ® , 3x on dining, and 2x on all other travel purchases, and $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards ® . For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC

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  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

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Chase Ultimate Rewards

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Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve ®

A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.

If you’re looking for an all-around excellent travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve ®  is one of the best options out there.

The card combines elite travel benefits and perks like airport lounge access , with excellent point earning and redemption options.  Plus it offers top-notch travel insurance protections to keep you covered whether you’re at home or on the road.

Don’t forget the $300 annual travel credit which really helps to reduce the annual fee!

  • 10x points on car rentals, hotels, and dining booked via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 10x points on Lyft purchases March 31, 2025
  • 10x points on Peloton equipment and accessory purchases over $250 through March 31, 2025
  • 5x points on airfare booked via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 3x points on all other travel and dining purchases; 1x point on all other purchases
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access
  • TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, or NEXUS credit
  • Access to Chase Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection
  • Rental car elite status with National and Avis
  • $550 annual fee
  • Does not offer any sort of hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards ®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards ® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards ® . For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck ®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve 100k Bonus Offer
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve Benefits
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve Airport Lounge Access
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel Insurance Benefits
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve Military Benefits
  • Amex Gold vs Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Amex Platinum vs Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Best Credit Cards for Airport Lounge Access

Business owner? See our list of the best Chase business credit cards .

We generally suggest people start with Chase Ultimate Rewards because of the Chase 5/24 rule , but after that Amex Membership Rewards are a top priority.

Bottom Line: One clear benefit that booking through Flying Blue offers is significantly lower taxes and fees than Virgin Atlantic Flying Club for Virgin Atlantic-operated flights originating in the U.S. Expect to pay less than $200 per person compared to Virgin Atlantic’s ~$875 per person total taxes and fees!

United Polaris Business Class

Next, we have our first option in the Star Alliance . All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club is a great frequent flyer program from one of the best airlines in the world. Sure, a Japanese carrier’s loyalty program probably isn’t what you’re used to for booking award tickets, but don’t overlook this one!

Book Awards With ANA Mileage Club (Online)

Your Star Alliance options for flights directly to London from the U.S. are Air New Zealand (fifth freedom route) and United Airlines. While United doesn’t have a glowing reputation for its inflight product or service, you won’t get hit with carrier-imposed surcharges even when booking through a partner airline such as ANA.

The mileage rates and taxes and fees in the chart below apply to round-trip award tickets as ANA Mileage Club does not allow one-way awards.

The miles required by ANA Mileage Club for economy class bookings are competitive but nothing special. However, the miles required for business class awards are very good at 88,000 miles for a round-trip ticket.

ANA provides an easy-to-use online search function. Just make sure you choose flights operated by United Airlines or Air New Zealand. Otherwise, you will have connections in Europe. With some of these other Star Alliance carriers, ANA will pass on carrier-imposed surcharges, which can be steep if you are flying on Austrian Airlines or Lufthansa.

The surcharges are particularly bad on these 2 Star Alliance partners when you book premium cabin awards. So, not only will your journey take longer, you’ll have to pay significantly more to take the trip.

As ANA only allows round-trip bookings, you’ll need to find availability on the outbound and inbound segments at the same time. If you’re ready to search, follow these steps:

  • Visit ANA’s U.S. website .
  • In the initial search box, click the button that says  Award Booking .
  • Log into your ANA Mileage Club account by entering your Mileage Club number and password.
  • Enter your departure and destination cities, travel dates, number of passengers, and desired booking class.
  • Click  Search .
  • Find available flights and confirm the tickets by redeeming ANA miles and paying for taxes and fees using a credit card.

Hot Tip:  Don’t forget to check out some of the other amazing ways you can redeem ANA Mileage Club miles !

Nonstop Routes Bookable With ANA Mileage Club Miles

ANA London Redemption

ANA Mileage Club can help you book nonstop flights to London on United Airlines from 6 airports across the U.S.

  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Denver (DEN)
  • Newark (EWR)

If you don’t live in one of United’s hub airports, you can connect from your home airport to one of these hubs and continue to London for no extra ANA Mileage Club miles.

Earning ANA Mileage Club Miles

While not as easy to earn as Air France-KLM Flying Blue miles, ANA Mileage Club miles are relatively easy to earn . You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards to ANA Mileage Club at a 1:1 ratio and Marriott Bonvoy at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred.

Amex transfers to ANA take around 3 business days, while Marriott Bonvoy transfers to ANA take around 7 business days to process.

We recommend looking into Amex Membership Rewards cards as there are many bonus categories you can take advantage of.

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card ® from American Express

The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.

When it comes to cards that offer top-notch benefits, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better card out there than The Platinum Card ® from American Express.

Make no mistake — the Amex Platinum card  is a premium card with a premium price tag. With amazing benefits like best-in-class airport lounge access , hotel elite status, and tremendous value in annual statement credits, it can easily prove to be one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet year after year.

  • The best airport lounge access out of any card (by far) — enjoy access to over 1,400 worldwide lounges, including the luxurious Amex Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Plaza Premium Lounges, and many more!
  • 5x points per dollar spent on flights purchased directly with the airline or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 per year)
  • 5x points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel
  • Annual and monthly statement credits upon enrollment ( airline credit, Uber Cash credit, Saks Fifth Avenue credit, streaming credit, prepaid hotel credit on eligible stays, Walmart+ credit, CLEAR credit, and Equinox credit )
  • TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit
  • Access to American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts
  • Access to Amex International Airline Program
  • No foreign transaction fees ( rates and fees )
  • $695 annual fee ( rates and fees )
  • Airline credit does not cover airfare (only incidentals like checked bags)
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards ® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card ® , Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards ® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards ® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts ® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card ® . The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card ® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal) with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card ® . Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Up Benefits are excluded.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card ® .
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $300 back in statement credits per calendar year on an Equinox membership, or an Equinox club membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you pay with your Platinum Card ® . Enrollment required. Visit https://platinum.equinox.com/ to enroll.
  • $189 CLEAR ® Plus Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR Plus at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card ® . Learn more.
  • $100 Global Entry Credit: Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 years for a TSA PreCheck ® (through a TSA official enrollment provider) application fee, when charged to your Platinum Card ® . Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card ® . That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $300 SoulCycle At-Home Bike Credit: Get a $300 statement credit for the purchase of a SoulCycle at-home bike with your Platinum Card ® . An Equinox+ subscription is required to purchase a SoulCycle at-home bike and access SoulCycle content. Must charge full price of bike in one transaction. Shipping available in the contiguous U.S. only. Enrollment Required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card ® to your Resy profile.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR

American Express Membership Rewards

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American Express® Gold Card

American Express ® Gold Card

This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!

The American Express ® Gold Card  is a game-changer.

With this card, you can earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and you’ll also earn 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x.

There isn’t another card on the market that offers a 1-2 punch like this. Of course, there are several other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.

  • 4x points per dollar at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4x points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases; and 1x thereafter
  • 3x points per dollar on flights purchased directly from airlines or at Amex Travel
  • Up to $120 annual dining credit: up to $10 monthly statement credit when you pay with the Amex Gold card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com , Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations
  • Up to $120 in annual Uber Cash : get $10 monthly in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S. when you add your Gold Card to your Uber account
  • No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees )
  • Access to Amex’s The Hotel Collection
  • Access to American Express transfer partners
  • $250 annual fee (see rates and fees )
  • No lounge access
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards ® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards ® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards ® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards ® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express ® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Find the Amex Gold 75k or 90k Welcome Bonus Offer
  • Benefits of the Amex Gold
  • Upgrade Amex Gold to Amex Platinum
  • Amex Gold Benefits for Military
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  • Amex Gold vs Delta Gold
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If you’re a business owner, see our article on Amex business credit cards that earn Membership Rewards points.

Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350 Upper Class Seat 9A from Aisle

Virgin Atlantic’s frequent flyer program is called Flying Club . One of the best ways to fly to London is to book Virgin Atlantic Upper Class . Specifically, its new Upper Class seats are flown regularly between New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX). You can also book Delta One with Virgin Points , but you can access better award availability on Virgin Atlantic’s own flights.

Hot Tip: The difference between redeeming Flying Blue miles and Virgin Points is that Flying Blue’s fuel surcharges on flights departing from the U.S. to London are much less than Virgin Atlantic’s fuel surcharges!

Book Awards With Virgin Atlantic Flying Club (Online)

Virgin Atlantic uses a region-based award chart for its own flights. Also, it employs peak and standard pricing. Here’s the standard award chart for one-way flights:

Here’s the peak award chart:

Here are the peak dates :

  • December 10-31, 2022
  • January 1-4, 2023
  • March 24 to April 17, 2023
  • June 18 to September 4, 2023
  • October 20-31, 2023
  • December 9-31, 2023

Just remember that you’ll be responsible for fuel surcharges in all cases.

Nonstop Routes Bookable With Virgin Points (Online)

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class

Virgin Atlantic offers flights to several U.S. hubs and gateways. Some of them include:

Earning Virgin Points

Virgin Atlantic is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy.

Amex, Bilt, Chase, and Citi and transfer at a 1:1 ratio, while Marriott Bonvoy transfers at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred.

Amex, Bilt, Chase, and Citi transfer almost instantly. Marriott Bonvoy will take around 1 business day to transfer points to Flying Club.

You can also earn Virgin Points directly from the Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard ® .

Recommended Citi Card

Citi Premier® Card

Citi Premier ® Card

Frequent flyers will enjoy 3x ThankYou Points at restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, air travel, and hotels.

The Citi Premier ® Card is an excellent option for anyone looking for an all-around travel rewards credit card. The card helps you earn points fast with great 3x bonus categories such as restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, airfare, and hotels. Plus, it offers access to airline and hotel transfer partners, doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, and has a reasonable annual fee!

  • 3x points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, airfare, and hotel purchases
  • Access to Citi transfer partners
  • Annual hotel credit
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee
  • Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou ® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, for a limited time, earn a total of 10 ThankYou ® Points per $1 spent on hotel, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024.
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Other Hotels
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 60,000 ThankYou ® Points are redeemable for $600 in gift cards redeemable for $600 in gift cards or travel rewards at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • APR: 21.24% - 29.24% Variable

Citi ThankYou Rewards

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Hot Tip: From walking and bus tours to shows, check out the best tours and activities in London .

Delta One Middle Seats

Delta’s SkyMiles program is often derided for the unannounced devaluations that tend to happen quite regularly, but there is still some value to be found in its award chart — which it doesn’t publish.

Book Awards With Delta SkyMiles (Online)

Booking your award flights to London with Delta SkyMiles actually gives you an additional airline option as Delta has an individual partnership with Virgin Atlantic outside of the SkyTeam alliance. While Delta does have plenty of issues as a frequent flyer program, you can search for and book award flights on its website.

Once you’re ready to redeem your SkyMiles, you’ll want to follow these steps to make a booking:

  • Visit Delta SkyMiles’ homepage .
  • On the homepage, you’ll see a search banner at the top.
  • Check off the box that says Shop with miles .
  • Type in the departure and origin cities.
  • Choose One Way, Round-Trip, or Multi-City .
  • Enter your travel dates and number of passengers.
  • Expand the search by clicking the button called  Advanced search just underneath the passenger count dropdown box.
  • If looking for business class, select  Delta One under Best Fares For .
  • Click the red arrow button to search.
  • Find the flight details that work for you.
  • Select the flight, redeem your miles, enter the travelers’ information, and pay for any taxes and fees using a credit card.

We’ve detailed the redemption rates you should look for when booking one-way awards to London (or anywhere in Europe, for that matter) on either Delta or Virgin Atlantic with SkyMiles. The round-trip mileage requirements are double what is listed below. As with all other award flights to London, the taxes and fees required on the return segment will be significantly more.

While the taxes and fees are the same between Delta and Virgin Atlantic award tickets, Delta One is significantly more expensive than a Virgin Atlantic Upper Class ticket with Delta SkyMiles. Unfortunately, it gets even worse if you want to book Virgin Atlantic Upper Class within 21 days of departure. Once within this window, a one-way award booking will cost 195,000 SkyMiles.

The way Delta has set up its SkyMiles program leaves you with a couple of decisions to make if you want to fly in business class. You can spend the extra miles to try the fun environment of Virgin Atlantic Upper Class and its popular Clubhouse lounges, or save a big chunk of miles and fly Delta One.

To give you some context, the round-trip difference of 50,000 miles between booking Delta One and Upper Class is enough for a one-way economy class award to London or anywhere in Europe.

Hot Tip:  For some other award booking options, check out our best ways to redeem Delta SkyMiles .

Nonstop Routes Bookable With Delta SkyMiles

Delta DTW LHR

While it’s tough to trust that Delta won’t devalue its unpublished award chart without warning, if you have a nice chunk of SkyMiles , you can easily book a nonstop flight to London. For those not living in one of Delta’s hub cities, you might even be able to connect for no extra miles.

These are the U.S. airports with nonstop Delta flights to London:

  • Detroit (DTW)
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP)
  • Salt Lake City (SLC)
  • Seattle (SEA)

Virgin Atlantic also operates several nonstop routes from the U.S., mentioned previously, that can be booked with Delta SkyMiles.

Earning Delta SkyMiles

Like ANA Mileage Club, Delta has also partnered with American Express Membership Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy. Amex transfers at a 1:1 ratio almost instantly, and Marriott Bonvoy transfers in 1 to 2 business days at a 3:1 ratio.

In addition to these options, you can earn SkyMiles directly with one of the co-branded Delta credit cards provided by American Express.

Because Delta tends to devalue its program without informing SkyMiles members first, you should only earn SkyMiles if you know what you want to do with them. This shouldn’t be an issue as you can earn Amex Membership Rewards faster thanks to numerous bonus categories, and they transfer to Delta SkyMiles almost instantly.

Hot Tip:  Check out our favorite ways to earn tons of Delta SkyMiles for more ideas.

American Airlines Flagship First Class

If you’re looking for the cheapest mileage requirements, look no further than our second Oneworld alliance option, Japan Airlines. There’s only 1 exception to this: when American Airlines has off-peak economy award prices. Other than that, Japan Airlines is the best option if you want to use as few miles as possible.

Unfortunately, Japan Airlines miles are some of the hardest miles to earn , which is why they’re more valuable.

Booking Awards With Japan Airlines Mileage Bank (Online)

As with the American Airlines AAdvantage program, you can use Japan Airlines Mileage Bank to book flights on either American Airlines or British Airways. However, you should stick to flights operated by American Airlines so you can avoid the egregious carrier-imposed surcharges passed on by British Airways.

Japan Airlines doesn’t allow you to book or search all partner awards online. Still, you’ll be able to search for most airlines, and fortunately, you will be able to both search and book awards online when booking flights on American Airlines or British Airways.

Japan Airlines’ online website is a bit clunky, so you’ll want to follow these directions very carefully to search for award availability:

  • Visit Japan Airlines’ partner award booking page .
  • In the top-right corner, click Log in .
  • Enter your JAL Membership Number and PIN .
  • Select  Round-trip or  One-way .
  • Select the  Partner Airline .
  • Enter your outbound and/or inbound travel information.
  • Choose the booking class and number of passengers.
  • Select the flight you like, redeem your miles, and use a credit card for any miscellaneous taxes and fees.

Unlike the other programs we have looked at so far, Japan Airlines uses a distance-based award chart that is broken into tiers. The number of miles you fly (you have to add each segment of your journey) will determine the number of Mileage Bank miles that will be required for an award ticket.

Below are the round-trip requirements for both Mileage Bank miles and taxes and fees on flights from New York (JFK) to London:

You can refer to this chart for the one-way requirements on this flight:

If you are traveling from the West Coast, Japan Airlines Mileage Bank will still have the best redemption rates, though they aren’t quite as good compared to award tickets from New York.

