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Branding and marketing for American Express cards traditionally associated them with business users and affluent individuals (or at least those aspiring to affluence), who valued their lack of stated borrowing limit and could afford to pay their balances in full each month. (The first Amex cards were charge cards, with very limited provisions for carrying a balance from one month to the next.)
The Amex brand has since broadened its outreach: Many, if not most, of its cards are now traditional revolving credit cards. And its relatively new series of Cash cards are tailored more to Target runs than corporate travel.
Still, American Express cards typically are not considered entry-level credit cards. They tend to require good to exceptional credit scores beyond the reach of newcomers to credit, their associated interest rates are often higher than those of competing card brands, and many of the cards charge annual fees as well. The fact that they aren't accepted by as many merchants as Mastercard and Visa also makes them a less appealing choice as the first card for your wallet.
If you qualify, however, the current generation of Amex cards offers some terrific user rewards, and some truly attractive introductory terms. Here are three of our favorites for your consideration.
Which Card Is Right for You?
There's no single best American Express card out there for everyone, and there are a variety of specialized Amex cards tailored to users who do business with specific affiliate brands, such as Delta Airlines and Hilton Hotels. If you're getting a card specifically for business or leisure travel, these could offer you big savings.
Take the time to research several credit cards and compare their features to decide which one is best for you.
American Express cards offer a host of perks and privileges, and each card packages them up a little differently. So study the card offers carefully to identify the benefits that'll do you the most good, and to ensure you take full advantage of all your American Express card provides.