Additionally, because Japan Airlines Mileage Bank uses a distance-based award chart for partners, one-way redemption rates from the West Coast won’t be as good as booking with American AAdvantage miles.

With a distance-based award chart, you also need to remember that any connecting flights will add to the total flight distance used to calculate the number of miles required for your award ticket.

Hot Tip:  Check out other awesome ways to redeem Japan Airlines Mileage Bank miles for some inspiration!

Nonstop Routes Bookable With Japan Airlines Mileage Bank Miles

British Airways booking with Japan Airlines miles

Booking one of the numerous nonstop flights from the U.S. to London on British Airways with Mileage Bank miles is a great way to get to London. The 1 caveat to keep in mind is that Japan Airlines uses a distance-based award chart for partner bookings.

As a result, if you need to connect to one of American Airlines’ hub airports, your award ticket might require more mileage. Make sure you consider the impact of a connection on the total number of miles required for your award booking.

Earning Japan Airlines Mileage Bank Miles

While the redemption rates with Japan Airlines Mileage Bank are often quite good, these miles are some of the hardest to earn.

You can  earn Marriott Bonvoy points  and transfer those to Japan Airlines at a transfer rate of 3:1. Plus, for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points that you transfer, you’ll receive a bonus of 5,000 Japan Airlines miles.

We cover the large number of Marriott credit cards available in our detailed guide

Hot Tip:  Take a look at our favorite ways to earn more Japan Airlines Mileage Bank miles .

United Polaris cabin 787 9 dreamliner

Our second Star Alliance option is United Airlines MileagePlus . While it doesn’t have as competitive redemption rates as ANA Mileage Club, particularly for business class award tickets, it does open up different points-earning options.

Although you’ll generally pay a premium with United MileagePlus on business class seats, you’ll get the added benefit of accessing enhanced award availability on United Polaris class .

Book Awards With United Airlines MileagePlus (Online)

As we mentioned earlier, United Airlines is the only Star Alliance option to fly directly from the U.S. to London. While not necessarily the best product on the market, the lack of carrier-imposed surcharges makes United a solid choice when booking to London, so you can save some serious cash. United also makes it easy to search for and book award tickets online so you won’t have to worry about making any phone calls.

United Airlines’ online search and booking portal is one of the easiest to use. Follow these simple directions to redeem United miles:

  • Go to United’s homepage .
  • On the homepage, you’ll see a search box.
  • Check off the box that says  Book with miles.
  • Choose  Roundtrip or  One-way .
  • Enter the origin and destination airports.
  • Select the booking date(s), number of passengers, and cabin class.
  • Click  Find flights .
  • Log in using your  United MileagePlus number and password .
  • Choose the flight you wish to book.
  • Enter your traveler information and book the ticket with miles. Pay for taxes and fees using a credit card.

You can see the one-way redemption rates plus the taxes and fees in the chart below:

The 60,000 MileagePlus miles required for a round-trip economy class award are not far from the 55,000 Mileage Club miles required by ANA, but ANA (at 88,000 points for round-trip business class) is a much better choice for business class if you have the necessary points.

Hot Tip:  Check out some other great ways to book award flights with United MileagePlus miles .

Nonstop Routes Bookable With United MileagePlus Miles

United Saver-level redemption in Polaris Class

United Airlines’ MileagePlus program is a great way to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book award flights to London. It doesn’t have the best redemption rates, but the program is easy to use and won’t require more miles if you need a connecting flight. As we mentioned earlier, many of United’s nonstop routes feature the newest Polaris class product.

Airports with nonstop United flights to London:

  • Houston (IAH)

Earning United MileagePlus Miles

United MileagePlus has a big advantage when it comes to earning miles for awards, though. You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards at a 1:1 ratio, and transfers process almost instantly. Additionally, United miles are easier to earn, thanks to co-branded cards provided by Chase.

These 2 methods provide you with easy ways to earn United miles directly in addition to the Ultimate Rewards points you earn and transfer.

You can also transfer Bilt Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio to United MileagePlus almost instantly.

Lastly, you can transfer Marriott Bonvoy points at a 3:1.1 ratio. Also, for every 60,000 points you transfer from Marriott to United, you’ll earn a bonus of 5,000 United miles! Transfers take around 3 business days.

Hot Tip:  We’ve written about many great ways to earn United MileagePlus miles !

The above carriers will generally be the go-to options when booking awards from the U.S. to London. However, there are a couple of other interesting ways to book business class awards.

If you were wondering when we would discuss using British Airways Executive Club Avios, we’re about to dive in. Additionally, we’ll show you another SkyTeam alternative with the Korean Air SKYPASS program .

British Airways Executive Club (Online)

British Airways First Class 787-9

As we discussed above, booking round-trip British Airways awards to London from the U.S. will cost you a ton of cash. Unfortunately, that is also the case when booking with British Airways Avios, even if your flight is operated by American Airlines.

However, there is a special circumstance in which these high carrier-imposed surcharges might be worth it. To really make using Avios worth it for your trip to London, you’ll want to use the British Airways Travel Together Ticket .

This awesome perk is available to cardholders of the British Airways Visa Signature ® Card who spend $30,000 on the card within a calendar year. Once you have earned the Travel Together Ticket, you have up to 2 years to use it for a round-trip award booking originating in the U.S.

With the Travel Together Ticket, you can book an award ticket and bring a companion along for the price of the taxes and fees. This means if you book a round-trip first class award ticket on British Airways from Los Angeles (LAX) for 200,000 Avios and just over $1,800 in taxes and fees, your companion can sit in first class with you for no extra miles — just the taxes and fees. That’s 2 first class tickets that would normally cost at least $14,000 for only about $3,600 in taxes and fees.

Hot Tip:  For some more great ways to book, check out our best ways to redeem British Airways Avios for award travel.

From Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Newark (EWR), New York (JFK), or Washington D.C. (IAD), you will need 136,000 Avios to book round-trip first class awards on British Airways; from many other U.S. cities, you’ll need 170,000 Avios.

If you prefer, you can book a business class award ticket for 100,000 Avios round-trip from Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Newark (EWR), New York (JFK), or Washington D.C. (IAD). That price goes up to 125,000 Avios round-trip from anywhere else in the U.S., but the taxes and fees for each person will be the same as those on a first class award.

You can book your Travel Together ticket online unless you want to add a stopover or open-jaw to your itinerary. In that case, you will need to call British Airways to complete the booking.

With numerous nonstop British Airways flights from the U.S. to London, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a departure airport. Just remember that British Airways Avios utilize a distance-based award chart, so connecting flights could increase the number of Avios needed to book your award ticket.

Here’s how you can search for availability using British Airways’ search engine:

  • Visit the British Airways website .
  • In the top-right corner, log in using your British Airways Executive Club ID and password.
  • On the top ribbon, hover over  Book and click  Book a flight with Avios .
  • Enter your trip date(s), cities, number of passengers, and class of service.
  • If applicable, check off the box that says  One way only .
  • Click  Get flights .
  • Select the flight you’d like to book.
  • Confirm the ticket, enter the traveler information, and pay for the tickets using Avios while using a credit card for taxes and fees.

Don’t forget that British Airways is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards — so you’ll have plenty of ways to earn the necessary Avios to ensure you have enough for an awesome award booking.

Hot Tip:  Check out some of the best ways to earn tons of British Airways Avios so you’re ready to book your Travel Together Ticket!

Earning British Airways Avios

Earning British Airways Avios is easy, especially when you consider that it is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One Miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy.

Amex, Bilt, Capital One, and Chase transfer at a 1:1 ratio almost instantly, while Marriott Bonvoy transfers in around 1 business day at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred to British Airways.

You can also earn British Airways Avios directly through the co-branded British Airways Visa card:

British Airways Visa Signature® Card

British Airways Visa Signature ® Card

This card is great for British Airways frequent flyers, and traveling couples will find great value in the Travel Together Ticket.

The British Airways Visa Signature ® Card is a stellar option for travelers who regularly travel with the airline. From all of the Avios the card helps you earn, to a 10% discount off cash tickets, and the award flight statement credits, you can get tons of value out of the card each year.

  • 3x Avios per $1 on British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and LEVEL purchases
  • 2x Avios per $1 on hotel accommodations purchased directly through hotels
  • 1x Avios per $1 on all other purchases
  • 10% off British Airways flights starting in the U.S. (when booking through the designated website)
  • Travel Together Ticket after $30,000 in card spend in a calendar year
  • Up to $600 in award flight statement credits each year
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Lost luggage insurance
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Does not earn transferable rewards
  • Earn 75,000 Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
  • Earn 3 Avios per $1 spent on purchases with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, and LEVEL.
  • Earn 2 Avios per $1 spent on hotel accommodations when purchased directly with the hotel. Plus earn 1 Avios per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • 10% off British Airways flights starting in the US when you book through the website provided in your welcome materials.
  • Every calendar year you make $30,000 in purchases on your British Airways Visa card, you’ll earn a Travel Together Ticket good for two years.
  • Pay no foreign transaction fees when you travel abroad.
  • Simply tap to pay with your contactless British Airways Visa Signature Card. Just look for the contactless symbol at checkout. It's fast, easy and secure!
  • Airline Credit Cards

British Airways Executive Club

  • Best Ways To Earn British Airways Avios
  • Best Ways To Redeem British Airways Avios
  • The Best Ways to Use 10,000 British Airways Avios
  • Ways to Use British Airways Avios Without Huge Fuel Surcharges

Korean Air SKYPASS (Online/Phone Booking)

Korean Air SKYPASS is an interesting SkyTeam option for booking awards to London. It has solid redemption rates, but the surcharges on tickets are particularly steep (especially with economy class bookings). For that reason, we don’t recommend using Korean Air SKYPASS if you are flying economy class.

You’ll notice in the chart above that there isn’t a big difference in the taxes and fees on a round-trip business class award and an economy class award. While the taxes and fees for business class aren’t cheap, it’s not such a bad deal when you consider that the same seat with cash on Delta could cost over $4,000.

Delta operates nonstop flights from the hub airports discussed above. You can book nonstop award flights from any of these airports or connect from other airports for no extra miles.

Hot Tip:  Take a look at some other awesome ways to redeem Korean Air SKYPASS miles for a little travel inspiration!

You can search for award space on Korean Air’s website, but make sure you select that you are searching for a SkyTeam award (otherwise the search will only look for Korean Air flights). In fact, it won’t even let you choose the airports you need since Korean Air doesn’t fly between U.S. airports and London.

Once you find the space online, it’s easy to book. To get started doing online searches, follow this process:

  • Visit Korean Air’s website .
  • On the homepage, you’ll see a search box. Click the button that says SkyTeam Award to the right of Award booking .
  • You’ll be prompted to log in. Enter your Korean Air SKYPASS information and click  Log in .
  • Select either  Multi-City  or  Round Trip .
  • Enter the appropriate airport codes, travel dates, and cabin class.
  • Select the  Passenger names and click  USD in the Payment Currency section.
  • Click  Find Flights .
  • After your search is done, click the flights you’d like to book. Pay with Korean Air miles and use a credit card for any taxes and fees.

Earning Korean Air SKYPASS Miles

Korean Air miles aren’t exactly the easiest out there to earn. Still, Korean Air is transfer partners with 1 major rewards currency: Marriott Bonvoy. You can transfer Marriott Bonvoy points at a 3:1 ratio and unfortunately, it may take a while for the points to transfer. Sometimes, it can take up to 19 days to transfer the points!

London Heathrow Terminal 5

Now that we have taken a look at some of the best ways to book award flights, we need to discuss an important aspect of booking trips to London: the Air Passenger Duty (APD) fee that applies to flights departing from the U.K.

The cost of this fee is determined by both your class of service and the distance of your flight. Currently, the APD fees are as follows:

Another increase to the APD is coming on April 1, 2023, for premium cabin long-haul flights:

Fortunately, these fees are not imposed on flights landing or connecting in the U.K. If you want to avoid these large fees, you can take a short flight to another country within Europe and book your return from there. Since the APD fee is much more manageable on short-haul routes, you can pay that instead of the long-haul APD fee.

Keep in mind that these will have to be separate bookings. If you book a flight back to the U.S. that connects in another European country, you will still get hit with the long-haul APD fee.

It’s no surprise that London is a popular destination for many Americans, with its rich history and ease of travel thanks to our common language. For those on the East Coast, it’s also one of the closest international destinations available.

London also has the benefit of being one of the easier destinations to reach with an award ticket. With tons of airlines flying nonstop routes from the U.S., you’ll be able to avoid connections in Europe so you can have more time in London and less time in airports if you so choose.

Even better, 7 major transferable points programs — American Express Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Brex Rewards, Capital One Miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy — can help you get there thanks to their airline partnerships.

If you are booking an economy class award from the West Coast, we suggest you consider using 45,000 American AAdvantage miles to fly American Airlines during its off-peak season as you can easily earn the necessary miles through its co-branded Citi and Barclays offerings.

From the East Coast, using American AAdvantage miles during its off-peak time frame is still a solid redemption, but JAL Mileage Bank can book the same flight on American Airlines for 45,000 miles.

For those who want to book a business class award, ANA Mileage Club offers the best rate at 88,000 miles round-trip (one-way award bookings are not permitted) on United Airlines. As a transfer partner of Amex Membership Rewards, it won’t be too difficult to earn the necessary miles.

Now, as we discussed, taxes and fees for round-trip bookings are steep because of the Air Passenger Duty fees. This is especially frustrating for business class and first class award tickets, and even worse if you book on an airline that hits you with steep carrier-imposed surcharges (such as British Airways).

Even with these concerns, though, you can see that there are plenty of ways to book award tickets and save a ton of cash on your flights to London. Using the information above, you’ll have no trouble figuring out which option is best for you.

The information regarding the Citi ® / AAdvantage ® Platinum Select ® World Elite™ Mastercard ® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Bold ® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless ® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. The information regarding the United Club℠ Business Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card ® from American Express, click here . For rates and fees of the American Express ® Gold Card, click  here . For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles ® Gold American Express Card, click here . For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles ® Platinum American Express Card, click here . For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles ® Reserve American Express Card, click here . For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express ® Card, click here . For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant ® American Express ® card, click here .

Frequently Asked Questions

Which airlines include carrier-imposed surcharges on award flights to london.

If you book a flight on British Airways, you will be required to pay carrier-imposed surcharges, regardless of what frequent flyer program you use. Additionally, if you book a flight on American Airlines with British Airways Avios, you will be required to pay carrier-imposed surcharges.

Korean Air requires you to pay the surcharges on Delta flights to London. It’s not a bad way to book business class award tickets, but you shouldn’t book economy class with the Korean Air SKYPASS program.

ANA Mileage Club passes on carrier-imposed surcharges when booking award tickets with many partners, but not on flights with United Airlines, so you won’t have to worry about that when flying to London.

What is the fewest number of miles you can use to book an economy class award flight to London?

Virgin Atlantic will usually require the fewest miles from the East Coast for an economy class award ticket, at as low as 20,000 points round-trip. That said, the taxes and fees on these awards are often quite a bit higher than other airlines.

What is the fewest number of miles required to fly business class to London?

From the East Coast, Japan Airlines requires 80,000 Mileage Bank miles to book a round-trip business class ticket on either British Airways or American Airlines.

To fly United Airlines, you can use 88,000 ANA Mileage Club miles for a round-trip award.

You can book an award seat in Delta One (business class) with 80,000 Korean Air SKYPASS miles.

What is the fewest number miles required to fly first class to London?

If you want to fly first class to London, you will need to fly either American Airlines or British Airways — they’re the only carriers to offer a first class product between the U.S. and London.

When booking with American AAdvantage miles or Japan Airlines Mileage Bank miles, you will want to make sure your flights are operated by American Airlines to keep your cash cost low.

Generally, the only time it makes sense to book a British Airways first class award is by using the British Airways Travel Together Ticket so you can get 2 first class seats for the miles of 1. You will have to pay very steep taxes and fees for each ticket, which will come out to around $3,600 total.

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About Stephen Au

Stephen is an established voice in the credit card space, with over 70 to his name. His work has been in publications like The Washington Post, and his Au Points and Awards Consulting Services is used by hundreds of clients.

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40 per cent off half-term weekend.

Enjoy big savings on self-catering getaways

Half-term is on the horizon and with  Shorefield Holidays  families will find a huge 40 per cent off self-catering getaways in Dorset , Hampshire, and the New Forest for the weekend of 16 February. There are also midweek breaks from just £99 between 19 February and 29 March at Forest Edge Holiday Park in St Leonards and, better still, this month furry friends go free. 

Save £250 in the Live Happy sale

Alicante awaits – and at a lower cost

Right now you can save up to £250 in  Tui’s Live Happy sale  on summer holidays departing between May and October 2024 using code “SALE”. The package discount for holidaymakers is valid until 29 February 2024 with £0 deposits and free kids’ places also available on select Tui getaways. There’s even the chance to save up to £300 on Greece and Turkey holidays with code “EXTRA50”, and an additional £20 off for members.

20 per cent off selected hotel stays

easyHotel’s Big Orange Price Drop means this budget option is even cheaper

Champion of budget convenience  easyHotel  is offering up to 20 per cent off selected European hotel stays this February when code “ORANGE” is applied at checkout. The discount is live for one week only from 7 to 14 February, coinciding with the day of love itself, for holidays, including Paris and Amsterdam, taken before 31 March 2024.

Princess Cruises

30 per cent off sailings and £50pp deposits.

Princess Cruises has 30 per cent off sailings until March 2024

There’s a chance to set sail for 30 per cent less with  Princess Cruises’  sale on all-inclusive holiday packages with itineraries featuring the likes of the Mediterranean, Alaska and Mexico. Selected 2025 departures benefit from the offer, and low deposits from £50pp mean securing your dream floating holiday is convenient and budget-friendly. 

Crystal Ski

Last-minute ski deals from £416pp.

Slide past surcharges with a last minute Crystal Ski trip

Crystal Ski is offering a range of  last-minute deals  to various European ski resorts in countries that include Bulgaria , Austria and France . Prices to hit the pistes start as low as £416pp for a week-long B&B break in Bjelasnica, Bosnia, with seven nights in La Massana, Andorra, including a free child lift pass coming in at £449pp. 

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Condé Nast Traveler

Why I Downgraded My Delta SkyMiles Platinum Amex and Returned to the Gold Card

M y first travel rewards credit card was the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card. I applied for it in 2018 and immediately used it to book a trip to Seattle from my home airport, Raleigh-Durham International. A few years later, I upgraded to the SkyMiles Platinum to earn a little bit more per dollar spent, take advantage of an annual companion certificate, and access the SkyClub lounge at a special pay-per-visit rate.

However, in late 2023, Delta Air Lines announced changes to how you earn status and implemented further restrictions on who can enter the SkyClub. SkyMiles Platinum cardholders can no longer pay to enter the lounge, which was a big selling point to justify the annual fee. After that announcement, I downgraded my card to the SkyMiles Gold, which still has plenty of benefits.

Those wouldn't be the last adjustments to the cards, though: American Express just announced a couple of major changes to their suite of co-branded credit cards with Delta, including the SkyMiles Gold. These changes are mainly good news and will be appreciated by many Delta loyalists, including myself. Read on for what you need to know when considering the Gold card.

Condé Nast Traveler has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Condé Nast Traveler and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Compensation does not impact how or where cards appear on the site. We don't review or include all companies, or all available products. Moreover, the editorial content on this page was not provided by any of the companies mentioned and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are entirely those of Condé Nast Traveler's editorial team.

Why it’s worth it

I find the in-flight experience on Delta Air Lines to be one of the best on both domestic and international routes. That’s why Delta is regularly voted as the best airline in the US . It’s no secret that I am a Delta loyalist, so having a co-branded credit card just makes sense. This is not to say that the SkyMiles Gold is the only card in my wallet, nor should be the only one in yours. Other cards offer more comprehensive insurance and travel protections, more points per dollar on bonus category spending, and additional travel perks.

This card pairs well with a premium travel credit card, like the Capital One Venture X , which gives you lounge access through Priority Pass, an annual travel credit, and bonus points when you book through Capital One Travel. There are other entry-level cards, like the Citi Premier or the Chase Sapphire Preferred , that can pair nicely with the SkyMiles Gold card to fill in some of the gaps in earning potential, too.

Card’s benefits and perks

The Delta SkyMiles Gold card is an entry-level card, so you can’t expect tons of premium benefits. However, there are a few notable perks that Delta loyalists can take advantage of. One of the best is that cardholders get their first checked bag free on all Delta flights, regardless of the fare. A checked bag on a domestic flight for someone sitting in the Main Cabin or Delta Comfort+ costs about $30. With an annual fee of just $150, you'd need to take three round-trip flights each year with a checked bag to fully cover the cost of having this card.

Similarly, if you spend $10,000 on purchases within one calendar year, you will receive a $200 Delta flight credit for future travel. This means you can also cover the cost of your annual fee simply by using your card for your everyday purchases. One of my favorite perks of the SkyMiles Gold card is the TakeOff 15 feature, which allows you to take 15 percent off when booking award travel on Delta-operated flights (be sure to book directly on Delta’s website or app, and know that partner-operated flights aren’t eligible for the discount), helping you earn substantial savings.

A brand-new cardholder benefit is up to $100 as a statement credit after booking prepaid hotels or vacation rentals through Delta Stays. Other perks include 20 percent off in-flight purchases, priority boarding in Main Cabin 1, and secondary car rental loss and damage insurance. When downgrading from the SkyMiles Platinum, I chose the SkyMiles Gold over the SkyMiles Blue primarily because of the TakeOff 15 and free checked bag perks, which are invaluable to me as a frequent flier. I find the small annual fee is more than justified by these benefits.

Current welcome offer

New cardholders can earn a solid 70,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in purchases within six months of account opening. This is a high welcome offer for the card and is easily attainable—you just need to spend $500 per month for six months to reach it. If you’re considering the card, you may want to act quickly, as this welcome offer ends on March 27, 2024. New cardholders also get a $0 introductory annual fee before paying $150 each year after that. So, you can enjoy the benefits for an entire year before paying your annual fee.

Learn more about applying for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card.

How to earn points

The SkyMiles Gold has a pretty straightforward earning structure. Cardholders earn two miles per dollar at restaurants worldwide, on takeout and delivery in the US, at US supermarkets, and on purchases made directly with Delta. All other purchases earn one mile per dollar. This is my go-to card for any Delta purchase. As a digital nomad , I’m rarely in the US, so I can’t take advantage of the bonus points at grocery stores or delivery services. I also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred , which gives me three points per dollar at restaurants, so I don’t use my SkyMiles Gold card for these purchases, either.

If you’re new to the world of points and miles, you can certainly use your SkyMiles Gold card at restaurants and supermarkets until you have a card in your wallet that accumulates higher earnings. I prefer to keep the card exclusively for Delta purchases.

How to spend/redeem points

The primary way to use your points is on Delta flights. This year, I plan on using my points to visit a friend in Melbourne , Australia, for her birthday. A one-way business class flight from Paris (CDG) to Melbourne (MEL) with one layover in Hanoi, Vietnam (HAN), costs just 90,000 miles, plus €131 in taxes and fees. This is over 24 hours of travel, but I can sleep comfortably on a lie-flat bed to be perfectly rested before the birthday festivities. Unfortunately, this flight is operated by Vietnam Airlines, so I don’t get an additional 15 percent off for being a cardholder, but the mileage is reasonable enough to justify the spending. The same flight in cash costs €2,656, giving a valuation of almost three cents per point.

You can also use your rewards on Delta Experiences . Through the website, you can bid on different experiences, separated into Entertainment, Food & Wine, Sports, and Travel categories. At the time of writing, you can bid on entrance to the 2024 Foxfield Spring Races for as little as 15,000 miles or an 11-day cruise around Tahiti for 238,000 miles. This works the same way as a regular cash auction but uses your SkyMiles.

What I wish I knew before signing up

The Delta SkyMiles Gold card is excellent for Delta frequent flyers, but should be paired with other cards for maximum value. When I originally signed up for this card in 2018, I used it as my only travel rewards card for about a year before I signed up for another card. If you do this, you’re leaving a lot of miles on the table for non-bonus category spending: gas stations, Ubers, other travel outside of Delta flights, and more.

Also, American Express SkyMiles cards come with a baggage insurance plan. This plan only covers baggage that is lost, damaged, or stolen. It does not cover baggage that is delayed. I didn’t realize this distinction at first. Last year, after traveling from Mexico City to Vienna, my suitcase was lost. I purchased around $500 worth of clothing and toiletries, thinking I would be covered. However, my suitcase was found about five days later, which meant I was not eligible to be reimbursed. It’s essential to always read the fine print for every aspect of a credit card, especially ahead of travel.

Condé Nast Traveler has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Condé Nast Traveler and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

See rates and fees for the American Express cards listed: Delta SkyMiles Gold Card , Delta SkyMiles Platinum Card

Why I Downgraded My Delta SkyMiles Platinum Amex and Returned to the Gold Card

NEWS... BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT

The European ski resort with snow and £3 beer as holidays turn to sludge

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Lake Bled, Slovenia

A mild winter in Europe has led to a startling lack of snow, leaving ski slopes transformed to bare rock and sludge , but one resort is set to have lots of snow and lots of cheap beer .

Bled in Slovenia has a reputation for being affordable and according to the weather forecast this weekend, skiing fans will be pleased.

Laura Evans-Fisk, head of digital engagement at  eurochange  tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Bled is a brilliant place to ski, especially if you’re keen to explore somewhere other than popular destinations in the Alps,’ she says, highlighting that this location is also affordable for beers.

‘The ski resorts tend to be much smaller than those in France and Italy, but that is by no means a bad thing, as they tend to have a friendly, homely atmosphere. 

‘The après also tends to be a lot cheaper, with local beers costing less than £3.’

Skier on a European ski slope

There are 1.3km of slopes available and three transport lifts for guests. The winter sports area is located between the elevations of 503m and 634m and has seven runs of easy pistes for beginners. The closest airport is Ljubljana.

Flights from London Gatwick to Ljubljana costs £54.99pp one way in February and tend to stay around this price range for the other months.

During the main skiing season (mid-December until late March) day tickets for adults tend to be around €17 for adults and €9 for children. Opening times can vary depending on weather conditions, days of the week and public holidays but tend to be between 9am and 4pm.

This weekend, 25.8cm of snow is expected to fall on Saturday and 22.3cm on Sunday.

@avilacatte Slovenia is a must in every travel list. #slovenia #lakebled #snow #winter #travelbucketlist #traveltips #wintertravel ♬ the beach x another love DJ Lilli – DJ LILLI

The lack of snow elsewhere has been blamed on high temperatures as a result of the climate crisis .

‘A crucial detail is missing for a ski facility: snow,’ complained Vincenzo Regnini, president of the company that runs Mount Terminillo in Italy , said.

At Vincenzo’s resort, ski-lifts have been abandoned on the grass of the 7,274ft location, which is 62 miles from Rome.

It’s not just Mount Terminillo that has been impacted, some 90% of Italy’s pistes now rely on artificial snow to ensure an even distribution, according to data from Italian Green lobby Legambiente. In Austria 70% of pistes rely on fake snow, as do 50% in Switzerland and 39% in France . 

Monte Terminillo is lacking snow in February 2024, making thing difficult for skiing

Because the average skiing holiday can cost more than £3,500 for two people, the one thing you’ll want to see when you hit the slopes is snow. 

So, here are six more ski resorts you can visit that are predicted to have significant fresh snowfall in the coming days, according to the European Snow Forecast .

Pila, Italy

Pila, Italy

This resort sits high above the Aosta valley and is home to slops up to 2700m. According to the official website, this ski resort is one of the ‘snowsure destinations in the Alps’.

The nearest airport is Turin and the closest train station is Aosta. It’s a good place for intermediates, but begninners and advanced skinners should be able to have fun too. Flights from London to Turin can be booked on British Airways for around £40-£45 during most months.

Laura says: ‘The Roman town of Aosta is home to lots of incredible ancient ruins too, so it’s a great place to incorporate a spot of culture into your ski trip.’

How much snow? This weekend 46.9cm of snow is expected to fall on Saturday and 46.9cm on Sunday.

Gressoney, Italy

Gressoney, Italy

Made up of two villages, Gressoney is at the centre of the renowned Monterosa ski circuit. One of the villages, Gressoney-La-Trinité is said to be very charming and a total feast for the eyes.

This resort grants access to Monterosa’s 180km of pistes from 1,200m to 2970m. The closest airport is also Turin at just an hour and 30 minutes away. Ryanair, British Airways, easyJet, Lufthansa offer flights from the UK, with prices ranging between £34-£150.

‘This resort is much better suited to experienced skiers, due to its challenging off-piste areas and epic red runs,’ Lauren explains.

How much snow? This weekend 46.9cm of snow is expected to fall on Saturday and 46.8cm on Sunday.

Saas Fee, Switzerland

Twilight over the famous Saas Fee village in the alps in Canton Valais, Switzerland

Saas Fee is a stunning resort village in the Swiss Alps close to the Italian border. It boasts 150km of pistes and has a resort height of 1,800m and is best suited for intermediate skiers. Most of the 100km ski area is between 2,500m and 3,500m.

‘Nestled in the heart of the Swiss Alps, Saas-Fee ticks plenty of boxes for skiers. Its range of pistes means it’s a great choice for beginners or advanced skiers,’ says Laura.

Sion is the closest airport but you can organise travel from Geneva. Trip Advisor is currently offering deals for flights from London to Sion Airport from £522pp.

‘The resort sits above the quaint, cute village which is bursting with traditional Swiss charm,’ says Laura.

How much snow? This weekend 24.5cm of snow is expected to fall on Saturday and 29.6cm on Sunday.

Alpe d’Huez, France

Alpe d'Huez, France

The main town sits 1869m above sea level at the centre of the Oisans region in the French Alps. The highest point the resort reaches up to 3,300m.

The resort has something for people at every ability level and is great for skiing and snowboarding. It’s even open and busy during the summer months. Plus there’s an ice-rink, sports centre and outdoor pool.

Alpe d’Huez is closest to Grenoble airport but if you can’t get a flight there, Geneva airport is your next best bet. Flights on British Airways from London to Grenoble are available from £46 one way this month.

How much snow? This weekend 25.5cm of snow is expected to fall on Saturday and 26.1cm on Sunday.

Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

Kranjska Gora, Slovenia

Travellers heading to Slovenia should consider Kranjska, which has a resort range of 838m.

Klagenfurt Airport is the closest, with it being located just 40 minutes away, but if you’re unable to book flights there, you can consider flying to Trieste Airport in Italy and driving for an hour to the resort.

Tui offers holiday deals to the beautiful mountain town in the Julian Alps starting from £677pp.

How much snow? This weekend, 34.7cm of snow is expected to fall on Saturday and 24.9cm on Sunday.

Les Deux Alpes, France

Les Deux Alpes, France

Located in Isère, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, this gorgeous village sits at 1,650m and lifts run up to 3,600m. It’s the home of the skiable glacier in Europe and is France’s second oldest ski resort behind Chamonix

‘Les Deux Alpes is one of the most reliable areas in the Alps for snow, as it is one of the highest peaks in the area,’ Laura says.

‘This resort is one of the best places to experience the true beauty of the Alps, its verticality means you can link turns on a track starting from the glacier at 3,600m, all the way down to the village of Mont de Lans without using the ski lifts.’

Grenoble Airport is the closest, followed by Chambery and Lyon Airports. It usually takes around two hours to transfer from Grenoble to the resort.

RyanAir offers flights from airports in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol from £14.99 one way for one person. EasyJet also has flights available from £14.99.

How much snow? This weekend 27.7cm of snow is expected to fall on Saturday and 24cm on Sunday.

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MORE : The ski resort where a lift pass costs less than £30 a day and beer is just £1.17

MORE : How to grab seven nights skiing in the Swiss mountains for £519

MORE : ‘Fairytale’ city that’s 1,500 years old is one of Europe’s hidden gems

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National Geographic unveils best travel destinations for 2024: See full list

Kenya, kyoto, and paris, west virginia, alaska, and niagara falls all landed on national geographic's list of the best places to travel to in 2024. but this year there's a fun new twist: experiences.

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Looking for exciting locations to explore this year? From diving with sharks on Australia's Coral Coast to rafting the white rapids of West Virginia, National Geographic has some unique ideas for you with its annual Best of the World 2024 list .

The list, released first to USA TODAY on Tuesday, includes top destinations in the world and lesser-known ones. They range from Paris and Niagara Falls to the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia and archeological sites on the Spanish island of Menorca.

Unlike previous years, National Geographic is emphasizing must-do experiences at each destination, instead of just listing out locations. And in another step away from previous editions , the publication has added rankings to help readers prioritize their bucket list.

"I'm so excited about this," said National Geographic Editor-in-Chief Nathan Lump at an exclusive preview in New York last week. "We've really extended it to be bigger than ever before. And we just think that is a really, really great way to serve our travelers who are looking for great ideas all the time."

Lump said the list was being released on Tuesday to coincide with National Vacation Day, the last Tuesday of every January.

Learn more: Best travel insurance

Millions of vacation days go to waste every year, and Lump said that he hopes that this year's list will inspire readers to get out of their comfort zone and explore the world.

The list of the top 20 travel experiences is curated by National Geographic explorers, photographers, and editors. It's “a celebration” of “travel’s power to transform us and our connections with one another," the magazine said.

What are the best places to visit/experience in 2024?

National Geographic’s top travel experiences for the year are:

  • Horseback safari in Kenya.
  • Olympic Marathon in Paris.
  • Ski tour through UNESCO sites in Georgia.
  • Bear-watching at Katmai National Park, Alaska.
  • Live music in Kyoto, Japan.
  • Magdalena River Cruise in Colombia.
  • Road trip on Route 66 in New Mexico.
  • Explore ancient rock art in Algeria.
  • Dive with sharks on Australia's Coral Coast.
  • Volcano hiking in Panama.
  • Observe the total solar eclipse in Niagara Falls, New York.
  • Trek a glacier in Chile.
  • Step back in time at Menorca's archaeological sites.
  • Ride classic rails through the Scottish Highlands.
  • Indulge your taste buds in Isan, Thailand.
  • Wander the tea trail in Sri Lanka.
  • Gallery hop in Sao Paulo.
  • Raft the rapids in West Virginia.
  • Go antiquing in the Hudson Valley, New York.
  • Sleep at a floating lodge on Tofino Island, British Columbia.

How did National Geographic decide these places?

Putting together and consolidating a list of places is no easy feat but Amy Alipio, senior editor at National Geographic, told USA TODAY that it's her favorite project every year.

To put together the list, Alipio explained that her team taps into their global network of experts around the world. While work on the list is an ongoing process, National Geographic sends an official call out to its global network in April, said Alipio, who has been heading the list since its inception 12 years ago.

“We asked them, ‘What places do you love? What have you seen or done lately that you were absolutely blown away by or where do you want to go next?’” she said.

This year they also asked their experts to share what exactly they would do in those locations and that made the list even more personal, Alipio said.

“We're not just mentioning places," said Alipio. "We're mentioning where to go, but (also) what to do once you're there. I think we're really pinpointing ways people can connect and immerse themselves in a destination.”

Ranking the list

This is the first time that National Geographic has ranked it's "Best of the World" list to give readers an insight into what is trending and timely.

"For example, like the horseback safari (in Kenya), – just because people are really into slow travel," she said. "But also our No. 2 experience is really timely. It's about the Paris Olympics, which are this summer."

"I think it really was kind of like a mixture of superlative and timeliness," she adds.

The rankings have also been added as a response to audience feedback that they needed help prioritizing their travel plans.

"People do ask us like, 'What's the No. 1 thing on this list?'" Alipio said. "And now this year, we finally can tell people, 'Yeah, well, actually, we do have a number one that we really like.'"

What US sites made National Geographic's 'Best of the World 2024' list?

The following U.S. destinations made National Geographic's list this year: Katmai National Park in Alaska, Route 66 in New Mexico , Niagara Falls and the Hudson Valley in New York and West Virginia’s New River.

National Geographic recommends bear-watching at the Alaska national park along the Pacific Coast, which has the highest concentration of brown bears in the world. However, the publication suggests ditching the popular Brooks Camp visitor center and taking a trip through areas like Hallo Bay and Geographic Harbor. This activity is among the top five activities suggested by National Geographic.

National Geographic also recommends road-tripping on Route 66 through New Mexico, catching the total solar eclipse on April 8 at Terrapin Point in Niagara Falls State Park , antiquing in New York's Hudson Valley and rafting through the rapids in West Virginia's New River .

Where to see it: 2024's total solar eclipse will pass through over a dozen states

Just go to this Alaskan national park: You don't need to fly to Norway to view fjords.

Best places to visit in South and Central America

Colombia, Chile and Brazil in South America are among the best places to visit in 2024, while Panama is the best place to visit in Central America, according to National Geographic.

National Geographic recommends taking a cruise on Columbia's Magdalena River, soaking in the natural beauty and culture through the colonial towns and floating villages that surround the river.

Brazil's largest city, São Paulo, is an art-lovers paradise, and travelers can gallery-hop through the city's numerous galleries and art exhibitions, browse renowned street art, and check out the Museu de Arte de São Paulo , which holds more than 11,000 artworks from around the world.

In Chile, National Geographic suggests trekking through Patagonia’s Northern and Southern Ice Fields glaciers before they completely succumb to rising temperatures and climate change.

If you're into sustainable tourism, National Geographic recommends exploring Panama, which is currently promoting a government-supported community tourism network that allows travelers to select trips that "provide immersive experiences in less-visited areas of the country."

Among the highlights is the Ruta de la Caldera, a system of five hiking trails around the extinct El Valle de Antón volcano.

Best places to visit in Africa

The No. 1 destination on National Geographic's list is in Africa. Going on a horseback safari in the Borana Conservancy , a 32,000-acre preserve in northern Kenya, is the top thing to do this year, says the publication.

“To journey on horseback is to break down the walls – meant to protect, but also to separate – between oneself and the natural world,” Nichole Sobecki, a photographer and lifelong equestrian, said in a statement provided by National Geographic. “Your horse is your guide, and translator, responding to the low growl of the lion, the soft scent of a herd of elephants, the cool morning breeze descending from Mount Kenya’s glacial peaks."

The North African state of Algeria is also on National Geographic's list, ranking at No. 8. Algeria is home to Africa’s largest national park and holds one of the world’s greatest concentrations of ancient rock art, according to National Geographic. Tassili N'Ajjer National Park, also a UNESCO World Heritage site , is a "geologic wonderland of sandstone pinnacles and arches surrounded by orange dunes," says the publication.

Best places to visit in Europe/UK

Among National Geographic's best places to visit in Europe and the United Kingdom in 2024 are Paris for the 2024 Summer Olympics, Menorca in the Mediterranean Sea for a taste of history and the Scottish Highlands for a luxury train trip .

While Paris is a bucket list location, National Geographic recommends traveling there for the Summer Olympics and participating in the Olympic marathon course. Twenty thousand regular runners will be allowed to run the 26.2-mile loop that links Paris and Versailles, beginning at the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) and passing through nine districts before finishing at Les Invalides on the banks of the Seine.

"Amateur athletes will be able to run the same route as the Olympic marathon, by night, enabling as many people as possible to follow in the footsteps of outstanding athletes," according to the race website. "This will be an extraordinary experience, on a unique and original route, celebrating the heritage and history of the Paris region and the whole of France."

Best places to visit in Asia

Among National Geographic's top recommendations for Asia in 2024 are: Kyoto in Japan , Isan in Thailand, the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia – which is located in both west Asia and Eastern Europe – and the newly opened Pekoe tea Trail in Sri Lanka.

"Carving a path through cloud-swathed villages and centuries-old tea estates, the new long-distance Pekoe Trail gives hikers a chance to explore Sri Lanka’s quiet central highlands," National Geographic writes .

Best places to visit in Australia

The Coral Coast , stretching almost 700 miles along the Indian Ocean north of Perth, is one of National Geographic's top recommended spots for 2024. Underwater activities include exploring the world’s largest fringing reef, Ningaloo Reef, "a stunning counterpart to the over-touristed Great Barrier Reef," and swimming with dolphins, whale sharks, and manta rays.

Between July and October, some 40,000 humpback whales migrate down the Australian coast, allowing travelers to observe them up close.

Interestingly, both National Geographic editors, Lump and Alipio, are looking forward to a deep-water adventure at Australia's Coral Coast.

Saman Shafiq is a trending news reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at [email protected] and follow her on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter @saman_shafiq7.

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    Amazon Some utility companies Subscription services like Netflix and Spotify You can use an AMEX card to pay for flights, hotels, holiday bookings, public transport, and more. There aren't many places that won't accept AMEX. Most that don't are small, independent outlets. An AMEX card for all occasions

  10. The American Express Platinum Card

    While this card comes with undeniably generous benefits, including airport lounge access and travel perks, it also charges a steep annual fee of £650. The card's purchase rate is 31% (variable ...

  11. Best air mile credit cards 2024

    25,000 American Express Membership Rewards points when you spend £3,000 in the first 3 months. 5,000 American Express Membership Rewards points when you make a purchase in month 15 of card ownership. £195 (d) 3 Amex Memership Rewards points per £1 spent on American Express Travel and 2 per £1 spent with selected airlines.

  12. The best American Express cards

    Written by Andy Webb Which Amex credit card will earn you the most cashback or rewards in the UK in 2023? There are a number of different American Express cards, so which is the best? In this best buy guide, I'll take you through my top picks whether you want to get your first card or change the one you already have. In this article

  13. 9 Best American Express Credit Cards of February 2024

    • Reviewed by Stanley Sanford Updated Feb. 01, 2024 The best American Express credit cards have earned high marks thanks to their stellar rewards and perks. Amex offers a card for almost every type of spender, including credit cards for beginners, casual travelers, road warriors and always-on-the-go business travelers.

  14. Top travel cards: the best credit and debit cards to use abroad

    If you're planning an overseas trip, or regularly buy from overseas websites, a specialist travel credit or debit card is one of the cheapest way to spend as it gives near-perfect exchange rates worldwide. This guide includes the top-pick travel cards, the cards to avoid, and how to check what your card's charging you.

  15. What is the best AMEX Credit Card, particularly for someone ...

    Amex Gold and Amex Platinum (the charge card, not the cashback card) both have fairly high annual fees but if you can make use of the benefits fully then they can pay for themselves (e.g. through the Fine Hotels and Resorts programme, car hire benefits, hotel status and unlimited lounge access that the Platinum Card offers.

  16. Best Amex Card UK

    The first and simplest option would be the American Express Platinum Cashback Card. You'd receive between 1-1.25% on all spend (with a bonus of 5% up to £125 in the first 3 months) and the annual fee of £25 could be offset by the free £25 offered using this link and scrolling down to the correct card.

  17. Best travel credit cards for airlines in 2024

    Best American Airlines credit card: Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®. Best United Airlines credit card: United Club℠ Infinite Card. Best Delta Air Lines credit card: The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card *. Best Southwest Airlines credit card: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card.

  18. Get a huge 60,000 points + £200 with American Express Platinum

    Until tonight, 13th June, The Platinum Card blows every other personal card out of the water with a doubled sign-up bonus AND a £200 credit to spend with Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to trigger the two parts of the bonus. Once you've spent £6,000, you receive 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points ...

  19. Best cashback and reward credit cards

    Best Amex credit cards Everyday: 5% back for 3 months, up to 1% after Gold: 20,000 bonus points, £195/yr fee from year 2 Best non-Amex reward credit cards, including New. Asda: 10% cashback at Asda for 90 days John Lewis: John Lewis/Waitrose points Best reward debit card Chase: 1% cashback, no fee Who's this guide for?

  20. What is the best use of UK American Express points? (2023)

    0.75p - 1.5p per point (my target) Airline miles . My last piece on valuing Avios points is here and Amex points transfer into Avios at 1:1 . This is why the sign-up bonuses, such as 20,000 points for taking out the free (in Year 1) Americn Express Preferred Rewards Gold, are so valuable.

  21. AMEX UK Card Comparison Choice : r/UKPersonalFinance

    Amex Gold Rewards. Introductory offer : 20,000 points when you spend £3000 in the first 3 months Regular 1 point per £1, with a bonus of 2 points per pound for airlines and foreign currency and 3 points per pound for AMEX Travel Up to £5 back on Deliveroo transactions (2 per month, max £120 a year) Travel insurance

  22. The Best Ways to Fly to London With Points and Miles [2024]

    Amex, Bilt, Chase, and Citi and transfer at a 1:1 ratio, while Marriott Bonvoy transfers at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points transferred. Amex, Bilt, Chase, and Citi transfer almost instantly. Marriott Bonvoy will take around 1 business day to transfer points to Flying Club.

  23. Best Amex Offers To Save On Travel Now

    Hotel Offers. Best Western: $20 back after spending $100 or more through December 31, 2023. Cambria and Ascend Hotels: $100 back after spending $300 or more through December 31, 2023. Hilton—Las ...

  24. The best February travel deals: How to holiday for less

    The package discount for holidaymakers is valid until 29 February 2024 with £0 deposits and free kids' places also available on select Tui getaways. There's even the chance to save up to £ ...

  25. American Express tips and tricks

    American Express tips & tricks Including bonus cashback offers, £5 back at local businesses & earn £150/year referring friends Sarah Monro | Edited by Oli Townsend Updated 20 March 2023 New American Express or 'Amex' cardholders can get big intro bonuses, such as £100 in vouchers, and free airport lounge access.

  26. Why I Downgraded My Delta SkyMiles Platinum Amex and Returned to ...

    M y first travel rewards credit card was the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card. I applied for it in 2018 and immediately used it to book a trip to Seattle from my home airport, Raleigh ...

  27. UK's prettiest walking route named

    The UK's best walking route has been named by hiking experts but it might be a little challenging for beginners. By Esther Marshall , Senior Travel Reporter 11:18, Wed, Feb 7, 2024 | UPDATED: 11: ...

  28. 7 European ski resorts where you'll still find snow amid mild ...

    Ryanair, British Airways, easyJet, Lufthansa offer flights from the UK, with prices ranging between £34-£150. ... Wild wilderness destination voted the world's best place to travel in 2024.

  29. Best travel destinations in 2024: National Geographic's new list

    Kenya, Kyoto, and Paris, West Virginia, Alaska, and Niagara Falls all landed on National Geographic's list of the best places to travel to in 2024. But this year there's a fun new twist: Experiences.